Automated Messaging

How to Evaluate SMS Marketing Platforms for Business

In this post, we'll outline considerations you should make before choosing an SMS platform and the similarities and differences between the platforms.

Every day business owners are faced with hundreds if not thousands of different decisions, which can get overwhelming quickly. With the popularity of SMS messaging and the higher open and engagement rates SMS messages hold over email marketing, many businesses are exploring SMS options. In this post, we'll outline considerations you should make before choosing an SMS platform and the similarities and differences between the platforms.

Similarities and Differences

Message Automation & Triggers
When you set up your outgoing SMS messages you will launch messages based on “triggers”. Triggers signify an event that takes place that will put a message or series of messages in the hands of your customer. It’s important to consider what type of messages would most benefit your business. Do you want to send purely promotional messages about your next sale, or do you want to leverage your platform to engage with customers at a deeper level? Most common SMS platforms send messages based on timing of an event, or based on purchase behavior. 
Blustream’s SMS platform, in addition to having time-based and purchase-based triggers uses a wide array of data that create comprehensive profiles of your customers that drive messaging.  For example, in the example of a dance studio, rather than simply asking if someone enjoyed a class, the studio could ask a student how many hours they’re practicing at home, send additional class recommendations, stretches, or even dietary recommendations. With this type of messaging that is built around the customer and their connection with a business’ product or service, you can create a very personalized and meaningful customer experience. 
Other SMS platforms use transactional triggers, including: abandoned carts, specific times, and purchase dates. These limited triggers mean that customers are being segmented and communicated with in a very basic way. With Blustream, you can communicate more deeply with customers about the products they love.
Promotional VS. Experiential
Most SMS platforms are all about selling to customers, not taking into account the context of the customer or their usage of a certain product. For example, a typical “promotional” message would be, “Thank you for buying a notebook! The red notebook is on sale! You can purchase it using the link here.” This is the type of message can be helpful when promoting new products or sales.
Blustream’s messages, while they can also make purchase recommendations, are more focused on customer experience. An example of a customer experience message is, “Thank you for buying a new dog leash for your puppy! We have found that new dog owners have found it helpful to book training lessons. Here is a link to popular puppy trainers in your area!”. Blustream uses customer experience messaging to create connections with customers to help drive retention and drive revenue.
Knowing Your Customers
With many SMS platforms, you can only gather limited data and information about your customers, namely their name, address, and purchase behavior. Because of this limited scope of information about customers, messaging is limited to very basic promotional communication. 
Blustream, on the other hand, takes time to ask customers questions about their lifestyle and product usage, and using AI technology, collects data and automatically adjusts messaging to fit the changing needs of your customers over time.
While there are subtle differences in these two types of messages, those differences can lead to very different results. Blustream’s messaging uses data from previous purchases and communications with customers to advise on products that best fit the customer’s needs. Blustream's system can be adjusted to gather data to help advise companies in any industry giving their customers the perfect product!
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of SMS platforms for businesses to choose from, however, understanding the features to look for and the differences between the tools is critical to finding the best platform to help grow your business. Remember to look for message automation, if the platform's focus is selling or experience, and how the platform personalizes messages for your customers. Now you're ready to give your customers an amazing experience and grow your business!

Blustream is an after-sale Product Experience Platform that empowers companies to help owners be more successful with the products they love. With Blustream, brands engage their customers with contextualized, data-driven touchpoint messages including tips, alerts, and purchase recommendations, sent at exactly the right time. Today, CEOs, CMOs, and Product Executives use Blustream to create a direct channel with their customers to drive revenue, retention, and referrals. Stay connected to your customers: 

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