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SMS Gateway or API: What's the Difference and which is Best for Your Business?

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“Whatever the location, environment, or activity, it only takes a few seconds to send and read an SMS. For this reason, many consumers probably wish more companies would engage with them via SMS.” - Forbes

 Mobile marketing and commerce have become two of the most impactful tools for modern businesses, with SMS proving to be an effective option because of its prevalence and ease-of-use. According to research, 62% of consumers indicated they had subscribed to receive texts from at least one business in the last year. Of those, 43% of those texts are from businesses for appointment reminders, exclusive promotions, and sale notifications. But this can only be achieved through SMS API, which is used to create an SMS Gateway allowing for bulk SMS functionality. Here's how these two systems work and what it means for your business. 

What is SMS API?

This is a well-defined software interface which enables code to send SMSes via the SMS Gateway. The SMS API is used to bridge the divide between telecommunication networks and the internet, so that web applications can send and receive text messages. It creates the bond so that the SMS is in a readable and usable format on the system. By using an SMS API, you’re able to personalize bulk SMS that includes the customer’s name, allows for two-way communication, and more! 

What is an SMS Gateway?

The SMS Gateway allows you to connect with your customers at scale, by using the SMS API, routing, and extensive mobile networks. This form of bulk SMS messaging is secure, reliable, and incredibly quick, with the ability to connect with both local and international customers. The SMS Gateway is advantageous in that you can connect to almost any protocol, including HTTP, XML, SOAP, or SMTP. 

What can you use SMS API for?

The SMS API is an omnichannel communication system that lets you automatically send thousands of text messages in seconds. Some of the use cases of SMS API for business are:

  • Customized messages even for bulk SMS

  • Sending one-time passwords (OTPs)

  • Two-factor authentication for increased security

  • Promoting company sales and discounts

  • Tracking shipping through notifications

  • Two-way communication with customers

  • Appointment bookings and reminders

  • Provision of customer feedback

  • Automating daily tasks 

What can you use SMS Gateway for?

An SMS Gateway allows you to be in direct communication with both employees and customers at all times. Using your computer, you can send and receive text messages, taking advantage of the 98% SMS open rate. This is great for: 

  • Creating better brand awareness with customers

  • Cost-effective advertising

  • Securing customer loyalty and gaining new customers

  • Getting customer feedback for improved service

  • Informing customers about their orders

  • Promoting company sales and discounts 

There’s also the option of bulk SMS campaigns through an SMS Gateway, including:

  1. Web2SMS: Sending messages from websites to mobile phones with the option of using additional functions and apps

  2. SMS2Email: This enables sending messages via email

  3. SMS2Skype: You can send messages to Skype using individual gateways 

What are the benefits of SMS API and Gateway?

Many businesses are already using text messages, they just need to upgrade with an API Gateway to expand capabilities. Clearly bulk messaging is a dominant communication tool, but here’s how it can specifically improve your business operations

1. No internet access required

With SMS Gateway, your customers don’t require internet access to receive their messages, and with many people not able to access the internet, this makes SMS a preferred communication tool. This means that using SMS API and Gateway makes reaching your customers much easier.

2. Secure messaging

With data breaches and cybersecurity a major concern in the modern age, it’s important that you’re communicating with your customers using a secure messaging system. Fortunately, SMS APIs provide you with a secure gateway so that you’re comfortable communicating with your customers. In fact, many APIs are encrypted so that you’re offering the best security and protection for your customers. 

3. Message automation

An incredibly time-efficient element of SMS API is that you don’t need to manually send text messages anymore, it’s all completed automated. You can send hundreds or even thousands of text messages with the simple click of a button, freeing up staff to focus on other business activities.

4. Customized messaging

The modern consumer is not interested in being just a number, they’re looking for a much more personalized experience. Using an SMS API, you’re able to integrate with several apps so that you can enhance this communication tool by drawing on several innovative features. 

5. Tracking and analytics

One of these features is the ability to track messages from start to finish so that you know the system is functioning properly. This also lets you know just how quickly your messages are being delivered, and whether they’re opened. Using API, you can also connect to an analytics platform to assess how your messages are contributing to sales and engagement.

6. Speed and reliability

People don’t like sitting with unread messages on their phones, which is why 95% of text messages will be read within three minutes of being sent - with the average response time a mere 90 seconds. This ensures that your SMS platform is getting your message directly to your customers quickly. And, with SMS being more than a quarter of a century old, it’s considered one of the most reliable communication channels – above email and mobile advertising.

7.  Cost-effective

Marketing your product or services can be an incredibly costly undertaking, and you’re not always assured that it’s reaching your target market. Fortunately, using the SMS API and gateway, you’re able to promote your products and services to thousands of interested individuals for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods. According to SimpleTexting’s 2021 SMS Marketing Report, 43% of business owners reported average SMS click-through rates of 20% to 35%, making it highly effective. 

Why choose Clickatell?

Thousands of developers have chosen to work with Clickatell in the two decades since it created the world’s first SMS API. The company offers a secure global network to reliably send SMS messages to your customers, while the hosted, specialized SMS Gateway lets you cost-effectively connect to your customers at scale with dynamic routing and extensive mobile networks.

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