Q&A: What Is an SMS API?
Are you looking for new ways to optimize your SMS communications? Or are you a developer considering integrating SMS functionality into your existing software? This guide will answer questions about SMS APIs, including:
- What is an SMS API?
- How does an SMS API work?
- What can an SMS API be used for?
Plus, we’ll dive into the benefits of automating your text message communications and integrating SMS features and functionality into your software.
What Is an SMS API?
An API, or application programming interface, is code that allows two different platforms or computer systems to communicate with each other. An SMS API, in particular, allows you to integrate text messaging functionality into your existing software. You can use an SMS API with your customer relationship manager (CRM) program, an e-commerce store, your company website, and other applications.
How Does an SMS API Work?
An SMS API connects your text message provider directly to your internet-based application or website. The API opens a port in the software code using either HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) or REST (representational state transfer) technology.
An HTTP SMS API is the simplest and easiest to integrate. It works well with websites, e-commerce platforms, and out-of-the-box CRM software.
A REST SMS API is more complicated but also allows for more customization. If you want to integrate SMS functionality with your custom-developed applications, you may need to use a REST API.
Whichever protocol you use, the SMS API will allow you to automatically send and receive text messages without needing to manually log into your SMS provider’s platform or use the native messaging app on your phone.
What Can an SMS API Be Used For?
An SMS API allows you to automatically send text messages to your customers, supporters, or employees. This can be used in many ways:
- An SMS API integration for healthcare applications can send automatic appointment reminders to improve patient communication and reduce no-shows.
- Restaurants can use an SMS API with their online ordering system to process and confirm new orders, provide pickup or delivery updates, and request Yelp reviews.
- SMS APIs simplify event management by automating the process of inviting attendees, managing RSVPs, communicating last-minute details, and collecting feedback.
- Churches and faith groups can integrate text to pay and mass texting functionality to communicate with supporters and accept donations in a way that’s convenient even for homebound congregants.
- Large corporations can use automatic texting to communicate weather-related closures, last-minute schedule changes, and other important information to staff and clients.
Other creative uses for an SMS API include:
- Sending one-time passwords (OTPs) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) codes for account security
- Providing automatic tracking updates and notifications for shipments
- Scheduling messages to go out on specific dates or times
- Auditing customer service communications for quality or compliance
SMS APIs are highly customizable, so there are almost endless possibilities for how you can use them within your organization.
What Are the Benefits of Using an SMS API?
Since SMS APIs provide automation, you can increase the efficiency of your communications. For instance, instead of requiring a staff member to manually create contact lists for your SMS subscribers, you can use an SMS API with your CRM to automatically segment users into lists based on predefined characteristics (e.g., their location, the amount of money they spent on a purchase, or how they opted-in to your SMS campaign).
You could also use an SMS API with your booking software to automatically send appointment reminders to your clients—this saves your reception staff from needing to make manual phone calls every day. Using an SMS API allows you to communicate efficiently while allocating your and your staff’s time to more important tasks.
With an SMS API, you can access and integrate your provider’s advanced text messaging functionality. For example, you can incorporate text survey features with your CRM software, allowing you to automatically send customer feedback surveys and other polls as well as analyze and visualize the results. Or you could integrate text to pay with your e-commerce platform, so your customers can easily make orders or payments right from their phone’s native text messaging app.
An SMS API gives you more control over your SMS communications and allows you to communicate and operate more efficiently.
Optimizing Your SMS Communications With the Right SMS API
An SMS API is a powerful and flexible tool for linking your text message functionality with your existing software and web apps. However, not all SMS APIs are alike, so you need to do your research and choose one that meets your unique requirements and business goals. For instance, unless you have a large team of developers available to custom-build all of your API integrations, you should look for a provider who gives you access to the support and tools you need to succeed, like NorthText.
Our comprehensive library of SMS API tools helps you easily and efficiently make use of our innovative features and functionality. Plus, our live, U.S.-based support team is available to answer any developer questions about integrating our SMS API with your software.