If you are a newcomer to the SMS world, you must have confusions like I have, about the inbound and outbound SMS.
What do they mean? And how do they function?
In this article, we'll walk through these two popular members of the big family of SMS, and you'll be more familiar with the SMS world.
Let's get started.
To merchants, inbound SMS means getting SMS messages from people, while outbound SMS means sending SMS messages to people.
You may see that at some SMS platforms, inbound SMS is free. And in other SMS platforms, inbound SMS also charges fees.
For outbound SMS, you always have to pay for them.
What are the usages of each of them, you may wonder?
Let's move on to that topic.
Inbound SMS usages
To encourage people to send messages to you, firstly you need to apply for a number that people can send to.
The number you apply for your company can be a long code or a short code. If you are not familiar with these two terms, check this article to find out: Long Code? Short Code?.
After you get a number for your company, the next move is to think up marketing proposals to encourage people to participate and send inbound SMS to you.
You can make full use of your website and social media. By providing valuable content to people you get your content spread.
1. Joining your SMS campaign
Spreading is the first step. The second step is to encourage people to opt-in to your SMS campaign so that you can send them regular SMS messages to build connections with them.
You can encourage people to opt-in by sending a message. And this message is what we call an inbound message.
There are other cases to use inbound messages.
2. Getting discounts
You can propose a promoting activity, and people can get a discount by sending an inbound message to your company.
For instance, if you are promoting a Christmas discount, you can set a keyword as an inbound message to trigger a link to get the discount.
3. Getting services
You can set a keyword to trigger a special service so that people who send you that keyword will get the corresponding service.
For instance, if you are running a movie theater, you can set a movie name as the keyword to buy a ticket.
There are other functions that inbound SMS can perform. You can design it yourself as long as it serves your business purpose.
Outbound SMS usages
Outbound SMS is used far wider compared to inbound SMS. One of the most popular usages of outbound SMS is for marketing purposes.
We all have received commercial SMS messages from all kinds of merchants on our cell phones. That is marketing outbound SMS.
SMS is an ideal tool for marketing since the pickup rate of phone calls and the open rate of emails are low.
According to statistics, more than 90% of SMS messages are opened within 3 minutes.
7.1 billion people are using a cellphone in 2021.
Around the whole world, the SMS business is around 60 billion dollars market.
You can have a vivid feeling of the effectiveness and importance of SMS marketing.
The second important function of outbound SMS is sending notifications.
As a merchant, you can send various SMS notifications to your users to make your service better.
For example, you can remind your users of their account status, the payments, the logistics, etc. A thoughtful message will make you and your users closer, leaving a good impression on them about your brand and service.
Another important function of outbound SMS is sending verification codes.
Currently, in the world, two factors authentication is the most popular way to verify the users' identity. Simply put, verifying an identity requires a password and a verification code. And the verification code is sent through an SMS message.
Almost all the merchants with a user account system adopt this service.
There are other functions for outbound SMS. You can explore this article to find out more: Everything You Need to Know About SMS Marketing, SMS Campaign, and Bulk SMS Marketing.
So, until now, you've had a first impression of the definition and usages of inbound and outbound SMS. Next time when you see these two terms, you'll know what they are about so that you can make proper decisions.