What is an SMS Gateway and How Do They Work?

🕒 5 min.

If you want to engage with your audience at scale via SMS, you’ll need a system that enables you to send and receive text messages directly from your web or mobile app.

An SMS Gateway is designed to help you do this.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about SMS gateways.

I’ll explain how you can use them to send text message marketing campaigns to your customers and subscribers.

We’ll also look at the technical details you need to know, and provide advice on how best to use an SMS gateway to help you grow your business using SMS.

Let’s dive in.

What is an SMS Gateway?

An SMS Gateway lets you send text messages (either text-based or multimedia-based) from a web or mobile app to your customers and contacts over a mobile network. 

What is a SMS gateway

You can also receive replies, send bulk campaigns to groups of contacts, or send individual texts.

The key benefits for a business are that an SMS gateway will translate your messages sent from the web into a format that’s compatible with text messages and ensure they get delivered to whoever you need to send it to.

You won’t need to write thousands of messages manually – you’ll be able to send campaigns in bulk via the web, and even create event-based triggers that automatically send messages to your subscribers based on specific actions they take.

If you’re thinking – this sounds like an API for SMS, then you’re correct. SMS Gateways are essentially the same thing as an API but simply referred to as a gateway.

How Do SMS Gateways Work?

SMS Gateways connect your web or mobile application to a server that will send SMS messages to your chosen recipients.

A modern SMS gateway will route your messages to the most relevant mobile networks, usually one in the same country as the person you’re sending it to.

The gateway will connect to mobile networks via a HTTP or SMPP (Short Message Peer-to-Peer) interface, so you can send messages to your recipients, wherever they are. You don’t have to worry about deliverability issues or slow send times (which will damage your campaign performance).

As you can see, SMS Gateways work in a fundamentally similar way to any other API connection that you already use to help run your business.

How To Use an SMS Gateway to Send Bulk Campaigns

If you want to set up an SMS Gateway that allows you to send text message campaigns to your audience, you’ll need to connect with an SMS delivery system.

For example, at Instasent, our API works to HTTP Rest and SMPP standards. Once you’ve created your API token, you can immediately start using Instasent to send text messages to your subscribers.

Your chosen SMS Gateway should connect directly with your web app, software application, or mobile app, and be able to send messages in an easy and secure way.

Key Considerations When Choosing Your SMS Gateway

Consistency and Service Reliability

Effective text message marketing campaigns rely on good timing. If someone expects a text and doesn’t get it, you’ve got a problem.

You need a system that can send messages exactly when you want them to for SMS to deliver results.

Ask vendors what their average up-time is, and if they have reliability reports you can see before signing up to their service.

The best vendors will have close to 100% up-time so you can be confident that your texts will send.

The lower the down-time, the more likely it is that your texts will get sent on time.

Location Compatibility

Depending on where your users are based, location will be a factor in choosing your SMS Gateway.

Choose one that can connect to mobile networks in the countries your users are based in for the best deliverability.

The best SMS gateways will connect directly to local mobile networks, ensuring better reliability and faster message delivery times.

Accessible Documentation

Your developers will need access to detailed and complete documentation to help them connect and configure your SMS Gateway.

For example, what programming languages do they support and how easy will it be to connect your application with the service?

For example, our service supports PHP, JS, Java, Ruby, and Python – no matter what language your developers use, it’ll be simple to integrate with Instasent.

Look for a vendor that has established processes and has helped other companies in your industry, or with similar use cases to yours.

Pricing Model

You’ll also need to consider how much you’re willing to spend to send your bulk SMS campaigns.

Most good bulk SMS providers will offer affordable pricing models based on cost per SMS sent.

The cost will vary depending on the country you’re sending to, so that’s something to consider based on the demographics of your audience.

Using Instasent to Send Bulk SMS Campaigns

If you’re ready to start sending bulk SMS campaigns, Instasent can help.

Our platform enables you to send SMS campaigns to over 200 countries whenever you need to.

Sending bulk SMS campaigns with Instasent

Instasent allows you to send texts via HTTP Rest and SMPP, and our SDK works with the most popular programming languages.

Start sending personalized content and increasing engagement with your brand today.

Click here to sign up and test the product free today, and only pay when you send campaigns.

Wrapping Up

An SMS Gateway is essentially an API for text messages. You can integrate your web or mobile app with one and send text message campaigns to your audience based on their actions or at any time you need to send information to them.

Your gateway will connect you with local mobile networks and turn your message content into SMS or MMS format so that you can quickly get in touch with your customers and subscribers whenever you need to.

Your customers won’t need to install any special software to receive your messages, as you’ll be sending texts directly to their phone number via your SMS gateway.

Want to learn more about sending bulk SMS campaigns to grow your audience engagement? Check out Instasent today.

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