If you haven’t tried SMS marketing yet, now is the perfect time to change that. Consider this: most users read 90% of SMS messages within 3-5 seconds. SMS marketing remains the most reliable, foolproof, and straightforward way to reach your customers, especially if you have something urgent to communicate.
But what tools should you use to ensure your messages arrive correctly and at the right time? If you go with a free solution of unknown origins, your campaigns and relationships with customers will be put at risk. You don’t want your messages to be marked as spam, that’s for sure.
In this post, we’ll discuss bulk SMS software and show you five SMS marketing platforms worth bookmarking. You’ll learn how to use these tools and what they can help you achieve.
What is SMS software?
SMS marketing software is a tool that allows businesses to send promotional or informational text messages to their customers’ mobile phones. These messages can include a variety of content, such as special offers, order status change notifications, event invitations, and appointment reminders.
SMS marketing platforms are perfect for sharing concise, time-sensitive messages with your audience. Other media don’t provide the same level of precision and deliverability. For instance, if you post something on Twitter, your message will be competing for your followers’ attention with hundreds of other posts in their feed. SMS marketing can only be compared to messenger marketing, except it isn’t internet-dependent.
To use SMS marketing platforms, you first need to build a list of phone numbers from customers who have opted in to receive messages. You can then create and schedule messages using the software’s tools and templates, and track the effectiveness of their campaigns with analytics and reporting features.
Software for SMS marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes looking to engage with their customers in a direct, algorithm-free way. However, you must use the medium responsibly and respect your customers’ privacy and preferences regarding communication — no one wants intrusive messages in their private inbox. We’ll talk about obtaining customer consent in the following sections.
Text your customers globally with SendPulse
Engage your mobile subscribers with relevant messages like order confirmations, delivery updates, offers, discounts, and more.
Common SMS software use cases
SMS is a surprisingly versatile channel, and pretty much any business can benefit from using it. Here are a few ways in which SMS can help your brand connect with your audience and be helpful to them:
- Special offers. Send text messages to customers with exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime discounts or short-lived promotional codes to encourage them to make a purchase.
- Insider tips and updates. New sneaker just dropped? Let your loyal customers know about the new arrivals so they could grab a pair before it’s gone.
- Event invitations. Use SMS marketing to invite your core audience to seasonal sales, launches, or webinars, and make sure they won’t miss your event due to a whimsy algorithm-driven feed.
- Transactional SMS. Let your customers know the status of their order, especially if it’s a high-value purchase and it’s being delivered overseas.
- Reminders. Send SMS reminders to your customers to reduce no-shows and ensure they attend scheduled appointments, classes, or other booked events.
- Announcements. Do you have to cancel an upcoming event or recall a specific product? Use SMS to make sure your clients are aware of any major changes and are on board with them.
- Feedback. Use SMS to survey customers on their experience with your product or service, and collect valuable feedback to improve your offerings.
In short, SMS is a fantastic channel for personalized and urgent messages that cannot be missed, like price drop alerts or delivery confirmations. Think of it as a nice addition to your omnichannel marketing campaign.
Expand your marketing strategy and reach more customers
With SendPulse, you can reach your target audience by sending various types of messages through a communication channel they prefer — email campaigns, web push notifications, SMS, and chatbots for WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, or Telegram.
SMS marketing best practices
Before you jump into action, you need to do some groundwork to ensure that your SMS campaigns will be well-received. Here are some SMS marketing best practices to follow:
- Obtain opt-in consent. Always obtain a clear “yes” from your customers before sending them any text messages. This can be done through a sign-up form at the checkout.
- Provide value. Your SMS messages should always be worth the distraction they cause. You don’t want your customers to feel disappointed or even annoyed by “another pointless ad.”
- Respect your users’ personal space. SMS is the most private channel, and your customers don’t expect to be bombarded with promotional messages when they’re offline. Only share messages that are too urgent or important to send over email.
- Keep messages short and sweet. SMS campaigns should be concise and to the point. Stick to a maximum of 160 characters and use a clear, conversational style.
- Choose the timing wisely. Send messages at appropriate times of day, when your customers are active and ready to act on your offer. Avoid sending messages too frequently — one message per week is more than enough.
- Allow for opt-out. Always provide customers with an easy way to unsubscribe from your SMS campaigns. Let them know a simple keyword they can text back to stop your campaigns or provide them with a link where they can unsubscribe.
- Test and track results. Test different messaging strategies and experiment with the tone to see what works best. Use analytics to measure click-through and unsubscribe rates, and adjust your messaging as needed.
- Be transparent and compliant. Specify how you use and store customer data and ensure compliance with relevant regulations such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
- Stay vigilant and protective of your audience. SMS phishing is on the rise. Make sure your customers know how to differentiate between spam pretending to be your brand and your actual messages.
By following these best practices, you’ll be able to craft more effective campaigns and make sure they get noticed.
5 SMS marketing platforms worth bookmarking
When it comes to SMS software, there are plenty of choices. Some tools offer advanced automation and personalization, while others allow you to have two-way conversations with your customers. Let’s find out what the standard features are and how much the best software for SMS marketing costs.
Our SMS software helps businesses seamlessly integrate SMS into their marketing strategy and create precisely targeted campaigns with ease. With SendPulse, you can send messages to 1,000+ operators in over 200 countries. It’s possible to send SMS campaigns in any language and use emoji.
Our SMS platform allows you to send instant messages as well as scheduled campaigns. This way, you’ll always be able to reach your audience at the right time. SendPulse also has a user segmentation feature enabling you to send hyper-personalized messages using variables or even hand-picking your recipients.
Setting up a campaign won’t take long:
- Create or log in to your SendPulse account.
- Upload your contact list.
- Choose a sender name.
- Type in a text message and send or schedule your campaign.
- Track and analyze your campaign’s performance.
You can also integrate the SendPulse SMS service with your CRM, CMS, or other eCommerce systems using our API. And if you don’t have a CRM yet, you can start tracking your deals using our built-in free CRM.
Should you want to send automated emails, push notifications, or WhatsApp campaigns, you can easily do that using the same platform. SendPulse offers a complete toolkit for marketing and sales automation:
- email service;
- chatbot builder;
- landing page creator;
- subscription forms;
- push notifications, and more.
Our SMS messaging costs are country-specific, without any hidden fees. You only pay for the actual number of messages you send. You can send the first 10 SMS for free to see if the platform works for you.
Attentive is one of the best SMS marketing platforms allowing businesses of all sizes to turn SMS into a profitable revenue channel. The platform uses playbooks and webinars to teach its users all the intricacies of SMS marketing, and it has stellar reviews on G2 and other software marketplaces.
With Attentive, you can converse with your customers in a natural way — the solution allows your SMS recipients to text you back.
Here’s a quick overview of what Attentive gives you:
- intuitive SMS and MMS campaign builder with a preview;
- dynamic content for more personalized outreach;
- audience segmentation with tags and user profiles;
- detailed reports and A/B tests;
- integrations with most major eCommerce tools;
- AI-powered automations (coming soon);
- responsive support and strategic guidance.
In addition, Attentive offers email marketing automation and lead capture forms.
As you can see, the platform has quite a few advanced features targeted at medium-sized businesses and enterprises. The company only suggests custom plans, so there’s no base price, but you can sign up for a free demo. Some sources report that the monthly prices start at $300.
SlickText is a powerful, feature-rich SMS marketing platform. It can help you send surveys, attract new subscribers, craft targeted offers, engage your customers, create opt-in forms, and more.
With SlickText, you can do one-on-one texting as well as bulk messaging. The platform also makes it possible to send attractive MMS campaigns allowing you to showcase your products or send over coupons. You can also capture customer information and use it to personalize your SMS campaigns.
SlickText has a few unique features, such as:
- SMS surveys — multi-question surveys and data collection flows that can be sent as regular text messages;
- text-to-win contests — an easy way to interact with an audience through text messages and make them compete for prizes;
- unique promo codes — this feature allows you to send trackable one-time promo codes to your customers;
- loyalty rewards — a perfect feature for re-engaging your existing customers through SMS.
The platform has a visual builder where you can create automated workflows, drip campaigns, repeated SMS, and auto-replies. It’s also possible to schedule your messages in advance. The pricing plans start at $29 a month for 500 messages. During a 14-day free trial, you can send 50 texts for free.
Klaviyo is a marketing automation platform that supports three communication channels: email, SMS, and mobile push. The software also enables you to create sign-up forms and quickly build automations using handy templates. This platform targets businesses of all sizes.
Klaviyo has 200+ integrations and empowers you to seamlessly blend multiple communication channels into one. You can fine-tune your messaging strategy to make sure your email campaigns work in full harmony with your SMS.
With Klaviyo, you can:
- have two-way SMS conversations with your customers;
- get a comprehensive overview of your SMS campaigns and flows;
- create customer profiles, save their shopping history, and make predictions based on that data;
- integrate your help desk system to keep a complete record of customer interactions;
- create instant responses to frequent questions;
- track your SMS campaigns and generate detailed reports;
- automatically generate text campaigns with an AI-powered SMS assistant.
The platform offers a customizable pricing plan starting at $60 a month. There’s also a free plan with 150 monthly SMS.
EZ Texting is one of the best SMS marketing platforms — it’s intuitive, scalable, and small-business-friendly. The software gives you full control over your SMS marketing, from choosing a verified local number to tracking each of your campaigns. With it, you can create professionally-looking text messages in minutes.
EZ Texting offers an impressive variety of tools for text messaging, list growth, design, contact management, and collaboration:
- easily sync your contacts from other apps, enrich them with additional information, and create segments for granular targeting;
- have two-way text conversations, schedule your SMS, and personalize them as you learn more about your customers;
- use free stock photos and pre-designed templates to make your SMS campaigns more vivid and noticeable;
- keep your contact list nice and clean by removing bouncing numbers and unsubscribed contacts;
- offer your recipients SafeSTOP®, a simple, secure process for opting out of text messages or setting their preferences;
- create signup forms and QR codes for your website and social media to attract new subscribers;
- shorten and track your links to give your customers the best purchasing experience;
- give your whole team access to your SMS inbox and manage multiple accounts from a single place.
EZ Texting has multiple pricing plans for businesses of different sizes. The plans start at $25 a month for 500 messages. A free trial period is also available.
Which SMS software is the best?
Here’s what we’ve learned after looking at various software for SMS marketing.
EZ Texting is the most feature-rich SMS tool that is perfect for large-volume senders who want to have granular control over their campaigns. It may be a bit overwhelming for beginners who don’t plan to use SMS as their primary channel.
Attentive is a fantastic SMS platform, but it’s mostly tailored to the needs of big brands. It doesn’t offer transparent pricing, either — you can only guess how much you’ll end up paying and for what.
SlickText has a generous free trial and offers an unparalleled feature list. This is a great choice for eCommerce businesses that want to make SMS one of their main communication channels. However, it is SMS-only, so you’ll have to purchase additional tools somewhere down the line.
Klaviyo seems to do it all and is a recommended tool for businesses that strive to reach customers through both email and SMS. It’s easy to master, thanks to Klaviyo’s educational resources. The platform’s only flaw is its premium price.
With SendPulse, you get the most bang for your buck. The platform offers SMS software, email automation, a CRM, a chatbot builder, a landing page builder, and much more. At the same time, you can pay as little as $2 for 100 messages (depending on your recipients’ location). Give it a try and send your first 10 SMS for free!