What is SMS Marketing?
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?
- Do I Need SMS Marketing Software?
- SMS Marketing Software Use Cases
- What are the Benefits of SMS Marketing Software?
- What are the Advantages of SMS Marketing?
- What Should I Consider When Evaluating SMS Marketing Software?
- What SMS Marketing Software Tools Should I Consider?
- SMS Marketing Best Practices and Tips
- Final Thoughts
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.
#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.
#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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
|Subscriber List Building||Subscriber 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.|
|Segmentation||Segmentation 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 Creation||Message 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 Building||SMS 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 Conversations||Two-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 Messages||Automated messages are an efficient way to deliver highly relevant messages. The top automated messaging features in SMS software are autoresponders and drip campaigns.|
|Analytics||Analytics 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.|
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 Tier||Example Vendor||Starting Subscription Price||Per Message Fee|
|Advanced||SlickText||$29||Included in subscription|
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.
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:
- Constant Contact
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 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.
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 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.
SMSBump is best for Shopify and BigCommerce businesses looking for the most powerful solution that is specialized for ecommerce.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.