To run a successful text campaign, you have to juggle a variety of tasks — building a subscriber list, creating and sending countless texts, and monitoring KPIs to ensure messaging is having the desired impact. It isn't easy. 

With so many moving pieces to keep track of, it's easy to forget about the little things that seem so simple we often take them for granted.

But even simple phone issues like a bad connection can lead to deliverability issues. And if you aren't paying attention to SMS deliverability for your own text message marketing, you could miss out on opportunities to reach and engage with your audience.

What is SMS Delivery, And Why is it Important?

SMS delivery is the metric marketers use to measure the success of SMS campaigns. It involves assessing how many sent text messages are successfully delivered, with the aim of ensuring that all subscribers receive the texts brands send.

SMS message deliverability is similar to email deliverability in that both measure how successful an organization's messaging efforts are in reaching its target audience.

But if marketers don't create an SMS delivery report and monitor other important KPIs to give more context to the data, they won't know how many messages their subscribers are actually receiving. Or if the sent messages are ending in a failed delivery. And that could skew other metrics, like open and click-through rates.

After all, if messages aren't delivered successfully, people certainly won't be able to open, view, or engage with the message, even if they want to. And that means the brand will see lower engagement, even if they have a good strategy and strongly-crafted messages that resonate with its audience.

How to Overcome Common Hurdles to SMS Delivery

Delivering SMS messages comes with a unique set of challenges that brands need to overcome in order to ensure their messages reach the right people. The two most common delivery issues are improper text list sign-ups and spam filters.

Subscribers often make simple mistakes that can prevent texts from reaching recipients, while spam filters will block messages if they detect anything suspicious or malicious. But planning ahead and building safeguards into your marketing strategy can help you mitigate these risks.

Combat initial subscription issues by confirming subscription requests

Invalid numbers are the most common reason for failed message delivery — all it takes is a typo when signing up for marketing messages. By sending a confirmation text before adding anyone to a subscriber list, brands can catch invalid phone numbers before they become an issue that contributes to deliverability issues further down the road. This is how it works:

  1. The first text that a subscriber receives asks them to provide consent to be added to a text list. If the subscriber doesn't send a response or doesn't provide consent, the interaction ends here.

  2. When a customer confirms their subscription to the list, they receive a welcome message that reaffirms they've been added to the list and offers additional details about how to engage with the company.

This two-step process can also help build relationships between brands and their customers, as it gives customers an extra measure of control over what messages they receive. And this sense of agency could lead to the highest possible deliverability, and greater engagement with a brand's messaging in the long run.

Avoid Junk folders by encouraging subscribers to save your contact information

Asking subscribers to save the brand's information increases the chances that they (and their phone carriers) will recognize who sent the messages. And that makes both less likely to flag texts as spam.

Brands can even create and send contact cards, complete with a photo, that makes it easy for subscribers to save their information. It also ensures that customers see a brand's name and a familiar logo or photo rather than a phone number they don't recognize (and are unlikely to trust).

3 Tips to Prevent SMS Delivery Failure

By using an appropriate phone number and creating messages that resonate with the target audience, you can set yourself up for success and increase the chances that customers will receive and engage with the texts you send.

1. Use a toll-free number or short code

There are two types of phone numbers that businesses can use. And using the wrong one increases the risk that carrier spam filters flag the text message. But which type of number is appropriate depends on the size of the business.

Toll-free numbers (TFNs) have a special area code that starts with '800,' '888,' 877,' or '866' and, in the US, feature seven numbers after the prefix. They are typically used by larger organizations because they create a professional image for businesses and help establish credibility with customers. TFNs are also advantageous for businesses that serve customers in multiple zip codes, as TFNs can be dialed from anywhere in the country and are free for customers to call.

Shortcode phone numbers are typically 5- or 6-digits long and usually contain a geography-specific area code. They are typically used by smaller organizations with small budgets because shortcodes come with short-term leases. This means they can be changed after a period of time and have fewer restrictions on their use. The shorter length of the number also allows it to be used in advertising campaigns and other promotional materials as well.

2. Personalize the content you send your audience

Brands that personalize the texts they send to customers have better delivery rates. This is because when people receive a text with their name or other information that shows it was made for them, they are more likely to open and read it instead of reporting it as junk.

Personalizing texts also helps build relationships between the brand and the customer. So, even if the customer does not open the text, they still know who it is from and may be more likely to open it later, which means personalization also improves engagement.

3. Keep messages short and simple.

When a brand sends short messages, it takes less data for the message to reach its recipient. This means that there is less chance that something will go wrong and the message won't get delivered.

Longer messages can have more problems because they need more data and take longer to send. Images and video files in texts also increase data usage, slow down delivery times, and increase the chances of failed deliveries.

By keeping messages succinct and limiting attachments, marketers can help ensure their messages make it through without any hiccups. And when images or videos are an essential part of the message, consider using links instead so customers can click through and view them online instead of having them sent directly in the message itself.

Boost Delivery Rates and Improve SMS Marketing With Automation

Your SMS delivery rate is an important metric to pay attention to in order to ensure your messages reach the right people. By confirming subscription requests, encouraging subscribers to save phone information, and keeping texts short and simple, you can overcome common hurdles and boost delivery rates.

An SMS marketing platform also helps by automating tasks like sending confirmation and welcome messages as well as tracking metrics such as engagement rates.

With these tips in hand, you'll be able to create more effective SMS marketing campaigns that get your message across without any hiccups!