To get your business and its exceptional products and services in front of fresh eyes, you’re going to need some help. While we all know that many companies rely on automated email marketing campaigns, you may not know that email open rates generally aren’t that high. In fact, Mailchimp reports that the average open rate is just 21.33%.
However, the good news is that while your customers’ email inboxes are full with special offers, discounts, and calls-to-action to the point that they tune them out, they don’t ignore SMS messages.
In contrast, SMS messages are opened by an average of around 99% of recipients. Furthermore, about 97% of those SMS’s are read within 15 minutes of delivery.
The moral of the story? If you want to ensure your marketing materials get seen, SMS marketing is the way to go.
But, there are so many SMS marketing apps out there; how do you know which one to use?
Below, we give you the low-down on some of the best SMS marketing tools for your business.
But First, What is SMS Marketing?
Put simply, it’s a way of reaching customers by text message, or “SMS.” Typically, business owners use SMS marketing to tell customers about their upcoming campaigns, discounts, special offers, big news, product launches, etc.
With SMS marketing, you can:
- Send bulk messages — including personalized campaigns — to customers
- Decide when and how often to send messages
- Tailor your messaging according to your customers’ shopping and viewing habits
So now that you have the “what” let’s look at the “how.”
How Effective is SMS Marketing?
We know that SMS open rates are high, but the real question we have to ask ourselves is, do they actually lead to anything?
Here’s what we found out:
- Global tech company Campaign Monitor says email open rates should ideally sit at around 15%-25%, with an average click-through rate of approximately 2.5%
- In contrast, while the statistics vary wildly here, it’s possible to say that the average click-through rate for SMS ranges anywhere between 5%-10%. Not only that, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that:
These figures are hard to ignore. In fact, they illustrate perfectly why SMS marketing is not only effective but often expected by customers.
That said, we’re going to explore some of the best SMS marketing tools for smaller organizations. Of course, there are tons of SMS marketing platforms suitable for larger enterprises, but if you’re looking for something for your small- to medium-sized business then keep reading.
More specifically, we’re looking at these top SMS marketing tools:
Let’s jump right in!
The Top 10 Best SMS Marketing Tools
Best SMS Marketing Tool #1: Twilio
Twilio is a well-reviewed cloud-based marketing platform. Its sole focus isn’t just SMS marketing — it also offers other marketing channels such as WhatsApp, video, voice, and email to engage your customers.
That said, Twilio is an exciting option for any business looking for a high-quality SMS marketing tool. Used by large companies such as Netflix, Airbnb, and Uber, it also offers convenient services for smaller organizations.
With Twilio, you can reach customers by SMS across 180 countries. Plus, Twilio allows you to send customers and/or employees notifications — for example, about purchase and shipping confirmations, as well as time-sensitive messages with special offers. You can also communicate with customers and build relationships via secure SMS channels.
Twilio is often called a blank canvas because its API capabilities mean you or your developer can build a tailored solution. However, the downside for newbies is that Twilio’s platform isn’t really aimed at absolute beginners. So unless you already have some background knowledge, you may find it confusing.
That said, you can use Twilio without being a developer. When you sign up, you’re asked if you’re a developer, and if the answer’s a short “no,” you can simply link your Twilio account to Zapier (or another automation service of your choice) to send and receive SMS with relative ease.
However, this potentially means additional cost, with Zapier plans starting at $0 and rising to $19.99 per month and even further to $599 per month for larger corporations. That said, its free program grants you 100 tasks per month. Zapier calls these tasks “Zaps.”
Twilio’s pricing packages are pretty transparent. You can either pay as you go, with text messages starting from $0.0075, or $0.0021 to send picture messages. Alternatively, there are volume discounts as you grow; although, these don’t kick in until you’ve passed the 20 million message mark.
To test the effectiveness of your SMS campaigns, you can use Twilio’s Messaging Insights. This is a dashboard where you’ll see real-time analytics and reports on messaging delivery success, one-time password conversions, errors, and responses.
Best of all, Twilio has a unique program aimed at startups called Twilio Startups; however, this service is currently on pause while it’s being tweaked. But, you can still express interest in joining if you pass the criteria test so it may be worth keeping an eye out for.
Best SMS Marketing Tool #2: TextMagic
TextMagic allows businesses to quickly connect and send text notifications, confirmations, alerts, and SMS marketing campaigns with ease.
It’s well-reviewed; with users loving its ease of use, intuitive interface, transparent prices, and how quickly it works.
TextMagic is used by many different types of businesses and organizations, including smaller operations. These include insurance agents, an education recruitment company, an automotive company — to name a few examples!
TextMagic also integrates with Zapier and comes with several exciting features, including being able to:
- Send SMS messages to customers and use two-way SMS chat
- Add all of your contacts to your TextMagic account. You can do this either manually or import them via an Excel CSV file
- Convert emails into SMS using TextMagic
Like most SMS marketing tools, TextMagic allows you to schedule messages, alerts, and campaigns. You can also test their effectiveness with TextMagic’s tracking and reporting features, which provide live delivery reports, monthly email reports, and campaign success reports.
Its prices are easy to understand and start at $0.04 per text. One positive here is a generous 30-day free trial with no credit card required or account fees. You just open an account, load up your pre-paid credit payment (starting from $10-10,000), and only pay when you send messages. You can also see how much each campaign or communication costs before sending it, so there aren’t any nasty surprises.
TextMagic is a smaller platform than Twilio, but it does service 100,000+ customers — some of whom are happy to share their positive reviews online, including on the TextMagic site.
Best SMS Marketing Tool #3: SimpleTexting
SimpleTexting also has an intuitive interface and is well-reviewed by happy customers who praise its ease of use, customer service, prices, and automated message functions.
SimpleTexting is used by some big names, including Starbucks, Marriott, Samsung, and Stanford University. However, they’re keen to emphasize that they have “Pricing Fit For Everyone.”
Like its competitors, SimpleTexting provides everything you need to execute effective marketing campaigns using SMS.
Its features include:
- Two-way real-time messaging
- Scheduled texts
- Autoresponder texts that can be staggered over days, weeks, and months in drip-feed campaigns
- Contact segmentation to enable more audience-relevant campaigns
- Adding existing contacts to your SMS lists
- Running polls or surveys via SMS to find out what your subscribers or customers are thinking
If you want to try before you buy, there’s a 14-day free trial with no credit card required. This includes a test run of 50 text messages to see if SimpleTexting is for you.
At first glance, prices here differ. Most notably, you’re charged on a monthly plan starting at $25 per month for 500 credits. Then, after that, prices increase the more messages you send.
Best SMS Marketing Tool #4: Klaviyo
Klaviyo is another well-known tool that’s well-received and often-mentioned in the same breath as other leading marketing tools.
Used by small and large businesses alike, Klaviyo has 265,000 business customers at the time of writing, covering all business types from entrepreneurs to larger enterprises. However, where it differs is that it’s not just an SMS marketing tool, but it also offers email marketing functionality and website tracking.
Zoning in on its SMS marketing features, Klaviyo says businesses who use its SMS tool see an average ROI of 24x.
In addition, Klaviyo users can:
- Sync customer data to better personalize messages with calls-to-action
- Run SMS marketing campaigns alongside other digital marketing strategies like email campaigns. Klayivo has a helpful blog with suggestions on how to do this, but it emphasizes that you need customers to consent to receive both SMS and emails if you want to reach them using both modes of communication
- Your customers can choose their preferred contact method, which is excellent for enhancing the customer experience
Its reporting and analytics show you how effective your email and SMS campaigns are and what drives your product sales best.
Prices for Klaviyo vary depending on whether you’re running SMS only, email only, or SMS and email campaigns. They also depend on how many contacts you want to text each month. For example, if you’re a small company that wants to text 150 contacts, it’s $5 per month. Up that to 1,000 contacts per month, and it’s $40 per month.
But if you’re just starting out, there’s also a free tier. Just create an account, import, and sync your data, and then use Klayivo’s features like its customizable email templates and SMS form builders for free. In addition, you get a free Klaviyo phone number and up to 150 SMS messages which you can use to text up to 50 SMS contacts per month.
Best SMS Marketing Tool #5: Birdeye
Like some of the aforementioned SMS tools, Birdeye also offers multiple digital marketing options aside from SMS. These include video chat software, live chat, and so on. However, some reviews say that Birdeye is more set up for enterprise-sized organizations.
Frustratingly, you can’t access Birdeye’s prices without giving them your details first, so that’s something to be aware of.
With Birdeye, you can send mass texts from 10 to 10,000 contacts, and they emphasize that you can send SMS to customers at any point in their journey with your brand.
Best of all, Birdeye gives you access to one centralized inbox from which all your customer contacts can be managed no matter where they come from, whether it’s social media or your website.
Birdeye is also expected to introduce real-time analytics data on all text messages, but there’s no indication when this would be rolled out. When this analytics data does land, you’ll be able to compare the numbers of SMS sent vs. open rates vs. click rates and engagement over time.
Generally speaking, Birdeye is well-reviewed and used by over 60,000 businesses at the time of writing. Helpfully, we found some quantifiable success stories on Birdeye’s website. For example, Sunlight Financial increased its Google reviews from 6 to 1,753 using Birdeye.
Best SMS Marketing Tool #6: Attentive
The first thing to note about the Attentive SMS solution is that it tells potential customers that it drives an average of “18.5% of total online revenue for modern e-commerce brands.”
Attentive has some big-name customers, including Urban Outfitters, Supergoop!, and Rebecca Minkoff. Still, it positions itself as an SMS tool for “4,000+ pioneering brands.” Interestingly, Supergoop! increased its ROI by over 29x as a result of using Attentive SMS marketing.
Using Attentive’s SMS tool, you can engage with customers every step of the way. Most notably, you can:
- Send personalized and automated messages
- Send order and shipping notifications
- Initiate two-way SMS communications with customers based on the behavior exhibited on your website. For example, if an SMS subscriber has added products to their shopping cart and then abandoned their cart, you can send them an SMS message to prompt them to go back and complete their purchase
Attentive is an award-winning SMS solution. In fact, Inc. listed Attentive as one of its 2021 Best Places to Work companies.
Online reviews also tell us that customers enjoy how easy it is to set it up, how helpful and responsive the customer service is, and its competitive prices. There was also praise for its simple onboarding process and excellent training resources.
Best SMS Marketing Tool #7: Community
Community hit the SMS marketplace in 2019 and already has over 28 million members who have sent over a combined six billion messages between them!
It achieved some early notoriety because it attracted Ashton Kutcher as an investor and other celebrity customers, including Jennifer Lopez, Paul McCartney, and Eminem.
Community differs because of the audience it attracts; artists, creators, entrepreneurs, media companies, and public figures, to be exact.
The platform works on the premise that you can achieve conversions through your conversations. Interestingly, messages sent via Community boast an average 59% click-through rate and a 95% open rate.
While Community started out as a bit of a celebrity-driven chatroom, it’s now onboarding small and large businesses so that they can instantly engage with customers via secure two-way conversations. It’s already also attracted some big corporate names, including Showtime, People, and CNN.
When you sign up, you become what Community calls a “Leader.” You’re allocated a 10-digit number, you can then promote yourself using social media, word-of-mouth, email, or by integrating the Community signup form. Then, when someone wants to chat with you, they become a “Member.” When they text you for the first time, they’ll receive a personalized text from you that asks them to enter their contact information and opt-in to your Community. Then, you can text your “Members” directly and build personal connections.
Users can also segment their communications by demographics and interests. Plus, you can reply to similar texts using pre-set standardized messages to help speed up your response time. Then, of course, you can also schedule messages, send texts, images, videos, GIFs, and view the analytics of your SMS marketing campaigns.
It’s worth noting that Community is currently only available if you’re based in the US or Canada and have an Apple device. An Android app is on its way, but there’s no timeframe for that just yet.
Also, not everyone is eligible to use Community. Paid subscriptions are only available to a select number of brands and companies. If you think your brand fits well with Community, then you have to tell the platform why and how you’ll use it, and Community will have the final say on whether you’re a fit or not.
Best SMS Marketing Tool #8: Drip
Drip offers a blend of email and SMS marketing, custom reporting functions, and form building.
Zoning in on their SMS offer, Drip users can send automated texts including discount codes, order confirmations, abandoned cart recoveries, holiday promos, time-sensitive offers, product launches, and more.
Drip is smaller than some of the SMS marketing tools featured so far, with just over 30,000 marketers using it. However, it was created with smaller ecommerce brands in mind “to fight back and keep ecommerce independent” from the more prominent online marketplaces.
Impressively, Drip’s customers have collectively generated over $1 billion dollars in attributed revenue using a mix of SMS and email marketing. It’s clear that the types of brands that use Drip are smaller, independent businesses.
Drip is pretty well-reviewed, with users praising its ease of use, good value for money, and intuitive user interface. At the time of writing, however, the main disadvantage we’re seeing with Drip is that SMS messages can only be sent to US phone numbers.
Drip offers a 14-day free trial, and pricing starts at $19 per month for email marketing only. Then, if you add SMS into the mix, it’s a further $15 per month for 1,000 sends or $0.015 per text sent on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Best SMS Marketing Tool #9: HeyMarket
HeyMarket offers digital marketing solutions to companies spanning multiple industries including retail, hospitality, and health. It works by consolidating all of your SMS and Facebook messages into one shared inbox. Impressively, its users enjoy an average 80% SMS reply rate.
You can use HeyMarket to help you manage customer service, order confirmations, special offers, logistics, and much more. HeyMarket works on web browsers, iOS, and Android devices.
With HeyMarket, you can organize contacts into one list or separate lists to send targeted text messages and set automated replies. You can also run SMS campaigns — including drip-fed messages — using the platform’s SMS templates. Plus, its reporting function enables you to see at a glance the number of messages you’ve sent, how many of your messages were received, commonly used SMS templates, and which SMS chats take up the most time.
Some of its 1,500+ clients include the likes of Cornell University, BarkBox, U-Haul, and Blue Bottle Coffee. Its lowest plan costs $49 per month for 12,000 SMS sends per year, and any additional SMS are billed at $0.06 each.
HeyMarket integrates with Instagram, Facebook, HubSpot, Shopify, Zapier, and more.
Reviewers love its easy-to-use interface and excellent customer service.
Best SMS Marketing Tool #10: EZTexting
EZTexting has been around since 2006 and is a well-established SMS and email marketing tool that works with businesses across many industries including retail, beauty, restaurants, ecommerce, professional services, and more.
Prices start at $19 per month for 2,400 mass texting credits per year, and $0.04 per SMS if you send more than 200 SMS per month. Best of all, there’s a handy 14-day free trial, so you can try it before you buy!
Like the other SMS tools in this list, EZTexting gives you the power to deliver messages at the right time to increase customer engagement. There’s no real discernable difference between EZTexting and other tools out there, however, it does focus its attention on small- to medium-sized businesses and is definitely not the new kid on the block here.
Like its competitors, EZTexting integrates with Zapier and HubSpot, although, at the time of writing we didn’t spot a Shopify integration. To date, 165,000 brands use EZTexting, and its website tells us it’s the #1 SMS platform for business users.
The cloud-based platform is well-reviewed, with customers giving it five stars for customer support and praising its value-for-money and ease of use. In addition, it boasts a 98% SMS open rate, with 90% of SMS responses taking as little as 30 minutes.
EXTexting also offers an analytics feature that allows you to see individual campaign results, bounce rates, unsubscribes, delivered messages, and more.
Are You Ready to Start Using The Best SMS Marketing Tools?
So there you have it, our list of the top 10 best SMS marketing tools for your business. Each offers the functionality you need to engage customers, and hopefully, increase sales.