Pensive young woman sits at a cafe table reading content on her smartphone.
Text message marketing is an effective and low-cost way to communicate with your customers and audience. — Getty Images/GaudiLab

Text message marketing is an effective and low-cost way to communicate with your customers and audience. If you’re unsure where to start, here are nine text message marketing tools you can try.

[Read more: What Is Text Message Marketing? A Guide to Getting Started]

Twilio

Twilio makes it possible for you to connect with your customers across a variety of channels, including text messaging. Twilio is one of the most well-known SMS marketing companies and is used by companies like Instagram, Chime, and Morgan Stanley.

It’s also one of the best options available for companies that want to customize their text message marketing. You can use Twilio to send text message alerts and reminders or engage customers in two-way SMS conversations.

Twilio is an excellent option for companies that want to expand into other channels as well. You can also use the platform to engage with customers on WhatsApp or over chat.

Textline

With Textline’s bulk messaging software, you can use your own phone number to connect with hundreds of subscribed contacts. The business SMS platform supports two-way SMS and scheduled messages, even on the base plan.

Textline has built-in opt-in and opt-out features, ensuring that your company complies with SMS marketing rules. You can segment your contact lists and personalize each message through custom fields.

Text message templates, performance tracking tools, and scheduling options distinguish Textline from rivals. In addition, Textline complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), making it an excellent choice for health care practices.

SlickText

SlickText stands out for its hyper-personalized text blasts and automated text sequences. Not only can you develop text-to-win contests, but you can also sign up customers for loyalty rewards programs and send digital mobile coupons.

With SlickText, compliance is built-in, and it maintains a zero-tolerance policy to ensure that a few bad apples don’t disrupt your business’s SMS communications. All plans include live chat support, which is accessible from your SlickText account.

Aside from mass text messaging, SlickText supports one-on-one texting. It also has native integrations with Shopify, HubSpot, and several email marketing services. And the best part is that any text credits that you don’t use roll over to the next billing cycle.

[Read more: Email Marketing Laws: What Small Businesses Need to Know About Compliance]

Birdeye

Like Twilio, Birdeye offers many solutions for companies, including bulk text messaging, review management, and local listing services. It debuted its AI-powered platform for local businesses, which includes a suite of tools designed to improve customer experiences and online rankings.

Birdeye ensures your mass text messaging campaigns follow best practices with built-in frequency limits. Workflow automation and scheduling tools send messages at the correct times, while collaboration features let you assign messages to staff for follow-up.

With the Birdeye mobile app, you can have two-way conversations with contacts and manage promotional messages from a unified inbox. This dashboard also shows conversations on Google, social media, and webchat.

If you’re a service-based business that plans to send mostly outgoing messages to your customers, Sakari may be a good option for you.

Text Magic

If you’re looking for an easy, straightforward way to get started with text message marketing, Text Magic may be the way to go. To get started, all you have to do is enter the phone number, your desired message, and hit send.

The interface is incredibly intuitive, and yet Text Magic is a solution that can grow alongside your business. The company offers a variety of features, including:

  • Two-way SMS chat.
  • Converting an email into a text message.
  • Scheduling text message campaigns.
  • Importing mobile numbers from Excel.
  • Sorting your audience into different lists.

Textedly

Textedly offers text message marketing tools for businesses of all sizes. You can use the service to send important text message notifications, set up drip campaigns, schedule reminders, and send mass alerts to your entire list.

You can use Textedly to set up autoresponders so your customers receive an automated reply after they sign up. Plus, Textedly integrates seamlessly with over 3,000 apps like Facebook, Salesforce, and Mailchimp.

If you’re interested in trying Textedly, you can get started with a free 14-day trial however, the app is missing certain features, like the ability to segment your list.

[Read more: Keep It Quirky: 5 Small Business Owners Share Their Best Email Marketing Tips]

Podium

Podium is a great option for small businesses that want to try text message marketing. The app comes with a minimal learning curve, so you can easily train your team to use the software.

You can use Podium to create conversational marketing messages and build relationships with your customers. The dashboard makes it easy to measure and view the results of your marketing campaigns.

One of the unique aspects of Podium is that it offers a variety of opportunities for your customers to sign up to receive text messages. For instance, if a customer leaves you a review, you can automatically invite them to sign up for text messages.

EZ Texting

EZ Texting is another great option for small businesses, thanks to its affordable pricing and a wide variety of features. The company offers an iOS app so you can manage your account, have one-on-one conversations, and manage your incoming messages right from your mobile phone.

EZ Texting has also partnered with Shutterstock to provide millions of free images to its customers. That means you can text both messages and images to your subscribers.

Sakari

If you’re a service-based business that plans to send mostly outgoing messages to your customers, Sakari may be a good option for you. You can use the app to confirm appointments and send delivery notifications to your customers.

What sets Sakari apart is that it’s one of the most affordable SMS marketing solutions available. The least expensive plan is just $16 per month, which comes with 500 message segments. And you can use Zapier to integrate Sakari with any other business apps you’re using.

[Read more: 8 Savvy Text Message Marketing Best Practices]

What makes a great SMS marketing provider?

The top SMS marketing platforms automate compliance and improve deliverability while providing seamless user experiences. After all, small businesses lack the time and resources to manually track opt-in and opt-out messages. The best business text messaging services supply keywords (Stop or Unsubscribe) and remove recipients from lists automatically.

Companies achieve higher deliverability rates through compliance and additional features when using the leading SMS marketing platforms. Many provide delivery rate statistics, allowing you to analyze your return on investment.

Lastly, automated text messaging apps should be easy for your team and customers. Features like two-way communication can help your company build relationships, and segmentation lets you personalize messages to deliver relevant, engaging content. On the business side, tools like unified inboxes and mobile apps allow teams to manage multiple conversations consistently.

Text message marketing tool features

Text marketing features vary by platform and service plan. However, the best bulk messaging services have tools to support marketing campaigns and customer or patient reminders.

SMS marketing software for small businesses may offer the following features:

  • Mass text messaging: Send hundreds of SMS messages with a single click to people who have opted in to receive marketing texts or reminders from your company.
  • Two-way conversations: Foster relationships and increase customer loyalty by interacting via text using business SMS software.
  • One-on-one texting: Many bulk texting platforms have a private messaging tool, so you can reply to customers and continue the conversation.
  • Message scheduling: Deliver text messages at optimal times by scheduling them when your customers are most likely to read them.
  • Text marketing campaigns: Set up automated text marketing sequences with triggers to guide customers toward conversion.
  • Message analytics: Review click rates and opt-in stats to see how your text marketing campaigns perform and where you can improve.
  • Contact management: Upload existing contacts and create new profiles with standard and custom fields, including email addresses, birthdates, and more.
  • List segmentation: Organize your contacts based on age, location, or any combination you can think of, depending on the SMS marketing software you choose.
  • Integrations: Sync your SMS marketing platform with your customer relationship management (CRM) or email marketing program for effortless campaigns.
  • MMS picture texts: Engage your audience by attaching photos to your outbound text messages.

Text message marketing campaign examples

According to Pew Research, 90% of U.S. adults own a smartphone. If you’re one of them, you’ve likely participated in or been solicited for a text message marketing campaign. For compliance purposes, any bulk outbound messages, including appointment and billing reminders, fall under the campaign status.

However, welcome messages and new customer promos are the most commonly used tactics. At a brick-and-mortar store, you may give your cell phone number during checkout and hear an instant chime from your device. That’s a welcome message thanking you for signing up and perhaps offering a discount on your next purchase.

When browsing an e-commerce shop, a popular marketing strategy is offering a coupon in exchange for your cellular number. After entering your digits, you get the promo code and 15% off your first order.

These promotion message examples pop up all the time. Many bulk text messaging providers offer SMS marketing templates and automation tools to streamline your efforts.

[Read more: Benefits of Text-Based Testimonials]

This article was originally written by Jamie Johnson.

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