Text messages have an average open rate of 98%. That level of engagement makes them a valuable form of communication for businesses and organizations.
But recent changes to carrier texting policies mean that many text messages aren’t getting delivered.
Carriers are asking businesses and organizations to verify their identities, phone numbers, and messages before they text.
So what can you do when your text messages aren’t sending?
Fortunately, you have a few solutions for minimizing your undelivered text messages.
In this article I’ll go over:
Keep reading for more.
SMS delivery is the percentage of successfully delivered SMS and MMS messages over the total number of messages sent. SMS delivery can refer to the status of a single message. But SMS delivery usually is measured as a percentage of delivered messages to total messages sent. Many business texting services provide SMS delivery reports that show SMS delivery rates.
An SMS delivery report shows you the SMS delivery rates for all text messages sent from your device or business texting software. A text message delivery report indicates how many total messages were sent and how many were successfully delivered. It also shows you in greater detail the current status of SMS verified messages submitted to a carrier (AT&T, Verizon, TMobile, etc.).
Bulk text messaging services like MessageDesk charge per sent message. See how I say “sent” and not “delivered?” That means even if a message you send doesn’t get delivered, you still end up paying for it.
Carriers like AT&T and Verizon charge platforms like Twilio and Bandwidth per message sent.
Then, services like MessageDesk pay these platforms to move your messages across their networks to get them delivered. Much of those costs and messaging rates get passed on to you.
This process means that successful message delivery is important for everyone in the process — especially you. When one of your messages fails to deliver, those fees trickle down to everyone.
When you optimize your SMS deliverability rates, you get the best return on investment. This helps with all kinds of SMS campaigns for everything from SMS marketing to texting for employee communication.
There are various reasons why an SMS text message or MMS picture message might not get delivered. Some of the most common delivery failures happen because the number is invalid, the recipient opted out of messages, there were network problems with the recipient's carrier, or your message contained content that carriers frequently block.
The above are just some of the most common reasons why text messages aren’t getting delivered. There are more reasons, including the following.
The first and most common reason why your text messages aren’t getting delivered may be because you entered an invalid or wrong number.
Popular phone verification services include Experian and Xverify. They take a list of contacts you provide and check their service status.
Some will also flag a number of formatting errors. These get in the way of proper delivery or indicate whether or not the number is a landline.
You can text a landline and you can text phone number extensions. But in both of these cases, the number for SMS you’re texting must be text-enabled and supported by a business texting service.
So the second most common reason why messages aren’t getting delivered properly is that the number you’re texting just doesn’t support SMS text messages.
Carrier and network problems aren’t often an issue. What I’m referring to here is a carrier-wide outage that affects SMS delivery for everyone.
In this case, you’ll often see your message get a dialog that says “message sent, but not delivered”. This is where there’s a big difference between sent and delivered.
A sent message is one that was sent through your texting software up to the carrier for delivery. Once the carrier successfully gets your message to the recipient, they’ll mark it as “delivered”.
Once a message is sent, it isn’t necessarily delivered until the carrier confirms it.
That being the case, carriers are frequently the cause of problems when sending SMS messages. But this is for several good reasons as I’ll explain below.
Text messaging is now the second most popular communication channel in the work compared to email. Literally, everyone has an email address and a phone number now.
Because of this adoption, carriers have begun taking measures to protect customers on their networks from malicious SMS spam. This means they’re filtering out spam texts just like email providers.
Carriers have the right to block messages that contain illicit or adult content or references to drugs and criminal activity.
To improve SMS texting experiences the CTIA (an association of mobile carriers and industry advocates) has guidelines regarding sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, and tobacco (SHAFT).
The alcohol and legal cannabis/marijuana industries are of particular concern with SHAFT.
If your business provides either of these goods or services you still need to comply with SHAFT standards.
For businesses and organizations, this means adhering to TCPA guidelines and having opt-in and opt-out set up for promotional text messages.
Texting isn’t the same same as sending a Facebook message or using a messaging app like WhatsApp.
There’s also a big difference between mass texting and group texting. You’ll need an SMS marketing service or mass text app if you’re trying to broadcast text messages to thousands of recipients. A group text on your phone can only reach up to 100 recipients at a time.
Additionally, carriers set guidelines around the type of phone number you’re texting from and how many messages it can send.
There are two types of text messaging — A2P (application-to-person) and P2P (person-to-person). Various types of SMS phone numbers support each.
P2P (person-to-person) text messages are texts sent from a personal phone using a personal number. Carriers drastically limit how many P2P messages you can send from a personal phone.
Meanwhile, A2P is application or software-controlled text messaging from a business texting service. These messages are often automated and get sent from carrier-verified messaging platforms like MessageDesk.
You’re going to need A2P messaging if you’re a business looking to start text conversations with your customers.
A2P messaging ensures delivery for various types of SMS campaigns including:
Your takeaway is this:
Carrier-verified A2P numbers can send more texts than P2P numbers (personal phones). And they won’t get flagged as spam. Text messages have a much higher deliverability rate via A2P messaging.
But only certain types of phone numbers are approved for A2P messaging.
If your business or organization needs A2P messaging, then you’ll also need an appropriate type of phone number.
In the past, businesses could only send mass A2P text messages through a short code. Businesses with tighter budgets had to use shared short codes, which carriers are now phasing out.
Now, toll-free numbers and 10-digit local phone numbers (10DLC) can be approved for high-volume A2P text messaging.
Business texting services like MessageDesk can even help. They make it easy to port or host your existing business number for high-volume, carrier-verified messaging.
Your takeaway is this:
Carriers will block mass text messages sent from a regular local phone number unless you’re set up for SMS verification.
Most business texting services have built-in opt-in and opt-out management systems for TCPA compliance.
In MessageDesk, when someone texts back “STOP,” they’ll no longer receive texts from you unless they opt in again.
Similarly, if a recipient blocks your phone number, your message won’t be delivered. This is the likely explanation if you don’t see a “Delivered” or “Read” message notification.
Still getting undelivered messages? There’s a chance the recipient reported your message to their carrier.
It’s also possible they reported a message that looked similar to the one you sent. So the carrier could preemptively block your message.
It’s possible that you’re texting someone on a pre-paid texting plan who has an outstanding balance on their account.
Many carriers offering pre-paid plans block these accounts from receiving messages until the balance is paid.
The first step to getting good text message delivery for your business or organization is choosing a business text messaging provider.
There are many great business texting services out there, including MessageDesk. But you’ll want to find one with SMS verification and number tools for A2P carrier-verified delivery.
Looking to get your whole team texting? Then you’ll also want a service with a shared team inbox.
MessageDesk offers a specific range of features designed to suit all of your business texting needs.
The next step is to create a free account. You can do this with MessageDesk by starting a free trial.
Next, you’ll need to select a number or existing business phone line. Platforms like MessageDesk automatically give you one as soon as you hit “send” on your first message.
To text from your existing business number or landline, you’ll need to submit a number porting request.
Here’s an example of where to do that in MessageDesk:
Note: It will likely take from 1-7 days to successfully text-enable your business number once you submit your request. Sometimes, this process is referred to as number hosting (not to be confused with number porting).
You can register for A2P on a toll-free or 10DLC phone number through MessageDesk’s registration service. Start by going to the A2P 10DLC Brand Registration plugin and click Begin Registration.
Then enter your organization’s information. You’ll need to provide your business contact information, your EIN, and your contact information.
After we get your information, we’ll submit it to the Campaign Registry, an organization that handles registration with carriers. Most people who submit a form with a tax ID that matches their business name get approval.
If you need help setting up your MessageDesk account and getting verified, contact one of our messaging experts. They’ll walk you through a product demo and answer your questions.
As your business collects numbers, some of them will get deactivated. It’ll also turn out that some people submitted invalid numbers.
This is why you’ll want to run your contact list through a phone verification service. Phone verification providers can process a list of numbers for you.
After you verify your number and vet your contacts, you’ll want to check your message quality.
When you send out more meaningful business texts, you’ll minimize the chance of recipients blocking your number.
Try these strategies for sending messages your list will want to read:
MessageDesk will help you follow all three tips with these features:
You can’t remove the chance of someone blocking your number instead of opting out of your messages. But, these tips will keep more people sticking around.
Plus, besides boosting your delivery rates, sending out higher-quality messages will increase your open and response rates.
MessageDesk makes it easy to improve your deliverability rates by helping you get a verified number that passes new messaging guidelines. Its features also assist with filtering deactivated numbers on your list and improving your message quality.
Give it a try by starting a free MessageDesk trial or meeting with a messaging expert.
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