SMS marketing software, also known as business text messaging software, enables companies to plan and implement marketing campaigns that target mobile devices via SMS (Short Message Service). This type of software helps businesses increase brand loyalty and engagement by delivering timely, personalized messages to customers’ mobile devices. Marketing teams target prospective customers using permission-based subscribe links within campaign messages and implement digital promotions using MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), polls, coupons,
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Choose Your SMS Marketing Software:
Choosing SMS Marketing Software can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The best thing to do is make a list of your must-haves and compare the possible tools on SaaSDekho to select the right software for your team.
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What is SMS Marketing Software?
SMS marketing software allows businesses to directly communicate with their customers through text messages sent to their devices. Often, companies will send out mass text campaigns to their customers to engage with them. This form of contact is desirable because it’s already built-in to most mobile phones, so customers do not need to download or use any specific software to receive these texts. Businesses can send campaigns to both Android and iOS devices.
Nowadays, businesses can easily engage with existing customers and increase brand awareness by staying top of mind. As customers continue to increase their use of phones daily, SMS marketing is considered very personal. Businesses should keep this in mind when determining the marketing messages they send. The best SMS marketing platforms have analytical capabilities to allow companies to quickly differentiate successful SMS campaigns from low-performing ones so that marketers can improve their strategies accordingly.
What Does SMS Stand For?
SMS marketing software stands for short message service marketing software. It is also referred to as text message marketing as you can mass communicate with a vast number of customers straight to their phones via text.
What Types of SMS Marketing Software Exist?
Though the premise of SMS marketing may be simple, there are a few ways businesses can leverage this form of marketing. SMS marketing platforms are very powerful, and companies should evaluate each product’s features and functionality to determine the best fit for their initiatives.
SMS gateway API
An SMS gateway allows a computer to send and receive messages to a capable device (typically a mobile phone) through a telecommunications network. Some SMS marketing solutions offer an API that enables businesses to integrate their existing applications into an SMS gateway. With this solution, developers may text-enable an organization’s current communications applications rather than purchasing a separate solution.
Text marketing platform
Text marketing platforms are a cost-effective alternative to automate their marketing campaigns for companies that cannot or don’t need to integrate SMS into their existing tech. These platforms allow businesses to reserve their phone number or short code, which subscribers use to opt-in to receive messages. Marketers, salespeople, and customer service agents may then send and receive SMS messages directly through the platform.
Marketing automation software
Some marketing automation platforms, as well as email marketing tools, include SMS as a channel. These products are optimal for businesses seeking to adopt or replace a multi-channel solution rather than an SMS-only product. Marketing automation and integration platforms will typically have multiple channels and marketing templates to automate workflows more easily.
What are the Common Features of SMS Marketing Software?
SMS marketing tools differ in functionality based on their intended use cases. Below are some of the most common features found in this software:
Bulk SMS: Bulk SMS or mass text messaging allows marketers to simultaneously send mass promotional text messages to large groups of subscribers. Typically, these messages are not personalized and frequently include promotions, coupons, or flash sales. Besides marketing, companies may also use bulk text messages to deliver important business information or emergency alerts. This is a particularly useful marketing strategy for emergency closures, business-hours updates, or health and safety warnings.
Two-way messaging: Two-way messaging allows for private, one-to-one conversations between a company and its customers. Salespeople and customer service teams commonly use these features.
Transactional SMS: In addition to bulk SMS and two-way messaging, SMS platforms may allow for a third type of business texting—transactional SMS. Similar to transactional email software, transactional SMS messages are triggered when a customer performs a certain action. For example, when a customer makes a purchase on an e-commerce site, the SMS marketing software would trigger a transactional SMS to be delivered to the customer’s mobile phone with an order confirmation.
Multimedia messaging service (MMS): While SMS refers to the 160-character text messages we receive on our mobile phones, MMS refers to the images, videos, and audio files we receive. Most SMS marketing solutions also support MMS, allowing marketers to include photos or other multimedia in their campaigns. MMS messages have a higher character limit than SMS, but these messages are more expensive to send.
Text scheduling: Text scheduling features allow users to automate their SMS marketing campaigns. This permits marketers to plan their campaigns in advance and ensure SMS messages are delivered to customers at a specific date and time.
Reporting: Analytics is a key component of any marketing solution. SMS marketing software has built-in reporting features that inform users of campaign metrics such as delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. These features help marketers prove a positive return on investment (ROI) to stakeholders and optimize future campaigns.
Personalization: Adding a personalized touch to your SMS messages is an essential feature that increases customer engagement and click-through rates. Customers are significantly more likely to open personalized messages, especially if they include their names. Tailored messages are effective at building productive communication and providing your target audiences with the necessary information they need contributing to increased trust and brand loyalty.
Shortcode: Short codes are custom telephone numbers, five to six digits in length, used for high-throughput, two-way messaging. Using short codes instead of your standard 10-digit telephone number long code is ideal to avoid your SMS messages being marked as spam.
White labeling: White labeling is a fully customizable SMS marketing service that allows businesses to resell and rebrand the platform as their own.
What are the Benefits of SMS Marketing Software?
The following are some of the benefits of SMS marketing tools.
High open rate: Text message marketing campaigns have high success rates because they receive extremely high open rates compared to email marketing. They also outperform emails on important engagement metrics such as click and conversion rates. SMS messages are opened soon after receiving them, partially because users tend to open texts quickly when a notification appears. Most consumers have a strong personal attachment to their phones due to texting with close friends and family and social media use daily, so it’s important to create engaging marketing efforts.
Immediate and direct communication: SMS is an important communication channel for small and large businesses because it allows marketers, sales professionals, and customer service agents to reach customers immediately and directly with short, personal messages. Once an SMS message is sent, the targeted user’s mobile device receives it almost instantly.
Personal connection and customer engagement: One of the greatest benefits of SMS marketing is that it facilitates private, two-way messaging between a brand and its customers. This makes it easier for customers to contact the business with inquiries or feedback. For example, a salon may send its client a reminder about an upcoming appointment. The client may respond to the text to reschedule without needing to reach out through another channel. When the salon receives the client’s request, they can reschedule the appointment quickly and update the client through their preferred channel (SMS). By encouraging this type of convenient two-way communication, businesses improve customer experience.
Brand awareness: SMS marketing is an inexpensive and effective way to raise brand awareness. Almost every customer has their own mobile device, so marketers use mobile texting to reach consumers who may be less responsive to email marketing or advertising. SMS marketing is used to send a wide range of marketing messages to remind consumers of a brand and encourage repeat purchases. Common campaigns include promotions, coupons, polls and surveys, and text-to-win sweepstakes.
Easy opt-in and opt-out: Customers can easily opt-in and out of SMS marketing messages compared to email marketing. The opt-out feature is an easy way for customers to instantly remove themselves if they no longer want to hear from the business. A simple set of opt-out keywords such as “STOP” or “NO” can help increase customer satisfaction and maintain loyalty while providing them with an exit route.
Low cost: SMS text marketing is often a cheap and easy way for businesses to connect with consumers. The pricing varies based on the platform’s SMS services and also depends on the volume of customers your business is trying to reach. Typically, SMS marketing can cost, on average, as low as $20 a month, but free SMS marketing options are available.
Who Uses SMS Marketing Software?
Despite its name, several teams use SMS marketing software.
Marketing teams: Marketing teams use text message campaigns for various purposes, such as offering discounts, soliciting feedback, and nurturing leads. Text messages are a more personal form of communication than other marketing channels because customers have a close relationship with their phones. Additionally, messages are tailored to a customer’s preferences and past behaviors. For example, a restaurant marketer might let their VIP customers know about an exclusive promotion, or a hotel marketer may text a recent guest to request a review on their stay.
Sales teams: SMS communication has become a powerful tool for salespeople to engage with their prospects and nurture leads. Some text marketing solutions offer contact management features, enabling sales teams to view a contact’s interaction history and track their leads through the sales pipeline.
Customer service teams: Due to the increasing popularity of mobile messaging, SMS marketing is becoming an increasingly common solution for customer support teams. Customer service products such as conversational support software and help desk software may support business texting features. SMS marketing software makes it simple for customers to contact customer service departments for help. These solutions include features like skill-based routing and customer lookup to ensure tickets are handled efficiently.
What are the Alternatives to SMS Marketing Software?
Email marketing software: Some email marketing software solutions also include features for SMS marketing. Email and SMS are popular marketing channels for communicating with customers and sending promotional messages. While email marketing is used to send longer messages, SMS campaigns promote short and quick communication and tend to have higher open and success rates than email.
Push notification software: Push notifications are another method of sending messages directly to customers’ devices. This software helps businesses deliver alerts, updates, and promotional messages to customers through mobile applications or web browsers. Push notifications typically include a specific call-to-action but do not allow for two-way communication between the business and the customer.
Proactive notification software: Proactive notification software helps organizations deliver important messages and alerts to customers across different channels, including email, SMS, and voice. These tools communicate useful information about an upcoming activity or action, such as appointment reminders, payment deadlines, personalized promotions, or emergency broadcasts.
Cloud communication platforms: Some SMS marketing solutions are cloud communication platforms. Developers use cloud communication platforms to connect a business’ applications to a phone’s SMS, voice, and verification features via API. This enables the developer to customize how the application interacts with SMS and communication features. Businesses may prefer to use cloud communication platforms to incorporate SMS features into their products.
Challenges with SMS Marketing Software
Some challenges with SMS marketing platforms include:
Character limitations: The standard character limit for an SMS message is 160 characters. These days, most phones rebuild and combine messages over 160 characters, so a message of 161 characters would still be delivered as a single text; however, the sender is charged for two messages instead of one. However, this depends on the company’s text message marketing platform. Some companies will allow sending more than 160 characters and charge the same amount, but the user may need to pay more for this plan. It is a best practice to keep SMS messages brief, even though brevity can sometimes take away from the ability to market a story to captivate customers.
Opt-in regulations: When it comes to SMS marketing tools, businesses need to ensure they receive permission from customers to continue texting them to protect customer data and privacy. Customers should be contacted only if they opt to be on a business’s contact list. Subscribers typically opt-in to receive SMS promotions when filling out a form on a business’ website or by texting a keyword to the business phone number, so you can’t send text message marketing campaigns to just anyone. Following opt-in regulations is simple enough, but companies should also strive to provide clear instructions on how customers can opt-out of SMS updates.
How to Buy SMS Marketing Software
Requirements Gathering (RFI/RFP) for SMS Marketing Software
Suppose a company is launching a global campaign, engaging with local customers, or maybe trying to gain a larger reach. In that case, g2.com can help select the best SMS marketing software that suits the company’s needs.
Regarding text message marketing software, buyers should always determine their specific needs and use cases as this will influence the purchased software platform. In addition, identifying pain points related to marketing, such as low open rates, interactions and clicks, and engagement rates, will help determine the type of integrative SMS software and capabilities the business will need. If the company is trying to improve engagement and drive activity to its page or bolster brand awareness regarding promotions, new items, features, or announcements, SMS marketing will serve as an integral solution.
Creating a checklist will help your team identify pain points and streamline the understanding of the type of software needed to alleviate business problems. The checklist serves as a detailed guide that includes necessary and nice-to-have features not limited to: customer service support features, transaction logging, two-way messaging, pre-set message sending, message automation, and more.
Depending on the scope of the deployment, it might be helpful to produce an RFI, a one-page list with a few bullet points describing what is needed from SMS marketing technology.
Compare SMS Marketing Products
Create a long list
After determining pain points and solutions, buyers should start by filtering through the different software and adding only the ones to the long list that fulfill business needs. It may be helpful also to choose software products that are additionally included in the marketing automation category as these products to have both SMS marketing capabilities and one other form of communication, typically email. It’s essential to make sure your long list is comprehensive.
Create a shortlist
After creating a long list of potential SMS marketing solutions, buyers should focus on narrowing down that list by prioritizing their pain points. Focusing on software that will solve as many marketing-related issues as possible should be a priority. In the end, buyers should narrow this list to about 3-5 products.
Vendor demos are integral when deciding on the best SMS marketing platform for the company. Buyers should take full advantage of demos as it’s a great opportunity to understand a product’s features, compare ease of use, and ask necessary questions. Here are some key business factors to inquire about when speaking with a vendor—monthly SMS text volume, number of customers on a contact list, the character limit of text messages, number of licenses needed, etc.
Selection of SMS Marketing Software
Choose a selection team
SMS marketing software is not only reserved for a marketing team. Customer service teams often use it when providing customer support or sales teams when driving revenue. Including all three teams in the conversation is necessary when deciding on a product.
It is important to consider all of your options when purchasing SMS marketing technologies. Some companies offer free trials with no contracts or hidden fees when buying their software, providing a low-risk investment with great flexibility for the buyer. Some companies may even offer fixed prices for an unlimited number of contacts; others may charge solely based on the number of contacts. Overall, it’s typically the most cost-effective to opt for yearly payments compared to monthly, but it depends on specific business needs.
Ultimately, SMS marketing is typically a low-cost, low-risk investment and an easy way to automate business marketing, especially once you’ve determined a plan within your price range that includes the features your business needs. After that, choosing a text message marketing platform should be fairly straightforward. The selected product should solve a business’ marketing-related pain points and be a quick and easy solution to implement.