Finding the right Short Message Service (SMS) marketing platform for your business can feel like a never-ending “Where's Waldo?” book. Not to mention, comparing the features, pricing, integrations, automation capabilities, APIs, and workflows can make the best of us procrastinate indefinitely.
Rest easy, friend. We're here to help.
Close those tabs, put down your pen and paper, and stash your Coca-Cola Zero (or don't) because we're about to give you everything you need to know to choose the best SMS marketing software.
Now we know what you're probably thinking: “Hey, Twilio, aren't you an SMS marketing platform too?”
Right you are, observant reader. And naturally, we include ourselves in our list of the best SMS marketing platforms. However, we also recognize the merits and pros and cons of some of our competitors, and we know when one of them might be a better fit for your needs. We address all that (and more) below.
First, let's cover what an SMS marketing platform is and what to look for when comparing providers—then, we'll get into the best SMS software options.
What is an SMS marketing platform?
An SMS marketing platform (also known as a text marketing platform, text message marketing solution, or text messaging software) is a tool to help you send SMS messages to your contact lists of phone numbers.
SMS marketing software often includes features like automation, integrations, contact management, segmentation, two-way messaging, scheduled texts, short codes, personalization, and chatbots. Features like these make sending messages at scale and prioritizing the customer experience easier.
Here are a few ways to use an SMS marketing platform to communicate with your customers (or potential customers):
- Update order status with shipping confirmations
- Send notifications for timely deals and discounts
- Follow up with abandoned cart texts
- Provide customer support
- Announce company updates like new products, business hours, or changing locations
Those are just the most basic use cases. Look at how Twilio customers use text message marketing to grow their businesses and provide over-the-top experiences:
- Vacasa achieves 3x more bookings with personalized campaigns: Vacasa uses personalized messaging to boost guest bookings by 3–10x.
- HomeFinder.com captures 10x more reviews with a Twilio-powered solution: HomeFinder.com uses text marketing to quickly follow up with customers and collect feedback.
- Slice encourages customers to reorder from their favorite pizza shops: Slice uses SMS marketing to encourage repeat purchases on its website and app, leading to a 2x order volume increase.
Learn more about how to make the most of this channel in our complete guide to SMS Marketing for Beginners.
What to look for in an SMS marketing solution
As you explore the SMS marketing software options below, keep in mind the following questions to help you choose the right platform for your business.
- Reliability: Does the provider have stable APIs and optimal deliverability? Look for a provider that meets specific levels of uptime and throughput to ensure your messages reach recipients.
- Scalability: Does the provider have relationships with global carriers and provide services in the countries where you currently do business or plan to expand? The ability to scale is one of the leading reasons companies switch from out-of-the-box solutions to flexible providers like Twilio.
- Compliance support: Does the provider offer software and expertise to help manage global requirements? For example, does it provide tools to help with the opt-in/opt-out process, like default opt-out keywords? And does it offer the certifications your industry requires, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for healthcare?
- Transparency and reporting: Does the provider offer comprehensive monitoring to help you to understand deliverability, spam reports, latency, opt-outs, and other metrics?
- Ease of use and speed to solution: Does the provider make it easy for you to build with developer-friendly APIs, comprehensive and accessible documentation, and reliable tech support?
- Integrations: Does the provider offer seamless integration with your customer relationship management (CRM) software, customer data platform, or other marketing tools in your tech stack?
- Costs and fees: Does the provider work to keep your costs down? Since providers determine the cost of provisioning a phone number, message segments, and carrier fees, look for one that fits your budget. For example, Twilio reduces costs by offering pay-as-you-go pricing with volume discounts.
Best SMS marketing software
Twilio is the complete text marketing software solution. It includes powerful segmentation and automation, as well as APIs and integrations to connect SMS to any of your websites, applications, or workflows.
While Twilio has a reputation of being a developer's tool (which we are), we've also built a suite of tools and no-code features to help anyone use our platform for SMS marketing—regardless of your coding experience or technical know-how. You can also use our APIs to connect to services like HubSpot, Shopify, Salesforce, Zapier, and other CRM tools.
Twilio Studio enables developers and marketers to build powerful customer experiences with a visual workflow builder. You can use this to create automated campaigns, call center workflows, autoresponders, SMS surveys, drip campaigns, and appointment reminders. Plus, you can also connect additional channels (like email, voice, and WhatsApp) for a complete omnichannel experience.
Get started using Twilio's CodeExchange, a library of code samples to help you with everything from setting up SMS notifications to building an opt-in application.
Unlike most other SMS text messaging platforms on this list, Twilio is a cloud communications platform (often referred to as a communications platform as a service or CPaaS). You pay for messages sent and received and carrier fees rather than a monthly pricing tier. It can cost as little as $0.0075 to send a single text message with Twilio, and local phone numbers start at $1.00/month. You can also purchase a toll-free number.
TextMagic is the way to go if time is of the essence. It has a super-fast setup process that'll take you from sign-up to sending in minutes. Seriously.
While it might not be the most powerful text message marketing platform out there, TextMagic does hit a sweet spot between features and usability. It gives you an API, integrations, two-way texting, scheduling, and MMS capabilities. Many businesses will find TextMagic has all the functionality needed to start sending.
Whether you need to send notifications, reminders, confirmations, alerts, or SMS marketing campaigns, TextMagic can make it happen. TextMagic's pricing is similar to Twilio in that you pay as you go instead of a flat monthly fee. Your account is free—you just pay $0.04 per text.
SimpleTexting is a great text marketing platform for ease of use. The user interface is easy to learn, and users can build brand-new campaigns and get them up and running in no time.
If you want to send mass text message campaigns rather than start a conversation with customers directly, SimpleTexting is ideal. The platform supports bulk SMS, scheduling, autoreplies, segmentation, and two-way messaging conversations.
While SimpleTexting is incredibly user-friendly, it's not the most robust SMS marketing service provider. Despite its integrations and SMS API, building complex, scalable applications can be a bit tricky.
Pricing is straightforward. Plans start at $29/month to send up to 500 SMS and receive unlimited messages. Your phone number comes with your plan.
SlickText is one of the best SMS marketing services for small businesses to send bulk text messages. It's easy to use and includes marketing automation features, like workflows, scheduling, and autoresponders, making your text campaigns simple.
It provides plenty of videos and documentation to get you up and running, walking you through adding contacts, setting up your account, and sending your first campaigns. The customer data, analytics, reporting, and dashboards are pretty comprehensive too.
Pricing is a bit confusing, and it doesn't help that SlickText comes with 9 (count 'em) different plans. Once you get past The Lil Bro plan, most differentiation comes from the number of texts per month and available textwords.
Klaviyo uses Twilio SendGrid's Email API and Twilio's SMS API to build its powerful, all-in-one multichannel marketing platform. You can use Klaviyo for two-way conversations, automation, MMS, A/B testing, and smart sending.
Smart sending helps you send marketing messages to the right customers at the right time. Have your customers already received a text from a different campaign this morning? Smart sending will keep them out of other segmented sends today. Want to make sure your UK recipients don't receive trivial after-hours texts but never miss a critical account alert? Smart sending will make it happen.
Klaviyo uses a calculator to estimate your monthly pricing, and it'll combine your email marketing and SMS calculations. You can send up to 500 texts per month for $20 when getting started.
Learn more about Twilio's SMS marketing platform
Ready to get started with Twilio's best-in-class SMS marketing platform? Sign up for a free account—no credit card required.
Whether a developer, marketer, or something in between, we have the text marketing software solutions you need to start sending personalized text messages at scale. Small business, ecommerce, software as a service (SaaS)—whatever you are, we’ve got you covered.
Plus, we support every other channel your business needs: email, voice, video, live streaming, Facebook Messenger, chat, and contact center. So when you're ready to add another layer to your multichannel marketing experience, we have the features, integrations, and APIs you need to get started.