It has been decades since SMS text messaging started to be used by organisations and not too much has changed with it over the years. If you look at the majority of SMS text messages being sent by organisations today, it’s still the same simple and short (or sometimes not so short) text messages inviting us to do something or informing us of something. The interaction – if any – is usually basic, sometimes awkward and typically requiring us to reply back with a number, letter or “yes” / “no”. Also, to send and receive these messages the integration is also simple as a result of the limited content and interaction: a minimal API call conveying nothing more than a simple text message.
Sometimes simple content for a simple interaction and a simple integration into your systems is all that’s needed. If you just want to get the job done with ease, even if the process is a bit clunky, gives a poor customer experience and doesn’t integrate well into your systems and processes, then this may work well for you. However, if this isn’t you and you want more then read on!
A Rich Text Message is delivered securely as a HTML page via a URL contained in an SMS. It is a page designed to consistently convey content and a limited, but effective degree of interaction across different mobile devices. It is not intended as a fully-functional web page within a website but as a message that has rich content and the opportunity for interaction. When a RTM is sent to a mobile user, an SMS message will be delivered to the mobile with a brief text message (including a “click to open” instruction) and the URL to the actual Rich Text Message. Depending on the user’s mobile, a preview of the message can be displayed before actually displaying the Rich Text Message. When the URL is clicked the RTM is displayed in the mobile phone’s browser using a secure TLS connection.
A Rich Text Message is a superior visual experience when compared with that of an SMS text message. With RTM you can control the layout of the message and have different elements within that layout including text (in different colours, typographic emphasis, typeface and size), images (photos, diagrams, logos), videos, buttons (call-to-action) and other form elements if necessary (date selectors).
Messages can be branded with the logo of your organisation, something that can’t be done effectively with an SMS text message.
Given the content of the RTM is delivered using a secure TLS connection, an RTM can be used to convey information that you wouldn’t wish to convey in an SMS text message.
With the inclusion of buttons and other form elements you can get the user to interact with you in a more intuitive way. For them to indicate that they agree to something they click on a button rather than typing a reply SMS text message with “YES” in it. For them to reschedule an appointment they can click on a button to initiate a telephone call to you or select an available alternative date and time from the choices given.
The use of buttons provides a one-click way of the user indicating their specific choice in a clear and unambiguous way. On clicking the button, the message can update to show the acknowledgement of that choice and the user is optionally then taken to your website to perform some other action or to view some information. For example, an RTM could be used to convey confirmation of a taxi booking. The buttons in the confirmation message could be used to (i) take the user to the taxi company’s website where they can view the location of their taxi and (ii) cancel the taxi if necessary.
You can also know when an RTM has been delivered and read by a user, another advantage over SMS text messaging.
With regular SMS text messaging you send a message using a simple API call that specifies the destination mobile number and the text that you want to send. For a response that comes back from the mobile an API callback is made to your application with the mobile number that sent the message and the freeform message text. This integration is simple, however its linkage is poor with your own systems and the processes being conducted by those systems.
The RTM API gives developers access to a wide range of means of specifying the static and dynamic elements of a message. With RTM the service can interact with databases, perform logical operations and call your APIs based on user input.
The content displayed in an RTM message can be explicitly specified in the RTM API call or can be based on the result of a query to your own database or an API call to your systems. For example, an image displayed in a message is based on a product SKU where the SKU is used to query your database for the URL of the image of the product, product title and product description.
So why not take the power into your own hands and use rich text messaging as part of your organisation’s communication strategy? Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we could help you. Call us on +44 (0)1506 605 260 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org