19 Free Text Message Templates for Business SMS Campaigns

SMS Templates for Businesses

Despite the exponential increase of communication channels in the digital age, short messaging service (SMS) remains widely popular all over the world. Currently, there are 4.2 billion people around the world who continue to send and receive text messages. This means that SMS campaigns can help you reach both new customers and existing ones.

Knowing that SMS can be a good channel for your business to reach its target audience, thinking of the right message is essential for any campaign to succeed. This article will provide you with a compilation of text message templates you can use to inspire and jumpstart your SMS campaigns.

SMS Templates for Businesses

 

  • Discount Messages

Your customers are always looking for good deals and discounts to help get their money’s worth. Starting an SMS campaign for discount offers makes it easier for them to find these offers and act on them. Make sure to grab their attention with urgent language and a direct call to action. 

flash discount

Today only! Get XX% off on all (TYPE) ITEMS! Shop now at: WEBSITE LINK

exclusive discount offer

BRAND is giving an exclusive discount offer to our loyal customers! Just enter CODE at checkout to get XX% off on your purchase!

seasonal discount

Be ready for the (TYPE) season and get all our seasonal ITEMS at XX% off for TIME PERIOD. Stocks are limited! Shop now at BRAND

 

  • Sales Promotions

SMS campaigns are useful for reaching out to promote new and existing products to both customers and prospects. These can be used for creating opportunities for sales pitches, having prospects upgrade from trials, or even make purchases directly from your store. Whenever possible, highlight key features of the product to make them more enticing for customers.

sales pitch

Hi, [First Name]. This is [Name] from BRAND, checking if you’re available for a short call to discuss PRODUCT/SERVICE. Please reply to this message if you are interested. Looking forward to speaking with you. Thank you!

free trial

Hi, [First Name]. This is [Name] from BRAND. Thank you for availing our demo for PRODUCT/SERVICE. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.

restock

Our best-selling ITEMS have been restocked! Get yours today before they’re gone! Shop now at: WEBSITE LINK

new product release

New at BRAND: Releasing ITEM today! Check out this and other new arrivals here: WEBSITE LINK

 

  • Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are staples for many businesses to drum up interest and attract more prospects. Starting an SMS campaign for your ongoing giveaway or contest can inform your customer base and get them to participate and even spread the word.

contest

Hello, [First Name]! You are invited to enter our contest for a chance to win ITEM! Learn more and enter at: WEBSITE LINK. Good luck!

giveaway

For loyal BRAND customers, we’re giving away a limited-edition ITEM to X lucky winners! To join and learn more, visit: WEBSITE LINK

 

  • General Advertising

One of the advantages of SMS is that your message is more likely to be seen by your audience. An SMS campaign to advertise your store, any events, or even other communication channels your business uses is a great way to get the word out. Just be mindful of the details that should be included in your message.

event

BRAND is hosting an EVENT on [DATE AND TIME] with ACTIVITIES. Learn more and RSVP now at our page: WEBSITE LINK 

store location and hours

See what we have to offer at our BRAND branches! We’re open from TIME to TIME on DAY to DAY, and TIME to TIME on OTHER DAY. Find a branch near you at: WEBSITE LINK

website and socmed

See all the latest updates from BRAND on our new page: WEBSITE LINK Don’t forget to follow us on SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS at @BRANDNAME for more exciting content!

 

  • Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to reward your core customer base for their patronage. If your business runs a loyalty program for its customers, you can use an SMS campaign to invite customers to join this program and avail of the available benefits. 

For existing program members, texts are a great way to remind them of relevant details like redeeming points for rewards or renewing their membership. 

invitation to join

Get the most out of your experience with BRAND! Join our loyalty program and get exclusive discounts, earn points with every purchase to redeem rewards, and many more perks! Sign up today at: WEBSITE LINK

membership renewal

Hello, [First Name]. Your membership with BRAND loyalty program will end by DATE. To continue receiving exclusive perks and redeem rewards, make sure to renew before the given date. For more information on how to renew, visit: WEBSITE LINK

points expiry

Hello, [First Name]. Your total of XX reward points will expire on DATE. Redeem your points for rewards and other perks before the given date. To view the list of available rewards and perks, visit: WEBSITE LINK

 

  • Confirmation Texts

In the age of online shopping, transactions happen on a screen rather than in person. Sending out confirmation texts lets your customer know that each step of the process has successfully pushed through. 

This level of transparency helps increase the trustworthiness and reliability of your business. Use an order or transaction number alongside relevant details to keep your text short and don’t forget to thank your customer for their business.

shipping confirmation

Hello, [First Name]. Your BRAND Order #XXXXXX has been shipped out today. ETA is in X-X business days. If you have any questions, please let us know. Thank you!

payment confirmation

Hello, [First Name]. This is to confirm your payment for BRAND Order #XXXXXX via PAYMENT METHOD for a total of AMOUNT. Your order is currently being processed for delivery. Thank you!

 

  • Action Requests

Sometimes, customers need a friendly reminder or push to take action on certain things. Sending an SMS is a quick and convenient way to deliver this reminder to them. The action they need to take should be clear, as well as the reason why they need to take it. Make it clear if this action is time-sensitive or can be done at their convenience.

review request

Hi, [First Name]. Thank you for being a valued BRAND customer. We would appreciate it if you could leave a review about your experience with us. Click here to leave us a review on REVIEW PAGE: WEBSITE NAME

confirm reservation

Hi, [First Name]. Your reservation with BRAND for ITEM/APPOINTMENT on DATE has been noted in our system. Please reply to this text to confirm your reservation by TIME otherwise, your slot will be forfeited. Let us know if you have any questions. Thank you!

 

Tips for SMS Success

SMS campaigns rely on two factors–your message and how you deliver it. Below are some best practices when planning and executing your SMS campaigns:

 

  • Get consent

Nothing pushes a potential customer away like sending unsolicited texts. In some cases, this can even be in violation of certain privacy policies. Before starting your SMS campaigns, make sure that your recipients have opted in to receive your message.

 

  • Know your audience

Knowing your target audience means understanding what kinds of messages they want to receive from you. Other things to factor in when considering your audience is the tone of the text, the call to action, and even when to send your SMS.

 

  • Keep texts short and simple

In an SMS, you only have a limited amount of characters to say what you mean. Messages that are short, simple, and direct are often the most effective. Don’t add details that aren’t relevant to your core message.

 

  • Always have a call to action

SMS campaigns should always have a purpose and should always get your customers to act on your message. Adding a call to action can make this purpose clearer to your customer. Depending on the wording, it can even be used to drive more urgent, time-sensitive actions.

 

  • Make texts personal

Unlike other communication channels, text messages can seem personal as it is a one-to-one conversation. The key to making SMS campaigns effective is to make them feel even more personal, like using their first name or preferred name. 

 

  • Let customers know who you are

SMS campaigns serve to both add value to your customer’s experience with your brand and help promote it. Ensure that your brand name is in every text as customers may not have your number saved. The best way to do this is to mention it in your message or create a custom sign-off for every text.

 

Text Your Customers Like a Pro

In this ever-connected world, texting remains one of the most popular and accessible communication forms across the globe. Most people–including your customer base and future prospects–own a mobile phone, making SMS an effective and direct way to reach them.

These text message templates can help jumpstart SMS campaigns that address all areas of your business needs. Try them out and see which texts work and which ones need tweaking. With the right message and best practices, you’re sure to deliver a text message that says everything your customers need to take action at the right moment. 

 

Sometimes, optimizing the returns on your SMS marketing campaigns takes the help of experts. Contact Semaphore today to learn more about our secure SMS marketing solutions!

8 of the Most Effective Marketing Channels for Businesses

Effective Marketing Channels for Businesses

The age of information has brought about a host of new ways and channels for you to reach your audience and grow your brand, not to mention the overwhelming feeling you get as you try to figure out where or how to allocate your marketing resources. 

“Will SEO generate more ROI than PPC? Should I pull the plug on email marketing and shift to SMS marketing instead?” 

Understandably, you want to go for whichever mix has the potential to give the biggest bang for your buck (ROI). But if you try to be active on every channel, you may well be spreading your efforts too thinly and not optimizing your marketing budget.

In this post, we take our pick on the most effective marketing channels for your B2B or B2C business, so you know which baskets to put your eggs in.

Effective Marketing Channels for Businesses - Infographic

Effective B2B Channels

Email

Email will probably never be dislodged from its position as a go-to B2B marketing channel. With email, you can do a myriad of things and get positive results in terms of high open rates, audience reach, and revenue attribution

And because users don’t become your subscribers until they opt in, you can take it as a signal that they would like to hear from you to learn more about your products or services. By delivering personalized content to targeted accounts, you get to demonstrate what or how much value you can deliver to your prospects’ businesses, leading to a relationship based on trust.

Social Media

Undeniably, B2C and B2B social media marketing don’t operate in the same way. B2C focuses on using social platforms to drive brand awareness, traffic, and sales, while B2B brands are more likely to use social media channels for engagement purposes.

For one, B2B marketers tend to leverage social media by engaging in activities that lead to new partnerships. B2B social media marketing is about helping potential customers solve their problems as you provide them with informative content that they in turn feel compelled to share across their networks.

Search Engines

If Google receives over 5 billion searches per day, that’s the number of chances that your brand has for its name to show up on the search engine results pages (SERPs). To put it more realistically, search users will almost always click through the links that appear at the top of the SERPs—which is, of course, where you want to be found.

Your position on SERPs depends on a combination of marketing strategies, which may include search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing. You need to be creating content that not only highlights your authority and expertise but also allows you to rank for your SEO keywords. Alternatively, you can utilize search engine marketing (SEM) or pay-per-click (PPC) ads to be more visible on search engines.

Referrals

Customer referrals have the potential to give quality leads for your business. When satisfied customers spread word about their positive experience with your company, product, or service, their contacts are likely to respond more positively simply because referrals are synonymous to credibility.

Since customers who have been referred to you are already willing to buy, it won’t take so much of your marketing efforts or budget to get them onboard, allowing you to grow your profit more quickly and easily.

SMS

SMS marketing works in the same way as email marketing, where people are supposed to opt in to hear from you. However, the advantage of SMS lies in how attached—literally and figuratively—mobile phone users are to their devices. In fact, statistics say that at any given time, 97% of business professionals in the United States are about 3 feet away from their mobile phone and look at it 150 times on average in a day.

SMS marketing applications for your B2B brand are as varied as can be, including delivery of your web content via URL, status notification, and poll invitations, among others. Needless to mention, you’ll need to communicate your message to B2B customers using a more formal and professional language than what you would use for B2C customers.

Effective B2C Channels

Social Media

Social media makes it on the list again as a powerful marketing channel—this time for B2C audiences— because it’s where highly engaged customers are. Social media users are actively searching for brands that their friends like and which they might take an interest, too.

One of the best practices in B2C social media marketing include paid ads, which is how 27% of internet users find brands and products. However, it also pays to simply be active on social for community building if your goal is to allow customers to get to know you on a more relationship-focused rather than a sales-focused level.

Podcasts

In marketing, storytelling is the strategy for appealing to consumers’ emotions, influencing their purchase decisions, and ultimately, cultivating customer loyalty. Among various content formats, podcasts are arguably the most compelling medium that you can use to incorporate brand messages into your marketing campaigns.

Podcasts allow you to create engaging narratives about your company’s milestones, values, and culture with a lot of creativity as you decide on the theme and topics that will best capture the story that you want to share. Whatever size or type your business is, podcasts provide a venue for you to share your thought leadership in your niche market.

Point-of-Purchase

Some years back, the New York Post delved into a research about retail therapy, which is when people shop to improve their mood or emotional state. The article also mentioned that retail therapy makes up more than a fifth of all shopping purchases among Americans. 

If you’re in the retail business, you can utilize point-of-purchase (POP) displays to sell to in-store shoppers whether they’re part of the impulse buyer or practical spender demographic. The rationale here is that POP marketing materials help in highlighting the product that you want to promote, helping shoppers narrow down their choices and make a final decision as to which they should buy.  

Websites

Having a business website is a must because this is where users go for information about your company, including your contact details, company profile, customer testimonials, and branded content. These things can help you build credibility, make a positive impression with your visitors, and give them a reason to explore your brand. In the same manner, your e-commerce website should include ratings, reviews, or any other type of endorsement that can help boost your business’ social proof.

SMS

SMS connects brands and consumers in more ways than one. As a built-in tool or feature found in virtually every mobile phone, SMS lets you communicate with your target audience, which includes 47% of consumers who prefer to reach or be reached by brands through native text messaging. Perhaps this preference has something to do with the idea that when there’s an alternative to face-to-face interactions with businesses, consumers will still choose to communicate via a messaging system.

On the marketing side, SMS is the fastest way to reach customers and get a response at the same time. This can be extremely useful for time-sensitive promotions where a single text lets you direct consumers immediately to your website or app to make a purchase. In case they’re not ready to buy, you can always send reminder texts the next time around for them to come back and finish shopping.

Need Help with SMS Marketing?

Your B2B organization can benefit from marketing channels that have the ability to generate leads, build relationships, improve ROI, and boost revenue for your business. If you’re a B2C brand, you need to choose marketing channels that allow you to facilitate transactional purchases by motivating customers to buy and simplifying the buying process for them.

Although SMS marketing ticks all of these boxes, not too many businesses recognize its potential as a valuable marketing and communication channel. Often, the problem lies not so much on the technology but rather on the way that it’s used.

 

If you need assistance optimizing returns on your SMS marketing campaigns, contact the bulk SMS experts at Semaphore!  Get the best results with Semaphore’s secure SMS marketing solutions.

5 Success Stories That Will Make You Reconsider SMS Marketing

5 Success Stories That Will Make You Reconsider SMS Marketing

These days, modern marketing involves looking into a range of communication channels, such as social media, search ads, email, websites, and more. However, many brands and businesses miss out on one of the most important channels they can consider for growth—SMS marketing.   

Think about it. Communicating through text messages is far easier, feels more personalized, and is more accessible to mobile consumers—both smartphone and non-smartphone users—since it’s a passively active channel. In comparison with social media ads, search ads, email, and website, your audience would need to be actively using these channels to get your message. 

SMS marketing has been around for some time now, so there’s the inclination to think it’s outdated. But people carry their phones in their pockets every day. One buzz and most mobile users immediately take it out of their pockets to check the message. Whether or not a person’s phone is internet-enabled, these devices are capable of receiving SMS messages. So, why not capitalize on it? 

Mobile marketing is an excellent way to break through the noise and draws in your target audience’s attention quickly. Thought email brought it good ROI? Think again. Statistics show that SMS marketing campaigns perform up to 7x better than email marketing campaigns. 

Still on the fence about it? Don’t fret.

We’ve gathered a few SMS marketing success stories that will inspire you to reconsider the benefits this channel can bring for your business. Hopefully, this infographic will open your eyes to how text message marketing can drive your target audience to engage and convert.

5 Success Stories That Will Make You Reconsider SMS Marketing-Infographic

The Proof is in the Pudding with SMS Marketing 

Seattle Sun Tan 

Seattle Sun Tan used SMS marketing to notify customers of offers and discounts. The amazing thing about their success is the fact that they didn’t have a database of customers’ mobile numbers before trying out a text marketing service. This means they built their database from zero to thousands.

They promoted their text campaign in-store, to their pre-existing email database, on their website, and other online and traditional channels. Not long after, they were able to grow their SMS subscribers to exactly 4,774 in 30 days. Their initial SMS campaign offered new text subscribers $20 off their next purchase, and it saw a redemption rate of 57% and generated about $196,100 in sales. What’s more impressive is customers who claimed the SMS offer also spent $500 more than those who didn’t receive the text offers. 

Offers, discounts, coupons, and other gift campaigns that attract impressive redemption rates are some of the best uses of text marketing. The direct and immediate channel assures that even your time-sensitive messages will reach your customers and most get read as soon as they receive it. 

Eu Natural 

Eu Natural, a herbal supplement brand, text-enabled their business to draw in additional sales, retain customers after their initial purchase, and offer exclusive promos. Their initial campaign involved encouraging customers to text in an exclusive customer keyword to redeem a free bottle with their purchase. This free bottle promotion that ran for months increased their customer base, as a large portion of them came back for more. 

They also used SMS marketing for time-sensitive alerts, such as their Black Friday campaign, which registered a 563% ROI. SMS marketing has also helped Eu Natural to create their exclusive inner circle community, where VIP and loyal customers get to access special messages, be the first to find out about new products, and get special discounts and freebies. 

Text marketing is a quick and easy way to make sure that your time-sensitive promos and messages get read immediately, which is great for time-sensitive announcements that you’d like your audience to act on fast, such as product launches, limited-time promos, sales offers, coupons, and more. 

4theCultr

4theCultr is a relatively new superstore that helps bridge the gap between consumers and black-owned businesses. They used text marketing to connect with customers and provide the best experience possible, as it’s one of the brand’s primary missions. 

They aim to make a positive impression from the first point of contact, which is when someone opt-ins to their SMS marketing. One of the ways to generate subscribers is through checkout, and it proves effective since 86% of their customers that have subscribed to their text marketing did so at checkout. 

Moreover, they send abandoned cart notifications within 30 minutes of leaving their cart along with an acknowledgement of their current situation (i.e., difficult times brought by the pandemic). This first automation step pulls in an 18% CTR with a conversion rate of 100%. Using a psychological touch-point and abandonment reminders through SMS, customers end up pushing through with their order. 

SMS marketing helps you realize the importance of communication from the moment they opt-in to post-purchase care. Being understanding of their situation and keeping them in the loop at every stage of their customer journey builds trust, which can be better achieved with a personal channel like SMS. 

Dreamland Baby 

Dreamland Baby was founded by a mother of four, who aimed to help other parents (and babies) out there get a more restful sleep with a weighted blanket. They used social media to drive traffic, but not a lot of visitors made it to checkout, so they used text marketing to encourage customers to check out their cart. 

When Dreamland Baby started using text marketing and sent out its first SMS marketing campaign, their ROI was an astonishing 2000%, with their first month’s sales climbing up to 300%. Tara Williams, their founder, said the boost in numbers was possible due to customers being exposed to promotions from different channels, with text messaging as the final call-to-action personal approach that helps seal the deal. 

Since 94% of Dreamland Baby’s audience is on mobile, SMS marketing made it easier and convenient to reach them instantly compared to email campaigns. With text messaging, customers get to see a personalized message along with a discount code immediately. 

Through the support of SMS campaigns, you can re-engage customers when they stop opening emails or visiting your website. A simple follow up on text reminding your text subscribers to check your email for an exclusive offer can increase your email open rates. 

Yesterday’s Books 

Yesterday’s Books is the largest independent bookshop in California and has been around for decades. Instead of setting up an e-commerce store, they opted to have their landline number text-enabled to manage customer orders. 

The bookstore started using SMS marketing to continue its operations during the pandemic in 2020. Initially, the store owner set up an online form where customers could place their book request. However, problems like customers missing the response and lags between the follow-up and customer’s response with the approach kept happening. Since their customers had known their landline for 40 years, they had it text-enabled. 

This allowed the owner to follow up with book requests by SMS. The primary upside to shifting to text was the speed of response. Around 90% of their customers appreciated their text messaging. The convenience and speed of text make it easy to manage orders and minimizes the back-and-forth with customers. 

The fast and direct nature of text messaging makes it a fantastic channel for delivering excellent customer service. You can even use SMS bots to address basic questions while directing complex and sensitive inquiries to your trained support team. 

Ready to Reconsider SMS Marketing? 

SMS marketing success stories, especially during recent times, prove that this channel is here to stay and it remains just as effective and efficient for boosting sales, improving the customer experience, and driving growth in support with other marketing channels. This indispensable medium’s targeted communication lets you have a 1-on-1 conversation with your customers like no other.

If you’re considering incorporating SMS into your marketing strategy, Semaphore can help you extend your reach without the complicated setup. For smart SMS marketing solutions, contact the SMS experts at Semaphore.

Unlocking the Power of SMS Marketing

Unlocking the Power of SMS Marketing (Banner)

Messaging apps have become so popular that it’s not uncommon for people to have more than one of them on their phone. Given the ubiquity of these apps, you may think that SMS (short message service), more commonly known as text messages, is a thing of the past. But don’t jump to conclusions too soon.

The truth is, SMS is still very much alive. Unlike online messaging apps, there is no need to download anything to be able to send or receive text messages on the phone. Even without an internet connection, it’s possible to use regular text messaging service to reach out to people.

It’s no wonder that SMS has been gaining traction in the marketing world, with more and more companies using it to generate sales and grow their business. Just take a look at how the adoption rates of SMS marketing are growing:

  • In 2018, the market size of SMS marketing in the United States was valued at $3.5 billion (the compound annual growth rate of SMS marketing is estimated at 20.3% from 2019 to 2025).
  • Forecasts for 2023 estimate that there will be 3.5 trillion SMS business messages sent during this period, compared with 2.5 trillion business SMSs sent in 2019.

From these figures alone, it’s quite easy to see that people are recognizing the power of SMS marketing to rise alongside, or even outperform, other marketing channels. In line with this trend, here’s an infographic to help you realize the value of SMS marketing and learn how to effectively incorporate it into your growth strategies.

Unlocking the Power of SMS Marketing (Infographic)

Getting to Know SMS Marketing 

How long ago did you last check your phone? Probably just a few minutes earlier, and chances are, as soon as you’re done reading this, the next thing you’ll do is to reach out for your phone and see if a new message has come in.

Similarly, your prospects and customers are in the habit of checking their phone often. In fact, a study that surveyed Americans found that, on average, 10% check their phones more than 20 times an hour.

With phones becoming more and more indispensable for a lot of people, text messaging can open a line of communication with customers. And when it comes to sending business messages to consumers, SMS marketing has the potential to be one of the most effective communication channels. 

What Makes SMS Marketing Good for Your Business?

1. SMS marketing yields positive results for your campaigns.

We cannot overemphasize how people are becoming more and more attached to their phone, which makes SMS marketing ideal not only for driving engagement, but also for increasing sales.

Text messages get opened and read almost immediately after they’re sent, which is incredible compared to their email counterparts. People read 98% of all SMS messages, but only 20% of emails. Likewise, people may choose not to answer your sales calls, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

On the contrary, mobile messaging lets you get instant feedback from customers as they reply to your message with a given keyword or click the link to a landing page on your website.

And if your offers are attractive enough for customers, they’re also highly likely to drive purchases. Altogether, these things make SMS marketing a profitable investment for your business.

2. SMS marketing answers consumers’ want for personalization.

At some point, consumers may feel overwhelmed with all the information, content, or marketing messages that they receive, especially those that aren’t relevant to them.

Since SMS marketing enables you to reach customers directly on their mobile device, it feels like there’s a more personal touch to it. Of course, it’s also a must to customize your message based on what you know about them, including the links they’ve clicked, where they’re located, their past purchases, and any other preferences they’ve made clear.

3. SMS marketing ensures fast delivery of messages.

SMS marketing campaigns are pretty straightforward. After creating your message and choosing your contacts, your message gets pushed through an SMS gateway and delivered to customers straight on their mobile device. What this means is that in a matter of minutes, you’ll have spread the word about your brand, product, or service to your target audience.

You can send any of the following messages to people in your contact list:

  • Campaign messages—These are text messages that you send in bulk to as many people as possible. They are promotional in nature, so anything under sales, events, or marketing news will fall under this category.
  • Transactional messages—These are one-to-one messages that you send to subscribers when they complete a specific action. For example, when users place an order through your app, you can send them an order confirmation or status on their phone.

Tips for Effective SMS Marketing

Grow your database of contacts

There are multiple ways to do this: have your recipients text-in to a dedicated virtual number, sign up on your website or online store, or provide their contact number when they visit you in-store. Whichever strategy you use, make sure to always give customers a way to opt-in to or opt-out of your SMS campaigns.

Always include your company’s name in text messages

The messages you send out will typically show a number code or short code assigned to your business. Unless you specify your company name within your text, there could be no way for your recipients to know who the sender is. This may prevent your campaigns from getting the mileage you want.

Track your campaigns

The platform that SMS marketing service providers use allows you to track how many of your messages have been received, who’s clicking your links, what links they clicked, response rates, and so on. You can use these insights to determine if your messages are effective or if your campaigns are performing up to par, so you can plan for further improvements.

Take Advantage of SMS Marketing Today!

SMS marketing may be an underrated strategy, but it works great for many businesses that want to communicate with customers in a fast, easy, convenient, and personal manner. If you haven’t done so, don’t you think it’s time that you take advantage of SMS marketing?

 

Learn more about SMS marketing from Semaphore. We offer the most effective solutions in SMS marketing to help your overall business goals!

New Features From Semaphore!

Just Released! OTP Endpoint

We’re happy to let our users know that we have a new endpoint available in our API. This endpoint automates the creation of OTP and messages via our API. Now generating an OTP is as simple as making an API call. The endpoint takes the same parameters as our regular message endpoints.

The only modification is that you need to do is place the string “{otp}” in your message as a placeholder wherever you want the code to show up in your message. For instance using the following message:

“Thanks for registering. Your passcode for login is {otp}. Please use this code within 5 minutes”

would return the message

“Thanks for registering. Your passcode for login is 123456. Please use this code within 5 minutes”

If you don’t add the placeholder, no problem! We’ll insert it for you at the bottom of the message. For instance the message:

“Thanks for registering”

would return the message

“Thanks for registering. Your One Time Password is 123456”

Once you make the API call, the OTP code is returned as the “code” parameter in the response. Temporarily store this code in your system to verify your user is using the correct code.

Now SMS OTP couldn’t be easier! Give it a try today! 

For more information, check out our API docs at https://semaphore.co/docs

 

 

 

How to Identify and Avoid SMS Scams [Infographic]

How to Avoid SMS Scams (Banner)

Unwanted messages, calls, emails, and solicitations bombard people on a regular basis. Those who know better simply hit delete or ignore them, quickly identifying that these are scams. However, not everyone is as well-informed when it comes to identifying such schemes, especially in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many scammers take advantage of crises or times of fear to prey on the vulnerable for monetary purposes. Their tactics include phishing emails and sending attachments (claiming to provide more information about the virus) to deliver malware. Data shows that in the UK, there have been reports of more than 500 COVID-19-related scams and over 2,000 phishing attempts to exploit fears, with a total loss of £1.6 million.

Email and social media networks are known channels where users should keep watch of fraudsters, but there’s another important channel that people should look out for scams: SMS.

Roughly 5 billion people around the world can send and receive SMS messages, which makes them a great channel for potential scammers. Let’s have a look at more interesting facts about SMS messaging:

  • Text messages have a 98% open rate.
  • 10% of SMS marketing messages are spam as opposed to roughly 50% of email messages.
  • 31% of mobile users have received an SMS message from unknown senders asking them to click on a suspicious link. 
  • Around 92% of text spam messages fall under the scam/fraud category. 

As online shopping and mobile banking become more prevalent, smartphones are making it more convenient to connect and perform transactions online. That said, the more connected we are, the easier it is for us to become targets for fraudsters.  

Below is a quick infographic to help you spot common SMS scams and avoid falling into their traps.

How to Avoid SMS Scams

An Overview of SMS Scams 

Spam SMS

In India alone, a survey shows that about 96% of Indians receive unsolicited text messages daily, and 70% of them still receive spam messages despite registering on the “do not disturb” (DND) list. Spam messages are usually harmless promotional material, but some are more malicious and aim to acquire the target recipient’s name, address, and even bank details.

Spam SMS is glaringly obvious sometimes, yet many people still fall for it. The best you can do is not show any interest in what the suspicious message requests for or promotes. 

Phishing SMS

Data shows that there has been a significant spike in SMS phishing in 2018, mainly targeting the financial sector. Mobile-specific phishing tools imitate login screens of legitimate mobile apps, making it more difficult to track and respond to compared to traditional phishing attacks. 

Phishing for personal details over SMS is common via hyperlinks. Watch out for the domain URL as it can look similar to the company’s actual domain but with subtle differences. For instance, a phishing domain might use something like “supportatapple.com,” whereas the official Apple support domain is “support.apple.com.”

SMS Originator Spoofing

SMS originator is also known in the industry as SMS Sender ID or sender. The spoofing happens when the malicious hacker alters their sender ID and uses the display name or number of the identity they’re trying to imitate. This tricks the recipient into trusting the sender and into providing the information they’re asking for. 

Spoofing scams aren’t easy to spot right away since they pose as a reputable brand or company. One way to avoid them is to confirm the message’s validity through the brand directly on another channel, whether via social media networks or email. If you suspect anything fishy, always double check by verifying.

SMS Malware Attack

In 2018, there was a jump in activity of a backdoor malware app targeting Android devices. It tricked mobile users into installing the app by sending SMS messages redirecting to a third-party download site, exposing the devices to attacks. 

Malware attacks give cybercriminals access to just about anything on your phone. You can’t vaccinate your smartphone, but you can steer clear of malware attacks by being wary of what not to click. You can also install an antivirus app on your smartphone to protect it against viruses or various types of malware. 

Common SMS Scam Tactics

SMS scams are on the rise as more people become knowledgeable enough to spot traditional email phishing schemes and other fraudulent messages. These messages are often sent from an automated dialing system aiming at a specific area code or region. Meanwhile, the mobile numbers are obtained by stealing customer information from banks, companies, or elsewhere on the internet

SMS/text message fraud is inevitable in a mobile-first world. But the growing threat of text messaging fraud brings greater opportunity for online criminal activity. The most common fraud schemes used are family emergency texts to shake up the victims, refund scams, account reactivation text, random prize or giveaway scams with a catch, and delivery scams.

Many scammers masquerade as a business or as a familiar brand to provide a sense of legitimacy and they usually use persuasion techniques to drive their targets to bite. 

Tactics like these work because they attack a user’s pain points and vulnerabilities, motivating them to act against their better judgement. Furthermore, text messaging doesn’t have a stringent filter software like emails do, making it harder to detect fraud. 

More Tips to Avoid SMS Scams

  • Don’t click on any unknown messages with suspicious links.
  • Do report SMS scam messages or file a complaint with your carrier or raise the issue to the brand or company being imitated so they can alert their customers.
  • Don’t respond or engage with suspicious messages, especially those that sound too good to be true.
  • Do update the passwords you use online, specifically your online banking passwords. This is important if you think you may have already fallen victim to a scam. Resetting your passwords will make it difficult for the hacker to continue accessing your account.
  • Don’t give away your personal information willy-nilly. Reputable brands generally don’t ask for your personal information out of nowhere. You won’t fall victim to SMS scams if you ignore the message or click on a link.
  • Do conduct a quick search to check if the number appears on spam-check or phone number lookup sites. Always verify the domain of legitimate websites.
  • Don’t indulge in messages that urge a quick response. Contact the bank or business associated with them to check if it is a legitimate request.
  • Do install a trusted anti-virus app on your phone to protect it against Trojans, spyware, or viruses, and download only from the official app store. 

Don’t Fall Victim to SMS Scams

There can be a lot of anxiety about receiving malware, spams, and getting scammed through SMS messages. Scammers only have one goal in mind: to steal your data for their own benefit. It’s important to be more dubious of any SMS messages you receive that aren’t from the people or brands that you trust. There’s no harm in being diligent and careful to keep yourself from doing something you’ll regret. 

Scams won’t ever stop coming. You can get rid of a few, but more schemes will pop up again in the future as motivated hackers become more sophisticated in their methods. 

 

Are you a business or brand looking for a trustworthy SMS marketing tool? Semaphore offers reputable SMS solutions that help businesses provide a better customer experience for their audience.

An Exciting Update About Semaphore

Dear Semaphore Customers

We are thrilled to announce that Semaphore has been acquired and is now being operated by Sombra Inc, a leading provider of internet services and software development for small businesses. While this may seem like a big change, you are still in great hands! The same people who originally developed Semaphore are part of the new organization!

What does this mean for you?

On a day-to-day basis, it’s business as usual. Your SMS messages will continue to be delivered uninterrupted. Going forward there are many new features planned for next year including support for multiple users and accounts, one-stop OTP solutions, scheduled blasts and much more.

Will there be any downtime?

The Semaphore service should remain operational as most of the transition has already taken place. There may be a brief outage for email as we transfer the semaphore.co mail domain to another service but this will be scheduled during a low period and we will provide advance notice and alternative emails to use

What about OR requests?

All OR requests from December 16, 2019 onwards will come from Sombra, Inc.
Any outstanding requests will be completed this week. ORs for transactions before December 16, 2019 will still come from Kickstart.

What does this mean for us?

Semaphore now has new resources and capabilities to continue driving value for you and your customers. We are committed to providing the same high quality service you’re used to as well as providing a fresh approach to new features, support and development going forward.

Our story continues…

Semaphore started out 6 years ago as a quick and easy way for businesses in the Philippines to connect with their customers via SMS. It was then that helping small businesses thrive in today’s digital economy became our mission. As we move forward in our next chapter our mission is the same and we now have more resources, tools and staff to support you as we continue to grow together.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one customer for putting your trust in us over the last 6 years and bringing us to where we are today. We come to work everyday for you. This commitment is stronger than ever during this exciting time!

Please feel free to reach out if you have any comments, questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Rex and the Semaphore team!

Happy New Year and a big thank you from Semaphore!

Thanks to you, our customers, 2017 was a record breaking year for Semaphore and 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger! As you might recall, we successfully launched our new and improved platform early last year.

As a result of our growth, late last year we experienced a few growing pains involving messages being delayed by minutes and sometimes even hours. To start off the year we’ve been working hard to make the platform as fast and reliable as possible. To achieve those goals we’ve made a few key changes to the way messages are handled as follows:

Single Messages 
Single messages are now processed before bulk messages, meaning that if you send a message to one recipient, that message is prioritized over a message being sent to multiple recipients in a single API request. This should solve the issue where bulk marketing messages end up clogging the queues and delaying messages.

Priority Messages
We’ve also implemented priority messages and corresponding API endpoint which allows your message to skip to the front of the line on both the “bulk” and “single” message queues. To prevent abuse, this “priority messages” cost 2 credits (instead of 1 credit) per 160 character message.

To use this method just change the API endpoint from /api/v4/messages to /api/v4/priority. Priority messages have a guaranteed SLA of 10 minutes. The priority endpoint is not rate limited. This is good for time sensitive messages like one-time passwords or two factor authentication.

API Connection Limits
Starting April 1, 2018 all non-priority API requests will be limited to 30 requests per minute. If your system is sending the same message to multiple numbers, please make a single request to /api/v4/messages and specify multiple numbers (comma separated) in the ‘recipient’ field.

These features are currently in beta so let us know if you have any problems–we appreciate your feedback! Our documentation has been updated and can be found at https://semaphore.co/docs. Thanks again for helping us to be the best way to send SMS in the Philippines and please do let us know if there’s anything else we can do to help either through the chat widget on our websites, by emailing support@semaphore.co or through our Facebook page.

As always, thanks for choosing Semaphore!
Your Semaphore Team

How to Grow Your Opt-In SMS Database

How to Grow Your Opt-In SMS Database

An SMS campaign is nothing without a profitable opt-in database. And when growing your list, there are rules to follow.

While easy, buying a purchased list is a big no-no. It should be permission-based and grown organically. Unsolicited commercial text messages can be seen as spam and damage your brand’s reputation, whereas permission-based messages target customers that have shown interest in your product or service. Obtaining your recipients’ permission first will result in higher response and conversion rates.

If you have collected information from your customers, you can ask them for their mobile numbers. Sometimes, customers can be hesitant in sharing their personal contact information, and you’ll need to work to build their trust first (or properly incentivize them).

Here are some tips and strategies to help you grow your opt-in list for text blast.

Ways to Grow Opt-In SMS Database

1. Incentivize Signups with Valuable Offers

People value on their privacy, they will be hesitant in giving personal information away without good reason. However, they can often be incentivized to do so, if they can gain something in exchange. It can be a discount code, an exclusive promotion, valuable information, or important notifications.

When you’re getting customers to sign up for your SMS marketing campaign, it’s important to focus on what benefits they can get out of it. Be sure to convey the level of exclusivity that opting in to your SMS list offers.

2. Use SMS Keyword and Short Code on your Advertisements

If you run a brick-and-mortar store, you can put up a sign that drives customers to text a specific keyword to a short code number for special discounts, promotions, and exclusive freebies. You can also place this information on your billboards, flyers, website, and other marketing materials.

Keep your instructions and benefits clear to readers, and use a simple and relevant keyword that is easy to remember and spell.

In the sample below, WCCB-TV implemented this strategy to grow both its opt-in database and community. By texting WCCBVIP to 31401, subscribers do not only get a chance to win two advance screening passes. They also become a member of its text club.

3. Integrate SMS with Other Marketing Channels

Exhaust all possibilities to reach potential subscribers by asking them to opt-in to your SMS list using other marketing channels.

You can add a banner image to your website with simple instructions on how they can sign up to your SMS list. Place a reminder in your email newsletter about how they can receive SMS notifications for more exclusive discounts and promos. In your online sign-up forms, try adding a field for mobile numbers. Consistently posting on your social media channels about your SMS campaign is also helpful in growing your SMS database.

Here are the other marketing channels where you can include your SMS opt-in message:

  • Flyers and print advertisements
  • Social media posts and ads
  • Search ads
  • Email newsletter
  • In-store signs
  • Billboards
  • Events and conferences
  • Radio and TV

Final Thoughts

Since you want your SMS list to include customers who are interested in your business, it is also your responsibility to give them the ability to unsubscribe when they no longer want to receive notifications or messages from you. This will also help you manage and filter your SMS database.

Of course, opting out is the last thing you want your customers to do, so do your best to keep them engaged!

Want to grow your business using SMS? Sign up for Semaphore here!

SMS Metrics You Need to Measure [Infographic]

SMS Metrics You Need to Measure

Performance measurement and analysis are important in any business strategy. The same goes with SMS marketing campaigns. Metrics allow you to determine whether your campaign achieved your goals and targets.

By analyzing the key metrics relevant to your SMS gateway and knowing the industry standards for every metric, you can discern which areas of your campaign need improvement and how you can improve them. Furthermore, you can adjust your targets to be more realistic and attainable for your campaign.

Check out our infographic to learn the 5 key metrics you need to measure when launching an SMS blast. Included are tips and fast facts that can help you boost your SMS performance.

SMS Metrics You Need to Measure Infographic

1. Delivery Rate

Your delivery rate pertains to the total number of messages successfully delivered out of the total number of recipients included in your SMS blast. It tells you how reliable your SMS marketing provider is. Cheaper SMS marketing platforms sometimes fail to send SMS messages successfully due to weaker infrastructure.

It’s important to note that several factors are involved in the delivery of your SMS including the size and health of your contacts list, message frequency, and prepaid phone number composition. Cellular signal in specific areas of the country can also affect your delivery rate.

It’s easy for users to discard prepaid phone numbers and switch to a new one. This is especially common in the Philippines, where prepaid SIM cards are either given for free or sold for ₱10 to ₱50. Check your list health to determine the active numbers from the inactive ones. Delete the inactive numbers from your contacts list to improve your delivery rate.

2. Opt-Out Rate

The opt-out rate shows the percentage of users who unsubscribed to your SMS marketing list after reading your text message. The average industry opt-out rate is usually below 5%. You don’t want to lose subscribers! A high opt-out rate tells you that you need to take a second look at your campaign and improve specific areas.

Some users don’t want to be bombarded with frequent messages, especially if they receive these messages during inopportune times. A high opt-out rate could also mean that you’re targeting the wrong audience, or your messages don’t provide value to your subscribers. Find a way to engage your users with compelling text messages.

Split testing your SMS campaign can help you isolate the areas for improvement, and decrease opt-out rate.

3. Response Rate

SMS has a 45% response rate while email only has a 6% response rate. This means that users respond to almost half of all text messages they receive on their mobile phones. Placing calls-to-action in your SMS message encourages subscribers to engage with your brand.

If you’re reaping low response rates, the simplicity of your call-to-action may have something to do with it. Make sure to refrain from complicated requests. Provide clear instructions to avoid confusing your audience. Keep things easy and simple. You can even ask your subscribers to text back with a simple word or code.

4. Click-Through Rate

The use of smartphones and mobile internet increases every year, enabling marketers to adopt multichannel marketing campaigns. If you include a website link in your SMS blast, you need to measure your click-through rate. According to recent surveys, the average click-through rate of URLs included in an SMS blast is at 36%.

If your campaign generates a low click-through rate, then take a second look at your target demographic. Do they use a cell phone or a smartphone? You may want to include this in your next SMS blast. Ask your subscribers if they own a cell phone or a smartphone. You can also try to determine whether your smartphone users have access to mobile internet, as this can greatly affect your click-through rate.

5. Conversion Rate

Conversion rate refers to the percentage of users who completed your goal by taking your desired action. This can pertain to when users sign up for a service, purchased a product, visited your store, clicked through to your website, or called your company.

Overall, the conversion rate tells you whether your SMS campaign is on the right track to generating leads and increasing your revenue. Industry standards show a 328% conversion rate for leads who are sent three or more text messages after their initial contact.

SMS is the fastest way to reach your target consumers or audience, as it is still the most popular messaging tool used by cellphone and smartphone users. Make sure that you’re tracking your progress by measuring the relevant SMS metrics.

Reach your bottom line faster with an SMS platform that delivers results. At Semaphore, we help businesses grow by providing an SMS service at low costs. Make sure that you partner up with a reliable SMS blasting service so that your SMS messages are sent to the right recipients instantly.