SMS Marketing in Canada: Your Comprehensive Guide

Raange SMS Marketing in Canada

Raange is a Canada-based SMS Marketing software company. We are also Canada’s Most Affordable SMS Marketing Service!

We’ve been in the text messaging game since 2015, so we know a few things about the Canadian SMS Marketing industry and bulk sms Canada.

We’ll take you through a few key facts you need to know about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). Explain the do’s and don’t’s around SMS marketing. And, discuss how to get started with our platform.

If you’re interested in reading this version in French, we’ve got you covered – Marketing SMS Québec – Tout ce que vous devez savoir

Let’s go…

Why SMS Marketing?

All types of organizations from retailers to schools to all levels of government are finding it more and more difficult to get a hold of their audience. As you know, email open rates and delivery rates are falling through the floor and people don’t like to answer the phone. 

However, the avg person checks their mobile 150+ times a day. Organizations of all types are turning to SMS Marketing to stay connected with their audiences. Why? Because text messages have a 98% open rate. Nearly, sent messages are read by the recipient.

On top of opening a text message, your audience is 7.5 times more likely to respond to an SMS message than the average email marketing campaign.

If you’re convinced that you want to try SMS marketing for your business, non-profit, charity, school, government organizations or wherever you work, we have good news for you. In this article, we explain how you can get started with SMS Marketing in Canada.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and SMS Marketing

What is the most important part of any successful SMS strategy?

You need to be able to legally send text messages to your contacts. We’ll save you some time and run you through the most important parts of CASL.

Collecting consent | CASL

Any company doing business in Canada needs consent from their recipients before sending text messaging campaigns. Here are the two forms of consent under CASL:

  • Express Consent  – essentially customer has to give you permission to contact them. Ex. They need to sign up to receive weekly promotions. 
  • Implied Consent – you’ve done business with them in the last 2 years. Ex. For a past customer who made a purchase in the last two years, you can message them if they haven’t asked you to stop contacting them.

It’s not enough to receive consent, you must have proof of consent. In addition, when you send a text message it must include an unsubscribe mechanism.

Raange SMS Text Unsubscribe Mechanism

We always advise customers to seek advice from their legal counsel on compliance issues. You can also reach out to the Raange team if you have any questions about our platform and compliance under CASL.

New Quebec privacy Law 25

If you’re sending messages to subscribers in Quebec, it is very important that you understand Law 25.

Under the new law, the concept of consent has been modernized. One of the biggest changes for businesses, similar to GDPR, Law 25 also has extraterritorial reach, encompassing companies whose actions impact consumers in Quebec.

Let’s imagine you have an online store based in the United States that sells products to customers worldwide, including in Quebec, Canada. If you collect personal information from customers in Quebec, such as their names and email addresses, and use that data for marketing or other purposes, you would need to comply with Law 25, even though your business is located outside of Quebec.

This is because the law applies to companies that affect consumers in Quebec by collecting and using their personal information. So, in this scenario, you would need to ensure your data collection and usage practices align with the requirements of Law 25 to avoid legal issues.

Based on GDPR’s standards, companies would have to use plain language in their consent text, and give specific consent to the consumer to better control the usage of their data.

In addition to better data standards, the government is looking at increasing financial penalties for companies that do not comply with the new law. Penalties of non-compliance can range from $15,000 to $25 million, or 4% of the company’s worldwide turnover for the previous year – whichever is greater.

If you want to learn more about it, check out our most recent blog post.

How to Get Started with SMS Marketing in Canada

It’s very easy to start sms marketing in Canada. Fortunately, for you, the buyer, there are many options available in the market. One of the most important steps for any Canadian company is to do your due diligence before you commit to a service.

1. Research Texting Services in Canada

As you will begin to notice, many of the text marketing software you discover through Google are international companies. Beware of pricing pages being quoted in foreign currency such as USD. If you are paying in USD this will add an additional 30% to your fees right away. Always ask the sms software company if they offer pricing in CAD as well.

Other text marketing services hide fees in keyword charges and additional seats, etc. Make sure you’re getting the full price per month and not just the per sms charge.

What are Carrier Fees?

In Canada and the US, mobile carriers charge small surcharges called carrier fees. These can be charged per SMS or MMS sent through the mobile carriers. All SMS marketing platforms will pass along this carrier fee to their customers, you. However, it will not be advertised on their pricing page. The first time you will see this carrier fee is on your first bill. Make sure you ask the text marketing software company if carrier fees are included in their pricing.

At Raange, all carrier fees are built into our prices, so you will not get any surprises at the end of the month.

Most of our customers that come from competitors are driven away by increasing month-over-month prices because it can get expensive if you don’t do your research in the beginning. So spend a little extra time making sure you find the right text messaging service for your business.

Do a Needs Assessment

Finally, whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise organization – or anything in between – it’s important to conduct a needs assessment for your organization. Look at things like:

  • The volume of monthly messages you plan to send
  • How many people need access to the platform – this can be a hidden cost
  • The types of messages you plan to send: bulk messages vs personalized sms messages.
  • The type of integrations you need: e-commerce, CRM, email marketing, etc. Ask yourself what other systems need to speak with your sms marketing platform for your ease of use.
  • The type of SMS number you need (we go into more detail next).

2. Select the right SMS number for you.

In Canada, there are really only two options you have for your organizations when it comes to types of SMS numbers: SMS Short Codes and SMS Toll-Free Numbers (TFNs).

A Toll-Free Number is a type of number with a distinct three-digit code that allows businesses and organizations to send and receive text messages. TFN numbers start with 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844 and 833.

TFN technology has improved quite a lot over the past few years, now allowing organizations to send much larger volumes of numbers than before. If you’re planning to send under 100,000 messages a month, this number is perfect for you.

An SMS short code is a 5 or 6-digit special number designed for high-volume two-way text messaging. You can use short codes to send and receive MMS and SMS messages, execute large one-to-many messaging campaigns and for subscriber acquisition.  This type of number is a workhorse and is normally recommended for organizations sending over 100,000 messages a month.

Today, both types of numbers require to be vetted, but Short Codes can 6+ weeks for a short code to be approved.

TFNs are much, much cheaper than an SMS Short Code. At Raange the cost of a TFN is included in your monthly package. We won’t get into the exact details of short code pricing in this post, but you can find all of that information here.

3. Import Your List of Contacts

If you already have a list of contacts who you have the right consent to text, as mentioned above under the CASL section, you can import your list of contacts into our platform. This is the best way to get started with SMS marketing and see results right away.

4. Grow Your Marketing List

It doesn’t require any mobile marketing or text marketing experience to start growing your marketing list. Our platform provides you with the tools you need to get started.

You can even read about how we’ve helped clients add thousands of new contacts to their marketing list in only a few months.

Create an Offer

Everything starts with a good offer and call-to-action to get your customers attention.

Studies have found that a majority of shoppers are more willing to provide opt-in and mobile information to merchants if they receive an offer or deal in return.

We’ve found that providing a tangible, instant offer like a free coffee for a restaurant, or $5 off your next purchase when you subscribe to receive text alerts for a retailer, will provide the highest conversion rates. You know your audience best.

It is very important to include the qualifier “when you subscribe to receive text alerts” so that the entire process is transparent.

SMS Keywords

SMS Keywords is a word, phrase, numbers or even emoji that your customers can use to text to your texting phone number to receive register for future marketing messages (see video below). Also known as Text-to-Join, you can use it for a simple registration wherein someone texts in and is added to your contact list. Or, we, at Raange, add a link to a registration form so you can collect a bit more information on your customer like first name, last name and email address.

Website Popups

You can use popups on your website to collect email addresses, mobile numbers and consent to start sending text messaging campaigns. This is a great way to grow your subscriber base for text alerts by converting your digital traffic.

QR Codes

In the Raange platform, you can easily generate QR codes linked to mobile registration forms. QR codes offer another tool for you to grow your marketing lists. Your customers can easily pull out their phone and scan a QR code in seconds to register for your promotion or giveaway.

Urban Planet | Raange Interactive In-store Sign | $5 Off Next Purchase
Urban Planet | Raange Interactive In-store Sign | $5 Off Next Purchase using QR codes, Text-to-Join and NFC for sign ups.

Subscriber Links

Grow your contact lists with Raange Subscriber Links. Increase registrations by linking mobile registration forms to Subscriber Links, exactly like the form you see below. You can use Subscriber links on your website or social media accounts to turn your traffic into real opt-in contacts for your SMS marketing campaigns.

Raange | Mobile Registration Page for Sirens
Raange | Mobile Registration Page for Text to Join

Promote Registrations

How to advertise your promotions for list growth is quite easy. The only limiting factor is your imagination. You can power any call-to-action with Text-to-Join promotions, using:

  • In-Store Signage
  • Radio / Audio Ads
  • Youtube Video
  • Flyers
  • Menus
  • Takeout & Delivery parcels
  • Table tents
  • Receipts
  • Window signs
  • Cash register
  • Website Popup
  • Social media

Any organization with a brick-and-mortar location, we highly recommend using signage. Your audience knows and trusts your brand already, and want to build a relationship with you. We recommend placing signage throughout your physical location, but especially at the Point-of-Sale, and Front Display Window. You can always ask your customers for more data in the future!

4. Send Your First Text Campaign

Now that everything is set up and in place, you can send your first text message promotion, event reminder, newsletter – whatever you want. You can schedule the message to go out at a later time and date, and then start scheduling your sms campaigns to go out with your email campaigns.

If you need helping squeezing your message into 160 characters, we put together this post on the 3 tips to writing the perfect marketing text message.

6 Way Businesses Use SMS Marketing in Canada

  1. Reminders to Upcoming Events – a great way to increase attendance for VIP events by sharing a link to register for an upcoming event.
  2. Timely Promotions – increase sales online or in store with timely promotions like 10% off your next purchase in the next 24 hours!
  3. Urgent Notices – SMS is an easy way to let your customers or audience know of any urgent events like short-term closure or a change in venue. More than 90% of text are open and read within a few minutes, so it’s the best way to send urgent, timely notices.
  4. Augment Email Marketing – SMS is a great tool to use alongside your email marketing strategy. You can use Text-to-Join to collect more emails for your marketing list. Send messages alongside email via text message to stay connected with your customers on their channel of choice.
  5. Send Mobile Flyers – share your weekly, bi-weekly or monthly Flyers or eFlyers using SMS. You can easily add a link to your eFlyer in your text campaign and schedule it to go out on a later date.
  6. Grow a VIP list – contacts that join your text marketing program are people that know and like your brand. These are essentially your VIPs, who will come back to make purchases and engage with your brand on an ongoing basis. Create a fun VIP program with special alerts, promotions, offers etc. for those that join your Text Alerts.
Raange | Pizza Text Alert

How to Get Started with Raange

Ready to give Canada’s Most Affordable SMS Marketing solution a try? SMS marketing in Canada is simple and easy with Raange SMS. Here’s how you can start sending SMS text messages with Raange:

  1. Set up a 1 on 1 call with one of our Team Members who will get you all set up and take you through a platform demo. Then we’ll hand over the keys.
  2. Upload your contact list.
  3. Set up your SMS keywords, Popup, subscriber links and QR codes (list growth tools).
  4. Promote your list growth tools.
  5. Send text messaging campaigns.
  6. Stay connected with your audience.

If you have any questions, you can also request a demo. Alternatively, you can call us at (844) 472-2643.

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