Give us a call! 1-512-501-5940

Understanding SMS API Gateways

There is no shortage of tools available to organizations these days. In this era of innovation, new applications, platforms, and approaches seem to come to the market each day to support and expand business operations.

While this is a seemingly limitless time for technology, it can also be overwhelming. New tools mean learning curves and adjustments to workflows to accommodate. Sometimes, the allure of added functionality and increased efficiency can also prove to be a bottleneck.

Adopting business SMS is no exception. No matter the opportunity they present, employees can be resistant to learning new systems. By understanding SMS API gateways, organizations can adopt a texting strategy while lessening the burden for the employees executing it.

Understanding SMS API Gateways

In plain terms, an SMS API gateway enables new functionality to your existing platforms. By integrating this API, you can send and receive texts without moving between applications. For example, organizations using Salesforce CRM can craft, schedule, automate, send, track, and report on SMS messages from within Salesforce.

Want to Keep Reading?

Unlock the rest of this page and access the complete guide.

What Is an API?

An API or Application Programming Interface serves as an intermediary between two disparate software applications. The API facilitates communication between applications, helping you to accomplish tasks.

Let’s try a practical example to illustrate:

You enter your local cafe one morning and take a seat. Looking through the menu, you decide to order a coffee. The barista behind the counter makes the coffee, but you are sitting in another part of the cafe. How will your desire be transmitted to the barista (and therefore the espresso machine), ensuring you receive your coffee? That’s when your waiter approaches.

Your waiter is, effectively, the API. Your waiter is a messenger between you at your table near the window and the barista behind the counter. They will ensure your order is transmitted and fulfilled. Your API will do the same.

Now, take this concept and apply it to more technical situations. Imagine you’re searching for a rental car. You can head to the rental agency’s website and search for their available vehicles and pricing. But what if you want to compare prices between agencies? Then, you would head to a third-party booking site.

In the case of booking websites, you are able to search multiple agencies’ databases all at the same time. The website you’re using has leveraged each rental company’s API, which serves as a messenger between the

SMS APIs

Now that we’ve illustrated the principles, how does this relate to SMS? To understand SMS API gateways, imagine you’ve built texting into your marketing and communications strategy. Now, you need employees on relevant teams to execute. After learning your new SMS tool, they could begin to craft, send, and report on messages. But then you’ll need to rely on the replication of data into existing systems and workflows to smooth bottlenecks in sharing information between teams.

That’s where an SMS API comes in. By integrating your SMS platform with another system – such as your CRM – you add SMS functionality. Consider it the waiter that keeps your team members from needing to go to the barista for their coffee. Rather than toggling to another window or application, SMS can be sent from right within your CRM.

Who Uses SMS APIs?

As we’ve discussed above, it’s relatively apparent when certain businesses are using APIs. If you’re searching inventory via a third-party website, for example, you can be sure there is an API acting as the intermediary.

Since an SMS API gateway is designed to streamline workflows, any business could be using them without their text recipients even knowing. Any organization using SMS that would like to simplify their workflow and ensure consistent communication across all departments would benefit from using an SMS API. That includes:

  • Schools
  • Airlines
  • Travel and Hospitality Businesses
  • Clinics, Hospitals, and Healthcare Professionals
  • Restaurants
  • Shipping Companies
  • Online and Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
  • Banks and Financial Institutions
  • Government Agencies
  • Charities and Non-Profit Organizations
  • Utility Companies
  • Real Estate Agencies
  • Property Managers
  • Political Polling Agencies
  • Tech Support and Service Organizations
  • Ticketing Companies

How Can a Business Use an SMS API?

When you start leveraging business SMS to connect with prospective and current customers, you need to reach your contacts en masse. An SMS API gateway will help you achieve your goals without wearing out your typing muscles.

Your SMS platform will enable you to send bulk text messages rapidly, reaching your audience with ease. Integrating your SMS platform into existing systems makes things even easier, bringing the power of SMS into your current workflows. Curious about some ways you can use your SMS API?

  • Enable two-way communications between your organization and customers
  • Personalize your messages with segment- or customer-specific customizations
  • Automate appointment confirmations and reminders
  • Promote sales and events to the most relevant audience
  • Send order confirmation, status, and tracking information
  • Schedule time-sensitive messages and alerts
  • Choose your delivery time for customers across time zones
  • Alert of updates to account information
  • Send one-time passwords (OTP) or two-factor authentication (2FA) for greater security
  • Track message deliveries for greater insight into customer interactions
  • Automate tasks and communications to free up staff

Use Cases

To truly understand the power of SMS API gateways, take a page from the book of other companies using this approach. By looking at a few use cases for the industries and aspects above, you’ll be able to take the right approach for your business.

Industry: Clinics, Hospitals, and Healthcare Providers

The healthcare industry is fraught with details to manage and a lot of moving parts. Between client communications and background data management, keeping on top of intricate workflows is crucial. An SMS API helps alleviate pressure.

Healthcare providers can integrate their SMS platform into their client management tool. With client data all in one place, multiple departments can use text to connect with patients and provide information.

By automating appointment reminders, doctors and nurses lower their rate of missed appointments or late cancellations an average of 41%, according to one study. A reminder message for an appointment can include a link for easy rescheduling if necessary. In the case of industries that tend toward follow up and repeat appointments, providers can automate a message allowing a client to book their next appointment with ease.

When test results are in, a quick SMS can include details for retrieving the information. Including a link to a secure portal to login and view results makes things easier on both patients and clinics.

For those with online client portals, a text message can be used for two-factor authentication, keeping patient data secure.

Industry: Schools

Schools benefit greatly from having an SMS API gateway to integrate with their existing systems.

Higher-education institutions in the modern era need to communicate with their students in a dependable, approachable way. Text messages ensure students receive their important updates when they need them.

During the enrollment process, institutions can send outreach messages with campus days and events. Links can direct to landing pages or PDFs with valuable information about life at their school. Text messages make it easy to confirm, change, or send reminders about appointments with guidance counselors or financial offices.

When important due dates arise, schools cannot risk students forgetting or missing their requirements. Text messages can provide valuable reminders for enrollment or financial aid deadlines.

Other time-sensitive messages include urgent alerts. Text messages can alert students and staff of sudden updates, including utility outages, inclement weather, security or health and safety issues, or closures. For schools with multiple campuses, messages can be targeted only to relevant recipients.

K-12 schools can also use SMS integration to their benefit. Confirm parent meetings with ease. Send reminders of events or enrollments in activities. Send texts to alert of issues with students or questions that need to be addressed.

Industry: Real Estate Agents

Personalized communication is key to real estate relationships. With many client details to manage, it can be challenging to be precise and give individualized attention to each person.

SMS API gateways make it easy to track communication with clients in a single place. By sending text through a client management tool, agents will never forget what they’ve said or the information they’ve provided.

Add a personal touch by easily remembering and texting on important events such as birthdays or anniversaries. Proactively send listing information to house hunters. Send reminders of important information required or approaching deadlines.

Benefits to Subscribers

We’ve covered many benefits to your organization when you use an SMS API gateway. That’s a good start, as it’s essential to ensure your employees will not be negatively impacted by your new strategy. But what about your customers?

What’s the sense in rolling out an SMS strategy if your customers aren’t receptive? Thankfully, businesses don’t have to worry about that.

There are many positive reports showing consumers’ interest in receiving SMS from businesses, including:

  • Nearly half of respondents prefer to receive brand updates via SMS
  • A majority (90%) of consumers have gained value through SMS promos and loyalty offers
  • Three-quarters of consumers say they’d like to receive offers from businesses via text

Last year, Forbes touted SMS as The Marketing Tool of the Future. In an era of sensory overload, information overload, and bloated email inboxes, SMS has an ability that no other platform offers: valuable, short-and-sweet messages that are sure to be read.

If you only use text messaging for marketing outreach, you already have a leg up on the market. SMS is more than marketing outreach and customer retention. You can use SMS for customer support and two-way communication, as well, making it easier for your customers to reach your business. But if you’re focused on the objectives and outcomes, you’re missing out on the overarching goal: adding value to your customers.

No matter what you choose to use SMS for, it should ultimately add value to your subscribers. After all, you’re reaching them in a place typically reserved for friends and family. The more valuable and relevant your messages are, the more trust and loyalty you will build with your recipients.

Your customer should benefit from the messages you send, whether that means relevant offers, proactive order status updates, customer service interactions, or appointment reminders. With an SMS API gateway, you have the ability to make life easier for your subscribers. Make the most of it, and you’ll see brand trust and customer retention increase.

Diversifying Your Marketing Plan

Text is an essential element of a modern marketing plan, but it doesn’t negate other outreach channels. While we can extol the virtues of SMS API gateways, businesses need multiple ways of connecting with their customers and building their brand persona to truly shine.

The open rate of emails may be lower, but they shouldn’t be scrapped altogether. Emails and text messages are two entirely different beasts, so to speak, and each have their place in your marketing strategy. Emails can provide more lengthy, detailed, and colorful messaging than text. But what happens when your mails get missed or otherwise go unopened? In comes text to save the day.

Follow up emails with a text message, providing a link to a landing page or HTML copy of the email itself. Your marketing team will be happy to know that their hard work crafting a valuable email message has not been in vain.

In a social-media savvy world, having an online presence through platforms like Facebook and Instagram helps build the personality of your brand. Use SMS to get the word out about your social pages and increase your followers. Likewise, you can use your social platforms to gain subscribers to your SMS updates.

Choose the Right Platform Provider

Only the right SMS platform provider can avail all of these benefits to your organization. TrueDialog is a feature-rich, enterprise-class platform for all industries and businesses big and small. Native integration with leading tools like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle Eloqua, Marketo, and more, we can help boost your marketing approach and streamline your workflows.