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.
Before you choose a business texting app for your business or organization ask yourself and answer the following questions:
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:
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.
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.
Before you select a business texting service, know the three main types of 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.
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:
Platforms like MessageDesk put you one click away from sending or scheduling a templated text message to a contact.
Transactional messages are non-promotional. These texts are informational, time-sensitive responses to customer interactions or requests like:
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).
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.
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).
Text message automation breaks down into two main categories.
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.
These advanced automation features are what will enable you to do things like:
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.
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.
Local service-based businesses and organizations that need a shared team inbox to conversationally engage with their contacts, customers, and clients.
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 the best texting app for 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.
Larger businesses and organizations looking for a sleek way to run large-scale text message marketing campaigns.
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.
Businesses and organizations that communicate with customers across multiple channels, including social media.
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.
Businesses and organizations that already know how to get the most out of large-scale text message marketing campaigns.
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.
Sales and customer support teams who already use platforms like Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and Slack to resolve issues and track customers.
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.
Businesses and organizations that need a straightforward way to market to a text list and set up automation using keywords.
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.
Solo owner-operators who need a non-personal business line to text and call contacts and customers.
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.
Developers who need to set up automated transactional text messages for things like order statuses, updates, and authentication.
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.
Ready to start texting your customers? MessageDesk is here to help you start more meaningful customer conversations.
Feel free to start a free MesageDesk trial.
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