A Guide to the Best Business Text Messaging Software, Services & Apps
Business texting software enables you to connect with contacts, customers, clients, and teammates in fast and personalized ways.
But what’s the best business texting software, service, or app for your business or organization?
In this article, I’ll show you:
- What business text messaging is
- Why you need business texting software
- How business text messaging works
- The best text messaging services for business in 2023
- How to send business text messages (getting started)
- Six questions to ask before choosing a business texting service
- Frequently asked business text messaging questions
By the end, you'll know what business texting software is right for you and how to start texting.
Read on for more.
Why Do You Need Business Texting Software?
You need business text messaging software because it's one of the most effective ways to connect with contacts, customers, clients, employees, and teammates.
Compared to email and voice, there are some clear advantages to text messaging.
It’s faster to text and text messages have up to a 98% open rate. This means messages get read — everyone’s on the same page.
Of course, everyone has a smartphone that’s voice and text-enabled. But people don’t answer their phones, they don’t listen to their voicemail and lots of email gets marked as spam.
This is why texts are 7 times more likely to get a response compared to emails.
Of course, there will always be a place for email and voice calls as part of your business's or organization’s communications strategy. So think of business text messaging software as a way to fill the major communication gaps.
The final benefit of business text messaging software is carrier-verified text message delivery.
In 2021 new regulations changed how businesses and organizations text. Carriers have since begun cracking down on spam text messages and increasing their messaging fees.
You now need business text messaging software to make sure your messages don't get marked as spam and that they actually get delivered.
How Does Business Text Messaging Work?
Business text messaging works by text-enabling an existing business phone number, landline, or VoIP number using business text messaging software.
Business text messaging software typically comes with an SMS inbox and broadcast and automation features.
These business texting features make it possible to send and receive one-way and two-way SMS text messages and picture messages as a business.
Common business text messaging service features include:
- Text-enabled 10-digit local and toll-free SMS phone numbers
- A shared team SMS inbox
- Text message broadcasts for mass texting
- Text message templates and tags
- Support for MMS multimedia messaging
- Scheduled and automated text messages
- Keyword-based text message autoresponders
- Support for high-volume carrier-verified A2P 10DLC text messaging
- Built-in opt-in and opt-out tools for TCPA compliance
Best Business Texting Software, Services, and Apps of 2023
MessageDesk is best for:
MessageDesk is the best texting software for businesses with teams. It works great for texting from a 10-digit local SMS phone number or a toll-free 800 number. You can also host or port your existing phone number or text-enable a landline.
MessageDesk is a great tool for two-way texting and automated texting. It's well suited for:
- Customer support and service
- Logistics, dispatch and routing
- Staffing, recruiters, and HR professionals
- Home services and tradespeople
- Professional services like legal, accounting, and insurance
After a free trial, MessageDesk pricing starts at $14 per month for one user. Custom and enterprise pricing is also available.
- Supports 10-digit local and toll-free SMS phone numbers
- Shared team SMS inbox
- Text message broadcasts for mass texting
- Text message templates, tags, MMS, and links
- Scheduled and automated text messages
- Keyword-based text message autoresponders
- Call forwarding and voicemails to any number
- Desktop, tablet, and mobile apps
- Supports high-volume carrier verified A2P 10DLC text messaging
- Built-in opt-in and opt-out tools for TCPA compliance
What users say:
SimpleTexting is best for:
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.
- Scheduling and automation
- Campaigns and triggers
- Automated birthday texts
- Feedback campaigns
What SimpleTexting customers say:
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.
- Shared team inbox
- Private comments for teams
- Omnichannel capabilities
- Built-out list of integrations and partners
- Web and mobile apps
What Heymarket customers say:
EZTexting is best for:
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.
- Bulk text messages
- Add unlimited contacts
- MMS picture messaging
- 2-way texting and text-to-landline
- Personalized templates
What EZTexting customers say:
Avochato is best for:
Sales and customer support teams who already use platforms like Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and Slack to resolve issues and track customers.
Avochato is a 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.
- Shared inbox
- Live chat
What Avochato customers say:
Textedly is best for:
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.
- Mass text messaging
- Scheduled and automated messages
- Keyword-based autoresponders
- MMS picture messaging
- Zapier integration
What Textedly customers say:
7. Google Voice
Google Voice is best for:
Solo entrepreneur that needs a non-personal business line to text and call contacts and customers.
Google Voice overview:
Google Voice is a fantastic call and text app. Especially for those who want separate SMS 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.
Google Voice features:
- Voice calls
- Call attendants
- Call forwarding
- Basic 1-on-1 text messaging
What Google Voice customers say:
Twilio is best for:
Developers who need to set up automated transactional text messages for things like order statuses and updates.
Twilio is a behemoth of a messaging platform. They recently acquired Zipwhip, a business text messaging platform. Many business text messaging services use Twilio for message 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.
- Messaging (SMS text messages, WhatsApp, chat)
- Programmable voice for making and receiving calls
What Twilio customers say:
How to Send Business Text Messages (Getting Started)
So, how do businesses send text messages? For starters, business text messaging isn’t like texting from your personal phone.
Here’s what you need to know to get started with business texting software.
1. Choose a business texting software
The first step to sending business text messages is choosing a texting service for business. I’ve included a list of six questions to ask before you choose further down in this article.
Looking to get your whole team texting? You’ll want a business texting service with a shared team inbox.
MessageDesk offers features that support both of these business texting needs.
2. Create a free account
Your next step is to create a free account. Almost every business texting software offers some sort of free trial. MessageDesk offers a 14-day free trial.
Are you a larger organization needing custom or enterprise pricing? Free to meet with a messaging expert to learn more.
3. Select a new phone number or text-enable your existing number
Next, you’ll need to get a text number for your business or use your existing business phone line. MessageDesk gives you a range of options including both local 10DLC SMS numbers and toll-free SMS numbers.
To text from your existing business number or landline, you’ll need to submit a number porting request.
Note: It will likely take from 1-7 days to successfully text-enable your business number once you submit your request. Sometimes, this process is referred to as number hosting (not to be confused with number porting).
6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Business Texting Software, Services, or Apps
I’ve covered the best business texting software and how to send business text messages.
Before you choose a business text messaging platform ask yourself and answer the following questions:
- How big is your team?
- What devices do you need to text from?
- What types of messages do you need to send and receive?
- What kind of number do you want to send and receive texts from?
- How much automation do you need?
- How will a business texting software integrate with your other systems?
1. How big is your team?
Are you a one-person operation? Then you may not need an advanced business texting service 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.
A shared team inbox is what makes texting work as an employee communication platform. It allows you to manage multiple conversations across multiple teammates in one view.
It helps you:
- See all inbound and outbound messages.
- Know what team member is assigned to a conversation.
- 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.
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 services are almost exclusively for desktop computers.
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.
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 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:
- High-volume A2P texting
- Group and mass texting
- Consent and opt-in TCPA compliance
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 bulk text messages for SMS marketing? Then you’ll need a more advanced SMS marketing platform.
Specifically, look for a platform that supports higher “throughput” (messages per second) and carrier-verified A2P 10DLC 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.
2. Conversational text messages
Conversational texts are two-way texts between your business or organization and your contacts.
These are the daily texts that someone working at a front desk or local business would send to customers.
Conversational businesses texting services have inboxes that make it easy to:
- Grow text lists and start text conversations from their websites.
- Reduce no-shows with appointment reminders.
- Provide customer service and support.
- Remind about payments.
- Get feedback with polls and surveys.
- Ask for reviews.
3. Transactional text messages
Transactional messages don’t promote a good or service. These texts are for information purposes like responses to customer texts, interactions, or requests. They include:
- 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 a business texting platform with an open API.
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 need a business texting service that can port over and text-enable a business landline. This means you can use your existing 10-digit phone number or 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 business texting app. Google Voice or these Google Voice alternatives are all great options.
5. How much automation do you need?
Text message automation breaks down into two main categories.
- Basic text message scheduling (scheduling one-time, individual, non-recurring messages)
- 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 SMS message scheduling. This means sending messages one at a time, to one person.
More advanced automation, like keyword-based text message autoresponders, requires business texting software.
6. How will a business texting software integrate with your other business systems?
Integrations help you and your team save time and scale operations.
But your needs will differ depending on your daily messaging workflows and how you operate your business or organization.
Are you a dealership looking for car dealership text messaging for your sales team? Then CRM integrations will most likely be important.
Are you looking for text messaging marketing? Then integrations with email providers and other marketing tools 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.
Real estate agents may need MLS integrations for real estate texting.
And if you book regular appointments you may need to integrate with an appointment or meeting scheduler.
Other texting software for business (like MessageDesk) can even integrate directly with small business accounting software like QuickBooks Online and Xero.
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 SMS message automation based on triggers.
This is often the ideal integration for small businesses with specialty day-to-day workflows.
Business Text Messaging Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Below is a list of frequently asked business text messaging questions with answers.
Can you send and receive business text messages from a computer?
Yes, you can send and receive text messages from a computer with business text messaging software. Many business text messaging services like MessageDesk also offer support for business text messaging on tablets and mobile devices.
Can you use business text messaging with an existing business landline?
Yes, you can set up your business landline to receive text messages. Many business text messaging services like MessageDesk also make it easy to host or port an existing phone number for use with business texting.
Can a business text a customer? Can a customer text a business?
Yes, your organization or business can text contacts, customers, and clients. The regulations and restrictions for business texting are all centered around opt-in and out-controls and consent. So long as you have the proper consent from contacts and the ability to manage opt-outs, you can text customers.
Can you use phone number extensions with business text messaging?
Yes, you can use business texting software to text-enable phone number extensions. Shared team SMS inboxes and conversation assignment make this possible.
Is business text messaging HIPAA compliant? SOC2-compliant etc.?
Yes, some business text messaging services are HIPAA and SOC2-compliant. Be sure to ask a business texting provider if they offer HIPAA-compliant text messaging.
How much does a text message cost?
SMS text message cost will vary depending on your text messaging provider. Some business text messaging platforms offer unlimited person-to-person (P2P) text messaging. Other texting platforms charge between $0.01 and $0.05 per message for application-to-person (A2P) text messages.
Do text messages use data?
SMS text messages normally don’t count toward your data plan on your personal phone. Using a business texting service on your personal phone does require the use of data. Text messages sent using a business text messaging service use data.
Ready for business texting software?
Ready to try business text messaging? MessageDesk is here to help you start more meaningful customer conversations.
Feel free to start a free MesageDesk trial.