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By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

With all the virtual meetings and events now taking place on so many different platforms, it’s hard to keep track of them all, and so people sometimes find themselves forgetting about or missing an event. Thankfully, SMS reminders can solve that. 

Twilio and its alternatives

Photo from GenVoice

EASTWEST PR currently uses Zoho Bookings, and thanks to Zapier, it is now integrated with Twilio, which is one of the market-leading SMS gateways. It has an editable application program interface or API, so it’s possible to add other functions like voice and SMS as well communication between WhatsApp or email. What this does is that when someone books an appointment with EASTWEST PR, both EASTWEST PR and the client get a text confirming their appointment and a reminder to be on time. Twilio itself is a comprehensive platform, and to send messages to a local telephone number, it will cost £0.04 cents. To send messages to a mobile number, it’s £0.075. In other words, it’s extremely cheap to send an SMS. It also gives one the option to have a generic number or a phone number from the country of the receiver of the message, but that will cost you more. It would be good to note too that Twilio counts the number of characters in the text, so longer messages will also create additional fees.

Some alternatives to Twilio include Vonage, Plivo, Bandwidth, Telnyx, Zipwhip, MessageBird, Infobip, Voxbone, and Go Reminders. Their pricing plans all vary by individual SMS or, in the case of Go Reminders, it charges up to 20 appointments per month, with upgraded plans available based on the number of appointments one wishes to set. Users would be paying anything from $15-$90 per month depending on the package, and this platform lets you send reminders by email, SMS, and WhatsApp, so it is an omni-channel messaging platform, as many of these are. The issue with these platforms, however, is managing the integration. 

ClickSend is another alternative to Twilio, and it offers a free trial. To send a text from their dashboard, it will only costs £0.028 which is two-thirds of the price of Twilio. The SMS messages can be customised, and template-based campaigns can even be sent through SMS as well. Also, there is a smooth integration through Zapier to Zoho Bookings, Microsoft Calendar, Outlook, and all of the main calendar and CRM platforms. 

Why SMS is here to stay

Photo from JustFreeWPThemes

These platforms all have one main requirement: to make it easy for people in this time to manage all the platforms they are using, whether on mobile or dekstop and especially as they invite and are invited to webinars, events, meetings, etc. At times, it can get overwhelimg onnecting and adding calendar events through all these different platforms, but SMS is proving to be an optimal solution to this. Another goal would eventually be to include the meeting ID and password in the SMS, because people often have a hard time finding those important meeting details as it gets lost amongst all the emails and messages one receives.

Things have changed from when SMS was first introduced and emails were almost an afterthought. Now, email, WhatsApp, WeChat, and many other apps are the norm, but SMS should not be forgotten, because it is a cost-effective way to remind people of their meetings on a device they use the most and in the channel that was once the least used. So, if you’ve got appointments to make with other people, try and send them an alert through SMS to help them out.

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo from Dreamstime

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