The 9 Best SMS Marketing Platforms in 2020

Boasting open rates of over 98 percent, SMS Marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. Not only is there a high likelihood that your message will be seen, but SMS messages also receive high click rates.

Unlike other channels like social media, where complex algorithms can filter out your content and prevent it from being seen, SMS marketing is truly an “owned marketing” channel. With SMS marketing, you have control over when you send messages and who you send them to on your list and can expect that your message will most likely be received and read.

SMS marketing has come a long way since the early days of mobile phones. With over 70 percent of the population of the USA owning a smartphone in 2020, this channel continues to grow and will be an increasingly vital way to communicate with your customers. 

But as SMS marketing continues to evolve, choosing an SMS platform can become more complicated. Many platforms boast dozens of features and not all are created equal. It’s important to choose a platform that helps you meet your business goals, which means you need to be to track return on investment (ROI), personalize messages, and segment your audiences.

In this article, we’ll review the nine best SMS marketing platforms in 2020, their pricing models, features, and questions you should ask of any prospective SMS tool.

What is an SMS marketing platform?

An SMS marketing platform (sometimes referred to as an SMS marketing service) is a tool used to create and send text messages to a specified list of phone numbers.

They can be used to send anything from flash sale notifications to shipping confirmation emails, back in stock notification texts, abandoned cart texts, and much more.

Most also allow you to send campaigns as well as automated text messages that are triggered based on a user’s actions, such as signing up for text alerts or requesting more information.

Best SMS marketing platforms

Below is a list of the top SMS marketing platforms in 2020. This is not an exhaustive list and is meant to represent a wide variety of options for different businesses based on their size, goals, and customer base.

 

1 | Klaviyo

Price: Seven cents per message, pay-as-you-go. No minimums.

Year launched: 2012

Target audience: Everyone—small, medium, and large businesses can take advantage of Klaviyo’s ease of use and powerful SMS features.

Klaviyo features: Easy setup, 50 free messages, SMS campaigns, SMS automation, automatic consent management, two-click text personalization, pay-as-you-go pricing, single channel revenue attribution, email and SMS signup forms, MMS at no additional cost, and best-in-class segmentation.

 

2 | Attentive

Price: By request.

Year launched: 2016

Attentive features: Triggered text messages, text campaigns, segmentation, integrations, and built-in compliance.

 

3 | Postscript

Price: Free trial, prices start at $.01/message, minimum $25 / mo.

Year launched: 2018

Postscript features: SMS automation, Shopify integration, segmentation, SMS Conversations, SMS campaigns, revenue and ROI tracking, and text compliance.

 

4 | TextMagic

Price: Free trial. Four cents per text.

Year launched: 2001

Textmagic features: Send texts online, email to SMS (in which you or your application send out a standard email which is converted into an SMS to be delivered to the recipient), two-way SMS, integrations, reporting and analytics, and SMS STOP command.

 

5 | ClickSend

Price: Tiered pricing starting at two cents per message.

Year launched: 2013

ClickSend features: SMS, MMS, rich messaging, and integrations.

 

6 | SimpleTexting

Price: Free trial. Plans start at $25 per month.

Year launched: 2010

SimpleTexting features: Two-way messaging, scheduled texts, autoresponders, import contacts, keywords and shortcodes, data collection, and segments.

 

7 | Avochato

Price: Get started for free. Plans start at $99 per month.

Year launched: 2015

Avochato features: SMS campaigns, automation, reporting and analytics, surveys, and message templates.

 

8 | SMS Bump

Price: Start for free.

Year launched: 2018

SMS Bump features: SMS marketing for Shopify, segmentation, custom flows, A/B testing, SMS automations, link shortening, campaign scheduling, and opt-out lists.

 

9 | SlickText

Price: Start for free with 50 texts per month. Prices start at $29 per month.

Year launched: 2011

SlickText features: Send mass text messages, text message scheduling, auto-replies, text to join, MMS, two-way text messaging, text-to-win contests, and birthday texts.

How to choose an SMS platform

SMS marketing is a great way to connect with your audience and form personal relationships—and you can almost guarantee that your message will be seen. 

But each SMS platform offers different features for consideration. You’ll want to take into account price, integrations, data availability and usability, revenue tracking, and much more. Below are some questions to ask of your prospective SMS provider:

 

  • Can I easily build segments of my SMS lists so that I can send relevant messages to the right people?
  • Can I easily create new templates?
  • Do you have built-in click-tracking?
  • Can I easily create new SMS campaigns and pull relevant, personalized data into these messages, such as product information, date of birth, and other properties?
  • Can I easily create SMS automations and flows that will trigger based on a user’s actions, such as signing up to receive alerts, placing an order, or requesting customer service?
  • Is there an easy way to collect information about my customers and have this automatically sync with my SMS tool, such as through signup forms?
  • Is there an easy way for me to find and review information about a customer?
  • Do you have built-in systems in place to manage SMS compliance?
  • Do you have built-in systems to allow a customer to reply “stop” to opt-out?
  • Do I have an easy way to import and export list data?
  • Do I have to sign a contract and will my price go up, or do I have flexible month-to-month pricing?
  • Am I billed on how many SMS messages I send, how many contacts I have, or pay a flat fee?
  • Is there an easy way for me to measure SMS ROI in the platform?
  • What reporting features are available? Does the tool only report on clicks or can I go deeper to truly understand the effectiveness of my campaigns and automations?
  • Are there pre-existing templates for SMS campaigns and automations that I can use to save time in getting setup?
  • Does this tool integrate with other tools I’m using, such as my ecommerce platform?

 

Final thoughts

If you’re just getting started with SMS marketing or have been texting since the invention of the cell phone, this list will have an SMS marketing platform built for you and your unique business needs.

SMS is one of the best mediums to engage with your customers in a personalized way, but it’s important to remember not to abuse this privilege. Every SMS you send should have a purpose and a goal and should add value to your subscribers.

Ready to get started for free? Try Klaviyo SMS today.

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