Why you should avoid shady routes in your SMS marketing

Do you use SMS text messages in your customer loyalty program? Or are you thinking about using SMS marketing? You’re not alone. 8 trillion text messages are sent every year. Shockingly, only 48% of business are utilizing this huge communication channel. You still have time to get in the game, but there are important factors to consider when starting SMS communication programs for your company.

The sign of successful SMS marketing is that it builds and nurtures important customer relationships. Key to this success is making sure that all messages arrive as you have intended them to. SMS that are not delivered to the right people, at the right time and with the right content lead to frustrated and dissatisfied customers. This can result in badwill toward your company, and in the worst case scenario, lost business. While SMS services may seem simple, an entire ecosystem of integrators, aggregators and mobile operators work to make sure that every message you send is delivered as intended. Each link in a legitimate SMS chain needs to be compensated for its work, and because of that, quality-assured SMS delivery has a certain market price. But why then do we see so many offers for incredibly cheap SMS suppliers?

New players exploit loopholes in the network

The challenge today is that the rapidly growing market for SMS marketing has attracted less scrupulous players. Players who act to exploit loopholes, especially in mobile operators’ infrastructure and networks. By distributing SMS messages without actually paying for the traffic, they can offer SMS in bulk at undercut prices. Grey routes, SIM farms, spoofing, faking and spamming are methods used to illegally cash in on the growing market.

When choosing a supplier for your SMS marketing, a really low price can obviously seem attractive. If you fall into the trap of a less serious supplier of shady SMS services, however, there is a big risk that you’ll end up paying a considerably higher price for your “cheap” SMS, in terms of incomplete and incorrect message delivery and lost business.

Here are four reasons you should avoid shady text message suppliers for your SMS marketing:

1. The methods are illegal

First of all, faking, spoofing and SIM farms are straight-out illegal. Suppliers that use any of these methods to keep prices down base their business on stealing bandwidth from other operators’ networks. If you consciously choose this type of provider, you indirectly encourage continued fraud and undermine market pricing of SMS. If you unknowingly are lured into using one of these providers, chances are you’ll realize it when your messages are delivered incorrectly, or not at all.

2. You run a high risk of service disruption and poor delivery

Another strong reason to avoid dubious operators is to ensure that you get high-quality service. If your provider relies on illegal or questionable methods, chances are you’ll get cheap SMS service with poor delivery quality. Because the various methods of SMS fraud dodge formal supply chain agreements, there is an increased risk of unstable and unreliable SMS deliveries. The result is that your SMS are often not delivered when they are supposed to be, not delivered at all, or are delivered several times to the same recipient.

More and more mobile operators are working to close gray routes to block illegal traffic, and to promote beneficial cooperation. A closed route affects SMS marketers and other users immediately because messages stop going through. You also risk considerable financial loss, since it is unlikely that a fraudulent supplier will replace your prepaid SMS if a stop in service occurs.

3. There is a risk that these providers have ulterior motives

SMS prices that are far too low can also be a sign that the provider offering them has ulterior motives. Besides making money directly on SMS traffic, they might be trying to get access to your data. This means contact lists you run through them could be compromised and open for spamming.

4. Poor quality providers threaten SMS’ reputation as a quality channel

Finally, there is a risk that artificially low prices increase the use of SMS for more annoying purposes, like spam. This has already happened in some parts of the world. Most of Europe still enjoys the luxury of using this flexible channel to communicate with customers without direct interference. There is a big risk that increased amounts of spam will worsen recipients’ and customers’ attitudes toward SMS, and the communication channel as a whole will decline in value. By promoting competitive but market-adapted prices, we help ensure that SMS retains its business value in the future.

If it seems too cheap, it is too cheap

Price is of course an important deciding factor in your choice of provider for SMS marketing. But as a customer, you should think twice if a supplier offers you a price that seems far lower than competitors’. So how do you know where the limit between a competitive but honest price and one that is predatory lies? And how do you know if a particular provider uses honest methods or exploits questionable means of providing SMS?

The easiest answer is this basic rule: if one option compared with all others seems too cheap to be true, then it probably is.


Quality SMS Guide

Want to learn more? Download our guide to quality SMS to learn what to look for in your supplier.

Download button