Have you noticed Undelivered SMS messages appearing in the activity feed?
The content of your message may be triggering the wireless carrier's junk message filters. As of March 2019, Verizon Wireless, in particular, seems have new and more aggressive filtering rules in place.
While carriers generally don't share how to "beat" their filtering rules, based on recent testing and research, it appears Verizon (and others) are blocking the delivery of most messages that contain both text and URLs (web addresses) in the same message.
If you want to share links or a website, it is still possible. The best chance of delivery is to separate the text content of your message from each URL you want to share. Sending them as stand-alone messages increase deliverability rates considerably (when separated our testing showed 100% deliverability). Be sure to not include the protocol (http or https) or the leading "www."
“It's Eric, your admissions counselor at Fire University. I hope to see you at one of our upcoming admitted student events. Remember, I’m here to answer any questions you might have.”
Can I Include my Email Address?
SMS messages that contain an email address ("Hi. I'm Eric, your admissions counselor at Fire University. If you have questions text me back or email email@example.com") were delivered during our most recent testing. However, it is Element451's recommended best practice that you avoid including an email address in your SMSs as it may be read as a link by the carrier. This is especially true for the first message of a conversation. This will maximize the delivery of the very important first touchpoint in a conversation.
Device Level Filtering
Remember, even if the carrier allows your message to be delivered, it is possible that the recipient has some form of device-level filtering enabled which could in turn make your message undeliverable. Since device-level filtering is an affirmative setting, the vast majority of users don't have device-level filtering enabled. If they do, a user may have blocked receiving text messages specifically from the number associated with your Conversations451 module or from all numbers not in their contacts list.
One way to reduce the impact of device-level filtering is to get your prospective students to add your Element451 phone number to their contacts by sharing it via email or other communication channels.
Other SMS / Conversations451 Best Practices
Keep it friendly. Text messaging is a great way to connect with your prospective students. While you should always remain professional, it is not as formal as an email or a letter.
While there is technically not the 160 character limit of yesteryear on SMS length, brevity is best when choosing SMS as your mode of communication.
Keep messages sent via Conversations451 relevant to the student. For instance, You may want to increase engagement with a particular admitted student. You could start an SMS conversation by offering to answer any questions about their offer of admission and to invite them to an upcoming admitted student event. This is the personal touch that will stand out to the student and their family. Save the general institutional promotion and marketing lingo to Campaigns451 and other communication channels.
The information above is based on testing performed in March 2019. However, exactly what factors may impact deliverability vary from carrier to carrier and are subject to change. If you experience delivery issues while using Conversations451 and you believe your message meets the criteria above, please share the details with our Customer Success Team via the live support function in the Element451 dashboard.
The information above only applies to SMS messages created in Conversations and does not apply to messages created via the Campaigns451 module.