Small businesses have a unique opportunity when it comes to text message marketing. Unlike larger businesses, small businesses can communicate one-on-one with their customers in a more intimate fashion. This is one main reason why text message marketing campaigns are so powerful—they allow you to connect, engage and build more of a personal relationship with your customers.
What is a Text Message Marketing Service?
A text message marketing service is SMS (short message service) software. The platform’s SMS marketing tools and features are used by businesses to curate and send message-based texts to a targeted list of phone numbers they acquire from their customer base. As you can see, this is a significant advantage to small businesses since 90% of customers say they prefer to text with a company vs. calling them.
Additionally, businesses can use SMS software to send bulk messages to their customer list as part of their text message marketing campaigns. They are incredibly effective tools because of their ability to send thousands of highly targeted SMS messages in minutes. This targeted feature offers more functionality than simply sending mass text messages.
Marketing by SMS can yield exceptional results for small businesses because of its open rates, affordability and excellent delivery. Through this service, you can send promotional campaigns, time-sensitive offers or transactional alerts for marketing purposes by text.
How to Select the Best SMS Marketing Service for Your Business
When selecting the best service provider to send your text messages, there are 5 main factors you’ll want to look for. They include:
- Cost: The cost of the platform you’ll use for a text message marketing campaign is an important consideration. Make sure to find out what the monthly subscription fee is and whether there are any other costs involved. It’s a good idea to check and see if using the software requires a minimum monthly fee or has a pay-as-you-go structure.
- Features: Make sure the platform has all the features you need. These can include automated triggered text messages, SMS surveys, analytics & reporting to measure your performance and opt-in/opt-out management.
- Ease of Use: The platform should be simple and a breeze to use, enabling you to start sending your first outbound message right away. Look for platforms that have user-friendly interfaces and easy-to-use dashboards.
- Support & Services: Make sure the platform comes with 24-hour support so you can get help in case of any issues. You also need to know if a live chat feature or phone number is available for customer service inquiries.
- Security: In addition to sending mass messages and having the other factors on this list, the platform should have security measures to protect customer data and ensure compliance with privacy laws.
12 Best Text Message Marketing Software and Services
We researched different text message marketing services for small businesses and listed our 12 best picks in no particular order below. We based the 12 we chose on factors, such as flexible pricing packages, ease of use, features, good reviews and customer support.
1. EZ Texting
First up is EZ Texting, a Saas company that is a leading text message marketing provider for small businesses. EZ Texting lets you create, send and monitor your SMS campaigns from one uncomplicated dashboard. Its fast, easy, and reliable ways to connect, along with its user-friendly interface, wide array of tools and affordability, combine to make it a solid choice among SMS platforms. In addition, they have powerful integration tools that let you connect your apps to SalesForce, HubSpot and Zapier.
- Comprehensive analytics and reporting
- Automated scheduling
- Opt-in/Opt-out management
- Drip campaigns
- Surveys and polls
- Contact management and import tools
- MMS picture messaging
EZ Texting has a 4.5 out of 5 stars Reviewers say the website is “easy to use and set up” and that “customer support responds to inquiries in a timely manner.”
- EZ Texting has four plans for companies of all sizes—all of them offer 200 credits/month and one or more keywords. You can boost the plans by purchasing additional credits.
- Paid plans start with the value plan at $24/month. It’s 4¢ for every additional credit.
- Their most popular plan is their essentials plan at $36/month. It’s 1¢ for every additional credit.
- Their top-tier plan costs $374/month and includes unlimited keywords. It’s also 1¢ for every additional credit.
- You can save 20% with their annual plan, and they also have a 14 Day Risk-Free Trial.
Text message marketing service provider Klaviyo is the brainchild of founders Ed Hallen and Andrew Bialecki who designed it for e-commerce businesses. You can estimate your ROI from their integrated email and SMS campaigns with their online estimator. In addition, Klaviyo’s automation and segmentation features let you send targeted messages to your customer base based on their likes and behaviors. The platform is super user-friendly, and it offers several courses and certifications that showcase how to use Klavioyo to grow your business.
- One-click integrations
- ROI-based reporting
- Segmentation and personalization
- Pre-built automations and flow builder
- Data science and analytics
- Unlimited A/B Testing
- Facebook and Instagram advertising
Reviewers give Klaviyo a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. Users like the scalability of the platform and the fact that you can design email/SMS flows with logic that interlaces them for a multifaceted approach.
Klaviyo has flexible, scalable pricing for email & SMS, and you can use their online estimator to get this cost. For instance, if you plan on texting 250 of your contacts each month, it’s $10/month. Go over that, and the price goes up according to scale.
Podium is one of the best-known text message companies on this list. Their platform allows you to connect with your customers, improve engagement and encourage engagement via SMS. It’s an easy-to-use platform that integrates seamlessly with most CRM systems, allowing you to automate all of the communication between you and your clients, so they never miss a beat. One convenient feature is Podium’s ability to encourage customers to leave reviews, which allows you to respond to them in real-time.
- Automated follow-up messages
- Prior consent opt-in list
- Review tools
- Elevated user engagement
- Intuitive, easy to use interface
- Google analytics integration
Customers rate Podium 4.4 out of 5 stars Users gave the platform good reviews for being easy-to-use and train people. They also said the platform’s ability to get customer reviews, including Google reviews, was where it really shined. On the other hand, some critics cited expense, software glitches and lack of customer service as downsides.
- Podium offers a 14-day trial. Their paid plan, the essential, starts at $189/month and is best for small businesses getting started.
- Their most popular plan is $449/month, and it is ideal for businesses wanting to streamline and grow. If you decide to go with Podium, they require a year-long commitment.
If you want an intuitive dashboard with tools that segment and automate your text marketing to target the right audience, SimpleTexting is the platform for you. It integrates with a wide range of CRMs, e-commerce platforms and apps like Mailchimp so that you can easily create triggered messages or drip campaigns to keep your customers engaged.
- Segmentation tools
- Automation tools
- Two way messaging
- Toll-free and landline texting
- Short codes
- Send and schedule tools
Reviewers rated SimpleTexting 4.7 out of 5 stars. They like the platform’s reliability, user-friendliness and how they could build their own SMS list.
- SimpleTexting has four plans, and all of them have unlimited keywords.
- Their starter plan is $29 and includes 500 messages/month. Additional messages cost 5.5¢ a piece.
- Their most expensive plan costs $109/month and includes 3,000 messages. It’s 4¢ for each additional message.
- They have a two-week free trial where you can have two-way conversations, send 50 complimentary SMS messages or 16 MMS messages and try out their built-in apps.
Textedly offers marketing tools that help businesses connect with their customers through automated small message service marketing tools. Planning a text marketing campaign? If so, you can schedule it well ahead of time with Textedly’s calendar features. It’s also easy to schedule a single text message or mass group texting through their interface. Textedly’s text marketing tool does lack some key features like surveys and segmentation, but it makes up for that with its low price point, easy-to-use interface and several useful features.
- Custom mobile keywords
- Voice service
- Autoresponders and triggered messages
- Drip campaigns
- Calendar management
- Analytics and reporting suite
- Automated SMS messages
Textedly has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating, and users love the platform’s affordability, automation and great customer service.
- Textedly offers 12 text marketing plans that are built to scale.
- They have a 14-day free trial with 50 messages and a custom keyword.
- Paid plans start at $24/month and include 1,200 texts, a custom keyword and complimentary inbound texts messages.
- The highest tier out of the 12 plans costs $350/month. The plan includes custom keywords (10 of them!), free incoming messages and 30,000 messages/month.
Text message marketing service provider Twilio has impressive technology that ensures your text marketing campaign works. Additionally, the platform has a massive network that has over 900 million daily data points, providing some of the best deliverability rates in the market. It integrates easily with CRMs and other business tools, making it an excellent choice for businesses that want to use text marketing as part of a larger strategy. Lastly, you can build out your communication flows using their drag?and?drop builder.
- Autoresponders and automated reminders
- Triggered messages
- Call tracking
- Surveys and polls
- Advanced marketing analytics
- Scalable two way messaging
- Text-to-speech capabilities
- Cross channel functionality,
- Communication APIs
Twilio has a 4.6 rating out of 5. Users like their reliable, programmable short message service, voice call service and messaging APIs for two-factor communication.
- Twilio offers eight flexible payment structures based on features, meaning you only pay for the features you use.
- One of their more popular SMS marketing tools is in their programmable messaging plan for outbound and inbound texts in the U.S. That plan is priced at 0.75 cents a text.
- Twilio gives discounts to businesses that need to send a large number of messages and those and other committed users.
- They offer a free trial credit with full API access.
Users can get the hang of using the text marketing solutions of SlickText easily. They have a massive library of features and digital services, including multiple SMS automation options. In addition, SlickText lets you offer some “slick” coupons and loyalty awards to customers. If you’ve ever read our article about SMS marketing tips, you know that this approach helps you make the most of your marketing campaign—as customers are likely to opt into your marketing campaign if they know they are getting a juicy coupon for their efforts.
- Free mobile app
- Drip campaigns
- Automated workflows
- Contests and surveys
- Text-to-join and opt-in links
- MMS/Picture Messages
- Educational tools
Reviewers give SlickText’s a 4.8 out of 5-star rating, citing how easy creating and scheduling texts is. They also liked how quick it was to implement it, with one user saying they could send a text the same day it went live.
- SlickText offers 8 paid plans for your text message solutions. Starting with their basic plan at $29/month, you get features like 500 texts/month, 2 text words, unlimited contacts, picture messaging and rollover texts.
- Their most popular startup plan is the step up at $49/month. With that, you get 1,000 texts/month.
- The highest advertised tier at SlickText is the monstro, costing $1,250/month. This plan includes 50,000 texts/month and features 30 Textwords, unlimited contacts, picture messaging and rollover texts.
- You can get familiar with using SlickText through their free 14-day trial that includes 50 texts.
Text message marketing company TextMarks is used in several industries. A significant advantage it provides to its customers is a seamless way to communicate with segmented lists or entire audiences. Textmarks also has a library of features that lets you do everything from sending out mobile coupons to sharing automated messages. However, one of its most popular features is its ease of use that works for beginners just testing the waters to pros who have used their platform for quite some time. A potential downside is that TextMarks doesn’t have two-way communication.
- Contact management tools
- Mobile coupons and keywords
- Exceptional customer service
- Survey/Poll Management
- Scheduled messaging
- SMS API
- dedicated short codes
TextMarks has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Users like the platform’s easy-to-use features, along with its customer service and delivery times for messages. They also liked the educational resources for privacy laws they provide.
- TextMarks offers a free trial and has a startup fee they often discount or waive upon request. The costs for each tier are based on the volume of keywords and texts you’ll utilize.
- Paid pricing starts at $199/month with their gold plan that is ideal for small businesses. The plan includes mass texting, SMS lead Capture and reporting.
- The next tier is their most popular one: a platinum plan that’s best for growing businesses and organizations. It’s $499/month and you get most of the features you get with the gold plan. However, you also get advanced features like Lead-to-Salesforce CRM and campaign consulting.
9. Medallia Zingle
Medallia Zingle counts the Hyatt and KOA among their 2,000 clients. Their text-based marketing solutions offer an excellent option for hospitality-based industries such as hospitals, hotels, and resorts to communicate with their guests in real-time. The software deploys AI technology that lets you better understand your customer’s message intent. You can then track how they respond to these messages to make more informed marketing decisions. Additionally, it integrates with third-party apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat so that you can connect better with your hospitality customer base.
- API and third party connectors
- Automated service experiences
- Triggers and actions
- Customer Insights & NPS
Medallia Zingle has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars Users appreciate the platform’s AI capabilities as well as its ability to integrate with third-party apps. They also like its simple user interface.
Zingle offers a free trial for their software for three days, and they have no standard packages. After the trial, you’ll need to request a quote from a sales agent.
Salesmsg is an excellent option for companies that send mass texts out to their extensive contact list. The platform is specifically designed to help sales teams build sales with SMS services, and their text message marketing tools work hard to provide results you can count on in real-time. It’s additionally one of the only services that integrate with Salesforce, making it easy to use an existing contact list and create targeted campaigns in just a few clicks. Salesmsg will also text-enable your current landline business phone number or provide you with a brand new one to use.
- Dynamic segmentation
- Integrates with 1,000+ apps via Zapier
- Set up text campaigns in minutes
- Real-time reporting on opens, clicks and replies
- MMS texting
- Opt-out management, double opt-in
- Calendar integration to CRM
Salesmsg is rated 4.0 out of 5 stars Users like how it’s easy to send messages to their clients, along with its ability to connect to Hubspot and let them see their messages on one screen.
- Salesmsg has a 14-day free trial, and 5 paid plans that scale according to how many messages you send per month.
- Their paid plans start at $25/month. and you get 500 credits. Every additional credit is 4¢.
- If you plan on going over 10,000 texts, you can talk to a sales agent about getting their custom plan.
TextMagic offers a wide range of features, including sending automated messages, drip campaigns and mass texts. Several subaccount features and capabilities allow teams to acquire and manage their SMS messaging. In addition, their mail merge custom fields will enable you to send thousands of custom texts in just seconds to personalize your message to recipients worldwide. Businesses can reach hundreds of countries through the software, making this an excellent option for multinational firms.
- Two-way SMS chat
- SMS Gateway API
- Virtual mobile numbers
- Mail merge SMS and message templates
- List segmentation
- Automation and scheduling tools
TextMagic has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars Users gave high points to the platform’s time-saving template option, which they say keeps them from rewriting the same message over and over and copying and pasting it every time.
- TextMagic offers a pay-as-you-go model instead of pay by the month, year or custom packages. Using their model, you can choose the tools you need to run your small business while also ensuring you can still keep a handle on your budget.
- The Price per text is 4¢, and you have free incoming text messages; you only pay for outbound messages you send.
- They have a 30-day free trial you cancel at any time and an online calculator where you can estimate costs based on high volumes of texts or texts to more than one country.
Thryv makes text marketing campaigns effective by offering dynamic end-to-end business management solutions that drive growth and simplify anything from marketing to online booking. For instance, the company’s SMS platform connects Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and publishes inbound and outbound content from one place (including pre-built posts). Thryv also upgrades your contact list into a CRM, giving you insights and a customizable view of your customers and leads. This feature allows you to estimate the expense to profit ratio with more accuracy.
- Automated marketing campaigns
- Reputation management
- Strong customer support 24/7
- Scheduling and appointment tools
- Two-way marketing text messages
- App market and integrations
- Automated marketing campaigns
Thryv earned a 4.2 out of 5-stars, with users giving a nod to Thryv’s ability to help them grow and manage the ever-increasing client base that accompanied the growth.
- There are three flexible and customizable plans at Thryv, but none of them have a standard payment structure.
- Their pricing varies on a case-by-case basis and depends mainly on the type of business you are in.
- All of Thryv’s paid plans include a two-week free trial, so you can try one that’s a fit for your company’s SMS marketing needs before you commit. Prices start as low as $199/month.
- After trialing, you’ll need to get in touch with their sales team for a quote on a custom package that’s a good fit for your type of company.
What is the best text message marketing service?
The best services will depend on the specific needs of your business. For example, if you only want to send a few messages a week, it may make sense for you to go with Textedly. The same goes for EZ Texting, whose low-price point, ease of use and wide selection of product features make it the best choice for small businesses.
If you’re looking for more robust services and a broader international reach that allows you to send mass texts and segment customers according to their interactions with your campaigns, consider TextMagic. On the other hand, if you have the budget and want the ease of use through an intuitive dashboard, along with all the whistles and bells, the full-scale marketing solutions at Podium are a good choice.
Whichever service you choose, make sure that it’s integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) system so you can manage all the interactions with your customers in one place.
How much does it cost for text message marketing?
Marketing through text message providers can be very affordable, with many services starting at around $25 per month on average. However, you’ll find the biggest difference in price between services comes down to how much messaging volume you need each month and whether you require additional features such as automation, drip campaigns and surveys. Also, providers often offer discounts if you sign up for annual payment plans vs. paying monthly.
Additionally, prices may vary depending on how large your subscriber list is and your unique needs. For example, if you send one SMS campaign weekly to your subscriber list of 10,000, you could expect to spend around $400 to $450 monthly on most pay-per-usage platforms.
While text message marketing is affordable for most businesses, it’s important to look beyond price when evaluating options. For example, consider value-added features like A/B testing, integrations with other software and platforms, customer support and more.
What is the law on text message marketing?
Now that you’ve seen the top 12 text marketing services, you may be wondering about how to stay compliant when sending texts. A big part of SMS marketing best practices is not to spam your customers by sending the same text message frequently and instead send them relevant, targeted messages. However, some laws govern how businesses can use SMS marketing that we’ll touch on a little here.
Before you send out the first outbound text message to a customer, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the legal regulations and requirements that govern text message marketing in the U.S. and Canada. For example, it’s illegal for a business or other organization to send unwanted commercial messages over SMS in both countries.
The United States Federal Communications Commission oversees the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and regulations pertaining to bulk text messaging. The TCPA establishes rules for commercial texts and calls to mobile phones, including no calls before or after certain hours of the day and specific disclosures on outbound text messages.
The TCPA also requires that you get prior express written consent from your contacts before texting their cellphone or other mobile devices. This prior consent means that the recipient must agree to be contacted for marketing purposes and give permission via a checkbox or a signature, not by verbally agreeing to receive texts.
The TCPA also has other restrictions like prohibiting automated texts, texts sent to people who don’t want them and sending too many messages at once.
Other laws such as the Can-Spam Act, which regulates email marketing, may apply to text marketing. There are also international laws that govern the practice, and these laws are enforced on a case-by-case basis. The penalties for not adhering to these legal guidelines can be steep, so it’s important to consult with an attorney before starting any SMS marketing campaigns.
This article, “12 Text Message Marketing Services” was first published on Small Business Trends