In the average waiting room or restaurant, there is one constant: people on their smartphones to check the news, play games or shop online.
Around 85% of Americans own a smartphone, and 97% own a cellphone of some kind, according to Pew Research. It's no longer a question of whether target customers own smartphones, but how to reach them on their devices. While email marketing is still viable, SMS is more likely to get customers' attention.
The SMS open rate is 98%, according to Gartner, compared to email's 20% open rate. SMS marketing software can help marketers efficiently schedule and deliver mass messages, track campaigns' results, personalize messages and set up autoresponders for when a recipient texts back. They also use marketing automation and workflows to remove some manual tasks associated with campaigns, and many use APIs to integrate with existing software.
However, organizations may struggle to choose the best SMS marketing software for their business needs. Explore eight platforms to consider -- in no particular order -- which were chosen based on several professional and user reviews.
1. EZ Texting
Geared toward small businesses, EZ Texting's key features include the following:
- Contact management to segment and personalize messages.
- Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).
- Text forwarding.
- Design templates.
- Drip campaigns, which send automated messages to people who perform a specific action.
- APIs and integrations to connect with CRM tools, like HubSpot, and email marketing software, such as Constant Contact.
- Analytics and reporting to track open and click-through rates.
EZ Texting offers a user-friendly platform that lets marketers send texts to subscribers based on keyword groups, add pictures to messages and track links. However, it lacks video texting capabilities and requires more multilanguage support. Additionally, users can't view analytics on the lowest-priced version, and the setup can be tedious.
EZ Texting pricing is broken down into four tiers, and users can choose either a monthly or annual payment plan. The tiers are Launch, starting at $20 monthly for up to 500 contacts; Boost, starting at $60 monthly for 500-2,000 contacts; Scale, starting at $100 monthly for 2,000-50,000 contacts; and Enterprise, starting at $3,000 monthly for 50,000 contacts and up.
2. Twilio MessagingX
Billing itself as a complete customer engagement platform, Twilio offers products for email, voice and text messaging campaigns. MessagingX is its specific SMS marketing platform, which lets users send text messages through SMS, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It includes its Programmable Messaging API so organizations can monitor, troubleshoot and manage compliance.
MessagingX offers integration with CRM platforms and organizations' websites. Once set up, the platform is reliable and consistent. However, the pricing is more expensive than similar SMS marketing tools, and customer support is lacking. Setup can also confuse users, and features are limited.
MessagingX pricing is pay as you go, and setting up a Twilio account is free. Messaging starts at $0.0079 per SMS message, not including carrier fees and phone number pricing.
Omnisend is primarily an email marketing platform that includes SMS marketing capabilities. Its SMS features integrate directly with its email features, and the product lets users automate workflows for cart abandonment, birthdays, order confirmations and other events. Omnisend also includes list-building tools, like pop-ups and landing pages.
The platform is easy to use and can integrate with other e-commerce platforms. Its customer service is responsive and helpful, and users can send email and text messages simultaneously. However, users may struggle to set up SMS sign-ups with this platform, and the only language it supports is English.
Omnisend pricing is split into three tiers: Free, with limited capabilities for up to 250 contacts; Standard, starting at $16 per month for up to 500 contacts; and Pro, which combines email and SMS for $59 monthly. The tiers increase in price along with the number of contacts an organization wants to reach.
Billing itself as an SMS-first platform, Attentive focuses on mobile messaging, including SMS, MMS and video, for SMBs. However, larger brands, like TGI Friday's and Pura Vida, also use it. It lets users plan SMS marketing campaigns based on how customers interact with their websites, including abandoned carts, page visits and purchases. It also includes compliance features, like audit trails, opt-in templates, and linked terms and privacy.
Attentive is easy to use and can integrate with multiple email marketing platforms and social sites. Users can quickly change campaigns, journeys and pop-ups, and the vendor offers good customer support. However, users may struggle to edit their primary campaigns, and the platform lacks a feature to turn off two-way messaging.
Attentive pricing isn't readily available on the vendor's website, but it offers free demos of the platform.
As a cloud-based SMS marketing platform, SlickText works with retail, hospitality, real estate, marketing, nonprofit and e-commerce businesses. Its platform includes features to send mass texts, schedule messages, send automatic replies, and view analytics and reporting. Customers can set up drip campaigns, segmentation and webhooks, and the software can integrate with CRM systems with a REST API.
SlickText is easy to use, offers responsive customer service and captures useful information, like geographic data, so organizations can see where they get the most opt-ins. However, the vendor doesn't offer a mobile app and can't roll over text subscribers to SlickText lists.
SlickText pricing is split into nine separate tiers and a free trial plan. The first tier -- The Basic -- starts at $29 per month after the free trial. However, the $139 per month plan -- called The Big Bro -- is the first tier to offer automated workflows.
Combining email, SMS, MMS, voice, fax and postal mail, ClickSend bills itself as simple, reliable messaging software for any business. The platform includes workflow automations for text messaging, an uptime guarantee and a gateway API for developers to build text messaging into apps the organization already uses.
ClickSend is user-friendly and can integrate with other products, like CRM systems. It also lets users easily set up contact lists and use campaign templates. However, it has some delays in sending text messages, and marketers often struggle to drop users from their contact lists using live data -- for example, if the user is dropped by another source.
ClickSend pricing starts at $0.023 per message for under 5,000 messages, with a $1.67 per month charge for a dedicated number -- a unique phone number for the business or an employee. Users can get started for free.
SimpleTexting is an SMS marketing platform that enables individual and mass texting and short codes to send and receive messages. It includes features for segmentation, automatic responding, scheduling texts, data collection and including photos, GIFs and videos in messages. SimpleTexting also has a template generator to help set up campaigns.
The platform is user-friendly and can integrate with other apps, such as Salesforce and HubSpot. Additionally, the customer service team is helpful and responsive. However, it lacks filtering capabilities, so if a customer texts without using a keyword, that message gets lost in the shuffle.
SimpleTexting pricing falls into tiers based on how many messages the organization plans to send each month. Plans start at $29 monthly for 500 messages and basic Mailchimp and Zapier integrations.
Billing itself as intelligent texting software, Trumpia is an SMS marketing platform with automation features to send messages, collect contact data and engage with subscribers. It includes support for mobile keywords, appointment reminders, mass texting and autoresponding. Trumpia also offers an API and a pre-built tool library for contact management, two-factor authentication and smart targeting.
The API enables users to build a lot on top of Trumpia, and the vendor's customer support team is helpful. Trumpia also offers text-to-voice for landlines and VoIP lines. The documentation is also extensive. However, the UI can be clunky, and users may struggle to set up opt-in lists. Integration with CRM software is also a challenge.
Trumpia pricing is available upon request.