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Top Questions on SMS Marketing & Messaging

More FAQ on MODISclub's All-in-One Account Setup & Functions
Question Answer
(A) What is an SMS Keyword?
  • SMS Keyword is a word you can setup for your audience to conveniently text to join/enter/vote/get/comment/subscribe to your target campaign directly from a phone. For example, you can post at an event "To enter and win a trip to Australia, text TRAVEL to 555.555.5555". The SMS Keyword, TRAVEL, in this case will trigger a pre-saved automated confirmation text that may contain your custom message and the opt-out instruction. Entries of all who texted TRAVEL will be grouped into that target campaign.
  • Your first Keyword is already included in the SMS Number's monthly lease, and can be easily setup using your online account.
  • Many other SMS Keyword usage include, Text-for-Info, Text Survey, Text-to-Vote, Text-to-Join, SMS Scavenger Hunt, and more.
(B) What is a Short Code? A Short Code is the number in which your audiences would send their comments or the specified SMS Keyword to participate in your SMS mobile campaign. It is similar to a phone number but with only 5 or 6 randomly selected digits that you typically see used in big marketing and promotions (eg. 99911). There are two types of Short Code: Shared Short Code and Dedicated Short Code. In North America, Short Code requires approval by the carriers. It may take up to 8 weeks to setup and get approval, but once setup it can send up to 30 SMS per second; hence it is suitable for high-volume traffic, such as marketing promotions and emergency notifications.
(C) What is a Long Code? A Long Code is the number in which your audiences would send their comments or the specified SMS Keyword to participate in your SMS mobile campaign. It is similar to a phone number with 10 randomly selected digits, used as your SMS Number. There are two types of Long Code: local area code number and Toll-Free number. Long code is low in cost and fast in setup (within 1-2 business days) because it does not require a formal approval application. Because of its universal coverage on carriers' network and high output speed of 1 SMS per second, they are mainly used for sending notifications, confirmations, information, reminders, alerts and updates. They have also been popularly used for contest and voting campaigns.
(D) How do I subscribe or unsubscribe to receiving texts from a Short Code, Toll-Free or Local Number? To subscribe or opt-in, text the specified KEYWORD to the Short, Toll-free or Local Number (SMS Number) provided by the company (eg. Text KEYWORD to ###-###-####). To unsubscribe or opt-out or a specific campaign/program messaging, reply the specified KEYWORD STOP to the SMS Number. To "unsubscribe all" from the SMS Number, reply STOP.
(E) Does it cost anything for mobile users to text to the Local SMS Number, Toll-Free Number or Short Code? Unless specified, all MODISclub's SMS Numbers deliver standard messages, not premium. Therefore, if you already have a text plan with your wireless carrier, it does not cost anything extra.
(F) Can I upload and send text to a mobile contact list I already have? Yes. You can upload your own list of 10 digit mobile numbers (eg. 6475551234) in a CSV format file. But first, we recommend sending your Contact List an opt-in/out instruction as your first text message to avoid recipients complaining to the carriers and getting your SMS number blacklisted. An example of the first opt-in message is "This is Company ABC. To receive future exclusive alerts from us, reply YOURKEYWORD. No further msg otherwise".

Please review the following to ensure when consent is not required based on a generic Anti-Spam regulation (also refer to the regulations within your own jurisdiction):
  • Quotes or estimates;
  • Messages that facilitate or confirm transactions;
  • Provides warranty, recall, safety or security information;
  • Provides information about:
    • ongoing use or ongoing purchases;
    • ongoing subscription, membership, accounts, loans or similar;
    • employment relationships or benefit plans;
    • Delivers a product good or service, including updates and upgrades.
And, the Anti-Spam Legislature does not apply to messages that are sent:
  • Within or between business, where there's an ongoing relationship;
  • In response to a request;
  • To enforce a legal right or obligation;
  • Via closed messaging systems;
    • Proprietary system;
    • Messaging systems where ID and unsubscribe included on platform.
  • To a foreign jurisdiction in compliance with their spam law;
  • By registered charities raising funds;
  • By political candidates or organizations, soliciting political contributions.
(G) Why use a Short Code versus Toll-Free Number instead of a Local SMS Number for your text messaging programs? Local Numbers or Long Codes are meant for person-to-person communications (2-way messaging such as Text-for-Info, Text-to-Win, etc.) and can send 1 message per second.

Toll-Free Numbers are designated for business use in the United States and by certain mobile carriers in Canada. Toll-Free Numbers can send 3 messages per second and only transactional SMS use cases have been approved for sending over Toll-Free phone numbers, such as One-time password (OTP) or verification codes, account-related alerts or notifications, customer care messaging that includes some automated messaging (including satisfaction surveys). Although carrier filtering is still possible for messages sent from Toll-Free phone numbers, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of filtering by complying with all regulations, and following best practices. Also, as of 2021, use cases on Toll-Free Numbers can be verified to further reduce certain messages getting blocked by the carriers Please contact us for more information.

For higher volume SMS traffic and application-to-person (A2P) programs, Short Code can send 100 messages per second, suited for campaigns needing to send time-sensitive messages to many users at once. Furthermore, since carriers vet and approve all short codes for their intended use, they are not subject to carrier filtering or suspension for heavy traffic.

Examples of applications best suited to a short code include: marketing communications, large one-to-many notification bursts, and high volumes of one-to-one transactional notifications. If you have questions about which number is right for your application, please contact us.
(H) How Does Carrier Filtering Work? Why do carriers have content and spam filters for the SMS Numbers?
SMS filtering is primarily geared toward preventing unwanted messaging, fraud, or abuse. When subscribers receive messages they find objectionable, they may file complaints or report the carrier to governing bodies, seek damages, or simply stop being a customer. All of these things reduce the revenue of or increase costs for carriers. So, it is in the best interest of carriers to protect their subscribers from what they consider to be objectionable content.

How do carriers filter messages?
There is no standard way practice for carrier filtering and depends on each carrier. For some, filtering can range from a simple static list of prohibited terms to advanced machine learning systems that work in real time. Regardless of the system, carriers keep their filtering systems closely guarded secrets to prevent spammers from reverse engineering their filtering systems. In turn, MODISclub cannot say definitively how these systems work or why a particular message was filtered. But, through our experience, we know that how the message is formatted and written is important - these can trigger the filter to kick in.

So, MODISclub recommends Local & Toll-free SMS users avoid to the following:
  • overly capitalized messages
  • mysterious links
  • hyperbole
  • send lots of identical content, particularly anything which is (or may resemble) bulk SMS marketing
  • using aggressive or marketing heavy language (eg. DISCOUNT, SALE, 20% OFF, etc.)


How do I prevent my messages from being filtered?
If you see an increase in undelivered messages in your Sent log due to carrier filtering, MODISclub recommends Local & Toll-free SMS users adhere to the following standards:

Obtain clear opt-in from your recipients before sending them messages (the opt-in does not need to be via SMS)
A confusing message to users might seem like someone they don't know has their contact information. Suspicious users are more likely to report messages to their carrier, and when messages are reported to carriers it becomes very likely that future messages from that number or with similar content will be filtered. In some cases, the user may have forgotten that they requested the message, especially if the opt-in process was not from their phone (eg. text KEYWORD to your SMS Number to enter/join/opt-in). In that case, send a text reminder with your company's name and request to reply to a Keyword you've setup as the opt-in, if it hasn't been done already. Also, how the message is formatted and written is important as mentioned above.

Provide easy ways for your users to opt-out of messages
If users do not understand how to opt out, they may feel they have no choice but to contact their carrier to request that messages are blocked. So, MODISclub recommends including the opt out instruction in at least your First-time Opt-in Auto Reply (eg. To OptOut reply KEYWORD STOP).

Switch to a verified Toll-Free Number or Short Code
Unlike standard Local phone numbers, Toll-Free numbers are designated for business use in the United States and by certain mobile carriers in Canada. As of November 2020, the Rogers, Fido, Telus and Videotron networks in Canada treat Toll-Free SMS as a valid application-to-person (A2P) messaging channel. If you are sending A2P messages to the US and/or Canada that align with the CTIA's best practices, you should generally see reduced filtering when using a Toll-Free Number (versus standard filtering with a Local Number).

A Short Code is the ideal solution for high-volume A2P use cases. By default, Short Codes offer much higher messaging throughput than other types of numbers, at 100 SMS segments per second. Short Codes can also be enabled to send MMS (picture or media) messages. So, if you are sending large numbers of identical messages, the carriers in the country you are sending to may require that this traffic be sent from a Short Code. Or, contact us for creative ways that can be used to work around Local Number's limitation as a compromise.

Use more than one number
In countries where rate based filtering takes place, sending too many same messages from a single SMS number (Long Code) during a time period could cause that number to be blacklisted. Due to the low cost in leasing a Local SMS Number compared to a Short Code, some companies still choose to work with and around the compromise and lease more than one Local Number to spread out the traffic load. A Personalization Plugin can also be installed to systematically insert recipient's name/ID from a CSV file, making each SMS content slightly different.

Or, a better option is now available as of November 2020. You can switch to a Toll-Free Number, where your use-case traffic can be verified by the carriers to reduce message filtering. Please contact us for more information on how to submit your use-case messages to be verified.
(I) Is there a monthly charge for my account? What are the monthly plans? No. There is no monthly charge for the account and use of our basic functions. However, to send and receive text messages, you will need a new dedicated SMS Number (Short Code or Long Code), leased by the carriers. Please contact us to select and register your own SMS number. The leasing rates are flexible and affordable on a month-to-month basis and it can be done in a day!
(J) How much does it cost to send out a text? You require 1 SMS credit to send out 1 text. Each SMS credit costs only 7 cents. Other volume bulk discounts options are available to fit all sorts of budget starting from 4 cents per text.
(K) How does MODISclub bill me? We provide the option of online payment using major credit cards through PayPal, Stripe, or a pre-arranged digital invoicing through email.
(L) Can I send and receive text to subscribers all at once? Yes, you can send and receive group or mass text to subscribers once you have a Long, Toll-Free, or Short Code (SMS number) registered with us and connected to your account. Our control panel automatically collects, sorts & organizes your subscriber list for you. Compose your SMS and select the individuals or groups you wish to engage. Send your text with just one click. All incoming replies can also be viewed within the secured control panel.
(M) Can I use my cell phone number on the system to send and receive text? Yes, we can port your cell phone number over to our system, but you won't be able to use voice and SMS on both your cell phone and our platform at the same time. This will confuse carrier's billing. So, we highly recommend registering a separate Long, Toll-Free or Short Code with MODISclub dedicated to just SMS use.
(N) Can I send a text as a test? Yes. After successfully signing up your account, you will receive some FREE credits to run some test. Login and on the top Main Menu go to QUICK > TEST SMS.
(O) Can I send a graphic along with text in an SMS? Yes. Please contact us to setup a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) feature on your account. Alternatively, a web link can be included in the text for users to click and be directed to the graphic on a landing page. Talk to sales about creating a mobile landing page.
(P) What is the maximum number of character supported in an SMS? Standard messages are 140 characters in both Canada and the US. We provide a character counter to automatically count the number of characters used when composing your message. You may break a long message into 2 or 3 SMS, if preferred.
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