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8 Questions You Need to Ask When Choosing a Paid SMS Service

There are more paid SMS services on the market than ever before. Here’s how to choose the best one.

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First things first: we are a paid SMS service.

And we like to think we’re one of the best. But the point of this article isn’t to give you the hard sell.

Over the past decade, we’ve worked with tens of thousands of businesses from different industries who use SMS for various reasons.

From this experience, we’ve learned how companies find and pay for SMS services like ours, and the mistakes they routinely make when choosing a platform.

To help you with your texting journey, we came up with the questions you need to answer when evaluating a service.

Even if you decide not to go with ours, we hope this guide serves to help you make the right choice for your business.

Ask These Questions Before Choosing an Online SMS Service

You need a service that can send and receive SMS. But you need to dive a little deeper than that if you want to be happy with your final choice. Let’s look at the eight questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a service.

These questions can frame your search, but don’t stop there. Ensure it also provides you with room to grow in the form of nice-to-have functionality.

1. Do I want to text 1-on-1 with customers, send text blasts, or do both? 

A lot of text messaging platforms allow you to either text 1-on-1 with customers or send bulk texts. 

So it’s critical to understand if a service can support your use case,i.e., if you want to offer SMS customer service, don’t sign up for a platform that focuses chiefly on text marketing. 

Conversely, if you want to send SMS promotions, you’ll need to text large groups of people at once and even schedule texts in advance. You don’t want a platform that allows only limited group texting. (We enable you to do both.)

2. What type of phone number do you need?

Different phone number types allow you to achieve different objectives when it comes to texting. We’ve written before about what they are here and what we offer.

Most online SMS services offer either: 

  • Six-digit phone numbers (short codes) for text blasts
  • The ability to text-enable landlines for 1-on-1 texting
  • Toll-free numbers for both 1-on-1 texting and text blasts

You don’t want to sign up for a service that only offers six-digit short codes and realize you can’t text-enable your existing landline phone number to respond to customer service issues.

We offer all three phone number types mentioned above, and all of our accounts come equipped with a complimentary toll-free number. 

3. Do I need to integrate with other platforms or send automated text messages?

Whether through our integrations or SMS API, a large number of our customers send automated messages. 

For example, some of our customers send abandoned cart text messages to customers when someone stops short of completing a purchase on their Shopify site. 

It’s essential to check if a platform has the integrations–or API functionality–to support your use case.

4. What SMS list growth tools does the service offer?

If you plan on using a paid SMS service for text marketing, you’ll want to know what list growth tools they offer. That’s because the size of your list is a key determining factor in your overall success. 

That’s why we offer:

  • Keywords: A keyword is a short word or phrase that people can text to your phone number to sign up for text messages. Be careful of services that place limits on the number of keywords you can create.
  • Mobile sign-up widget: A mobile sign-up widget provides a seamless way for mobile visitors to text in your keyword. Here’s how it works.
  • Web form: You can let website visitors subscribe to your text marketing campaigns by entering their information through a web form.
  • Graphic generator: Create a stunning graphic to promote your keyword in minutes with our free tool.

5. Can you import and export contacts?

You want a service that allows you to import phone numbers and include additional contact information like name, email address, and personalized notes. You also want a service that allows you to export these contacts (some don’t).

6. How sophisticated is the SMS inbox?

If you plan on using a online SMS service for two-way messaging with customers, it’s necessary to have an SMS inbox that helps you stay organized and efficient. For example, can you:

  • Filter conversations to triage incoming messages?
  • Create templates to speed up responding to frequently asked questions?
  • Leave internal notes to collaborate with your team?
  • Provide individuals or departments with a separate phone number?
  • Add multiple teammates?
  • Snooze conversations?

You can read more about setting up our SMS inbox here and what it allows you to do. 

7. What are the service’s customer support hours?

When you’re getting started with a new communication channel, you want to know you have the support you need. With that in mind, it’s vital to ensure that your online SMS service provider offers customer support on the weekends and during hours that you’re likely to send texts.

8. How much does it cost?

The final consideration is the cost of an online SMS service. The per-message price is a huge factor. 

It’s also worth understanding if credits rollover from one month to the next or if it’s possible to temporarily pause an account. 

Finally, it’s worth checking how hard it is to scale your spending up and down.

Get Started With Our Paid SMS Service Now

Before choosing a platform, you’ll also want to read real customer reviews on third-party websites such as Capterra and G2 to see what customers say. Once you’ve done that, the last thing is to sign up for a free trial.

We promised you no hard sell. So we’re going to ask you instead to try us out for free and see what makes us a cut above the rest. There’s no credit card required, and you can sign up and send messages within minutes. Get started here.

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