Four features to look for in an online SMS gateway
Written by Agus Echagüe
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, mobile phone ownership amongst Australians over 18 comes in at astaggering 92 percent. Hence, mobile represents an ideal platform for generating leads and interacting directly with customers. A 2010 study by Singlepoint reported that approximately 90 percent of all SMS messages are read within three minutes of being sent, while SMS boasts a 99 percent open rate.
Given these numbers, it’s critical to invest in a robust SMS Gateway that can efficiently manage your campaigns and take advantage of the many uses of SMS marketing.
As with any area of your marketing spend, tracking the value generated from your SMS marketing activities is vital. With this in mind, we’ve put together this handy guide on what to look for in the perfect SMS Gateway system.
Below are four features we recommend keeping an eye on >>>
There’s nothing worse for businesses than being dumped with a system that forces you to overhaul your existing processes and systems.
With email-to-SMS functionality, users can compose, distribute and respond to SMS campaigns from within their existing email client. If you can send an email, then you can use an email-based messaging platform – it’s that simple!
Hot tip: Look for a system that supports the most frequently used email clients (e.g. Apple Mail, Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail, Windows Live).
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Sure, you may have developed a brilliant marketing campaign. When it comes time to evaluation, you’ll need comprehensive data to help you make decisions to refine and optimise your campaign. This is where analytics and metrics are critical.
Hot tip: Opt for a system that supports detailed segmentation (e.g. by location, gender, purchase history, member status, etc.)
No software downloads
Investing in a purely web- or cloud-based platform has several advantages. Most importantly, your campaign data and customer database is secured with encryption and accessible remotely from any device with an internet connection. This is particularly useful in the event of theft, property damage or fire.
Other secondary benefits include conservation of valuable disk space, and not having to pester the IT guy at work!
For a technical product like an SMS Gateway, you want to be sure that you can access personalised support, when you need it. At the very least, that means phone and/or live chat assistance (no ticket lodging) For more complex queries, it’s great if you can drop into a physical office and receive one-on-one support.
Hot tip: The more established providers often have an extensive online database of FAQ’s that users can use to troubleshoot issues. This is a great way to resolve minor queries without getting tied up on the phone or sending an email to a customer service team.
With a 99 percent open rate, don’t underestimate the power of an SMS Gateway for your business.
About the author
Agus Echagüe is the Marketing Manager (or Capocha as she calls herself) at SMS Central, so always has an excuse to be texting at the office. A marketing nerd all the way from Argentina, Agus has worked previously in tech for Paycycle.com.au as well as for consumer brands such as Unilever. Agus believes in balancing hardcore number crunching with airy-fairy, go with your gut style creative thinking and so far it is working out well.
Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business
As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?
In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.
You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?
They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.
Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening.
I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something.
How important are smart skills in leadership today?
Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.
I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other.
So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?
Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’.
Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here