13 SMS Marketing Tools and Services You Should Know

13 SMS Marketing Tools and Services You Should Know _ MediaOne Singapore

Regarding the open rate, SMS marketing has a decided advantage over email marketing. Text messages boast a 98% open rate, compared to only 19.8% for emails. That means that nearly every single message sent gets seen by its intended recipient.

They might not act on the message, but at least they have the opportunity to read it, and that’s half the battle. Of course, all of this is contingent on having an effective SMS marketing strategy that moves prospects through the sales funnel. 

So, how do you go about crafting a successful SMS marketing strategy? One way is to enlist the help of one of many great SMS marketing solutions. 

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What’s an SMS Marketing Software Solution?

An SMS marketing software is a tool that helps businesses create, manage, and analyse their SMS marketing campaigns. With these tools, you can do anything from setting up autoresponders and segmenting your contacts to tracking the success of your campaigns and measuring ROI. 

It acts as an interlinking bridge between your business and the mobile phone networks, allowing you to send dynamic and personalized messages easily.

You can also use these tools to send two-factor authentication codes, customer service messages, reminder notifications, and urgent alerts.

How Does an SMS Marketing Software Solution Work? 

Typically, you’d begin by creating an account with an SMS marketing provider. You’ll be provided with an API Key (Your secure user ID and password) that links your business to the network.

You can apply for a sender name, which is the shortened version of your business name. That is what will appear when someone receives an SMS text from you.

You can integrate the API Key with your website, database, or app. Next, launch your SMS campaign and begin sending messages to target contacts.

Most SMS marketing software solutions come with powerful analytics that tracks the performance of your campaigns at every step so you can make data-driven decisions.

The Best SMS Marketing Software Solutions in 2023: Top 10 Picks

Now that we know how an SMS marketing software solution works, let’s look at 10 of the best tools and services available today. 

#1. Twilio: Has One of the Best Marketing Analytics

Twilio is a global telecommunication company with offices in fifteen countries. They offer a broad range of SMS products and services, including SMS marketing automation tools, short code messaging, and mobile app integrations.

Key Products/Services Offered:

  • Omnichannel Messaging APIs: Connect and manage customer engagement across multiple communication channels, including SMS, MMS, Google Business Messages, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Chat Apps, and more.
  • Marketing Automation: Create automated campaigns that deliver personalized messages based on customer behaviour.
  • Twilio Engage: Twilio Engage is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that helps manage the entire customer journey—from acquisition to retention—in one place.
  • Analytics: Track and analyze customer engagement across campaigns, channels, and contacts to optimize your messaging strategies. 
  • Twilio Flex: Twilio Flex is a cloud-based contact centre platform that helps you build personalized customer experiences.
  • Trusted Verification Services: Authenticate customers with one-time passwords (OTPs) and two-factor authentication (2FA) to ensure they are who they say they are. 

With Twilio, you can carry out an SMS campaign, streamline your workforce operations, deliver personalized customer services at scale, authenticate customers securely, and generate data-driven decisions. 

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The Pros and Cons

Twilio Pros

  • Wide range of features and services, with everything you need to manage mobile customer communications
  • The pricing is competitive, and you can scale up or down as needed (Pay as You Go Pricing Model)
  • It’s an omnichannel solution
  • Supports MMS

Twilio Cons

  • Twilio isn’t an easy platform to set up. It helps to have a little bit of coding knowledge.
  • It can be expensive, especially for larger companies with more complex campaigns.
  • It has so many features and services that navigating can be overwhelming.
  • Customer support is limited to email — no phone or live chat.

#2. Boostly: An Automated Text Message in the Restaurant Niche

Boostly is an automated text message platform designed for the restaurant industry. It helps restaurant owners optimize customer engagement by automating customer communication, such as welcome messages, feedback surveys, and promotional offers. 

Boostly also provides analytics about customer behaviour and marketing performance to help business owners make better serving and marketing decisions.

It’s designed to work seamlessly with POS systems, making customer engagement easy and automated.

Key Features

  • Automation of customer communication, including welcome messages, feedback surveys, and promotional offers. 
  • Restaurants can use the tool to collect customer text message opt-ins and collect feedback about their dining experiences.
  • Comprehensive analytics to monitor customer engagement and marketing performance
  • Integration with POS systems for automated communication with customers

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 10x greater redemption rate compared to traditional printed advertising
  • Good ROI since automated messages are cheaper than print ads (for every $1 spent on Boostly, restaurants get back an average of $1 to $15 in new revenue)
  • Intuitive user interface 

Cons

  • It’s limited to restaurants in the US and Canada
  • The automation capabilities are not as robust as other SMS marketing services.

#3. Klaviyo: A Comprehensive SMS Marketing Tool 

Klaviyo is an advanced marketing tool designed for e-commerce businesses. Founded in 2012, it has quickly become one of the industry’s most popular SMS and email marketing tools. 

It offers a variety of features to help companies optimize their customer engagement, including automated SMS campaigns, segmentation capabilities, and comprehensive analytics.

Key Products and Services

  • Unified email and SMS campaigns to create a seamless customer experience for e-commerce businesses
  • Klaviyo pulls data from your online store, automatically segments your customers, and sends them personalized, targeted SMS and email messages. 
  • Real-time data tracking to measure customer engagement and return on investment

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Suitable for e-commerce businesses, as it is tailored to their needs
  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface
  • Advanced audience segmentation
  • Supports MMS
  • Good selection of automated email and SMS flows
  • Free plan available

Cons

  • Limited to e-commerce businesses
  • It doesn’t have a mobile app
  • Expensive if you want to use SMS and email together
  • SMS is only available in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK
  • Its email builder is a little clunky

#4. Emotive: Email Marketing Solution for Fast-growing eCommerce Businesses

Founded in 2018, Emotive is a mobile marketing platform that focuses on creating automated SMS campaigns. Like Klaviyo, Emotive is designed for e-commerce stores and offers a full suite of features to help businesses maximize customer engagement.

Key Products and Services

  • Automated SMS campaigns with personalization capabilities

Emotive offers subscriber list building, SMS campaign creation, audience segmentation, automated campaigns, two-way messaging, and drip campaigns.

Emotive Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Easy-to-use and intuitive dashboard
  • One-click segmentation and personalization
  • Full suite of features to help businesses maximize customer engagement 
  • Integrates with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Magento 
  • Full suite of analytics and reporting tools to track the performance of campaigns
  • 30-day free trial
  • Five times ROI guarantee
  • Robust automated SMS flows and drip campaigns 
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Cons

  • Supports only one channel
  • Only suitable for e-commerce stores
  • Pricing is not advertised on the website 
  • Limited customer support options

#5. EZ Texting

EZ Texting is an SMS marketing platform targeted at small to medium-sized businesses. The platform offers a wide range of messaging services, including dedicated short codes, MMS Picture messaging, group Texting, List Growth Tools, Two Way Texting, Text Forwarding, Enhanced Compliance Features, and more. 

Key Products and Services

EZ Texting provides many features, including: 

  • List Growth Tools such as web forms, text-to-join (keyword), and opt-in widgets. 
  • Advanced segmentation capabilities to reach the right customers
  • Advanced analytics and reporting to track the ROI of campaigns 
  • Integration with popular CRM and e-commerce platforms
  • Easy to use drag-and-drop message builder. 

Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Supports MMS Picture messaging
  • Integrates with popular e-commerce platforms 

Cons

  • Doesn’t support omnichannel messaging 
  • Limited analytics and reporting capabilities 
  • Not the cheapest option on the market, with prices starting at $25/month
  • It only operates in the US and Canada.

#6. Sakari

Sakari is a cloud-based SMS marketing tool designed to help businesses create, manage and track text message campaigns. Founded in 2016, Sakari provides a range of features such as 2-way SMS, Unlimited Contacts, Texting Campaigns, SMS API, Email to SMS, Phone Number Groups, MMS Messaging, Sakari Mobile App, Autoresponders, Sender ID Response, Analytics and Reporting, and more. 

Key Product & Services

Sakari provides numerous features, including: 

  • 2-way SMS for real-time conversations with customers. 
  • Unlimited contacts, allowing users to store their customer data and contact lists easily. 
  • Texting campaigns for easy creation and management of campaigns. 
  • SMS API for integration with third-party applications and platforms. 
  • Email to SMS for sending messages via email. 
  • Phone number groups for segmented messaging. 
  • MMS messaging for sending images and multimedia content. 
  • Sakari mobile app for sending messages from a smartphone. 
  • Autoresponders for setting up automated replies to customer inquiries. 
  • Sender ID response for sending messages with custom sender IDs for branding purposes. 
  • Analytics and reporting for tracking messages, delivery status, and response rates. 

Pros

  • Easy to use platform with user-friendly interface. 
  • Flexible pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets. 
  • Robust analytics and reporting features. 

Cons

  • International coverage is limited to US and Canada. 

Pricing

Sakari charges you based on the number of messages you’ll send:

  • for 500 messages, their pricing is $16/m
  • for 1000 messages, $30/month
  • for 3125 messages, $90/month

and so forth…

They also have a 14-day free trial available for those who want to try before they buy.

#7. Messente

Messente was launched in 2001 and is a global mobile communications leader specializing in messaging services. They provide quality SMS delivery for over 200 countries with 24/7 customer service support. 

The company has partnered with over 1200 mobile networks, allowing them to deliver messages to almost any location in the world. Messente’s features include SMS API, verigator, verification services, Viber Business Messages, and more.

Key Products and Services

  • SMS API for integrating a messaging solution into an app, website, or platform. 
  • Verigator for verifying the identity or confirming a phone number
  • SMS verification services for securely sending codes to users. 
  • Viber Business Messages for sending personalized Viber messages

Pros

  • Provides global coverage in over 200 countries
  • Easy-to-use platform with powerful SMS features. 
  • Responsive customer service support. 

Cons

  • Doesn’t support MMS messaging

Pricing

  • Messente’s pricing is based on the country you’re sending messages to and the volume of messages you’ll send. Their pricing starts from $0.007 per message.

#8. Textedly

Texytely is a powerful SMS marketing tool that makes sending bulk text messages and running campaigns easy. The marketing tool offers flexible, scalable, and secure messaging solutions for any size of business. 

It has eight pricing plans, spanning 50 to 18,000 messages per month, with no contracts or setup fees.

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The tool boasts many SMS features, including mass group texting, two-way SMS, autoreply texts, complimentary incoming messages, text keyword, conversation triggers, unlimited contacts, built-in link shrinking, single send, comprehensive analytics, and more. 

Key Products and Services

  • Mass group texting for sending a message to many contacts at once
  • Two-way SMS for allowing customers to send messages to and from a business
  • Autoreply texts for sending automated messages to customers
  • Free Incoming messages for receiving messages from customers without any charges. 
  • Text keyword feature for allowing customers to sign up to receive notifications via SMS. 
  • Conversation triggers for setting up automated conversations with customers.
  •   Text to Vote for allowing customers to cast their votes via SMS. 
  • Unlimited contacts for adding an unlimited number of contacts to your address book. 
  • Built-in link shrinking for quickly creating shortened links to share via SMS.
  • SMS Surveys for collecting customer feedback with the help of text messages. 
  • Omnichannel Inbox for managing customer communication across multiple channels.
  • Emojis for adding fun and personality to your text messages.
  • Instagram Texting for connecting to customers via Instagram Direct Messages. 

Pros

  • Easy-to-use platform with powerful SMS features
  • Responsive customer service team. 
  • Offers a variety of pricing plans
  • It has a 14-day free trial. 

Cons 

  • Limited customer support options
  • Not the most affordable service in the market 

Overall, Textedly is an excellent SMS marketing tool for businesses of any size looking to reach a large number of customers.

Pricing

Textedly offers eight different monthly plans, ranging from 50 to 18,000 messages. They have a free plan (no credit card required) that allows you to send up to 50 monthly messages.

Their other plans include $26/m (for 600 text messages), $38/m (for 1,200 text messages), $69/m (for 3,000 text messages), $99/m (for 4,200 text messages), $139/m (for 6,000 text messages), $249/m (for 12,000 text messages), and $349/m (for 18,000 texts). 

#9. Slick Text: Best for Customer Loyalty

Slick Text is a trusted SMS marketing platform that’s been around since 2012. The platform focuses on turning text messaging into a decisive advantage for businesses looking to strengthen customer loyalty. 

As of this writing, over 10,000 customers across North America have used Slick Text to power their SMS marketing campaigns. 

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Key Products and Services

Slick Text offers a wide range of features, such as: 

  • Mass Text Messaging: Schedule and send text messages to your contacts in bulk. 
  • Automated Messaging: Automatically send triggered messages based on customer actions or behaviours.
  • One-on-One Texting: Have private conversations with customers directly from the platform. 
  • Text-to-Win Contests: Create SMS campaigns to engage with your contacts and build relationships.
  • MMS/Picture Messaging: Send multimedia messages with photos, videos and GIFs. 
  • Loyalty Rewards: Reward customers for their loyalty using coupons and incentives
  • Mobile Coupons: Create and deliver discount codes to your customers’ phones. 

Pricing

Slick Text offers ten different pricing plans, ranging from free (for 50 text messages per month) to enterprise (talk to the team for pricing). 

Their other plans include $29/m (for 500 text messages), $49/m (for 1,000 text messages), $79/m (for 2,000 text messages), $139/m (for 3,600 text messages), $189/m (5000 text messages), $350/m (for 10,000 text messages), $750/m (for 25,000 text messages), and $1,250/m (for 50,000 text messages).

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#10. Thryv

Thryv is an all-in-one small business management software solution. It offers a suite of products to help small businesses run their operations, and one of those products is Thryv Text Automation. 

You can use their SMS marketing software to send your customers payment receipts, appointment reminders automatically, and thank you messages. You can also use it to send personalized messages and schedule campaigns in advance for better timing. 

Key Products and Services

  • A short text code: Generate a short code that customers can use to send messages directly to your business. 
  • Auto-responding: Automatically respond to customer inquiries with predefined messages. 
  • A Vast Library of text templates: Choose from a library of text templates to quickly get started on your campaigns. 
  • A robust CRM tool: Manage your customer relationships with Thryv’s built-in CRM.

Pricing

Thryv doesn’t have a specific pricing plan for its SMS marketing services. They offer plans based on the other tools you want to use. They also haven’t disclosed their SMS marketing pricing; you might want to contact them for a quote.

#11. Notify Visitors

Notify Visitors is a highly-rated SMS marketing platform designed to help you send personalized messages to your customers. It’s among the few SMS platforms with an AI-driven chatbot for engaging customer conversations. 

Key Products and Services

  • AI-driven chatbot: Engage customers in conversation with the AI-powered chatbot. 
  • Automated SMS and email campaigns: Automatically send SMS and email campaigns to customers. 
  • Personalized messages: Send personalized messages based on customer preferences. 
  • Data insights: Analyse customer data to gain insights into their behaviour

Pricing

Notify Visitors offers both monthly and annual plans. They also have a free plan, where you can save up to 1,000 contacts, send up to 1,000 emails, send up to 50,000 push notifications, and get unlimited SMS messages. 

Their paid plans start at $60 monthly for up to 10,000 contacts and 30,000 emails.

#12. Gupshup

Gupshup is an SMS marketing platform designed to help you send automated messages to customers. You can use it to build engaging customer conversations and deliver personalized messages. Additionally, you can use it to create omnichannel marketing campaigns, on channels like SMS, Instagram, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, Android, Twitter, etc.

Key Products and Services

Engaging Conversations: Use Gupshup to build engaging conversations with your customers. 

  • Personalized Messages: Create personalized messages to send to customers. 
  • AI-based Bot Platform: Leverage Gupshup’s AI-based bot platform to create interactive bots
  • Omni-Channel Marketing: Use Gupshup to create omni-channel marketing campaigns. 
  • Protect sensitive data: Secure customer data with Gupshup’s encryption and security features. 

Pricing: Available on request.

#13. Infobip: Intelligent Conversations with Your Prospects and Customers at Scale

Infobip is an intelligent SMS marketing platform designed to help you build customer relationships over every possible channel. You can also use it to analyse customer behaviour and send personalized messages and offers.

Key Products and Services

  • Programmable SMS at Scale: Send programmable SMS messages at scale with Infobip.
  • Analyse Customer Behaviour: Analyse customer behaviour to gain insights into their interests and preferences. 
  • Personalized Messages and Offers: Send personalized messages and offer to your customers.
  • AI-based Chatbot Platform: Leverage Infobip’s AI-based chatbot platform to create interactive bots
  • Live Chat Support: Get immediate answers to customer queries through live chat support. 
  • Voice Messaging: Send voice messages to customers.
  • WhatsApp Business integration: Integrate your WhatsApp Business account with Infobip.
  • Messenger: Connect and engage with customers through Messenger.
  • Explore All Channels: Explore all channels for customer engagement and conversions.

Pricing: Infobip has two pricing plans:

  • Pay As You Go
  • Volume based discounts

How to Choose an SMS Marketing Tool or Service

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As you explore different SMS marketing tools and services, it’s important to consider the features offered and how they will meet your needs. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an SMS marketing solution:

  • Pricing: Consider the pricing model and determine if it fits your budget. First, you want to check if the platform offers a free trial or a free plan. Also, compare the pricing of different plans and opt for one that best suits your needs. 

Ideally, you only want to pay for the features you need and the text volume you plan to send.

  • Bulk Text Messages: Ensure the platform allows you to send bulk text messages. Choose a tool or service that offers an easy-to-use interface and makes it easy to send messages in bulk. 

You also want to check how many contacts you can upload and how fast the texts can be sent.

  • Scheduling: Look for a tool that offers scheduling capabilities so you can set specific times to send your messages. This way, you can plan and manage your SMS campaigns effectively. 
  • Analytics and Reporting: Opt for a platform that offers real-time analytics and reporting so you can monitor the performance of your campaigns. That will help you track metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and more. 
  • MMS Support: Check if the tool offers multimedia messaging service (MMS) support. This feature will allow you to send images, videos, and GIFs with your text messages. 
  • Scalability: Choose a platform that can scale up or down depending on your needs. This will help you save money and ensure you don’t miss out on any new opportunities. 
  • Integration: Can the SMS platform integrate with your CRM, ecommerce system, or other platforms? The ability to integrate with existing systems will make your marketing automation much easier. 
  • Level of Personalization: Look for a tool that offers advanced personalization features. That should help you create highly targeted campaigns and send personalized messages to each recipient. 
  • Scheduling and Automation: Many SMS marketing tools and services have scheduling and automation features. Automation will help you engage with prospects and customers even when busy with other things. 
  • Reporting and Analytics: Choose a platform that offers comprehensive reporting and analytics. Make sure you can check the performance of your campaigns in real-time and track metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, and more. 
  • Customer Support: Opt for a platform that offers reliable customer support. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a campaign with no help. 

The Final Wrap: Which Marketing Platform is the Best? 

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Choosing an SMS marketing isn’t as simple as it sounds. It would be best to consider some of the factors we’ve mentioned before you make your decision. You also want to ensure the platform offers features that meet your requirements and are within your budget.

We’ve identified 12 key SMS marketing tools and services you can consider, but if we were to trim the list down to our top picks, we’d go with the following two: Twilio and Infobip. Both offer great features at an affordable price, so it’s hard to go wrong with either.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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