Over the past few years SMS marketing has become a legitimate advertising channel in some parts of the world. This is because unlike email over the public internet, the carriers who police their own networks have set guidelines and best practices for the mobile media industry (including mobile advertising). The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), as well, have established guidelines and are evangelizing the use of the mobile channel for marketers. While this has been fruitful in developed regions such as North America, Western Europe and some other countries, mobile SPAM messages (SMS sent to mobile subscribers without a legitimate and explicit opt-in by the subscriber) remain an issue in many other parts of the world, partly due to the carriers selling their member databases to third parties. In India, however, government's efforts of creating National Do Not Call Registry have helped cellphone users to stop SMS advertisements by sending a simple SMS or calling 1909.
To avoid sharing numbers with other senders, and for brand recognition and number consistency, leasing a dedicated virtual number, which are also known as a long code or long number (international number format, e.g. +44 7624 805000 or US number format, e.g. 757 772 8555), is a viable option. Unlike a shared number, it can receive SMS replies. Senders can choose from a list of available dedicated virtual numbers from a bulk SMS provider. Prices for dedicated virtual numbers can vary. Some numbers, often called Gold numbers, are more easy to recognise, and therefore more expensive to lease. Senders may also get creative and choose a vanity number. These numbers spell out a word using the keypad, like +1-(123)-ANUMBER.
To learn how your message can be improved, it’s important to analyse the results. Which parts of your message are not performing as well as expected? Is the open rate lower than expected? Or are people opening your message, but not taking any further action based on the contents of the message? Your analysis will tell you which parts of your message can do better and will help you to formulate your goal.
For a more cost-effective solution, you can register a keyword on a shared short code, which means you will be assigned a unique SMS keyword but you will share the short code with other businesses. These short codes are great for competitions or lead generation for example, where customers can SMS your keyword and their details to the shared number to enter or request a quote or more information about your products and services.
In a nutshell, mobile devices are arguably the most personal items we own and as (SMS/MMS) marketer building your phone number database in the early stages of your (SMS/MMS) campaign, you need to let subscribers know what they are opt-in for. keep your promise and send only infrequent, valuable text messages. Remember to keep delivering value through incentives and your customers will stay opted-in and very eager to receive your next text.