How to avoid spam filters when sending an SMS campaign.

Adebukola Ajayi
October 30, 2023

SMS campaigns are a perfect way to reach your audience immediately. It allows businesses to connect with customers directly through text messages, offering a fast and personal way to communicate.

However, there can be a big problem - SPAM. When you send these text messages, there are filters in place that try to stop messages from reaching people's phones. These filters can be a real challenge for businesses trying to use SMS marketing effectively.

In this guide, we're going to explore SMS marketing and how to avoid these filters. We'll give you the knowledge and strategies you need to make sure your messages get through and are not marked as spam. You'll learn how to maintain a good reputation as a sender and create messages that people want to receive.

Building a clean subscriber list.

A. Importance of having a clean list.

A clean subscriber list is the cornerstone of a successful SMS marketing campaign. It's not just about having a long list of contacts; it's about updating the list to reflect your engaged and interested subscribers. 

Here's why a clean list matters:

  1. Higher engagement: When your list consists of people who genuinely want to receive your messages, you're more likely to see higher engagement rates, which can translate into increased sales, traffic, or other desired actions.
  2. Compliance: Maintaining a clean list ensures compliance with SMS marketing regulations. Sending messages to recipients who haven't opted in can lead to legal issues and damage your brand's reputation.
  3. Cost-efficiency: SMS marketing often involves costs per message. Sending messages to uninterested recipients not only wastes money but can also result in higher unsubscribe rates, which could impact your overall campaign effectiveness.
  4. Better data insights: A clean list provides more accurate data for analysis. You can better understand your audience, their preferences, and behaviors when your list is free from irrelevant or uninterested contacts.

B. Methods to collect opt-ins.

Building a clean list starts with obtaining permission from your recipients. Opt-ins are a crucial part of this process, and there are several effective methods to collect them:

  1. Keyword-based opt-ins: Encourage people to text a specific keyword to a designated number to subscribe. For example, "Text 'DEALS' to 12345 to receive exclusive offers."
  2. Web forms: Use web forms on your website or landing pages to capture opt-ins. Ensure clarity about what subscribers can expect to receive.
  3. Point of sale: If you have a physical store, ask customers for their permission to send SMS updates when making a purchase.
  4. Contests and giveaways: Running contests or giveaways can be an effective way to collect opt-ins. Just make sure that people understand they're subscribing in the process.
  5. Social media: Promote your SMS campaign on social media platforms and provide a clear opt-in method.

C. Managing unsubscribers.

Managing unsubscribers is as important as collecting opt-ins. It ensures that you respect your subscribers' preferences and maintain a positive brand image. Here's how to handle unsubscribers effectively:

  1. Opt-out process: Make the opt-out process easy and straightforward. Include clear instructions in every message, such as "Text 'STOP' to unsubscribe."
  2. Prompt removal: As soon as someone opts out, promptly remove them from your SMS list. Continuing to send messages to unsubscribed individuals can lead to complaints and legal issues.
  3. Feedback gathering: If possible, ask unsubscribers for feedback about why they chose to unsubscribe. Use this information to improve your SMS marketing strategy.
  4. Respect privacy: Ensure that unsubscribers' information is not shared or used for any purpose other than unsubscribing them from your SMS list.

When you focus on having a clean list, you'll become better equipped to build and maintain a healthy and engaged subscriber list for your SMS marketing campaigns.

SMS campaign restrictions in Nigeria.

When it comes to SMS campaigns in Nigeria, there are specific rules and exceptions, particularly for Promotional Routes. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Do not disturb (DND) list: Messages sent to numbers on the DND list will not be delivered.
  2. International references: Avoid mentioning international organizations like WhatsApp and Facebook on this route, as they are considered international SMS and may get blocked by the network operator's firewall.
  3. Numeric senderIDs: Messages with senderIDs containing numeric characters cannot be delivered. Ensure your SenderIDs do not include any digits for successful delivery.
  4. Prohibited keywords: Certain keywords such as "win," "promo," "free," "Giveaway," and "Congratulations!!!" are not allowed. Additionally, political content, as per network operator notifications, may be prohibited. Operators hold the discretion to block content or SenderIDs at their discretion.
  5. SenderID account distinction: SenderIDs used for transactional accounts cannot be used to send promotional messages. They should both have specific sender IDs for each route.
  6. Time restrictions: Messages sent between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on the promotional route won't be delivered due to NCC restrictions. They will be queued and sent out after 8 a.m the following day to ensure compliance while respecting permissible hours.
  7. Airtel senderIDs: For Airtel, senderIDs must be registered in advance to ensure proper delivery. Messages to Airtel subscribers with unregistered SenderIDs may be sent with a default SenderID. Network operators have the authority to block specific content, and continuous inappropriate content may result in the blocking of the SenderID itself.
  8. Special characters: While special characters like emojis, symbols, and non-standard characters can add personality to your messages, they may be subject to extra charges and are identified as anything outside of letters (A-Z, uppercase, and lowercase), numbers (0-9), full stop, and comma punctuations, depending on the network provider. Be aware of potential cost variations for using special characters.

Read: How to send SMS campaigns on Simpu.

Quality assurance and testing.

A. Using a reputable SMS gateway.

When it comes to SMS marketing, the choice of an SMS gateway is pivotal. Not all gateways are created equal, and selecting a reputable one is the first step in ensuring the success of your SMS campaigns. Here's why it matters:

  1. Reliability: Simpu’s SMS gateways offer a high level of reliability. They have robust infrastructure in place, reducing the chances of message delivery failures or delays.
  2. Compliance: These gateways are typically well-versed in SMS regulations, ensuring that your campaigns adhere to legal requirements. This helps in avoiding potential legal issues or penalties.
  3. Security: Data security is a top priority. Reputable gateways employ encryption and other security measures to protect sensitive information, such as customer data and message content.
  4. Scalability: As your SMS marketing needs grow, a reputable gateway should scale with your business, accommodating larger campaigns and increased message volumes.
  5. Support and assistance: These gateways often provide excellent customer support, assisting you with technical issues, troubleshooting, and campaign optimization.

B. Testing SMS campaigns.

Effective SMS campaigns require meticulous testing to ensure that your messages reach your audience as intended. Here are key aspects to consider:

  1. Message content: Review and test your message content to ensure it's clear, concise, and free from errors. Verify that any links included work as expected.
  2. Recipient list: Confirm that your recipient list is up-to-date and accurate. Remove any inactive or incorrect numbers to improve delivery rates.
  3. Opt-In and opt-out: Test the subscribe and unsubscribe processes to ensure they work seamlessly. Make unsubscribing easy to promote a positive user experience.
  4. SenderID: Check that your SenderID is correctly configured and appears as intended on recipients' devices.
  5. Delivery timing: Experiment with different sending times to determine when your audience is most responsive. Optimize your timing based on the results.

C. Monitoring delivery rates and response rates.

The work doesn't end after sending your SMS campaign; monitoring and analyzing the results is crucial for ongoing success:

  1. Delivery rates: Keep an eye on the delivery rates. Low delivery rates may indicate issues with your sender's reputation or content triggering spam filters. Address these issues promptly.
  2. Response rates: Measure the response rates to assess campaign effectiveness. Analyze which messages and strategies yield the best responses and tailor your future campaigns accordingly.
  3. Feedback and metrics: Gather feedback from recipients when possible, and use analytics tools to track metrics like open rates and click-through rates. These insights can guide your campaign refinements.
  4. A/B testing: Conduct A/B testing to compare different elements of your campaigns, such as message content, timing, and sender names. This iterative process helps fine-tune your SMS marketing strategy.

Maintaining ethical SMS practices extends beyond the art of avoiding spam filters; it's about establishing trust, nurturing customer relationships, and securing the future of your SMS marketing endeavors. By embracing these principles, you'll unlock a host of advantages:

  1. Elevated brand awareness: Demonstrating a steadfast commitment to ethical SMS marketing practices showcases your respect for your audience's privacy and preferences.
  2. Customer engagement: Crafting pertinent and well-timed messages leads to increased open rates, more conversions, and stronger customer loyalty.
  3. Regulatory adherence: Staying within the confines of SMS regulations shields your business from potential legal entanglements.
  4. Cost-effectiveness: Effective SMS campaigns translate to budget-friendly marketing, ultimately maximizing your return on investment.

For a streamlined and efficient approach to SMS marketing, our user-friendly SMS campaign tool can help you simplify some of these processes, making it easier for you to send your first campaign. To explore the benefits of Simpu and streamline your SMS marketing efforts, sign up today!

If you're looking for a smoother and more efficient way to manage your SMS marketing, our user-friendly SMS campaign tool simplifies many of these tasks, making it a breeze to launch your first campaign. Enjoy the benefits of Simpu's SMS Marketing platform - you only pay for your SMS messages, no additional subscription fees needed!

Get started here.

Adebukola Ajayi

Content Marketing Manager, Simpu
I am a writer who loves to watch modern family and friends during my free time.

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