Best SMS Marketing Software 2021

What is SMS Marketing?

This ultimate guide to SMS marketing software will help you learn the basics of SMS marketing, the benefits for your business and customers, relevant use cases, and best practices.

SMS is becoming one of the most effective marketing channels out there. And it’s hardly surprising since 81% of US adults now own a smartphone.

High-performing small businesses from churches to dental practices are adopting SMS marketing to improve customer engagement. Marketing your products and services via text marketing and mass texting won’t disappoint. SMS can also be a powerful companion to email marketing that helps drive engagement and revenue to your business.

Today we’ll dive head-first into the world of SMS marketing software. We’ll learn what SMS marketing software is, and how it can benefit us as marketers and business owners.

Table of Contents

What is SMS Marketing Software?

SMS marketing software (or text messaging software) is typically a cloud-based tool that helps businesses send out marketing campaigns to their users via mobile SMS.

SMS marketing software is primarily used to target and engage with customers through SMS messaging. Typically, SMS marketing solutions offer features to opt-in customers to your list, target them with segment conditions, and send personalized messages through text campaigns.

Most SMS marketing software is designed for multiple industries. However, some solutions are specialized and designed specifically for industries like churches, ecommerce, and nonprofits.

Most SMS software tools are available to purchase as part of a monthly subscription package.

Do I Need SMS Marketing Software?

Very small organizations may not require a designated SMS marketing software. We recommend utilizing SMS marketing software if you have more than 100 customers.

If you’re still not completely sure if SMS marketing software is right for you, take a look at the checklist below. These are five signs that you likely need SMS marketing software:

  • You use your personal cell phone to text your customers
  • You frequently use email for urgent, must-read communications
  • Employees miss company announcements
  • Customers often fail to show up for appointments
  • Your competitors all use SMS marketing solutions

SMS Marketing Software Use Cases

SMS marketing software can be leveraged in many different ways. Let’s take a closer look at some typical SMS marketing software use cases.

#1. Mass Texting

Mass texting is sending a single SMS message to a large number of recipients. This strays away from the personalized and conversational aspect of SMS marketing. However, mass texting can be an effective way to send important messages and alerts such as order confirmations, deliver updates, or tracking notifications.

Below is an example of mass texting in Textedly.

”Textedly

#2. Brand Marketing

SMS is the perfect platform from which to start expanding brand visibility over a wider audience. The primary way to do this is through MMS messaging. With MMS messages, you can send GIFs and images directly aligned with your brand.

The best solutions, like SlickText, allow you to design forms that are consistent with your company’s style guide.

#3. Appointment Reminders

SMS is an easy way to update clients and employees about appointments they’ve made. By sending out automated reminders to your clients, you can reduce no-shows and improve your business’ profitability.

#4. Internal Communication

Many SMS marketing tools contain an inbox where you can create and send mass text messages. Customers of SMS marketing software often use this functionality for internal employee communications.

SMS is an effective method to send shift changes, employee incentives, and HR updates.

”SimpleTexting

#5. Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment costs ecommerce stores a lot of money. In fact, the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is a whopping 69.6%.

Some solutions can be set up to automatically send texts after a customer has abandoned their cart. This is a powerful alternative to email reminders due to the high open rate and immediacy of text messaging.

#6. Customer Service

Customer service can be facilitated through two-way text messaging in SMS marketing services. You can provide support, connect with your customers one-to-one, and even close some deals.

#7. Customer Retention

SMS marketing software can help you build your customer retention after you’ve acquired them. You can utilize drip campaigns to send personalized reminders, ask for feedback, or send promo codes.

What are the Benefits of SMS Marketing Software?

There are many benefits of using SMS marketing software. SMS software is great for saving time, money, and building a loyal customer following.

Immediacy

SMS as a medium of communication is super-fast and immediate. You can rest assured that your message will be read soon after delivery. In fact, SMS messages boast a read rate of 97% within just 15 minutes of delivery.

Uncovering Customer Insights

SMS communication can be utilized for uncovering customer insights. Ask your customers to fill out surveys and get to know them better. You can leverage this research to understand your customers and your industry better.

An optimal SMS marketing survey such as the one in SlickText will offer various response types. These add both a quantitative and qualitative layer to your insights.

”SlickText

Engagement

SMS marketing increases customer engagement across your entire customer life cycle. Consumers today embrace text messages from brands and businesses thanks to its simplicity and convenience.

Cost

SMS software is cost-effective. Sending out text messages is not expensive – especially when compared to securing a social media following or paid-ad space.

Revenue

SMS software can help you start driving revenue via text-communications almost immediately. These days we’ve got our mobile phones on our person 24/7, making SMS a major source of revenue now and for the future.

What are the Advantages of SMS Marketing Software?

There are a few advantages of SMS marketing when compared to other channels such as email, cold-calling, and social media.

Thanks to its immediacy and convenience, SMS marketing is growing in popularity compared to other more traditional channels. Here are some reasons why:

SMS Messages Have a High Open Rate

One of the primary advantages to utilizing SMS marketing are its high open rates. Open rates are close to 98% compared to just 20% for emails. This means your business has far more opportunities for subscriber engagement.

SMS Messages are Easy to Personalize

The human factor behind SMS marketing is another key advantage. Many solutions offer various ways to store unique customer data such as web forms or surveys. You can then use custom fields to further personalize your messages and speed up your workflow.

”SMSBump

SMS Marketing has Strong Conversion Rates

SMS marketing boasts high conversion rates. SMS campaigns typically receive a 45% conversion rate compared to email at just 8%. This means that the average SMS message actually drives more revenue than the average email.

SMS Marketing is Less Likely to be Perceived as Spam

Unlike email marketing, SMS messages can only be sent once opt-in consent from users has been obtained. This means that customers are far less likely to feel like they’re being spammed by your business.

What Should I Consider When Evaluating SMS Marketing Software?

Once you’ve considered that SMS marketing software might be beneficial for your business, you have to narrow down your search according to your unique business specifications and requirements.

We recommend factoring in these four essential criteria when shopping for your SMS marketing software:

Features

There are seven critical features all high performing SMS marketing solutions offer. There are also specialized solutions built for industries like churches, ecommerce, and nonprofit that come with specialized features.

FeatureDescription
Subscriber List BuildingSubscriber list builders are unique opt-in methods to build your text messaging list. These often include keywords, web forms, and pop-ups. The most effective solutions allow you to collect customer data as well.
SegmentationSegmentation is the primary way you target your subscribers. You can segment subscribers into more specific groups based on their activity and demographics. If your business is interested in targeted marketing, robust segmentation should be a priority.
Message CreationMessage creation in SMS marketing tools is important for sending personalized and unique messages. Some solutions will offer URL shorteners, custom fields, and unique promo codes. These are important for streamlining your workflow and boosting customer engagement.
Campaign BuildingSMS marketing campaigns are the primary way you engage with customers after you’ve segmented your list. These can either be mass texting campaigns or drip campaigns. Powerful solutions offer multiple, easy to set up campaigns for your company.
Two-Way ConversationsTwo-way conversations in SMS marketing tools are facilitated through an inbox. These inboxes should offer relevant customer information. This is very important for whoever is running your two-way messaging to have context going into any conversation.
Automated MessagesAutomated messages are an efficient way to deliver highly relevant messages. The top automated messaging features in SMS software are autoresponders and drip campaigns.
AnalyticsAnalytics help quantify your success with your respective SMS marketing tool. The strongest solutions allow you to drill down into high-level metrics to understand the details of your SMS marketing performance.

Price

Unfortunately, SMS marketing pricing is not standardized across solutions. Pricing is usually based on message volume. However, some solutions have additionally monthly platform fees or added costs for keywords or numbers. We mapped out three solutions in various pricing tiers for further context:

Solution TierExample VendorStarting Subscription PricePer Message Fee
BasicSimpleTexting$25$0.045
IntermediatePostscript$25$0.01
AdvancedSlickText$29Included in subscription

Usability

Usability is a very important factor in adopting any SMS marketing tool. Although usability is important, it is not worth trading off affordability and robust features. This is because most SMS marketing software is generally easy to pick up and learn.

For example, some solutions like EZ Texting are easy to use, but more affordable and powerful solutions like Avochato will ultimately be far more effective for your business. Even if their usability factor is lower.

Integrations

Making sure the solution you’re selecting can integrate with your tech stack is very important. SMS marketing software is usually paired with email marketing software, live chat software, and is used along with specific ecommerce stores.

Many tools support native integrations or utilize Zapier. Here are some of the most common integrations that SMS marketing solutions support:

  • Hubspot
  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • Salesforce
  • Shopify

What SMS Marketing Software Tools Should I Consider?

Now that you know what to look for in an SMS marketing tool, here are the top solutions that we recommend. Each selection is based on its breadth of features, primary use cases, and pricing. For the full list of tools we’ve analyzed, see our SMS Marketing category page.

If you’re looking for the most powerful tool for SMS marketing, we highly recommend SlickText. It offers the strongest features all across the board.

SlickText
Rating: 90
Starting Price: $29 per month

SlickText is an all-in-one SMS marketing tool that has been used by over 70,000 businesses. It is ideal for small and medium sized businesses looking for a SMS marketing solution with flexible subscriber data collection and powerful list building options. Although SlickText is an all-in-one tool designed for all types of businesses, ecommerce stores might prefer more specialized solutions for their use cases.

Pros:
  • SlickText's web forms are extremely effective for capturing subscriber information
  • SlickText's unlimited custom fields enable marketers to collect data for segmentation and personalization
  • Analytics are highly detailed with individual pages dedicated to every campaign and automation you build
Cons:
  • SlickText is one of the more expensive SMS marketing solutions
  • SlickText is not as specialized for ecommerce businesses as SMSBump or Postscript
  • SlickText does not offer a diverse selection of native integrations, although Zapier is supported

SimpleTexting is the best choice for marketers in need of an affordable, yet solid SMS marketing tool. It’s also the best tool if you’re planning on leveraging SMS marketing strictly for mass texting.

SimpleTexting
Rating: 87
Starting Price: $25 per month

SimpleTexting is a SMS marketing platform used by a diverse range of businesses. SimpleTexting is ideal for small businesses new to SMS marketing due to affordability, accessiblity, and an attentive customer service team. Businesses looking for a more powerful solution will find SimpleTexting's subscriber data storage and segmentation opportunities limiting.

Pros:
  • SimpleTexting is one of the more affordable SMS marketing solutions
  • SimpleTexting's learning curve is very accessible for businesses new to SMS marketing
  • SimpleTexting offers a multitude of prebuilt, engaging campaigns to choose from
Cons:
  • Segments cannot be grouped together with and-or statements, which limits targeted marketing
  • There are few opportunities to capture subscriber data in SimpleTexting
  • Analytics are very basic for ecommerce and retail businesses

SMSBump is best for Shopify and BigCommerce businesses looking for the most powerful solution that is specialized for ecommerce.

SMSBump
Rating: 88
Starting Price: $0.0149 per message

SMSBump is a SMS marketing platform for Shopify and BigCommerce used by over 90,000 businesses. Standout features like campaign flows, segmentations, and automations make SMSBump the most powerful text marketing solution for ecommerce businesses.

Pros:
  • SMSBump's flow builder is one of the most powerful SMS marketing campaign builders
  • SMSBump has a plethora of segment conditions specific to ecommerce businesses
  • Relevant and helpful templates are provided for both segmentations and automations
Cons:
  • Flow building and A/B testing are not available for BigCommerce
  • Custom fields cannot be created to store alternative customer information
  • A/B testing is only available in SMSBump's most expensive plan

Finally, marketers with simple marketing needs who want affordable, unlimited messages will find ZipWhip ideal. This is because it’s primarily designed for business communications and not targeted marketing.

ZipWhip
Rating: 83
Starting Price: $30 per month

ZipWhip is an SMS marketing platform currently used by over 40,000 businesses. It includes a majority of features most SMS marketing tools have, excluding segmentation. Its standout points are its mass texting and two-way messaging capabilities.

Pros:
  • ZipWhip is one of the best SMS marketing tools for customer service
  • All plans over $60 per month come with unlimited messaging
  • ZipWhip’s inbox is very user-friendly for two-way messaging
Cons:
  • Automations and integrations are only available with ZipWhip's most expensive plan
  • You cannot sign up for ZipWhip with a number that is already text enabled
  • Segmentation is not available in ZipWhip, which limits targeted marketing

SMS Marketing Best Practices and Tips

Every SMS marketing software is slightly different in terms of features and use. Here are some general best practices and tips.

#1. Make Sure You Get Written Consent

You’ll need to get express, written consent before sending out any SMS communications to your clients.

Your software should have a function that allows you to create opt-in forms. If in doubt, consult the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

#2. Don’t Send Too Often

Avoid too much too soon. Sending out relentless messaging is likely to reduce, not improve, engagement rates. When people start to feel bogged down by branded communications they tend to switch off or filter out their communications entirely.

One text per week should generally suffice. However, it’s worth conducting some tests to see what works best for your particular customer demographic.

#3. Avoid Spam

It’s not just relentless communication that might come across as spammy to your users. The content of your messages counts too. Make sure your texts sound like a real human is talking – not a machine. This will encourage trust from your customers.

#4. Choose Appropriate Opt-In Keywords

Keywords are the primary way to build your list. They should realistically reflect your brand or whatever product they’re associated with.

By getting your customers to text keywords or phrases on you’ll encourage engagement and reinforce your brand messaging.

Final Thoughts

SMS marketing is rapidly becoming one of the most popular marketing channels for small businesses. It offers features such as customer list builders, segmentation, automated messaging, and two-way communication.

SMS marketing allows you to leverage these features for important use cases. These include mass texting, internal employee communications, customer service, and cart abandonment. If you feel SMS marketing will be a successful communication channel for your business, see our SMS Marketing category page for more details.

Yousef Fatehpour

Yousef Fatehpour is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit. He graduated from University of California, San Diego, where he studied Human Centered Design and Communications. His work at UCSD's Design Lab emphasized UX research and product management.

Yousef's primary areas of interest are software design, user journeys, and how user experience is handled across software markets. Yousef also has experience in product design and multimedia content production. You can connect with Yousef on LinkedIn.

Yousef is an expert in several software categories including:

  • SMS marketing software
  • Document management software
  • Human resource software
  • Applicant tracking software

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