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Texting enables you to connect with customers in fast and personalized ways. In fact, 98% of text messages get opened immediately. And 67% of customers would rather text than talk or email with a business.
Business text messaging is versatile too. It fills the communication gap between email and voice. And having the right texting platform makes it easy to:
But when it comes to choosing the best business texting app, you have a myriad of options to choose from (including MessageDesk).
To help, we’ve put together a guide for evaluating the best business text messaging apps. Click the following links to jump to a specific section:
The first thing to consider when selecting a texting app is its ease of use. Look for text messaging apps or services with simple, clean, easy-to-understand interfaces.
Just because an app gives you more options, doesn’t mean it’s better. It just means that it’s going to take you and your team longer to understand and realize value.
Chances are, you already have a lot to do in your business. So an app that makes it harder to respond to and engage with customers isn't of much use.
People are used to getting SMS text messages on their phones. But if you’re looking at a text messaging service for your business, then you’ll probably need a way for you or your team to send texts from a desktop computer or tablet too.
Do you run a service or trades-based business? Do you or your staff work almost exclusively from mobile devices in the field? Then having a mobile app might be particularly important for you.
Be aware that many business texting platforms are almost exclusively desktop-oriented. Many do offer downloadable mobile apps, but those experiences can be limited.
Many early text messaging platforms only allowed businesses to text from five or six-digit shortcodes. Shortcodes aren’t bad, but they’re more for marketing purposes because they only work one way.
You’ll want to text from a 10-digit phone number because there’s no way to respond to shortcode text messages.
Texting customers from a 10-digit phone number also helps build trust. It lets people know that the messages they’re reading came from a real person and that they can respond normally.
And businesses who send texts from local 10-digit numbers almost always get better responses. This is because they’re creating friendlier, more conversational experiences.
Conversational text messaging is important when it comes to customer service and support. But when it comes to choosing a text messaging platform, this consideration is two-fold.
First, does the text messaging app you’re considering allow you to perform customer service for your customers? For this, you need quick reply conversational messaging.
The faster you can resolve a problem, the better. 54% of businesses already use text messaging to perform customer support because it’s conversational and offers immediate response times.
Additionally, conversational messaging features work well for engaging with happy customers too. 85% of consumers are willing to leave a review, but few will actually do it because they’re never prompted.
This is where a business text messaging app can make collecting reviews easy. Look for direct online review site integrations or make sure your text messaging app supports texting links.
Sending your customers links in a text message increases the chance that they’ll actually leave a review. Some text messaging platforms even include link shorteners to make this even easier.
Choosing the right business texting app for your business or office depends on the following:
Depending on the size of your business, adding multiple users and being able to assign conversation owners might be important. Having multiple users and conversation assignments can even help you boost your customer engagement and improve customer service.
So good SMS apps (especially for teams) will allow you to add multiple users and set various permission levels.
But if you’re texting customers as a solo owner-operator or as an independent contractor, then you may not need these features.
Many business text messaging services charge a monthly subscription fee and/or per text message fee. This is where you’ll want to factor in your messaging frequency and monthly messaging volume.
Looking to send conversational one-on-one text messages for things like appointment reminders and scheduling? Then no need to worry about “through-put” or the number of text messages you can send per second.
Most all business texting services can send 1-3 conversational text messages per second to around 25 people at max.
Without this special designation, you won’t be able to send mass texts, and your messages risk going undelivered. Keep in mind that these advanced features will also factor into your monthly messaging costs.
The type of phone number you send SMS messages from is important. Shortcodes used to be the only way businesses could text. But now, customers respond better to texts from businesses that come from a 10-digit phone number.
In either case, you have two options.
First, you can look for a business texting service that gives you a new 10-digit business phone number. Or you can find a service that allows you to “port over” and text-enable your existing business landline.
But what if you’re running a smaller operation and already using your personal cell phone to text customers?
It’s not the best idea for you or your employees to text from your personal numbers. This is true for several reasons including privacy and security.
Additionally, mobile phone numbers can’t be ported over. Only businesses with established landlines or VoIP numbers are eligible for number porting.
In this scenario, you’ll want to look for a free text messaging app. Google Voice or these Google Voice alternatives are all great options.
Text message automation breaks down into two categories.
Most business text messaging platforms offer basic text message scheduling. This means scheduling one text message, to one person, one time.
Looking for set-it-and-forget-it automation? Then you’ll need a more advanced texting platform.
Look for automation features including campaigns, autoresponders, and out-of-office messages when selecting a platform.
These advanced automation features are what will enable you to do things like:
Integrations can help your business and team save time and scale day-to-day operations. But your needs will differ depending on your daily messaging workflows and how you operate your business.
If you’re looking for text messaging for sales teams, then CRM integrations will most likely be important
If you’re looking for text messaging marketing, then integrations with email providers and other marketing platforms might be valuable.
For medical, dental, and clinical offices EHR integrations and HIPAA compliance will be important.
And some businesses who book regular appointments may need their business messaging app to integrate with an appointment scheduler like Calendly or Squarespace Scheduling.
This makes it possible for everyone from service and trades-based businesses to law offices, CPAs, and bookkeepers to get paid faster. Integrations make it possible to create end-to-end workflows for text-to-pay invoicing and payments and review collection.
And for those specialty workflows, many business text messaging apps also integrate with Zapier. Zapier is a slick tool that allows you to set up many different kinds of text messages and contact triggers.
This is often the ideal integration for small businesses with specialty day-to-day workflows.
|Price (Lowest Tier)||$39 / mo.||$30 / mo.||$45 / mo.||Free||$24 / mo.|
|Messages Per Month||1,000||500||1,000||Unlimted (inbound only)||200|
Text message marketing is often all about reaching the right people at the right time with the right message.
This means you probably need to send promotional bulk text message blasts to hundreds or thousands of contacts. But this kind of activity comes with some regulations and carrier restrictions.
For marketing, you’ll want to evaluate your text marketing app or mass text app based on the following criteria:
Groups, lists, forms, and custom fields are all-important text message marketing features. They’re essential for organizing customers and contacts into lists. Each helps you craft more targeted messages for the right kinds of people.
We call all of this segmentation in the marketing world.
Good texting platforms will allow you to create all kinds of lists based on various customer information attributes. Many text messaging platforms also offer custom fields that allow you to customize how you can segment contacts.
And how can you get more people to subscribe to your marketing messages? Through website contact forms that send automatic text messages.
Website contact forms even allow you to collect things like customer billing information or even get feedback through polls and surveys.
The best text message marketing apps all allow you to schedule text messages. However, this functionality can range vastly.
Some text marketing apps only allow you to schedule messages at select date/time intervals. Whereas others allow you to craft full-blown automated text message marketing campaigns.
Many of these campaigns also utilize keyword-based autoresponders. Autoresponders are automated text messages that send an automatic response when someone texts a keyword to your text messaging number.
You see examples of this with businesses advertising keywords like SPECIALOFFER on promotional materials.
Having the ability to text images, videos, and media is particularly useful when it comes to marketing. So you’ll want a text marketing platform that allows you to upload, manage and share media with your customers.
You’ll also want to compose your media messages and save them as templates once they’re uploaded. Text message templates work especially well for saving messages you send all the time.
Instead of having to type the same message over and over again, you can save the text as a templated message. This is an advanced feature that not all texting apps offer.
Text message templates also make messaging more consistent. Especially if you have multiple people texting contacts and customers.
Once you text a marketing message to your customers, you’ll want to gauge its performance. Analytics capabilities vary from platform to platform, but almost all come with some sort of analytics tracking capabilities.
More advanced text messaging platforms will show you metrics like:
Link click tracking is particularly useful. Knowing how many people got your text and clicked a link helps you gauge open rates and your offer’s effectiveness.
And best of all, they make it easy to calculate your ROI and revenue per text message.
Opt-in and opt-out TCPA compliance is important and often overlooked. This is especially true when it comes to SMS marketing campaigns.
Text messaging is a regulated form of communication per the Telephone and Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). This means your business needs to get the right level of consent for promotional messages before you text customers.
Don’t worry if this sounds complicated. The best text messaging apps will actually help you automatically handle opt-in and opt-out compliance.
Suggested Article: Complete TCPA Compliance Checklist and Guide
|Price (Lowest Tier)||$39 / mo.||$29 / mo.||$24 / mo.||$24 / mo.||$199 / mo.|
|Messages Per Month||1,000||500||1,000||200||10,000|
With the right business text messaging software, it’s possible to send text messages from your desktop computer. You can also text-enable a business landline or VoIP number.
Look for these features when choosing the best app to text from your computer:
Are you a small business? Then no doubt you started out with a landline, a personal cell phone, or a Google Voice number. What you’ll need is a texting app that lets you port over your existing business number or landline.
Number porting capabilities are important because they allow you to text from a number your customers are already familiar with.
However, you can’t port over and use an existing AT&T, Verizon, or T-mobile mobile phone number with a business text messaging platform. Carriers don’t typically relinquish their numbers to other providers.
But voice and text services like Google Voice are portable and can be transferred between different business text messaging services. This is because services like Google Voice are VoIP-based services.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It’s a way to make a phone call over the internet rather than using a cellular signal. Because VoIP services operate over the internet, you can use any device with a web browser to make calls and even send text messages.
Many computer texting apps and text and call apps allow you to add texting to your existing VoIP phone service. This means you can use text messaging with the same business phone number you use for calls.
Other business landlines can also be text-enabled. This makes it possible to text from your computer using a business text messaging platform.
What if you don’t have or use a business landline or VoIP service? Many call and text apps also offer call forwarding.
With call forwarding, when someone calls your text messaging number, that call gets routed to an existing voice-enabled phone number of your choosing.
Call forwarding is typically an easier and more cost-effective solution than text enabling a landline or VoIP service.
|Price (Lowest Tier)||$39 / mo.||$25 a user / mo.||$29 / mo.||$19.95 mo./per user||19.99 mo./per user|
|Messages Per Month||1,000||1,000||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
Ready to start texting your customers? MessageDesk is here to help with smarter, simpler business text messaging.
You’ll also want to check out our list of free SMS text message templates. Just copy and paste to start texting.
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