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Choosing the right solution for your SMS marketing platform, while ensuring maximum ROI and boosting sales is not easy. While there is no shortage of text message marketing software programs and service providers, it can be challenging to differentiate which one would be the best match for your business.
 
SMS marketing is an important and powerful vehicle for engaging with today's consumers and driving revenue. The problem that continues to plague businesses, however, is that text message marketing software can be technical and complex to use. They come with a vast array of features many of which are similar across various solutions. On top of that, vendor support is often sorely lacking.
 
So, let's focus on some of the must-have characteristics that you'll need for ongoing success with your text message marketing campaigns. Now while these may be overly simplistic and self-evident, you cannot skip over these important points. This is your starting point, when it comes to selecting the right SMS marketing options for you.
 

  1. Easy To Use – You want a system that is easy to use, so you don't risk any errors or delays in your campaigns. You want an intuitive interface, along with strong vendor support. As you shop around for various text marketing vendors, take advantage of hands-on exploration with the interface of the vendor you're considering. Set up a sample campaign and see what kind of usability you're working with. Be sure to meet with your account manager and inquire about the level of support to be expected. Remember, the devil is in the details, and more often than not, you'll have questions and issues that you may urgently need extra help with.
 
  1. Account Management & Support – While we briefly touched on vendor support above, we will go further with this and pull it right into account management. You cannot afford to lose valuable time when setting up and running your campaigns. Your SMS marketing must perform exactly the way you need it to, without costly delays or mistakes. Exceptional vendor support that is just a phone call away can be a life-saver. Also, you don't just want technical support, but also feedback and relevant recommendations to help you optimize your campaign's highest potential. Search for providers that offer both on-demand support and ongoing, proactive account management. If you're a large organization, expect to have a dedicated account manager with your provider services.
 
Support for data security standards and compliance
 
Customer data is a company’s most valuable and vulnerable asset, raising the bar on the need for auditable data security and privacy policies. You should expect your SMS provider to support the highest levels of data security such as PCI level 1 (same level required for processing credit cards), and to have in place a documented information security and privacy program.
 
It's also recommended that you have your security team conduct a security audit of vendors you’ll be working with.
 
For better or worse, SMS marketing brings along with it a range of laws and mobile carrier requirements. Comfort is derived from knowing that your partner is helping you to maintain compliance and stay abreast of ever-changing mobile marketing compliance rules. Ideally, you'll want resources to ensure that TCPA and CTIA compliance is being followed and a team that can assist you in gathering data to allow you to respond in a timely manner to any potential consumer TCPA complaint and provide strong opt-in backup data.
 
Tracking and reporting: key to measuring SMS campaign success
 
The ability to measure campaign performance will score points with upper management. There are a number of methods to measure performance including the use of dashboards. Some reporting systems offer batch reporting and some offer real time reporting. A good question to ask a potential partner is whether the reporting is done in real time or if its delayed (batch). To best track campaign performance you’ll want to ensure access to real-time reporting. In brief, the kinds of reports that will benefit your campaign performance tracking include:
 
  • An at-a-glance dashboard to track list growth & consumer engagement
  • Redemption performance metrics: by message, keyword, time, channel & segment
  • Join metrics -- to see where customers drop out of the join process
  • Responses/Click-Throughs
  • Opt-in / Opt-outs / list growth
  • Subscriber reporting to track a customer’s communications with your brand
  • Ability to export reports
 
Final thoughts…
 
Another requirement to keep in mind for program success is compatibility and integration with your existing marketing infrastructure. This requires a solution that supports robust APIs, enabling your system to easily share data with other systems, including loyalty, CRM, analytics and websites.
 
If you wish to see more tips on text message marketing, check out the CodeBroker eBook,
How to Evaluate SMS Marketing.” When it comes to SMS marketing platforms, CodeBroker offers you all of the criteria that you've read about here and more.

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