How to Choose the Right Online Texting Service for Your Business
Dozens of different online texting services are actively competing for the attention of small business owners, which can be perplexing. Fortunately, there are a few basic criteria you can use to decide which of these many applications offers the right feature set for your organization.
Searching for Network Integration Features
Software integration is probably the single most important thing to consider when you are looking for the appropriate text broadcasting platform. Chances are that you currently use a Simple Message Service app on your phone to text people, but this kind of technology is much too cumbersome to use in a promotional setting. Look for an app that runs on standard personal computer hardware.
Developers have emphasized web-based interfaces recently, so it should not matter if you use GNU/Linux, macOS, or Microsoft Windows as your platform of choice. By using a full-sized desktop, laptop, or tablet, you will be able to compose promotional text messages through a full-screen editor. Cross-platform text broadcasting applications will work equally well with smaller mobile device handsets, so you do not have to worry about losing that functionality either.
Customer relationship management plug-ins are another good feature to look for. These allow you to keep a sophisticated contact list that you can sort through by segment as well as area code. If you ever want to run a promotion in a certain geographical area, then you can easily find everyone who lives in the local area. Once you have something that offers all the right features, you will want to check which kind of messaging standards it supports.
Deciding Between SMS and Multimedia Messages
While you might think that all text messages are created equal, there are actually two different competing services that most wireless carriers rely on to send information out. Standard SMS text messages are confined to a hard limit of 160 characters, which might be even shorter if you use emojis, accented vowels, or any other extended Unicode symbols. In short, characters that are longer than two nybbles in logical size are going to occupy more space.
Multimedia messages are much more generous since they allow users to send out broadcasts around 1,600 characters in length. Broadcasts made using the MMS service are also capable of including pictures, video, and even sound bites if necessary. They are much richer in terms of transmission code, however, which makes it more onerous to send through a poor connection. Some wireless carriers charge more for them as well.
Generally, you will want to make sure that you pick a platform that offers the ability to send out messages using both standards. That will give you the freedom to tailor each message to the specific situation you will be sending it out for. For instance, you could broadcast MMS missives when it is necessary to send rich content and revert to a standard message whenever such features are no longer needed.
Special Baked-in Promotional Features
Some better text broadcasting applications offer an entire suite of templates that make it easy to craft messages specifically for your business situation. For instance, you might be able to create a text-to-win contest from inside the app and send it out to every single potential sales lead on your contact list. The ability to easily create surveys and collect opinions from your clients is also very valuable, especially if you are trying to change your organization's direction.
Standard messages are often used to send out push notifications or shipping details, so you will want to make sure that you can use your chosen platform offers templates for these as well. Depending on the type of wireless carrier you intend to work with, you may want to invest a little extra in something that supports either star or shortcodes. Sales candidates may not be able to remember a full-length phone number, so many platforms now offer short numbers and Touch Tone commands that are far easier to jot down than a series of 14 digits ever is.
Most importantly, pick something you will like working with. A simple user-friendly interface will be far more enjoyable to use than a feature-rich complex one would be, no matter how impressive the latter might look at first.