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The Best Text Message Marketing Services of 2020

By Kiely Kuligowski,
Business News Daily Writer
| Updated
Sep 18, 2020

This guide includes a text message marketing service buying guide and best pick reviews of the best text message marketing services of 2020.
Featured Sponsor
Key features: Custom keywords, free incoming text messages, contact management tools and reporting analytics.
Best Pricing Options
Key Features: Eight pricing tiers, analytics, autoresponders and templates.
Easiest to Use
Key features: Nine different pricing plans, a detailed assortment of features and thorough videos explaining how to use the platform.
Best Overall
Key features: Analytics, contact management, advanced tools like drip campaigns, and a user-friendly dashboard.
This guide includes a text message marketing service buying guide and best pick reviews of the best text message marketing services of 2020.
  • Text message marketing makes it easy to communicate directly with customers and send out newsletters, coupons, special deals or announcements with just a few clicks.
  • Look for a provider that offers a reasonable (for your business) number of monthly or annual text messages and free keywords.
  • SimpleTexting is the best overall text message marketing service, SimpleTexting has the best pricing options, SlickText is the easiest to use, and Textedly is a featured sponsor.
  • This article is for small businesses that are looking for an easy way to connect directly with their customers.

According to the Pew Research Center, 92% of adult Americans have a cell phone capable of receiving text messages. As time spent on phones continues to increase, it's no surprise that businesses are looking to implement text message marketing campaigns. There are dozens of quality services on the market, but a few stand out, especially for small businesses looking to please subscribers. We researched 12 different text message marketing services and chose four best picks based on the features they offered, pricing, ease of use, and customer service.

Our Reviews

Textedly: Featured Sponsor

Textedly offers built-in CTA and mobile carrier compliance.
Each plan includes custom keywords and free incoming messages.
It lacks some key features, like segmentation and surveys.
Textedly offers a range of helpful text message marketing tools for businesses of all sizes. It has a user-friendly dashboard plus several valuable features like custom keywords, free incoming text messages, contact management tools, and a robust reporting suite. Textedly includes autoresponders that provide automated replies to contacts when they subscribe to your messages, as well as multimedia messaging for images and videos. With Textedly, you can schedule campaigns in advance using an intuitive calendar feature; the calendar can schedule a single text message or a group of messages to be sent out at any time. Textedly offers eight different pricing tiers for companies of various sizes and service level requirements. It operates on a month-to-month subscription basis, although you can pay annually for access to 20% more text messages per month. Textedly comes with a 14-day free trial during which you can set up one custom keyword. Paid plans start at $29 per month for 1,000 text messages with one custom keyword. The highest tier plan costs $2,800 per month and includes 200,000 text messages. Textedly is an effective tool with flexible options for any type or size of business.
Read Review

SimpleTexting: Best Pricing Options

SimpleTexting offers eight different pricing plans.
The interface is easy to use.
There is a 160-character limit per SMS credit (1,600 characters for MMS).
SimpleTexting offers a variety of quality product features, but the pricing plan is what makes the company an enticing option for small businesses. The company offers extremely flexible pricing, which is advantageous for businesses of all sizes. SimpleTexting won't charge you an unreasonable amount of money; the pricing is determined through a credit system. A standard SMS text message costs one credit, while an MMS message costs three credits. The least expensive plan costs $25 per month and gives businesses 500 credits. The most expensive plan offers 50,000 credits for $625 per month. Additional charges for going over your monthly credit limit apply, and those vary by plan. The wide range of pricing options makes SimpleTexting a good option for businesses of varying sizes.
Read Review

SlickText: Easiest to Use

SlickText offers a free mobile app and multiple SMS automations.
You get one-on-one help to set up your account.
Your text credits will expire if you don't use them within a certain time period.
Small businesses don't want to spend weeks learning how to operate their text message marketing service. With SlickText, individuals can quickly go from having little to no experience with text message marketing to being quite adept. The user interface is intuitive, but it's the detailed explanations on the platform that impressed us most. The company's website includes videos explaining how to create an account, how to reserve a keyword and how to set up autoreply. These explanations are detailed enough for text messaging novices to understand. They're also readily available if you forget how a function works. Additionally, SlickText is readily available to answer your questions. You can reach a company representative via their toll-free phone number, email or live chat.
Read Review

EZ Texting: Best Overall

EZ Texting has flexible pricing packages.
It offers a wide selection of customization tools.
Credits will expire if you don't use them within 18 months.
EZ Texting stands out among its peers for a variety of reasons, including fair pricing and a fantastic selection of tools. The company offers eight different pricing plans, which makes it a company that can provide affordable services to businesses of all sizes. The pricing flexibility and variability is one of EZ Texting's best perks. The cheapest plan starts at 5 cents per message and $25 per keyword. The other plans offer monthly rates, with the most expensive plan costing $2,000 a month. A user-friendly interface and an assortment of features also make EZ Texting our selection as the best overall text message marketing solution for businesses. Its user interface is intuitive and won't take long to learn, which is an important consideration when deciding on a text message marketing service. Customization aspects are also a positive, as it's easy to make your recipients feel special by easily sending them personalized messages. EZ Texting makes text message marketing feel more like a genuine interaction compared to other text message marketing services. EZ Texting has introduced two new features: an iOS app that enables users to communicate with customers in real time and direct two-way business text messaging, which allows EZ Texting users to convert their existing phone numbers to send and receive text messages.
Read Review

What Is Text Message Marketing?

Text message marketing is the use of SMS (short message service) or text messages to deliver promotional messages to customers and other subscribers. Businesses use text message marketing to increase brand awareness, generate sales, provide news to subscribers, increase web traffic or promote something about the business.

The terms text message marketing and SMS are interchangeable, and can be used to refer to the same thing. Text message marketing works by allowing customers or subscribers to opt in to receiving texts from your business, then using a service to draft and send messages to those subscribers.

Key takeaway: Text message marketing is the use of text messages to deliver promotional messages to customers and subscribers.

Pricing

Pricing for text message marketing services varies depending on several factors: the vendor, how many messages you need to send monthly, how many custom keywords you need and whether you expect to exceed your monthly limits at all.

Most texting plans include a per-text cost and the cost of renting keywords for campaigns, and will typically allow you to pay for the texts and keywords together. Plans start for free and can go up to $4,000 per month, with more features and keywords offered at higher price points. For example, most free or tier-one plans typically offer approximately 250 text messages and one custom keyword, whereas a $4,000-per-month plan might allow up to 250,000 text messages and unlimited keywords.

Some providers offer pay-as-you-go plans that allow you to only pay for what you use.

Key takeaway: Text message marketing prices vary based on the provider, how many messages you send and how many custom keywords you need.

Features

Text message marketing services are more than a way to send text messages – they are full-scale marketing solutions that help you engage with your audience, track results and improve customer service. 

Because there are so many features available when looking for a text message marketing provider, it can be difficult to know which features you need for your specific business. Below are what we think are the most valuable features for businesses to look for in a service:

  • Analytics and reports: Analytics are a vital part of text message marketing, as these numbers tell you which campaigns were successful and which ones were not. Additionally, analytics provide insight into why they performed the way they did.

  • Automation: Automation tools make sending out regular messages easy, since you can program them to be sent automatically at the same time every day, week or month.

  • Contact management: Contact lists are vital to successful text message marketing campaigns. The contact management feature keeps contacts organized, fresh and easy to access.

  • Customization: Personalization goes a long way in getting customers to engage with your messages.  Some solutions capture customer data, such as the person's full name, birthday and ZIP code, which opens new possibilities for your company's marketing campaigns.

  • Drip campaigns: With this feature, you can send out automated customer journeys that are triggered based on conditions you set using if/then commands.

  • Free incoming text messages: The best text message marketing companies offer free incoming text messages, which can help save you money.

  • Integrations: Some text message companies integrate with other platforms, such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact. These integrations can greatly increase your productivity and capabilities.

  • Message templates: If you send the same text message frequently, look for a solution that lets you create and save templates so you can send messages faster.

  • Multimedia messaging: Some services allow you to send pictures, videos and audio clips.

  • Mobile keywords: Build your contact list with mobile keywords. The best solutions allow you to choose custom keywords and track the use of these keywords. Keep in mind, however, that many plans require you to pay extra for more keywords.

  • Scheduling:  Scheduling text messages in advance can increase your productivity by taking away the responsibility of remembering to send texts out at certain times.

  • Surveys: Gather customer feedback with polls and surveys. The best solutions make it easy to gather feedback and adjust your campaigns or analytics with these tools.

  • Text-to-landline: Text-to-landline lets you send and receive text messages through your business landline phone number with no changes to your voice service.

Key takeaway: There are many features that make text message marketing a great choice for businesses wanting to speak directly with their customers, including templates, integrations and drip campaigns.

Best Uses For Text Message Marketing Campaigns

There are many ways you can use text message marketing to benefit your company. It's an easy way to communicate directly with your customers, and you learn more about what your audience wants from you.

Here are some ways that businesses use text message marketing:

  1. Send exclusive deals and discounts. Receiving special deals and discounts is a main reason why many people opt in to receive text messages from companies. It makes it easy for customers to redeem coupon codes, stay up to date with news, and it gives businesses an easy way to attract new customers.

  2. Offer sneak peeks into new products or services. To drum up excitement for the launch of a new product or service, you can text out sneak peeks or trials to subscribers to keep your business fresh in customers' minds.

  3. Target past customers with news. If you have customers who haven't done business with you in a while, texting can be a great way to draw them back in. You can send news about goings-on within your company or updates on your products and services.

  4. Send appointment or reservation confirmations. If reservations or appointments are part of your business, texting confirmations can be a no-brainer. It's a faster, easier way to confirm with customers than calling or emailing, and it offers an easy way for customers to reference the appointment information.

  5. Provide order updates. If a customer orders something from you, you can send order notifications or updates via text rather than in an email to provide the most up-to-date information. This also provides customers with a direct line of communication should anything go wrong with their order.

Community Experts

Alex Kovalenko, account manager and senior IT recruiter at Kovasys

EZTexting

"We like how easy it is to use. You can add different groups of people, it's easy to unsubscribe and easy to communicate with [customers] after the message is sent."

Mike Khorev, growth consultant

EZTexting

"EZTexting is a major timesaver with all its various features, and I like that it has an intuitive interface that's easy to use. It's also easy to personalize and automate messages. However, there can be a steep learning curve for certain advanced features, and customer service is sometimes slow."

Malte Scholz, CEO and co-founder of Airfocus

SlickText

"We use SlickText for our SMS marketing needs. The ease of use is our biggest pro, as well as the exceptional customer service. It would be nice to have more integration options, but the customer service is definitely a 5/5. They've been there for me every time, and their responses are super quick."

Jane Kolvakova, chief marketing officer at Chanty

SimpleTexting

"We love the fact that the user interface is super simple and that it takes 15 minutes to set up and use. No matter what your background is, you can figure out how to send mass texts and set up autoresponders very quickly. [However], the number of credits you need can be confusing, and importing contacts from CSV lists can be a bit buggy."

Key takeaway: Community experts found the most important features to be ease of use, customer service, and personalization options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should businesses use text message marketing?

Text message marketing is a great way to connect with your customers on a personal level and provide customized messaging. Texting is also faster than other communication methods, and you can resolve issues and connect with customers without a long wait.

When should businesses use text message marketing?

The guidelines for when you should text your customers follow general business communication etiquette: Limit messaging to business hours (i.e., weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and avoid sending too many messages at once.

What industries benefit the most from text message marketing?

Any business that needs or wants to communicate directly with customers can benefit from text message marketing. It's a great way to connect with your consumer base, and it can add a personal touch to your business communications and customer support.

Is text message marketing effective?

Text message marketing can be a highly effective way to reach your customers and connect with them on a personal level. It is also cost-effective, allowing you to reach a large number of customers for a generally low monthly or annual fee.

How can you send bulk text messages?

While the exact method for sending bulk text messages depends on which provider you choose, the general process is to select the group or list of contacts you wish to send the message to by importing contacts or selecting a premade list, then drafting and sending your message.

What to Expect in 2020

Expect continued growth for text message marketing, but it's important to understand where the service falls in line with your other marketing channels. Some customers feel more comfortable with email marketing or social media marketing. Those forms of marketing require a potential customer to go somewhere – either to their email inbox or a social media platform. Text messages show up without the customer navigating anywhere, which can be beneficial or harmful for businesses.

Ensure that you only send messages once you receive opt-in approval. Companies like Ralph Lauren have learned that poorly run text message marketing campaigns can lead to legal trouble. The company recently wrapped up resolving a dispute for sending a customer 188 texts. The customer claims he consented to six texts per month, but the Ralph Lauren Corporation routinely sent more messages than he opted into receiving. The plaintiff said Ralph Lauren failed to send opt-out messages for roughly 80% of the texts they sent. The key takeaways here are to, one, have, and follow, specific agreements with a customer. It's one thing to receive an opt-in confirmation for a few messages, it's another to send dozens of texts without the customer's consent. Two, provide an option so consumers can opt of out receiving your text messages at any time.

Additionally, New data shows that businesses are seeing a boost in their text message marketing campaigns. The Wall Street Journal reported last April on data from Attentive Mobile Inc. that shows the average daily number of people signing up for texts from Attentive clients between March 30 and April 12 was 53% higher than the average for both January and February. This could be a trend that continues to hold as in-person interactions are expected to continue to be limited in many states for the foreseeable future.

Key takeaway: Text message marketing will continue to grow, but so, too, will privacy concerns. Make sure that your chosen provider complies with all laws regarding customer privacy and permission.

Our Methodology

To determine the top text message marketing solutions, we spent weeks researching the options. Here is an explanation of our selection process.

Locating the Best Services

We started with over 20 reputable companies offering text message marketing services. We found these companies based on detailed internet research and online customer reviews.

Choosing the Best Services

We eliminated vendors that didn't offer drip campaigns, automation and customization. We also eliminated companies with old websites or user dashboards that we believed would be overly confusing for businesses, especially smaller companies. We looked for businesses that could deliver effective text campaigns for companies in a range of industries.

Researching Each Service

Once we narrowed our list, we took a deep dive into the features, customer reviews and pricing of each service. It was imperative that the platform's interface was user-friendly and that the service offered flexible pricing so that small businesses can take advantage of text message marketing. We signed up for free trials and contacted a few of the top companies on our list, posing as small business owners. This gave us a more authentic feel for the customer service teams of each business.

Analyzing Each Service

We selected EZ Texting, SlickText and SimpleTexting as the best text messaging services available to small businesses. We analyzed key features, pricing and customer service when making our best pick selections.

Kiely Kuligowski
Kiely Kuligowski,
Business News Daily Writer
See Kiely Kuligowski's Profile
Kiely is a staff writer based in New York City. She worked as a marketing copywriter after graduating with her bachelor’s in English from Miami University (OH) and now writes on small business, social media, and marketing. You can reach her on Twitter or by email.

Full List of Services

The following services are some of the best text message marketing solutions that are available.

Avochato ‒ Avochato is a comprehensive text message marketing service that offers a variety of tools to help businesses send successful text message campaigns. www.avochato.com

Cheapest Texting ‒ Cheapest Texting lets you get the word out about your business to clients, customers and others via SMS messages. The company offers four pricing plans, including its Starter plan that allows you to test out the service for 14 days (sending up to 100 messages) free of charge. www.cheapesttexting.com

*EZ Texting ‒ EZ Texting is an excellent service to help you control your text message marketing campaigns. Its many tools and resources are easy to find and use in the software's dashboard. It's our choice for best text message marketing service overall – it has flexible packages, an easy-to-use dashboard and a variety of advanced tools. www.eztexting.com

Gleantap ‒ Features of Gleantap's text message marketing services include automated text campaigns, autoreplies, personalized messages, link tracking and more. gleantap.com

Heymarket ‒ Heymarket is a mobile and web-based application designed to help businesses create and carry out marketing campaigns through SMS and MMS (iOS and Android) and Facebook Messenger. Each subscription includes a shared inbox (text and Facebook); templates; integration with G Suite, Facebook, and Slack; and website widgets that text-enable your business's website. It offers a 15-day free trial. www.heymarket.com

Mobile Text Alerts ‒ Mobile Text Alerts allows your business to craft and deliver text messages in as little as 30 seconds. The control panel used to manage subscribers is user friendly. The variety of pricing plans is one of the best perks of using this service. The company offers over seven different plans. mobile-text-alerts.com

Mobiniti ‒ Mobiniti's text message marketing service helps you build two-way communication with your customers through its simple and affordable platform. www.mobiniti.com

Mozeo ‒ Mozeo is a good choice for businesses that need basic text message marketing capabilities for a low price on an easy-to-use platform. www.mozeo.com/services-pricing.php

ProTexting ‒ ProTexting lets you run automated campaigns and send multimedia SMS messages to connect with customers. www.protexting.com

* SimpleTexting ‒ SimpleTexting is a straightforward SMS service that connects you to your customers. It offers helpful tools, an easy-to-use dashboard and flexible plans. ww.simpletexting.com

* SlickText ‒ SlickText offers multiple options for your text message marketing campaigns. It establishes two-way communication with your consumers and offers packages to meet the needs of small business owners. www.slicktext.com

SUMOTEXT ‒ SUMOTEXT's is a text message marketing service that performs well in many types of campaigns. sumotext.com

TextMagic ‒ TextMagic is a bulk SMS text message marketing service. Pricing varies substantially based on which country the texts are being sent in. www.textmic.com

Textedly ‒ Textedly offers text messages services with an assortment of features like scheduled messages, mass group texting, built-in link sharing and automatic text replies. Pricing varies depending on the package you select, but the starter package provides a free, 14-day trial. www.textedly.com

Trumpia ‒ Trumpia is an SMS marketing and mass text messaging service. With Trumpia, you can send messages by SMS, MMS, email, social media and voice through one convenient platform. trumpia.com

TXT180  TXT180 is a straightforward SMS marketing platform that offers a good texting service. www.txt180.com

Wire2Air ‒ Wire2Air lets you add unlimited contacts and groups in its online texting platform. wire2air.com/sms_messaging.asp

Image Credit: mangpor_2004 / Getty Images
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