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7 Best Practices for Text Messaging (SMS) Deliverability
7 Best Practices for Text Messaging (SMS) Deliverability

Message count, special characters and best guidelines and practices

Rachel OBrien avatar
Written by Rachel OBrien
Updated over a week ago

Texting is the most effective way to communicate with people. Texts are amazing for quick reminders, calls to action, sharing links to videos or your website, and starting great conversations!

Why is texting so amazing? Because 98% of text messages are read and 90% are read within 3 minutes. Now that is effective!

However, cell phone carriers are starting to filter messages without any regulations. To avoid this, here are some tips to follow to give the messages you send the best chance for delivery.

1. A standard text or SMS message is considered 160 characters or less. You can go over this limit using our system, but cell phone carriers split messages with more than 160 characters and some actually deliver them as multiple messages. In some cases, the messages are even delivered in the wrong order which makes for a really bad user experience.

Shorter messages are more personable and look less like SPAM. If you are trying to give someone lots of information and want to use text messaging, we suggest keeping the text message short and asking them to check their email for more details or include a link in your message that takes them to a page on your site.

2. A text must be part of the 7-bit Alphabet. What does this mean? The 7-bit Alphabet contains some, but not all, special accents and exclamatory symbols. In addition to the list below try to avoid a lot of // [] and {}

3. You should not copy and paste content when creating or updating your messages. This goes for both email and text messages. Copying and pasting from Microsoft Word and other programs can bring special or hidden characters into your text or email. They can break your text messages into multiple segments, even if they are below the 160-character limit, and can increase the risk of being flagged as SPAM.

4. If you are sending messages with identical content to a large number (over 200) of your users, you may be at high risk of having your messages filtered by carriers. Carriers use automated systems that monitor the rate of sending as well as the content of the messages. They behave very much like email filtering systems.

Messages receive a cumulative score based on how many messages have come from a phone number during a time period, how many similar messages have transited the carrier’s network, and if the message contains content that makes it a high match for SPAM. Time periods are measured by the second, minute, hour, and day. So, it's not recommended to send identical messages at the same time or day each week.

5. Limit or don't use photos/attachments in text messages. Increased risks to deliverability, including being blocked by cell phone carriers, are inherent when sending large amounts of text messages that include photos. In our experience, people do not care as much about images or graphics in a text message. Save your beautiful graphics for an email to follow up after your text message.

6. Personalizing your messages is an easy way to ensure each message is unique. Add the first name to most or all of your automated or group text messages to keep cell phone carriers from filtering those messages.

7. Encourage replies! Responses to your Text In Church phone number show cell phone carriers that you are not trying to SPAM your people with mindless marketing messages, but that you are having real conversations with them.

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