Brands use text message marketing for several reasons — to create an additional customer support channel, provide an extra way for customers to make a purchase, and alert subscribers to new products, deals or company announcements.
Mostly, they use text message marketing because it’s more effective than email.
People have a habit of deleting inbox messages that come from brands. But a text? That still feels like a channel reserved for an intimate few. Even if people don’t respond to texts sent from a brand, they’re more likely to read it. And that’s what makes the channel so valuable.
If you’re sold on the value of SMS marketing, but don’t know where to start, consider these 9 SMS marketing tools.
SMS Marketing Tools to Know
- Octane AI
Each is designed for a slightly different use case, and comes with a unique set of features, like automatic workflows and integration with email and Messenger. But all of them are designed to help facilitate relationships between brands and customers over text.
Postscript is an SMS marketing platform used by e-commerce companies on Shopify and Shopify Plus to build and manage subscriber lists. It is used to run creative campaigns, make product announcements, send special offers and chat directly with customers as a customer support channel.
Postscript allows businesses to collect subscribers’ phone numbers at checkout (or via mobile pop-ups), and segment their lists based on how customers have interacted with them in the past.
It also comes with automation tools. Specific text messages can be automatically triggered to send to customers who, for example, just signed up, or recently abandoned their shopping carts, or might be interested in a specific cross-sell.
Postscript includes access to analytics, letting companies track ROI and attribution and measure the performances of their text-based campaigns.
Starts at $25/mo for 2,500 messages ($0.01 per message). Per-message price goes down as volume increases.
Attentive is a text messaging platform used by e-commerce and retail brands on the Shopify and Shopify Plus platforms. It lets clients create segmented lists, send automated texts to subscribers based on their shopping behavior, deliver targeted messages about products or promotions and respond to customer service questions.
Attentive assigns users a “dedicated client strategy team” to guide them as they build and scale their SMS marketing programs.
Attentive also comes with access to its design and engineering resources, members-only forums and a best-practices playbook. Its analytics dashboards give real-time, at-a-glance overviews of campaign performances, click-through rates, conversions and subscriber growth, from which users can generate customized reports.
Available on request.
SMSBump is built for merchants using either Shopify, Shopify Plus or BigCommerce. It allows businesses to capture opted-in subscribers, sort them into highly segmented lists, set up automations, create custom flows and schedule campaigns.
SMSBump comes with basic analytics tools, so businesses can track campaign performance and measure conversions.
It also supports 1:1 messaging. Plus, users can integrate the platform with other tools, such as Mailchimp, Slack, Klayvio and Zendesk.
For users with lots of specific questions about their use cases, SMSBump has a knowledge base full of guides and explainers on its website.
Free to start at $0.0149 per SMS. For access to additional features, it costs an extra monthly fee, which starts at $19 per month.
This SMS marketing platform allows businesses to schedule and send mass text messages, segment their subscriber lists, set up automatic replies, create drip campaigns and engage in two-way conversations. SlickText can be used to set up automatic, personalized birthday texts and conduct text-to-win contests too.
It also allows users to integrate the platform with their Shopify storefront, Facebook page and email marketing tool.
It doesn’t yet offer automated workflows, but the feature is “coming soon,” according to its website.
SlickText positions itself as a solution for a wider range of use cases than other entries on this list, saying it’s used by nonprofits and small service-based businesses (restaurants, salons, etc.) in addition to e-commerce brands.
It offers several pricing tiers, based on how many texts you want to send per month and how many features you want to access. The basic plan starts at $29/mo and allows for up to 500 texts per month.
Businesses across industries ranging from tech to service use SimpleTexting for their SMS marketing. Specifically, they use it to facilitate two-way conversations between their brand and customers, schedule texts, host text-to-vote surveys and contests and set up drip campaigns, triggers and auto replies.
With SimpleTexting, businesses can also segment their subscriber lists based on whether or not they took a specific action, joined through a certain channel or belong to a particular area code.
For people hoping to integrate their SMS marketing platform with the rest of their tech stack, SimpleTexting plays nicely with Shopify, Zapier, Mailchimp and Hubspot.
It has many pricing tiers, with the basic tier starting at $25/mo to send 500 texts. The per-message price goes down the more you send.
Octane AI is a multichannel marketing platform used by e-commerce brands with storefronts on Shopify and Shopify Plus. With it, they can collect customer insights through embedded shoppable quizzes, make data-driven product recommendations and encourage repeat purchases.
As for SMS marketing, Octane AI lets users set up automatic messages for abandoned carts, order confirmations, post-purchase and win-back campaigns. It also integrates with Facebook Messenger, where you can set up a custom chatbot.
The starter plan starts at $29/mo, plus $0.015 per SMS.
For e-commerce businesses looking to reach customers through email and SMS, Klaviyo does just that. It provides an integrated system with single platform management. (Though you can choose to use each channel separately if you wish.)
The marketing automation service provider, which integrates with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce, is known for its advanced segmentation. Meaning, you can get really granular about what customers receive specific texts. Every message can be personalized too.
Klaviyo also provides the usual SMS marketing features, giving brands the ability to send promotional texts and give specific customers a nudge (and a coupon) if they’ve abandoned their cart.
Plus, it allows users to see how much revenue is being generated per text message, a useful feature for tracking campaign performance across channels.
Costs $0.01 per SMS ($0.03 per MMS). Email has a separate, flexible price structure.
Omnisend is another marketing automation platform aimed primarily at e-commerce businesses, especially ones that want to keep their email and SMS marketing activities under one roof with tight integration. With Omnisend, users can combine automated texts with push notifications and email into one automated workflow.
Omnisend includes pre-built workflows for SMS marketing, including cart abandonment, birthdays and shipping confirmations. And you can use it for one-off and time-sensitive campaigns.
Users have access to analytics, so they can track campaign performance that separates SMS out from email campaigns, to see on which channels they’re getting the most traction.
Omnisend also supports all country codes for SMS sending, so it’s not just limited to U.S.-based numbers.
Requires signing up for one of their email marketing plans, which begins at $16/mo, in addition to $0.015 per SMS.
Subtext is an outlier on this list, but it’s worth mentioning for brands exploring all their options. The platform is used by media companies, creators and thought leaders that want to establish and deepen intimate connections with customers and followers by facilitating text-based conversations. Ultimately, the goal is to form communities.
For example, the digital media company Vox used Subtext to host a live Q&A after a presidential debate, asking audience members to submit questions via text. BuzzFeed used the tool to host “office hours” around the holidays: Readers texted in for gift recommendations and BuzzFeed responded with specific suggestions and relevant deals.
Available on request.