‘What is the best option of the numerous text marketing platforms out there today?’ If that’s the question you were asking yourself when you found this article, you’ve come to the right place. When you’re running your business, you may not have time to research every company our there and find the right one for you. 

This is why we have done the research for you and found the top 5 best text marketing platforms currently on the market in 2021. In this piece, we’ll cover the best parts of each platform, along with what they offer, how they operate, and why the might be the right choice for you. 

From there, all you have to do is review and choose on to get started with. Sounds simple enough, right? Let’s jump in then. 

What is Text marketing?

Before discussing the text marketing platforms out there, we first need to ask ‘What is text marketing?’ Sometimes referred to as SMS marketing, text marketing is the use of messaging to send promotions, alerts, and other marketing materials directly to customers. 

By definition, SMS marketing means short message service marketing. This is a marketing technique which uses text messages to communicate offers, updates, and reminders to customers.

Although this service has been around for a few decades, it’s only been in recent years that marketers have realized the full potential of text marketing platforms to effectively reach customers along their journey with a business.

Industries like fitness clubs, restaurants, and activity parks especially have seen huge potential with text marketing to keep their customers more engaged and therefore more likely to become loyal customers. 

What are the features of text message marketing?

Now, you are likely already familiar with text marketing to some extent. However, you may not be aware of the features and benefits of the text marketing platforms we are about to review. Here are just a few of the ways you can leverage text message marketing for your business. 

  • Auto-responses: Are you looking to gauge interest in a product or event? Or get feedback after the fact? Auto-response keywords are an excellent way to automate entire processes with SMS marketing. 
  • Almost instantaneous delivery: The average American checks their phone every 12 minutes, leading text marketing to have close to a 98% open rate. Imagine what is possible when you can get a message to your customers quickly and effectively! 
  • 1 to 1 messaging at scale: While text message marketing is primarily about getting messages out quickly to large audiences, it also allows for 1 to 1 messaging at a larger scale. If you have a good platform for keeping up with it, this is an excellent way to drive value to your customers and show them how much you care about their success. 

There are other features that most text marketing platforms offer, but these are your bread and butter. Next, we’ll cover the 5 best software & services for SMS marketing and highlight the features that each provides to set itself apart. 

5 Best SMS Marketing Software & Services in 2021

Each of the following text marketing platforms has proven that they are capable of delivering, tracking, and running the SMS marketing efforts of their customers. Next, we’ll review exactly how they do that and why you should consider them for your own business.

1. Gleantap 

The first platform we will look at is Gleantap, an excellent choice for small, medium, and enterprise businesses looking for a text marketing solution. By matching the features of other SMS platforms without absurd costs, Gleantap is a great way to get started in the text marketing world. 

Here are just a few of the features that Gleantap provides:

  • Integrations with top CRMs: Gleantap can work with Mindbody, ABC, Centeredge, and Active8 to name a few. By syncing directly with your CRM, you can automate entire processes and never worry about missing an opportunity to make a sale. 
  • Affordable pricing options: While some text marketing platforms require custom packages, Gleantap makes it simple with only a couple of plans, each built for different use cases to meet your specific needs. 
  • Exceptional customer service: One of the things that has separated Gleantap from their competitors is their exceptional customer service. Even the lowest tiered plan comes with 24-48 hour response times for support, something other platforms just can’t keep up with. 

In addition to these features, Gleantap is accessible via mobile app as well as through a desktop platform so that you can always stay on top of your customer engagement campaigns and 1-to-1 messages. Plus, with customizable notifications and reports, you get to dictate what is most important to you and avoid the rest.

2. Tatango

While Gleantap is perfect for small to medium businesses, Tatango is built for large-scale organizations that need to send hundreds of thousands of messages quickly. Built for both SMS and email marketing, with 20+ integrations, Tatango boasts the ability to send millions of messages every hour. This is impressive and likely one of the highest volume platforms out there. 

However, sheer volume is not always what you need when choosing a text marketing solution. For instance, Tatango doesn’t have a set pricing structure or packages to choose from. Instead, you’ll need to sit down with a sales representative to find a custom package that works best for you. Depending on your needs, this can be a quick way to overshoot your budget.

It’s for this reason that we recommend you use Tatango if you are planning large scale campaigns for use-cases such as political organizing, nonprofits, and companies with large existing contact lists. Otherwise, you likely won’t need the volume that Tatango provides, since you may be sacrificing other features for scalability.

3. EZ Texting 

If the custom package pricing of Tatango doesn’t work for you, EZ Texting might be a good alternative. EZ Texting’s cheapest plan starts at $24 per month and includes 200 credits (4 cents for each additional credit) plus $24 per keyword. The most expensive plan costs $374 a month (1 cent per additional credit) and includes unlimited keywords. 

While this means you can be more flexible with costs, keep in mind that 200 credits will only get you so far before paying extra. Plus, when you consider that brands like Gleantap don’t charge for additional keywords, you can see how quickly additional costs can total up. 

Other highlights of EZ Texting include:

  • Customizable features: Allows you to make dynamic SMS campaigns with live data, such as customer names, to make the messages feel personalized. This is something Gleantap and Tatango offer as well, but serves to round out EZ Texting’s offering. 
  • Built-in Shutterstock library: EZ Texting has partnered with Shutterstock to provide free stock images for your MMS campaigns. If you are wanting to use imagery in your messaging, this is a key selling point. 
  • Mobile app: Like Gleantap, EZ Texting offers and app to keep track of your conversations and engage users on a 1-to-1 basis. 

Depending on your budget and needs, EZ Texting is a solid solution that has plenty of benefits to make it worth your while. That said, you should keep in mind that text credits with EZ Texting expire after 18 months in case you are planning to stretch those out over time.

4. SimpleTexting

So far, the platforms we have been looking at have either custom plans or just a few. However, SimpleTexting, another text marketing platform, offers 7 different pricing plans (+ custom plans) to fit with your small business. These plans are primarily based on usage and text ‘credits,’ so as long as you have a good idea of how many messages you are planning to send, you’ll be good to go. 

Other benefits of SimpleTexting include:

  • Good user interface: SimpleTexting is known for its UX design and the ease with which you can navigate the platform, send campaigns, and view reports. 
  • Mailchimp integration: Since SimpleTexting doesn’t offer email in addition to SMS like Gleantap or other services, they do offer Mailchimp integration so that you can run your email campaigns simultaneously with your SMS. 
  • Annual payment discounts: If you’re committed to SimpleTexting for the long haul, you can receive up to 25% off your plan by paying annually. 

We would encourage you to review SimpleTexting’s various plans to see if they fit well with your business and marketing goals. One thing to keep in mind is that they limit text campaigns to 160 characters, so you may have to get creative with your messages.

5. SlickText

Finally, our last text marketing platform that we recommend is SlickText. Likely the smallest of all the above platforms, SlickText makes their small size work for them by offering exceptional support and a deep knowledge base. Plus, a free mobile app with multiple options for automation. 

“The user interface is intuitive, but the detailed explanations on the platform impressed us most.” – Business News Daily

Like EZ Texting, SlickText credits do expire after a certain timeframe. However, this is likely laid out for you when you sign up, along with help to make sure you don’t hit your limits. Although this might be the most lean of all the text marketing platforms, it might be the right fit for you. 

Pro’s & con’s of Text marketing in 2021

In the end, once you decide on a platform, you still will have to make it work for you. Thankfully, there are some easy best practices to follow to avoid getting tripped up with your SMS campaigns. Here are just a few pros and cons of text marketing in 2021 to help you make sure you know what you’re getting into. 

Pros

As we mentioned before, text message marketing is incredibly fast and allows for you to reach people where they already are: on their phones. That said, there are lots of other benefits to using text marketing, such as:

  • Higher engagement, higher sales volume: Customers who are engaged with your business are five times more likely to choose your brand in the future. If you can set up a solid engagement strategy, you’ll have a pool of buyer-ready customers. 
  • Trackable: Since SMS marketing is lean and can only support relatively short messages, tracking can be incredibly valuable and show the difference between an engaged user. Plus, it makes the call-to-action that much easier to highlight. 

These benefits, along with those mentioned earlier, are just some of the reasons to choose a text marketing platform like Gleantap. 

Cons

Of course, it wouldn’t be a full comparative guide without cons to consider along with the pros. Thankfully, most text marketing draw-backs are things that can be worked around or resolved with the right tools or platform. Here are the cons:

  • Hard to gain, easy to lose: Because of the intimate nature of text marketing, one mistake can lead to customers opting-out. Additionally, if you are double opting-in customers, that’s another roadblock to getting their attention. The moral of the story is to make sure what you are sending is relevant to avoid losing their attention. 
  • Character limits: While you can easily fit links and information into 160/320 characters, the limit does mean you’ll need to be more creative about your messages. 
  • Text credits: As you saw, some of these companies charge by the text or have limits on how many texts you can send. Although these are necessary to avoid piling up a huge bill, they can limit your potential audience size. 

Have some cons of your own? Let us know in the comments what you see as a drawback. Who knows? Maybe we’ve already figured out a solution. 

Final thought

Regardless of if you choose Gleantap, Tatango, or a company not listed here, the important thing is that you should be using SMS marketing for your business. Even with the cons, it is still the most engaging marketing channel available to you and you should be taking advantage of it whenever you can.