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How to Launch a Successful 2-Way SMS Campaign in any Country

How to Launch a Successful 2-Way SMS Campaign in any Country

When building a 2-Way SMS campaign, it's key to have everything covered, from regulations to technology.

So, you’re setting up a global SMS campaign? Do you have all the information and tools you need to make an impact and be successful? Launching 2-Way SMS campaigns in different countries means following different rules and best practices. If you want your campaign to be successful, you need to understand all the rules and best practices for each country before you launch the campaign. This small amount of pre-planning ensures your campaign will launch smoothly, and you can concentrate on optimizing the results and ROI.

We help manage SMS campaigns with companies around the world and work with over 800 operators in 190+ countries, and have learned a lot about successful SMS campaigns over the past decade. From our experience, these are the key questions you need to ask your provider while you’re planning your 2-Way SMS campaign, and before the campaign is even close to launching.

Which 2-Way options do I have?

Each country has its own rules for what kinds of numbers can be used for 2-Way SMS campaigns. In some countries you must use a short code, in others, a virtual long number (VLN) is okay. You need to know in which countries you need which kind of number and if the provider can even offer 2-Way SMS in that country in the first place. You need to know if your provider can get short and VLNs for you, how much they will cost, and how long it will take. The answer isn’t the same everywhere, your provider must understand the rules in each country before your campaign can even get off the ground.

Am I allowed to say that?

Marketing traffic is highly regulated in many regions. In a number of countries you can’t send campaigns that are political, for alcohol or tobacco, or violate a country’s moral code. In both India and France, you can’t send marketing messages—even if people opted in—between certain hours of the evening until morning. Around the world there are different rules governing what is allowed in a marketing message and how it is regulated.

Am I allowed to send my customers marketing SMS messages?

You need to be sure that all your subscribers gave you explicit permission to send them promotional materials. If you do not have permission to send marketing materials, the fines for sending SMS spam can be substantial. In India you can’t send marketing messages—even if people have opted-in to receive them—from a VLN. In the U.S. and Canada, the best practice for marketing campaigns is using a short code, but it’s essential you have explicit opt-ins from all your subscribers to receive the messages. Violate the rules and you might be fined or have your messages blocked by operators. In the US, companies can be fined $500 per message (or more). Imagine the cost of a campaign if you have hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands spam complaints. The fines alone could erase any possible ROI you got from the campaign (and more so).

When do I use short codes or virtual long numbers?

A virtual long number has 11 or 12 digits and can receive messages from all MNO partners. VLNs are often used for people to opt-out of a marketing campaign or any kind of campaign where the short code is not required (like transactional messages from banks). Virtual numbers have country and network codes, so be used to send or receive messages anywhere in the world (as long as MNOs have established roaming agreements).

Short codes are generally 4 to 6 digits long. Short code lengths differ from country to country and they don’t have a country or network code. Because short don’t have country or network codes, they only work within the country they were created for. For example, a short code created in the U.S. can’t be used in Canada or Mexico (even though they share a common system of area codes and exchanges for long numbers).

The answer to short code or VLN isn’t always cut and dried. Sometimes VLNs are perfect for a 2-Way campaign, especially if a short code isn’t available or too expensive, but your provider needs to know when you can and can’t use VLNs for 2-Way messaging.

Can my provider support country-specific regulations?

Let’s take Kenya as an example. Messages sent to Kenyan subscribers need to have a short code to opt out in every message. Messages in Kenya are sent with an alphanumeric sender so there in no phone number to send an opt-out request. The short code is included in the message for people to opt out, but can your provider track which opt out is connected with which alpha sender? If you can’t track and connect your alphanumeric sender information to your opt-out short codes, you could face significant fines in Kenya.

How will I know if my campaign is successful?

You prepared the campaign with engaging content, organized opt in lists, and a compelling offer. You sent out the campaign and now what? How many messages were delivered? What was the delivery rate? How many subscribers opted out? Which keywords did they send? You need to have the right tools to track the success of your campaign from delivery to conversion. You need a tool that will give you actionable data to improve your campaign on the fly. You need data aggregated from both operators and marketing software to make decisions and optimize your campaigns.

You need a partner who offers a robust reporting and analytics solution that is designed to deliver the information you need, when you need it. What kind of reports does your provider offer you?

Infobip does all this and more

To ensure a successful campaign you need a partner who can help you navigate market regulations, provide insights on a global level, understands country-specific regulation requirements, and provide the right tools and platform to manage your campaign from setup and sending to reporting.

For over a decade Infobip has been a leader in global 2-Way SMS marketing. Infobip offers 2-Way SMS in over 50 countries served by 47 offices in 37 countries around the world. Our people are experts in not only making sure your messages get delivered, but you design and build the most effective campaigns possible.

If you want to launch a successful 2-Way SMS campaign, trust the team at Infobip to make it happen for you.

Run successful 2-Way SMS campaigns