Understanding your Sender ID options
By definition, the Sender ID (also known as the ‘Caller ID’ or ‘From Number’) is the mobile number or name that an SMS message comes from.
When you send a message from your mobile phone, the Sender ID is your own mobile number. If the recipient has your number stored in their contacts, the contact name will appear in place of the number.
At touchSMS, we source a range of Virtual mobile numbers from local carriers for use as the Sender ID. These numbers are mobile numbers just like your own and can send and receive any amount of text messages, however, they cannot be used for phone calls. If you call a virtual number it will give a disconnected message.
Important things to consider when choosing an appropriate Sender ID
When sending an SMS message from your touchSMS account, you have a number of options with regards to the Sender ID. Important things to consider are as follows:
- How the Sender ID displays on a phone
- Whether or not a recipient can reply
- And if replies are possible, where does that reply go?
Let’s look at your options:
- Open Reply Path (Replies ON) – Shared Data Number Pool
We have a pool of numbers that are used to send customers messages and receive replies. Each time you send a message using the Shared Number Pool, the system will randomly select one of the Shared Numbers for your send. This approach is perfect for low volume users (less than 500 messages per month) or perfect for one-off larger sends.
- Use of Shared Number Pool is free.
- You can receive replies or opt-outs back to your touchSMS account for basic processing.
- The number pool is shared with many of our small clients, and there is the small possibility that your recipient may receive a message from one of our other clients on the same number.
- You will not get the same number each time you send, so if you are sending messages on a regular basis, your recipients will end up receiving messages from different Sender ID’s each time, which might confuse some recipients over time.
- Shared Numbers do not have enhanced reply management options, such as Keywords & Auto Responders.
- Lease a dedicated Virtual Number (Replies ON)
You have the option of leasing a Virtual Number. This number is assigned to your account for exclusive use by you to send and receive messages, this approach is perfect for businesses wanting an ‘identity’ by way of a unique mobile number.
Virtual numbers are highly recommended for customers with a database bigger than 500 numbers for one-off sends and recommended for anyone looking to regularly message their database no matter what the size.
- Virtual numbers are for your exclusive use and are not shared with any other customers. No risk of recipients receiving other messages on this number.
- You get the same number for each and every send you initiate.
- You have enhanced reply options such as Forward to Email, Auto responders, Keywords, Forward to URL amongst many others.
- You can advertise your number in the real world and customers can ‘Text In’ to initiate the communication.
- You can invite recipients to save your Virtual Number in their address book, such that each time they receive a message from you, their phone will display the name from their address book, the same way as happens with receiving a message from a friend. This is the best of all worlds, as you get a Sender ID that appears branded whilst it is still an underlying number that can be replied to.
- Virtual Numbers come at an additional cost. There is a one-off fee of $29.95 which includes acquisition and setup, and a monthly rental fee of $19.95 for the duration of your selected Virtual Number term.
How to lease a Virtual Number:
It’s as simple as visiting the Virtual Numbers section of your touchSMS account and clicking Order Number. There is a set-up fee involved and a monthly charge. You must choose from a 3, 6 or 12 month term for your Virtual number, however, there are no lock-in contracts. You will be charged for the setup fee and full duration of the selected term at the time of lease purchase, but you can stop leasing the number any time you like without penalty
If you are looking for some extra memorability for your number, we have a range of Premium Numbers (Australia only) at different price points. For availability and pricing click here to contact our support team.
- Use a Custom Sender ID (Replies OFF)
A Custom (or Alphanumeric) Sender ID is usually a branded or meaningful word. For example, you can send an SMS message from touchSMS. Noting that due to telco protocols an Alpha Sender ID can only be 11 characters long and cannot contain any spaces or symbols, so you sometimes need to get creative with abbreviating longer names.
The most important thing to understand about a Custom Sender ID, is that recipient CANNOT reply to the message. We generally only recommend considering a Custom Sender ID for things like reminders and alerts where you do not need to worry about receiving opt-outs or replies.
- Branded experience for users
- Users cannot reply to the message in any way as it is not a number.
- If your message is commercial or marketing in nature, you must still provide a valid opt-out method, which will chew up a lot of characters in your message, and possibly a lot of extra admin in manually opting recipients out of your list.
If you would like to use a custom Sender ID for commercial messaging, login into your touchSMS account click on Settings > Allowed Senders IDs