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.
While carriers generally don't share how to "beat" their filtering rules, based on recent testing and research, it appears carriers are blocking the delivery of most messages that contain both text and URLs (web addresses) in the same message.
It is still possible if you want to share links or a website. 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). Include the entire URL in your message, including the protocol (http:// or https://).
“It's Eric, your admissions counselor at Element 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, Element451's recommended best practice is to avoid including an email address in your SMS as it may be read as a link by the carrier. You can always send it in a standalone message as noted above.
This holds 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 (Blocking)
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 (they have blocked your number). This would make your message undeliverable. Since device-level filtering is an affirmative setting, most 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.
SMS Character Limits for Conversations
Element451 can send SMS messages up to 1600 characters via the Conversations module. That said, brevity is best when using the SMS channel. You'll receive a warning when an SMS exceeds 160 characters, however, those messages can still be sent. Messages over 320 characters may see reduced deliverability by carriers. Messages of more than 1600 characters will be rejected.
📙 Note: The character limits above apply to SMS messages sent via Conversations. As bulk messaging rules are more strict, Element451 Campaign SMS messages are limited to 918 characters.
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.
Keep it short and sweet.
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 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.