2022's Top Business Texting Services & Apps + How to Choose
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Jan 20, 2022

A Guide to Choosing the Best Business Texting Service or App for Your Business or Organization

Business texting enables you to connect with contacts, customers, and clients in fast and personalized ways. In fact, texts get up to a 98% open rate. And 67% of customers would rather text than talk or email with a business.

But when it comes to choosing the best business texting service or app, you have a myriad of great options to choose from (including MessageDesk).

So I’ve put together a list of 6 questions to ask before choosing a text messaging service.

And I’ve also included a list of the top 8 business texting services.

By the end, you should have a clear idea of what to look for and which platforms will suit your needs.

Read on for more.

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6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Business Texting Service or App

Before you choose a business texting app for your business or organization ask yourself and answer the following questions:

  1. How big is your team?
  2. What devices do you need to text from?
  3. What types of messages do you need to send and receive?
  4. What kind of number do you want to send and receive texts from?
  5. How much automation do you need?
  6. How will a business texting software integrate with your other systems?

1. How big is your team?

Are you texting as a solo owner-operator or as an independent contractor? Then you may not need a platform with features like conversation assignments or multiple users.

But what if you have a team of people texting contacts, customers, or clients? Then you’ll need a business texting service with a shared team inbox and conversation assignment features.

An SMS inbox allows you to manage multiple conversations across multiple teammates in one view.

It helps you:

  1. See all inbound and outbound messages.
  2. Know what team member is assigned to a conversation.
  3. Understand at a glance which conversations require action.

Check out the example below from MessageDesk. You can clearly see which conversations are “new”, “waiting”, “replied” or “closed”. You can also see who’s assigned to them.

messagedesk-inbox-1440x900.png

2. What devices do you need to send and receive texts on?

Everyone is used to getting SMS text messages on their phones. But businesses and organizations often need ways to text from a desktop computer or tablet too.

Do you run a service or trades-based business with staff working in the field? Then choosing a business texting service with a strong mobile app might be even more useful for you.

But be aware. Many business texting platforms are almost exclusively desktop-oriented.

Some platforms like MessageDesk support texting from all devices. This includes desktop computers and downloadable mobile apps for iPhone and Android and tablets as well.

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3. What types of messages do you need to send and receive?

Before you select a business texting service, know the three main types of messages:

  1. Promotional
  2. Conversational
  3. Transactional

1. Promotional text messages

Promotional texts are marketing or sales message. These are large-scale drip campaigns or mass texts. They directly promote, sell, up-sell, or advertise products and services or your business or organization.

To send promotional text messages, you’ll need an SMS marketing service that offers:

When it comes to volume, most business texting services can send 1-3 text messages per second to up to 25 contacts.

But what if you’re looking to send higher-volume bulk text messages for SMS marketing? Then you’ll need a more advanced SMS marketing platform.

Specifically, look for a platform that supports higher “through-put” (messages per second) and carrier-verified A2P mass text messaging campaigns.

Without this special designation, you can’t send bulk SMS at scale, and your messages may not get delivered at all.

Many business texting services charge additional fees for A2P texting. So you’ll need to factor it into your pricing plan and/or per text message fees to gauge cost-effectiveness.

Suggested: Top SMS Marketing Services & Mass Text Apps in 2022

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2. Conversational text messages

Conversational texts are two-way, 1-on-1 texts between your business or organization and your contacts.

These are the daily texts someone working a front desk or local service-based business would send to customers.

Conversational businesses texting services have inboxes that make it easy to:

With conversational 1-on-1 texting, you don’t need to worry about the text messages per second or A2P registration.

Instead, you’ll want to look for a business texting platform with features like:

  • A shared team inbox
  • Conversation assignment and filtering
  • Text message scheduling and automation
  • Texting from your existing 10-digit number or a toll-free 800 number
  • Ability to pre-save text messages as templates
  • MMS and multimedia text messaging

Platforms like MessageDesk put you one click away from sending or scheduling a templated text message to a contact.

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3. Transactional text messages

Transactional messages are non-promotional. These texts are informational, time-sensitive responses to customer interactions or requests like:

  • Shipping alerts
  • Delivery notifications
  • Order confirmations and statuses
  • Account status information
  • Two-factor identity validation requests
  • Password recovery messages

To send transactional messages you’ll want an enterprise-grade business texting platform. Twilio is the best example with automation and access to an API (see below).

4. What kind of number do you want to send and receive texts from?

Many early business texting services only allowed businesses and organizations to text from five or six-digit short code phone numbers.

Shortcodes aren’t bad, but they’re slowly being phased out by carriers and they only work one way. They don’t support conversational replies.

So for conversations, you’ll want to look for a texting service that allows you to port over and text enable a business landline. This means you can use your existing 10-digit phone number, or provision a new 800 number.

Most texting platforms like MessageDesk allow you to text from multiple phone numbers. They also support both 10-digit and toll-free 800 numbers.

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But what if you’re running a smaller operation and already using your personal cell phone to text contacts and customers?

It’s not the best idea for you or your employees to use your personal phone number for work. 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 (see below).

5. How much automation do you need?

Text message automation breaks down into two main categories.

  1. Basic text message scheduling (scheduling one-time, individual, non-recurring messages)
  2. Advanced text message automation (stringing together multiple recurring, scheduled text messages and autoresponders as part of a campaign)

Most all business texting 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.

So look for automation features like campaigns, autoresponders, and out-of-office messages.

These advanced automation features are what will enable you to do things like:

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6. How will a business texting software integrate with your other business systems?

Integrations can help you and your 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 or organization.

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.

Similarly, HR departments and staffing agencies who need to text job candidates and employees may require HRIS or HRMS integrations.

And if you book regular appointments you may need to integrate with an appointment scheduling software like Calendly or Squarespace Scheduling.

Other texting software for business (like MessageDesk) can even integrate directly with small business accounting software like QuickBooks Online and Xero.

This makes it easy for everyone from service and trades-based businesses to law offices, CPAs, and bookkeepers to get paid faster.

Integrations also 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 text message automation based on triggers.

This is often the ideal integration for small businesses with specialty day-to-day workflows.

Try our business texting for free. No payment required.

8 Best Text Messaging Services (In No Particular Order)

  1. MessageDesk
  2. SimpleTexting
  3. Heymarket
  4. EZTexting
  5. Avochato
  6. Textedly
  7. Google Voice
  8. Twilio

1. MessageDesk

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Best for:

Local service-based businesses and organizations that need a shared team inbox to conversationally engage with their contacts, customers, and clients.

Overview:

Of course, I have to mention MessageDesk as part of my best-of list. How can I not? I am a co-founder after all. 🤷

MessageDesk is a great text messaging service for small businesses that need a team inbox. It works great for texting one-on-one and broadcasting to large groups from a 10-digit phone number or 800 number. You can also connect your existing business phone number or text-enable your landline.

MessageDesk is a great tool for businesses and organizations looking to create conversational experiences with their customers. It's well suited for customer support and service, review and feedback collection, payment and scheduling reminders, and text message marketing campaigns.

After a free trial, starting costs are $14 per month for one user. We also offer custom pricing for larger teams.

Features:

  • Scheduled and automated text messages
  • Templates and MMS messages
  • Group texts and broadcasts without reply all
  • Call forwarding and voicemails to any number
  • Desktop, tablet, and mobile apps
  • Supports high-volume A2P carrier verified messaging
  • Built-in opt-in and opt-out tools for TCPA compliance

Pros:

  • Highly functional shared team-inbox
  • Affordable starting price
  • Excellent customer service

Cons:

  • Currently, few integrations with other apps

What users say:

Contributor Image
Sylvia L.
Programmatic Account Manager
"MesageDesk is great for sending mass texts for the staff or communicating with returning clients. We have sent promotional deals to our returning clients. We can also group clients if need be based on categories."
Contributor Image
Joylyn O.
Marketing Consultant
"MessageDesk is an effective texting app with excellent customer service. The templates are customizable with tagging features to personalize messages. MessageDesk also has fantastic customer service where real people answer your questions."

2. SimpleTexting

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Best for:

Larger businesses and organizations looking for a sleek way to run large-scale text message marketing campaigns.

Overview:

SimpleTexting is a great text messaging software for businesses. They offer a slick, polished user interface that gives you easy ways to run text message marketing campaigns.

SimpleTexting also offers texting with shortcodes for very large-scale text message blasts to thousands of contacts. With SimpleTexting you get a host of automation features and a built-out list of integrations as well.

Features:

  • Scheduling and automation
  • Campaigns and triggers
  • Autoresponders
  • Automated birthday texts
  • Feedback campaigns

Pros:

  • Clean and intuitive user interface
  • Flexible number selection (shortcodes, 10-digit and toll-free)
  • Automation and campaign triggers
  • Great customer service

Cons:

  • Not the most functional inbox for managing many 1-on-1 conversations
  • Weak mobile app experience
  • Pricing can be prohibitive for smaller organizations

What users say:

Contributor Image
Andrew S.
Associate Missions Pastor
"SimpleTexting is so easy to use. I created the account, and within a few minutes, I scheduled my first SMS reminder. The interface is simple, and that's what I was looking for in an SMS reminder product."
Contributor Image
Sam M.
Marketing Coordinator
"I do wish there wasn't a character count on the replies for our automatic messages since that's not really a "thing" anymore with iPhones and newer phones these days. I wish it would all just send as one message even if they needed to count it as multiple credits from our account."

3. Heymarket

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Best for:

Businesses and organizations that communicate with customers across multiple channels, including social media.

Overview:

Heymarket is another one of the best text messaging services for businesses. What makes them unique? They offer messaging on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram Messenger, Google Messages, and Apple Business Chat too.

Heymarket’s inbox works well for customer support, customer-staff messaging, and internal communication amongst employees or teams. There’s also support for text message drip campaigns, but some users have noted that these features are limited.

Features:

  • Shared team inbox
  • Private comments for teams
  • Omnichannel capabilities
  • Built-out list of integrations and partners
  • Web and mobile apps

Pros:

  • Gorgeous user interface
  • Great team messaging features
  • Messaging across multiple channels

Cons:

  • Limitations with drip campaigns
  • Group and list sizes are limited

What users say:

Contributor Image
Michael S.
Small Business Owner
"HeyMarket has exactly the product we need for a price we can afford. And I have seldom seen better customer service. Every time I have reached out, I get a quick response and they are always helpful."
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Michelle G.
Small Business Owner
"There are only two features we would like to have. One would be the ability to send a group message out of Heymarket or the app. The second thing would be to have the ability to have multiple phone numbers for one contact."

4. EZTexting

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Best for:

Businesses and organizations that already know how to get the most out of large-scale text message marketing campaigns.

Overview:

EZTexting is a long-standing business texting platform. Like SimpleTexting, they started with shortcodes for marketing campaigns and have since evolved and expanded their text messaging capabilities.

In the time that EZTexting has been around, they’ve developed a lot of excellent features. You’re getting a lot of capability with this platform, but you also get some bloat. EZTexting can do it all, so long as you know what you’re looking to accomplish.

Features:

  • Bulk text messages
  • Add unlimited contacts
  • MMS picture messaging
  • 2-way texting and text-to-landline
  • Shortcodes
  • Personalized templates

Pros:

  • Many phone number options, including shortcodes
  • Great for text message marketing and drip campaigns
  • Robust automation features
  • Integrations with email marketing platforms and CRMs like Hubspot

Cons:

  • Poor mobile app experience
  • Needs better conversation assignment features (not a shared team inbox)
  • Character limits

What users say:

Contributor Image
Ryan B.
Programmatic Account Manager
"I had to stop using the EZ Texting App. The App functionality was very poor and did not allow the same functionality as the web. I would have liked more helpful notifications about message replies so I could respond quickly to customer needs."
Contributor Image
Luis B.
Human Resources Manager
"We have been using EZ Texting for employee communication for 2-3 years, the website is easy to use and set up. Support responds to inquiries in a timely manner. Pricing is reasonable for the amount of use we can get out of it.The organization has been able to send mass texts during shutdowns due to weather. The link shortener tool is very convenient to use when sending long website likes, and also can see how many have clicked on it."

5. Avochato

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Best for:

Sales and customer support teams who already use platforms like Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and Slack to resolve issues and track customers.

Overview:

Avochato is a team-based text messaging platform for businesses that want to maintain meaningful, real-time conversations with customers.

They offer a great shared team inbox and a host of internal team communication tools like tags and templates. Additionally, Avochato allows you to set up text message drip campaigns.

Features:

  • Shared inbox
  • Tags
  • Keywords
  • Surveys
  • Campaigns
  • Templates
  • Broadcasts
  • Live chat

Pros:

  • Simple, easy to use interface
  • Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zapier Integrations
  • Proactive customer service

Cons:

  • Complex pricing structure
  • Mobile experience could use some work

What users say:

Contributor Image
Nick H.
Co-Founder, Go-To-Market
"I cannot recommend Avochato enough. If I was forced to only use one channel to communicate with customers between email, phone calls and SMS, I would go with Avochato. Our engagement rates with Avochato are higher than email and phone calls combined - and our engagement rates were already quite strong."
Contributor Image
Joshua G.
Crisis Response Chaplain
"Apart from having a simplistic and intuitive design, many issues arose. You don't only pay for the number of messages sent"

6. Textedly

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Best for:

Businesses and organizations that need a straightforward way to market to a text list and set up automation using keywords.

Overview:

Textedly is another standard texting messaging platform that’s been around for a while. But like SimpleTexting and EZTexting, it's quite powerful.

Textedly offers standard mass texting, scheduling, and automated reply features. It's on par with what you’d expect from the other platforms on my list.

They’ve got a long track record of offering great SMS deliverability and customers comment on how good the support is.

Features:

  • Mass text messaging
  • Scheduled and automated messages
  • Keyword-based autoresponders
  • MMS picture messaging
  • Zapier integration

Pros:

  • Standard, well-built text message marketing features
  • Great user interface
  • Robust selection of pre-made text message templates

Cons:

  • Not a great way to manage conversations (not a shared team inbox)
  • Unused texts don’t roll over to the next month
  • Each feature incurs a new cost, no straight monthly fee for access to everything

What users say:

Contributor Image
Lindsay G.
Marketing Coordinator
"We use this texting service to market our courses and events, and the service is very user-friendly! Anytime I have ever needed assistance or help, the customer service team has always been very prompt with their response time. I would recommend this service to other business owners!"
Contributor Image
Kate S.
Recruiting Coordinator
"I wish I could send a message right after adding a new subscriber. I could get to the message board just after making a new user"

7. Google Voice

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Best for:

Solo owner-operators who need a non-personal business line to text and call contacts and customers.

Overview:

Google Voice is a fantastic call and text app for those who want a separate line for business communications.

You can use Google Voice for both personal and business purposes. Although there are more paid features available in the business version.

Many businesses and consumers enjoy the convenience of Google Voice. This is due to its simplicity and ease of use. But other businesses find themselves limited by the software’s communication capabilities.

Features:

  • Voice calls
  • Voicemail
  • Auto-attendant
  • Call forwarding
  • Basic 1-on-1 text messaging

Pros:

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Integrates seamlessly with other Google products and software
  • Offers number portability

Cons:

  • No longer free
  • Text messaging feature limitations (no scheduling or automation)
  • Not a platform for bulk messaging (low-throughput)

What users say:

Contributor Image
Emma M.
Teacher
"I like using a Google Voice number to contact people without giving my cell phone number. It is also very convenient to access phone calls from a variety of devices."
Contributor Image
Brittany V.
School Counselor
"Sometimes there are some technical issues, including not always ringing or sending a notification to my phone when someone messages me. I often won't know until I check my email."

8. Twilio

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Best for:

Developers who need to set up automated transactional text messages for things like order statuses, updates, and authentication.

Overview:

Twilio is a behemoth of a messaging platform. They recently acquired Zipwhip, a business text messaging platform. Many business text messaging services even run their messages through Twilio to achieve delivery.

Twilio does allow businesses and organizations to provision a phone number and send text messages using services like Twilio Flex. But there is some assembly required. This means that it's really a platform best suited for developers who need to send text messages via API.

Features:

  • Messaging (SMS text messages, WhatsApp, chat)
  • Programmable voice for making and receiving calls
  • Video
  • Email

Pros:

  • Super robust API for doing just about anything
  • Many product offerings and messaging options
  • One-stop-shop for incorporating messaging features into existing products and services

Cons:

  • Not a user-friendly solution for the average small business or local organization
  • Developer assembly is required

What users say:

Contributor Image
Ramon C.
Co-Founder and CMO
"Twilio is one of the most reliable API for SMS and messages in the market, also the prices are pretty competitive and it let's you perform code validation through SMS and Calls and for Whatsapp it already has a complete API."
Contributor Image
Chrissy M.
Director of Business Development
"There was a slightly higher learner curve with using Twilio that we had seen with other options"
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