You probably get hundreds of emails every day. And there are some that simply go unread – that’s perfectly normal, we’ve all been there. But how about a text message?
You’d be surprised to learn that about 20 percent of emails are regularly opened, while text messages are opened up almost 98 percent of the time. The data was gathered by Gartner and it’s shocking, especially for digital marketers. It’s also important for entrepreneurs and managers – it shows that customers, contractors, and other people regularly open text messages, but rarely open emails. It shows that using a good SMS marketing tool can be a hugely beneficial marketing strategy.
Luckily, there are many text message marketing apps to choose from. They are designed to send SMS messages to customers without having to do any manual work. You can send thousands of messages directly from your web app, use complex scheduling features, as well as booking systems with reminders and receipts. SMS marketing apps also let you create complete marketing campaigns that can help you automate SMS outreach.
But which SMS app is the best one for your company? There are hundreds of options available online, and we’ve chosen the best ones for you. Here are the six best SMS marketing apps you have to use:
What makes an excellent SMS app?
As mentioned above, there are dozens upon dozens of SMS marketing apps and tools to choose from. Some are general and some are designed for a specific industry. Others are designed for small businesses, while others are aimed at large organizations. No matter what type of SMS service you choose, here are the four important things you need to pay attention to:
- Are they easy to use?
- Are they capable of direct two-way communication?
- Are they easily integrated with other services and apps?
- Are they affordable? Are the prices flexible and scalable, as your business grows?
Many SMS apps and services are capable of direct two-way communication, they can be integrated with other apps and are fairly flexible when it comes to pricing. However, many lack the “ease of use” criterion. A lot of SMS apps are very difficult to integrate with other apps, have complex communication features, and are pretty difficult to use by the average user. A regular person would find using even the basic features overwhelming. In practice, however, these apps do what they say – they help you send and receive text messages quickly and with minimal effort. In other words, they are simple to use, but only for basic tasks.
Similarly, powerful SMS apps do exist – they are capable of sending 100,000 text messages with the click of a button. They are designed for large organizations, that have thousands of clients. Obviously, if your business is large, and you have the resources for this type of service, the app will work wonders. However, for small businesses, mass marketing often seems unnecessary and can become very costly. In some cases, it can be seen negatively and many clients will consider your messages as unwanted spam.
This guide focuses primarily on apps designed for small to medium-sized businesses, who want primarily a way to communicate with their clients and partners. This makes two-way communication very important for these apps. The obvious advantage is enormous – your clients can text back to your messages and can reply directly to your offers. These apps can also work automatically, making them powerful data collection tools for your company. For instance, gathering survey data becomes much easier, and you can communicate much quicker with your existing and prospective clients.
Good SMS services also offer booking and appointment features. On the other hand, simpler SMS services only let you send or receive text messages. In our list, we included only the apps that can be easily integrated with other apps, thus offering full functionality.
This can be done either via Outlook or Google Calendar or by using Zapier. All the SMS services that are present in this list can be directly connected to other important marketing apps, and also use Zapier to handle every other functionality.
Finally, we looked at costs, as SMS services have to be affordable, especially for smaller businesses. Also, the pricing has to be scalable, as the business grows. We are not comfortable with recommending overpriced services, especially the ones that require high monthly fees. Accordingly, our lists only include apps that are either pay-as-you-go, have low volumes, or have low monthly fee plans that can be fully customized depending on your needs. This is a major advantage, especially for smaller companies and startups – you can start using the service even though you only have a handful of clients. As time goes, and your business expands, you can expand the service as well. Simply put, you won’t have to worry about changing SMS services once your business is growing.
We’ve done our testing, and have the full results. Here are the best SMS apps to use:
- TextMagic – ideal for small companies who want to get started quickly
- SimpleTexting – great for easy-to-run marketing campaigns
- ClickSend – excellent tool for integrating with other marketing channels
- Salesmsg – amazing for small, local companies
- Heymarket – the perfect tool for teams
- Twilio – ideal tool if you want top-notch customization options
Let’s go over each app see what makes it special:
TextMagic – The best SMS app for companies looking to get started ASAP
TextMagic is amazingly quick – just after signing up, you can already send a text message to any cell phone. The app has a powerful and very intuitive Setup Wizard, plus a friendly interface that makes the entire process very simple, even for complete beginners. All you have to do is enter a valid phone number, type the message you want, hit Send, and… BAM, the message is delivered!
Sure TextMagic is super easy to use and quite straightforward, but that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. You can do a lot more than sending simple SMS messages: you can send messages to the API, web app, email or directly to and from your phone. It can easily be connected with other apps and works great with Zapier. This means you can use any scheduling or organizational software you want. Contact lists can be imported from Excel as spreadsheets or CSV files, but you can also manually enter new contacts. Similarly, you can use the “Click to Text” tool directly from your form on your website.
TextMagic lets you schedule your messages efficiently, via its powerful Schedule tab. For instance, you can schedule messages, special offers, and all your communication with clients or partners. The app also has a very detailed Templates tab which makes sending recurring messages easier. Appointment confirmations, special offers, and automated responses have never been easier to manage. What’s more, you can quickly send out text messages from iOS, Android, or web apps directly to your customers.
Simply put, TextMagic offers basically every feature you can possibly want from a good SMS service. It’s easy to use, has many features, and is fairly affordable. You can get dedicated virtual numbers from $4.00 per month and texts from $0.04, all with no contract.
Price – pay-as-you-go, with a starting price of $0.04 per text.
SimpleTexting – ideal for easy-to-run marketing campaigns
This SMS app is probably your best option if you want to start your campaigns as quickly as possible. Similar to TextMagic, SimpleTexting has an intuitive interface, complete with every tool you need. You don’t even have to go through an introductory tutorial to understand its features and how they work. Everything is where you want it and you can learn in a few minutes the basic tools.
When compared to other SMS apps, SimpleTexting is more focused on direct-to-customer marketing. You can contact and interact with them directly, but also run marketing campaigns and sending out preset messages. Just hit the Campaigns tab, where you can find the New Campaign button, and you’re almost ready to start interacting with your customers.
You can get new prospects immediately by setting up various keywords in the Keywords tab. For instance, clients that text SUSHI to 555-999 will be put on your sushi deals list. After they join the list, an autoresponder immediately responds with an automated discount code, asking if they want more information about the offer. If the customers want more information, the autoresponder can send another preset text message. More technical marketing efforts can also be done with SimpleTexting, through its excellent Apps tab, where you can create surveys, sweepstakes, and polls.
SimpleTexting comes with amazing analytics. Here, you can get detailed information on your subscribers, the keywords they use to join, the autoresponders that were triggered, and how many people unsubscribed from your list.
Price – SimpleTexting starts from as low as $25 per month, with 500 credits (500 texts); each new credit will cost you $0.045 on the entry plan; there are larger plans where credits are cheaper.
ClickSend – the best app if you want excellent integration with other marketing channels.
Larger marketing campaigns are often run through multiple, different channels at the same time. ClickSend is the ideal option if you want to combine multiple marketing channels, like email, phone, mail, or even fax. For instance, the app lets you send a short text message as well as an email at the same time, with similar information. The app lets you automate messages, the responders, and lets you schedule everything according to your marketing plan.
ClickSend comes with a major advantage when compared to other SMS apps – each channel can be controlled separately. If you want to start a text message campaign, simply select SMS, then SMS Campaigns; if you want to send emails, pick Email Campaigns from the Email Marketing tab. Social media platforms will be added to future versions of the app, like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and many others. This makes ClickSend probably one of the most efficient app to make direct outreach to your customers. Obviously, the results will vary depending on the quality of the prospects on your list. You have to provide an email and a phone number for each contact in order to use the app to its full power. If not, you are getting only half of your marketing effort back.
Because ClickSend provides so much functionality, it may seem a little harder to understand some tools. The sidebar, however, is fairly intuitive but has many tools that you need to get comfortable with. There are many menus and submenus for a plethora of tools – automation, integrations, SMS, email marketing, voice marketing, letters, postcards, transactional emails, and fax. They are fairly logical, but there will be a learning curve when working with this app. Simply put, if you just want to send SMS messages to your clients, you won’t need 99 percent of these tools.
Price – The price for SMS starts at just $0.0093 per message for your first 2,000 messages; the prices go down after reaching this threshold; a dedicated number starts from just $3.59 per month.
Salesmsg – the best SMS app for small, local companies.
This app is an amazing option for the United States and Canada-based small companies. Unfortunately, the app is not currently available in other markets.
Salesmsg is the most simple and basic web app on our list. The main panel has only four tabs, making it extremely easy to use – Contacts, Conversations, Broadcasts, and Triggers. Salesmsg’s power comes from the integration capabilities with other apps and software.
Immediately after signing up for Salesmsg, you are asked to create a local number. This will be the number that all your text will appear to come from. You can assign separate numbers for each team member, as well. Call forwarding can also be enabled, so when a customer calls your number, he or she will be directed to your personal or business phone.
Salesmsg has excellent integration with Outlook and Google Calendar, making it excellent for handling and managing appointments. For instance, if a customer makes an appointment by text, you can immediately add the appointment to the calendar. The app also integrates CRM software, which lets you handle text messaging even better. Salesmsg’s Triggers help you create a webhook, sending various kinds of messages, like reminders, directly to your clients. Zapier can be used to connect to any service you want.
Price – Salesmsg starts from $35 per month for 750 text messages and a phone number; each additional message will cost $0.025, while additional numbers will cost you $10 per month. Custom solutions are offered for larger companies as well.
Heymarket – the best SMS app for teams
This app is a tad different from other similar services and it definitely stands apart on our list. It’s mainly designed for teams working together and is an excellent tool for providing customer support.
For instance, if a customer sends a text asking if a certain product is in stock, you get a simple notification. When you text the client back and say that you’ll look into it, you can send the same text to one of your team members. This is done by simply typing @\[theirname] and explain what the client wants. The team members get the notification and can get back to the customer immediately. Heymarket can be used to connect with customers on major social media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter.
Heymarket also has simple, easy to use web and mobile apps. They only feature seven tabs – Chats, Contacts, Lists, Templates, Campaigns, Automations, and Reports – and they do exactly what they say. The team features are fairly straightforward and you don’t need a lot of practice to understand how they work. Heymarket is noted for its excellent support, done via its own platform.
Price – Heymarket is one of the pricier options on the market – the cheapest option costs $29 per month, when billed annually, for 500 texts and unlimited users. The app is very powerful if you want to use its team functionality. If not, there are cheaper options to choose from.
Twilio – ideal SMS app if you want customization
You probably heard about Twilio before – it’s the biggest brand in the SMS services industry. Initially designed primarily for developers, the app has evolved tremendously. It’s easy to use, it’s great for beginners and it does what it says.
Twilio can be described as a blank canvas. You can use its powerful API feature to build various SMS tools into any app and create whatever campaign or service you want. You can integrate Twilio with Zapier, Zoho, and HubSpot very easily, expanding the functionality of the app. For instance, if you connect the Twillio account to the Zapier account, you can easily send and receive text messages using your email account. You can then collect texts from clients via Google Sheets or Slack, depending on your needs.
Twilio comes with Studio, a powerful drag-and-drop builder that lets you create SMS autoresponders and surveys. You just start with a trigger, like a calendar event or an incoming message. Then, you can create various reply criteria based on your marketing plan. The whole process is very intuitive, the built-in tutorials are very helpful and the project templates are very efficient. You can start in a matter of minutes and create a great SMS marketing plan.
Twilio is very easy to use, even if you are not a developer. However, the app asks you before signing up whether you are one. If you are, the interface is a bit more complex. No matter what option you choose, there are endless customization options, so you can create your personal work environment easily. Because of the complex customization options, Twilio can turn out as cheaper than other services, especially if you are prepared to do the work and get it running.
Price – Twilio is basically a complex platform, not just an app, so the pricing is different when compared to other apps in this list. Text messages start from $0.0075 per message, with an additional $0.005 per message for carrier fees. Every dedicated phone number will cost you $1 per month. Detailed price plans are available for larger companies.
Conclusion – which SMS app should you choose?
The app you choose depends entirely on your goals and what you want to do. Looking for a simple, easy to use service that can be started quickly? – choose Salesmsg or TextMagic. Are you looking for a tool that is focused more on marketing? – go for ClickSend or SimpleTexting. If you are looking for team functionality and powerful tools for your team members, choose Heymarket’s SMS app. Twilio is for the professional who wants to customize the whole process and manages larger text message campaigns. No matter what you choose, keep in mind that all of them have free or $1 trials, so you can give them a try before making the final decision.