How to Choose the Right SMS Marketing Provider
17 Tips for Choosing the Right AI-Powered SMS Marketing Provider for Your Small Business
SMS marketing software has given thousands of businesses the ability to reach their customers through texting. AI makes that software work harder than ever. Learn what to consider to choose the right SMS marketing provider.
Email inboxes are overwhelmed with advertisements. Everyone gets so many notifications, email updates, and offers that email is often overflowing. It can often be super hard to get potential customers to open your email- no matter how important you believe your offer is, how good your copy is, or how much they like you. Depending on the industry you're in, the average email open rate is only between 19 and 26 percent.
Compare that to SMS marketing, which boasts over a 98 percent open rate. Furthermore, SMS response rates are a shocking 209 percent higher than email and other marketing mediums. Businesses that use SMS marketing are much more likely to have higher conversions and sales than other marketing efforts alone. Get a real leg up on your competition by using high powered AI for more effective marketing, more leads, and more money in your pocket!
If you have a small business and want to make sure your promotions, reminders, invoices, and more are actually seen by potential customers, AI-powered SMS marketing is the way to go. It can give your business a major glow up, resulting in more sales and more money in your pocket (cha-ching).
You can use a text message marketing platform to personally create and send messages to your customers. You can even automate text messages, as well as establish two way communication so your customers can actually text a real person right back. VoxDirect has automated responses, allowing conversations to be automated in real time, saving you time and money while reaching more customers in a meaningful and personable way.
Not convinced you need AI as part of your SMS software platform? Consider these statistics:
- 500 million businesses are searching for solutions to save time while making more money.
- Gallup found that 39% of the owners surveyed worked over 60 hours a week!
- 62% of the people in the same study noted that the ownership was more stressful than they imagined.
- Other studies have found owners work even more! According to the MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, owners were putting in 70 hours each week.
- Every minute counts and saving/losing time equates to profit or losses and success or failure.
AI-powered SMS can save you time by automating your processes, helping you communicate better with customers or clients, and growing your business while saving you time and money!
Not all AI-powered SMS marketing software is created equal. It’s important to look closely at different providers so you can find out which platform is the right fit for you and your business.
To help get a better idea of what you need to look for, we’ve come up with some things to consider during your search for the right SMS marketing provider.
What is an SMS or Text Message Marketing Provider?
You may be wondering why you can’t just use regular text messaging for your business.
While a cellphone is great for texting family and friends, it is insufficient for businesses who have more than a few potential or current customers.
Let’s face it- personal cell use is pretty basic. You can’t:
- Upload contacts easily from your CRM software
- Send a group text without a reply all
- Send a text message from your computer
- Take on higher volume incoming messages
- Collaborate with your team
That’s where a text marketing provider and cloud-based phone system comes in. SMS marketing providers have software that expands upon regular SMS capabilities.
With the power of SMS marketing platforms, you can send a single text message campaign to thousands of customers at once. You can even respond individually right from your inbox, making customer communication easier than ever. Additionally, you can schedule messages, set up automated drip campaigns, create text to join keywords, and more.
SMS marketing isn’t just for small businesses. It can be used by almost anybody, including those with an online or offline business, freelancers, professionals, educational institutions, and more! You can use SMS marketing to:
- Deliver promotions and discount codes texted straight to your potential customers phone
- Send SMS alerts about new or recently restocked products
- Send appointment or event reminders
- Text campaigns for abandoned carts
- Text based requests to take a survey or leave a review
So if you aren’t doing SMS marketing for small businesses then you should seriously consider it now. It should become an important part of your overall marketing strategy.
With so many benefits to SMS marketing, you may be ready to dive right in. But it’s important to get familiar with SMS marketing providers so you can make sure it is the right fit for your business.
17 Tips for Choosing an SMS Marketing Platform
1. AI and Automation are KEY
AI is taking SMS marketing to a whole new level. AI has the power to change the way that you interact with customers all over the globe. AI can do so much for you and your business, letting you get more leads, communicate more effectively, and close more sales.
Benefits of AI in your SMS marketing
- Higher productivity. Using automated text responses triggered by keywords allows you to instantly respond to customers or clients. This makes one-on-one texts super efficient and engaging, meaning a better customer experience with less effort while increasing your productivity. A win for all involved!
- Lower cost of customer care. Since you can use conversational AI chatbots and automated responses, you will spend less on customer service agents. Engaging in multiple conversations simultaneously frees up human resources so your team can focus on other matters- like growing your business and achieving your goals.
- Innovative and interactive brand messaging. Conversational AI and automated responses mean consistency in your brand messaging- a big win for companies serious about growing their brand loyalty and recognition.
- AI-powered SMS & Automation
- AI customer sentiment
- Advanced marketing analytics
- AI conversational based chatbot
- AI communication optimization
- AI text efficacy score
- AI campaign builder
Make sure you look at an SMS provider who offers cutting-edge technology and AI to get the most out of your investment. Choosing a partner like VoxDirect means you get:
Using a service serious about AI means that your business will benefit from smarter communication, more convenient integration, and more efficiency throughout the customer journey. All of these means a better experience for your contacts, and higher conversions and sales for your business!
2. Make Sure They Have an Intuitive Mobile App
The nature of SMS marketing is that it is done from your cell phone. You shouldn’t have to be tied down to a desk to connect through text.
Every useful text message marketing platform should have a mobile app that allows you to send, view, and respond to text messages easily through your phone.
Apps should be available on both Android and iOS devices and offer the same ease of use and functionality as their desktop platforms.
3. Look for Clear and Reasonable Pricing
Pricing should be clearly defined and reasonable. You don’t want to break the bank with your SMS marketing. Choosing a reasonable platform is essential to making sure you have a high Return on Investment (ROI) for your marketing efforts.
Many providers have a credit based pricing system. This means that you pay for the amount of messages that you send per month. Video and photo messages can cost more than regular text messages.
By estimating how many messages you plan on sending, you can determine how many credits you need that allows you to pick a plan that meets the needs of your business.
You don’t want hidden costs. Avoid SMS providers that charge for incoming SMS messages. This is too unpredictable, and you can end up paying way more when a campaign is doing well or you receive a lot of feedback.
Choosing an SMS marketing provider with a transparent pricing model will save you money and headaches. You don’t want to be penalized for a campaign doing well or be subjected to charges that are way out of your budget.
Make sure you pay attention to contracts. You probably don’t want to sign up for a long contract and end up being stuck! Choosing a provider with month to month service means you have more control over what service you use and don’t get trapped into a provider that has unfair and unpredictable pricing.
4. Make Sure the SMS Marketing Provider Has Powerful Features
The best business text messaging service providers offer both advanced features along with easy to use tools. Businesses should be able to become SMS marketing experts with strong features and high functionalities. Your potential marketing provider shouldn’t require advanced expertise and technological skills to use the system.
Don’t get stuck with a provider that overpromises and underdelivers! Pay attention to the features of the platform. Here are some tips to check out powerful features and make sure those features will work for you!
- Prioritize suppliers that offer advanced features such as text forwarding, drip campaigns, recurring messages, and more!
- Offer easy to use personalized marketing campaigns
- Analyze how the platform stands out from its competitors with AI. You can learn what interactions users had on your website, which pages they visited, and whether or not they signed up for a newsletter or opted in for texts. With this data, you can notify them through SMS for personalized updates, making communication more powerful than ever through AI analysis!
- Look at your own business’ marketing objectives and goals. Then compare it against the provider’s features to make sure it's fit.
- Make sure there are intuitive integrations with different platforms
- Check out contact lists and make sure convenient text reminders are easy to send.
5. Consider Teammate Integration
Depending on your business size or needs, you may need multiple people to access your account. Even if you don’t, it’s good to consider this for the future. SMS marketing is a powerful tool, and done correctly you can really grow!
Providers that don’t offer team member capabilities may make it difficult to manage between more than one person.
You also need to see if it’s possible to allow SMS under more than one phone number. The right marketing partner will be able to provide teamwork integration and multiple phone numbers for a low monthly price.
With teammate integration, you can:
- Make sure that the right text gets to the right place
- Provide multiple customer support and sales representatives with their own SMS phone number
- Let teammates respond to sales requests and support requests from a shared inbox
- Admins have the ability to check in on teammates, provide advice, and offer support if needed.
6. Ensure you Can Automate Your SMS Marketing
Text messaging is obviously not the only way that your business communicates. You likely have a ton of other digital tools for both internal and external communications. You’ll want to choose a provider that understands how flexible SMS marketing should be and allow you to easily integrate it with other platforms and software.
Like any marketing effort and initiative, it can take time, energy, and resources to keep up with them—and SMS marketing is no different, especially if you are handling everything manually.
For example, manually adding subscribers to your text campaign, sending out personalized text messages to every individual subscriber, and adding your subscribers to your SMS or email lists can eat up a ton of time.
The good news is you don’t have to do any of it manually.
That’s where working smarter, not harder, comes in.
Third party automation tools are where it’s at when it comes to SMS marketing efforts. Make sure that your SMS marketing provider is capable of pairing with automation like Zapier, which integrates with thousands of apps and tools.
There are several ways to use Zapier automation to streamline SMS marketing efforts and build automated workflows to get more done.
Send scheduled personalized SMS messages. This can save you a lot of effort and time. You can use automation to send personalized reminders, messages, and other notifications to some or all of your contact list. You can even schedule automation so you can choose a certain time of day to send SMS messages. This can help keep subscribers engaged all while saving you time!
Send SMS messages from sheets. This allows you to store messages in a platform like Google Sheets so you can send a batch of various messages to a contact list. This saves you time so you aren’t sending messages manually to many contacts at one time!
Send SMS messages with new contact activity in marketing automation platforms. You can use automation to integrate with thousands of apps and tools including ClickFunnels, HubSpot, and more. If a contact signs up, downloads a lead magnet, or makes a purchase, you can track this and then send SMS messages after completing a desired action. This saves you time and allows you to make sure you never miss a lead- resulting in more sales and more money in your pocket!
7. Your Service Should Include One and Two-Way Communications
SMS marketing for businesses is not very effective if customers and potential customers can’t message you back.
Two way communication is essential to building a relationship.
Having two way communication means that you can know you reach all of your contacts, and also allows you to receive questions, feedback, and confirmation. There are other benefits like:
- Grow your database. Customers can opt in to marketing messages through text.
- Gain real time insights. Getting feedback quickly means that you can make it easy for people to respond to informal surveys. When the answer is a short yes or no, response rates can dramatically increase.
- Increase consumer engagement. Two way SMS lets you have conversations with your customers. You can map out conversational flows. SMS can help resolve problems, open up lines of communication, and increase conversions. This can really help you strengthen customer relationships!
- Use feedback to modify campaigns. Getting insights in real time means you can see what works and what doesn’t. This allows you to modify your campaigns to increase your Return on Investment. The easy nature of text message marketing means you can modify your campaigns in minutes.
Make sure you ask the SMS marketing provider if they are able to fully enable texts so your business can both send and receive text messages.
Ease of Use
Everyone’s tech abilities are different. Some people are super into technology while others pretty much repel technology. So, you want to find an SMS marketing provider that provides ease of use, no matter how much experience customers may have with tech.
Advanced features and technology should be available, but you want that technology to be able to be used by anyone who needs it.
Find out how user friendly the interface is. Some considerations to ask potential marketing platforms include:
- Can I see a sample demo or tour of the dashboard to get a feel for the product?
- Is there a free trial so I can test useability?
- How many steps do you have to go through to actually get a campaign sent out?
- What tools are available to stay organized throughout the duration of your campaign?
- Are there resources or training to help familiarize yourself with the software?
8. Take Advantage of a Free Trial
SMS marketing providers shouldn’t have anything to hide. They should stand behind their product and offer a free trial period. Free trials usually last between a week or two and provide a fabulous opportunity to test things out and familiarize yourself with the service before making a decision.
9. Look at How Reliable the Company is
Reliability is one of the most important considerations when choosing the right SMS marketing provider. Look for an established SMS provider that offers a secure platform and reliable service.
Message delivery with minimal delays is critical to your business. When it comes to message delivery, it is very clear that not all SMS companies are created equal. When looking for a provider, choose a company that has relationships with quality carriers.
10. Make Sure Service is Set up for Scalability
As a business owner, you often think about the future, and this should be no different. Even if right now you’re only starting with a couple hundred messages per month, you should make sure you choose an SMS marketing provider that is scalable and can accommodate growth and the future needs of your organization or business.
This means you won’t need to change providers as you grow. Obviously, this comes with a ton of benefits, including saving time and money during the onboarding process, training, and CRM set up.
11. Examine their Customer Service and 24-hour Support
Like any software, sometimes things go wrong. There is certainly a learning curve, no matter what platform you choose to use for your SMS marketing campaigns. You want to make sure that the SMS parking provider has a staff of dedicated customer support team members to assist if something goes wrong. Responsive customer service is very important when having urgent and time sensitive problems.
A reputable SMS marketing provider should have a dedicated and specialized customer service team. They should be able to provide advice and support with all of your SMS campaigns. This means if you have issues or questions, they can be resolved quickly- without headaches and without delay.
Ask yourself a few questions about customer support.
- Are they able to answer questions and troubleshoot issues that may occur?
- Can they offer expertise and practical advice around business text message marketing?
- Are they able to provide expert care to help you become a business text message marketing expert?
- Are you able to speak to a human quickly?
- How long does a client onboarding process take?
- What is the typical response time for text, chat, and email requests?
- Are there additional resources that the provider has so that I can expand product knowledge?
12. Look for an Experienced Provider
Before deciding on an SMS marketing provider, check that they have industry experience. Find out how long they’ve been in business, and what type of clients they have, and how many customers they have.
13. Easy Onboarding Process
Make sure you choose an SMS marketing platform that is easy to use. Creating and sending text messages should be simple and quick.
You may be very excited and want to get started with SMS marketing right away, and that is an excellent choice! If you want to hit the ground running, make sure you choose an SMS marketing platform that has an easy onboarding process that has a clear startup process. A complex setup means you’ll be spending more time training yourself on the platform and less time marketing.
The best business text messaging services should make onboarding and set up as easy as possible. During set up, customer service should provide resources, help train you, answer questions, and provide expert support and troubleshooting.
14. Look at Their Analytic Tools and Data
Like your other marketing efforts, it’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t in text message marketing.
So, it’s important to track a number of metrics, including:
- The text message open rate
- Response rate
- Click through rates
- Website traffic that came from text messaging campaigns
- Social scales
- Conversion rates
SMS marketing platforms give businesses and users the feature of intelligent tracking. This can let you know if your messages have been sent successfully, along with other details like which recipients opened the message, clicked through, and more.
SMS marketing makes it super easy to track the success of your marketing activities and see tangible, real results that can contribute to your business growth.
It’s important to choose an SMS marketing platform that makes it easy to see, analyze, and understand your data so that you can make the best marketing decisions to grow your business!
15. Choose a Provider Who is Serious about Security
An SMS marketing provider who is a leader in the industry should have exceptional security. These days, there is a crazy amount of malware, viruses, and other malicious threats sent through SMS and MMS.
Both devices and carriers alike are at risk to hacks and security breaches, which is problematic. These can make it easy for criminals to steal potentially damaging information.
Advanced MMS and SMS providers should have really strong security protocols to safeguard user data, because not only are you at risk, but your clients as well. Customers will not respond well to data breaches, which can cause loss of business and revenue.
We’ve come up with a few questions that you should ask so you can better understand your potential SMS marketing provider’s security measures and risks:
- Who owns my data?
- Where is data stored?
- How is data protected?
- Will you send advertisements to my contacts without my permission?
- Is my contacts list secure?
- What information and data do you collect from me (and my contacts)?
16. Make Sure you Select a Provider that Understands Your Business Needs
You should select a marketing provider that understands the unique needs of your business. Many text message providers say they offer something for everyone, but you should really choose a team that understands the inner workings of your industry and business.
Make sure you choose a provider that invests time to understand what your business needs so they can help you make the most of your SMS marketing campaigns.
17. Consider your Return on Investment
You have to consider how the SMS marketing provider will help you make money. There are a number of factors to consider, and no matter what business you have, you could probably get a great ROI with your SMS marketing efforts.
Working with an experienced provider, as well as having a marketing plan in place will probably make your campaign successful.
There are plenty of proven successes centered around marketing campaigns, discounts and sales promotions, appointment reminders, and product launches. Your SMS marketing provider should be well versed in helping you unlock revenue generating and profitable SMS marketing activities.
Choosing an SMS marketing provider is one of the most important steps in getting started with SMS marketing. It is super important that the SMS partner that you choose is very reliable and gives you a high level of service.
Are you ready to invest in a world class business SMS marketing provider?
For small business owners needing to save time, increase sales, build better relationships or automate marketing, AI-centric SMS is a game changer.
For over 15 years, VOXOX, an innovator in 5G-AI cloud-based communication solutions,has been helping businesses improve their customer communications and marketing through smart, easy-to-use cloud-based SMS and voice solutions. Using an AI-powered SMS marketing provider allows you to acquire more contacts, engage their audiences, provide services, build brand loyalty and more. Thousands of businesses rely on easy to use SMS messaging services to inspire more engaging, interactive, and thoughtful communication with customers all over the world.
VoxDirect helps businesses stay connected with unlimited texting capabilities, click-worthy campaigns, and cutting-edge personalization tools.
We’ll show you how to create effective SMS campaigns and utilize intuitive phone features that attract, engage and leave your customers saying “WOW... this is really cool!!”
Want to see how it works? Text “VOXOX” to 800-335-1552.
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