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Updated Feb 02, 2024

What Is SMS for Business?

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David Gargaro, Contributing Writer

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Short Message Service (SMS), a cornerstone of the texting world, has evolved beyond personal communication. Today, the SMS business landscape is thriving, with companies leveraging it for customer outreach and product marketing. Given the popularity of mobile devices, SMS business communication stands out as a direct, efficient and universally accessible tool.

Let’s delve deeper into the world of SMS business messaging, its applications, and its significance in modern business communication.

What is SMS business messaging?

At its core, SMS, or short message service, is a text-only format capped at 160 characters. It does not include multimedia content, such as video or images. Developed in the 1980s, SMS is among the pioneering texting technologies, retaining its popularity despite the emergence of newer communication methods.

Comparing SMS with other communication modes:

  • SMS business vs. text messages: Essentially, SMS business messaging and text messaging are synonymous, both restricted to 160 characters. However, the broader term “texting” might encompass multimedia messaging service (MMS) and other platform-specific messages.
  • SMS business vs. MMS: SMS is concise, while MMS offers extended character limits (as set by the provider) and supports multimedia content. MMS lets you send videos, images, audio and hyperlinks with your message, as well as allows for subject lines.  For marketing, both SMS business and MMS are invaluable.
  • SMS business vs. rich communications services (RCS): RCS, exclusive to Android’s Google Messages, is an advanced SMS protocol. Though it offers enhanced features like read receipts and high-resolution media sharing, it has yet to be widely adopted.
  • SMS business vs. verified SMS: This Android-specific enhancement of SMS business messaging offers an added layer of validation for business texts, showcasing business logos to boost brand awareness and facilitating opt-ins to reduce spam.
  • SMS Business vs. over the top (OTT): OTT apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, WeChat and Facebook Messenger operate over the internet, bypassing cellular networks. These require app installations and have unique messaging protocols for sending and receiving messages. It’s free to send and receive messages through OTT applications.
Did You Know?Did you know

According to a SimpleTexting survey, 70 percent of consumers have chosen to receive business text messages, demonstrating that business texting is integral to a great customer experience.

What are different types of SMS business messaging?

In the realm of SMS business communication, there are distinct types of SMS messages you can send:

  • Person-to-person (P2P) SMS: This form of SMS business communication is centered on direct human-to-human exchanges. Typically, the ratio of sent to received messages is balanced at one-to-one. For optimal SMS business practices, P2P messages shouldn’t surpass one message per second (MPS).
  • Application-to-person (A2P) SMS: A2P SMS is a cornerstone of SMS business communication, where messages originate from an application and are directed to an individual. This SMS business model facilitates automated messaging, potentially exceeding one MPS. For effective A2P SMS business communication, specific numbers like short codes, toll-free, and 10DLC (designated long code numbers approved by mobile carriers) are required.
  • Short code in SMS Business: Within the SMS business framework, short codes are five- to six-digit numbers designed for transmitting high-volume A2P messages. These codes are not equipped for two-way interactions or voice calls. However, in the SMS business context, recipients can employ particular keywords, such as “YES” for affirmation or “STOP” for opting out.
  • Toll-free SMS: This SMS business category utilizes toll-free numbers, like 800 or 888, to facilitate high-volume text exchanges. A majority of toll-free numbers are compatible with SMS business messages. Furthermore, toll-free SMS business messaging supports two-way communication, allowing recipients to reply as they would to conventional texts and even initiate voice calls if the number permits.
  • 10DLC: 10DLC, or ten-digit-long codes, are authorized local phone numbers tailored for SMS business communication, supporting high-volume exchanges. These codes are versatile, accommodating both two-way messaging and voice interactions. However, accessing A2P SMS business communication via 10DLC requires an associated carrier fee to access A2P SMS.
TipBottom line

All SMS message types support business communications that help organizations connect with their target audience and market their offerings.

How do you use SMS business messaging?

The integration of SMS messaging into business operations has revolutionized text message marketing and customer communication. Below are the primary ways businesses harness SMS business messaging:

1. SMS business marketing

Companies use SMS business messaging to increase sales by dispatching promotional content, sales alerts, coupons, and more straight to consumers’ mobile devices. Additionally, SMS business platforms facilitate data collection through surveys and enable the hosting of contests.

The potency of SMS business messaging ensures heightened visibility of messages, fostering enhanced customer engagement and revenue generation.

FYIDid you know

According to Forrester data, businesses that sell online and use text marketing attribute 12.8 percent of their online revenue to its use.

2. Alerts, notifications and reminders via SMS business

SMS business messaging is an excellent way to send customers alerts, notifications and reminders. For example, when customers place an order, they can receive an automated SMS business message when their order has been processed and another when it’s out for delivery. Similarly, appointment bookings can be complemented with reminders or updates via SMS.

Knowing the impressive open rates of SMS business messages, businesses know that customers will receive and read their SMS messages on time. Customers appreciate getting appointment reminders and delivery updates and businesses enjoy lower cancellation rates and less time spent on the phone handling customer queries.

3. Special offers and coupons through SMS business channels

SMS business messaging is an easy way to send digital coupon codes, discounts and exclusive deals. The convenience of accessing offers directly on their phones, without needing any physical coupons, enhances the customer experience.

Promotional SMS business messages simplify the purchasing journey, bolstering customer engagement and sales. Getting discounts is a big incentive for customers to sign up for SMS business messages in the first place. According to a Klaviyo study, 62 percent of consumers look forward to receiving text discounts, promotions and sales announcements.  

4. Customer support via SMS business platforms

A growing number of enterprises are weaving text messaging  into their customer support systems. SMS business support is characterized by its efficiency, enabling representatives to multitask and manage multiple queries concurrently. If needed, customers can switch to voice calls for in-depth resolutions. This SMS business model can increase contact center efficiency without hiring additional staff.

5. Two-Factor Authentication in SMS business protocols

In the SMS business landscape, safeguarding customer data is paramount. Implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) or multifactor authentication (MFA) via SMS business messages fortifies login processes, help complete order verifications, and minimizes password breach risks. This SMS business security procedure is more secure than using passwords alone and adds another layer of protection when verifying an individual’s identity.

6. Group messaging in SMS business communication

SMS business platforms allow companies to take advatnage of group messaging to three or more customers. Certain devices even support expansive group chats with up to 30 members. This enables your business to communicate with multiple parties simultaneously. This type of SMS business communication can be advantageous when time is a factor, such as when a family is purchasing a home.

Did You Know?Did you know

You can also accept mobile payments via SMS by working with an SMS payment provider. The best credit card processors often provide SMS payment processing services.

What are the advantages of SMS for business?

The integration of SMS into business strategies offers a plethora of advantages, especially in the context of text message marketing campaigns:

  • SMS for business is widely supported: SMS for business is compatible with all hardware and software platforms. Messages can be sent and received on any modern mobile device.
  • SMS business messaging is fast: SMS business messages are small and transmitted via a cellular network, so they can be delivered and received quickly.
  • High availability of SMS for business: Since SMS business messages use a lower bandwidth, they can be sent in areas where voice is unavailable and can even be sent and received by email when there’s no mobile service.
  • SMS business messages are reliable: SMS business messages are delivered immediately or as soon as the recipient’s phone is turned on and connected to a network.
  • SMS enhances communication versatility: SMS for business enhances the versatility of communication and marketing endeavors, given its widespread acceptance and utilization.
  • Impressive engagement rates of SMS for business: According to the SimpleTexting study, SMS for business messages have 98 percent open rates and 36 percent click-through rates. They’re much more effective than other mass marketing methods.
  • SMS for business messaging is affordable: From a financial perspective, SMS for business messages are more economical than their MMS counterparts. Additionally, they are also more cost-effective than having people make and monitor phone calls.
TipBottom line

According to a Constant Contact survey, 20 percent of respondents said they made a purchase after receiving a marketing text from a small business.

What are the best text message marketing services for SMS?

The best text message marketing services can help your organization start reaping the benefits of SMS for business  messaging. Here are some of the leading SMS business marketing services that stand out:

  • SimpleTexting: SimpleTexting is tailored for SMS business marketing, allowing you to use market segmentation to send the most impactful messages that connect with your target audience. The dashboard is easy to use and intuitive and you can seamlessly import your contact list from another messaging platform. SimpleTexting has built-in integrations with many of the top CRM platforms, the best email marketing software and other packages, including Shopify, Salesforce, Mailchimp, Slack and Zoho. If you get the top-tier plan for $229 per month, SimpleTexting will even do a custom integration for you at no additional charge. Read our full SimpleTexting review to learn more.
  • Textedly: Textedly stands out in the SMS business marketing realm by offering services at a competitive price point. Even at its most basic plan, the cost per text is a mere two cents, with prices becoming even more economical with advanced plans. Despite its affordability, Textedly doesn’t compromise on features. It supports segmented list creation, two-way communication, and integration with various software through Zapier. A unique feature of Textedly in the SMS business landscape is its capability to directly text customers from an Instagram business account. For a deeper understanding of how Textedly can elevate your SMS business campaigns, refer to our detailed Textedly review.
  • Podium: For local businesses keen on amplifying their SMS business strategy, Podium is a top contender. It not only facilitates SMS business messaging but also empowers businesses to manage reviews across various platforms. With Podium, businesses can solicit reviews via text and even invite existing reviewers to subscribe to their SMS list. A standout feature is the provision of unlimited texts across all Podium plans. Check out our complete review of Podium for more details. 

Jennifer Dublino contributed to this article.

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David Gargaro, Contributing Writer
David Gargaro is a content writer and copy editor with more than 20 years of experience in multiple industries, including publishing, advertising, marketing, finance, and small business. He has written on B2B-focused topics covering business technology, sales, marketing, and insurance. David has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Actuarial Science from the University of Toronto. He served as the managing editor of a small publishing company, and self-published a book called How to Run Your Company… Into the Ground.
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