If you asked us to name our five favorite SMS Marketing Service providers a few years ago we could’ve given you an answer immediately. These days putting together a list of the best of the best takes a good bit of research. Why? Because unlike a few years ago when there were only a handful of firms offering SMS marketing services, today there are hundreds of companies that can set your business up with a good text messaging platform. That’s not to say there are hundreds of great firms out there. Far, far from it. The vast majority of companies aren’t worth considering – but we’re not here to trash anyone – we’re here to help. The SMS Marketing business has grown big enough that it’s not too hard to pick a good firm to work with, but we’re not looking for the good firms – we’re looking for the best.
- Ez Texting – GOLD – The Best SMS Marketing Service
With 50,000 claimed clients Ez Texting certainly seems to be the biggest SMS Marketing firm targeting small business owners and other do-it-yourselfers, but size isn’t what impressed us the most. Ez Texting has been around for years, but recent software updates coupled with confirmations of amazing customer service lead us to conclude that they really are what they say they are: ‘Refreshingly Simple. Surprisingly Affordable.’ We saw that TopTenReviews awarded them a 2nd place silver medal in their 2011 Text Message Marketing Review. You should check out their extensive review – because we agree with nearly all it has to say (and they have a lot to say!). Our only quibble? Their winner, SumoText, doesn’t make our list. In 2009? Sure. 2010? Maybe. But in fall 2011 SumoText no longer holds a candle to Ez Texting, along with dozens of other competitors. The lesson? Go with an SMS Marketing service like Ez Texting that constantly invests in and upgrades its software platform.
- mobileStorm – SILVER – The Second Best SMS Marketing Service
Like our first place winner, MobileStorm has been around for a while. MobileStorm has evolved their platform a lot over the past few years, and in fact just recently rolled out Version 5.0 of their offering. We’re not 100% sure how version numbers work for constantly changing web-based software, but this is clearly an upgraded platform. MobileStorm exceeds as a solution for bigger businesses that aren’t quite ready for an agency solution. ‘mS5′ as they call it there integrates SMS and email, allowing a business to fold its marketing needs into a single, slick interface. As one would expect, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are integrated as well. This is isn’t the solution for everyone – unlike the other services on this list which you can try on your own you’ll have to setup a sales call to try mobileStorm, but if you have certain needs and the money to spend, mobileStorm will not disappoint. Learn more about mobileStorm.
- Group Texting – BRONZE – The Third Best SMS Marketing Service
Group Texting offers a very different solution than the previous two competitors, leveraging a technology called long codes instead of short codes. We have technical guides to explain the differences between the two, but for a quick shortcut think of a short code as a 5 or 6 digit number that can send text messages, whereas a long code is a regular 10 digit style number – that, you guessed it, can send and receive text messages. What makes Group Texting so compelling is that they’ve build a great, advanced SMS marketing platform atop long codes. Long codes have really taken off in the last year for a number of reasons, primarily cost and freedom from burdensome, time consuming regulations. Twilio (company number 5 on this list) really helped popularlize them, but as you’ll see below, with Twilio it’s up to you to do something with a long code if you obtain one through Twilio. Essentially that is what Group Texting has done for you. Want to use a long code for your SMS Marketing? Then go with Group Texting.
- CardBoardFish – Fourth Place
CardBoardFish makes the list as our only truly international solution. Ez Texting is available in Canada and Group Texting can get you going in most countries, but if you’re looking for a true solution designed from the ground up for international use than CardBoardFish is the hands-down-winner. We’ll be honest – the software isn’t on par with what you’ll get with any of the other companies on this list, but then that’s not why CardBoardFish is here. International delivery is tricky, and CardBoardFish does it as well as anyone we’ve seen in the SMS Marketing business. Function over form could sum up our recommendation of CardBoardFish. Check out CardBoardFish’s international text messaging service.
- Twilio – Fifth Place
Twilio might be considered an odd entry on this list, but we believe they are a truly compelling text messaging service provider, even if you are concerning yourself solely with SMS Marketing. Twilio is accessed via an API (Application Programming Interface). This means that one piece of software (yours) talks to theirs. This allows for all sorts of cool integrations. It’s not for the point-and-click crowd, but Twilio, with an extremely popular API, can power just about any text messaging campaign you dream up. Note: Ez Texting and Group Texting offer robust APIs as well, though they are not as API focused as Twilio.
These rankings are always evolving, so check back in early 2012 for our next quarterly update. Feedback? Contact us at info [at] smsmarketing.org!