Text Message Marketing Review
What Is Text Message Marketing?
The top performers in our review are SUMOTEXT, the Gold Award winner; SlickText, the Silver Award winner; and ProTexting, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a system to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 Text Message Marketing services.
In today’s world, nearly everyone has a smartphone, and almost everyone can text. Many people consider texting to be their preferred method of communication, so it’s important for businesses to be able to reach out to the masses through this popular medium.
Text message marketing helps you connect with your audience of consumers easily and effectively by controlling your contact lists and sending out text messages, which may include multimedia messages, polls, special deals and other information, to your subscribers. Some companies perform better than others. Our top three choices for text message marketing services are SUMOTEXT, the Gold Award winner; SlickText, the Silver Award winner; and ProTexting, the Bronze Award winner. You can learn more by visiting our articles on text message marketing.
What Should I Expect From Text Message Marketing?
Sending coupons, special deals, current events and other information to your customers automatically through SMS messaging is a convenient way to reach your market and grow your audience. With many text message marketing services, you can send multimedia messages (MMS) or ask questions with a poll or a survey. You can set up automatic responses to opt-ins, STOP messages and HELP messages, and you can personalize all of the messages you send to your customers. You can also schedule messages for the future or set up drip campaigns, which means that you can create a schedule of marketing deals or other information to be sent out slowly, at various times and days.
What Are the Laws & Guidelines for SMS Marketing?
Mobile marketing can be a great tool for your business, but you should know that SMS marketing is not a free-for-all. There are some laws and best practices you should follow and consider when you plan your campaigns.
The TCPA, or Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which was developed by the FCC, has some laws that you need to be sure you follow while you’re collecting contacts and sending out text messages. Not everything in the TCPA applies to text message marketing, but it’s still a good idea to review these laws and be sure you are compliant with them. Some protocols you want to be sure you follow include:
• Get permission from every contact before you start sending mass text messages to them
• Only send text messages between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm. Remember that this is in the time zone of the person you are texting and not necessarily the time zone from which you are sending messages.
CTIA & MMA
The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) and MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) have similar guidelines on how to appropriately use text message marketing. These guidelines are not laws, but they do provide best practices you should consider following. Some of these best practices include:
• Don’t use the term “free” unless you have a free-to-end-user program
• All advertising should include program name, production description and quality, link to terms and conditions, stop instructions, and the message and data rates may apply message. Or, you can have all this information available when the customer texts HELP.
• Have opt-in approval prior to sending messages
• You must allow your customer the option of opting out
• Opt-in and opt-out records should be maintained for at least six months
• You should not directly advocate the use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs
• Age verification may be required for some text message marketing campaigns
Important Things to Look for in a Text Message Marketing Service
While different text marketing services have different strengths and weaknesses, there are some features that you should expect from all of the services you look at for this service. These companies should have short codes for you to lease. Short codes are five digit numbers used for SMS messaging, and services should allow you to use one of theirs rather than forcing you to purchase your own. These services should also be able to set up automatic responses to incoming messages, and you shouldn’t be charged for inbound messages.
You should also be able to choose and purchase the keywords important to your campaign, and you should be able to track the use of these keywords. You should also be able to track customers that opt in and opt out to your text message marketing campaigns.
What We Evaluated; What We Found
When you choose a text message marketing company, it’s important that you find one that can get the job done right so that you maintain a good relationship with your customers. When we reviewed text message marketing services, we tested each service to create a campaign score and a customer support score. The companies had no input on these evaluations or on how they were scored.
As we evaluated services on our lineup, we set up test scenarios where we sent out automatic SMS, MMS and polling messages to a pool of customers. Our scores are the percentages that the services actually worked in each category. You should find a text message marketing service that you can rely on working for you and that you can trust to handle your campaigns efficiently. In our testing, SUMOTEXT, ProTexting, Mozeo, and SlickText were the most reliable services.
Verdict & Recommendation
As you prepare to set up your text message marketing campaigns, it’s important that you choose a service that fits your needs and helps you reach your business goals through SMS marketing. SUMOTEXT is the only service on our lineup that we had no issues with in our testing, so you can count on that company to be reliable. ProTexting and SlickText also earned high scores, and they and Trumpia offer multiple help and support features. Trumpia is a good choice for polling and surveys, though we found it difficult to use for MMS messages.
Contributing Reviewer: Jill Bowers