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What to look for in an SMS service provider: 5 must-haves for success

SMS marketing is a game changer in reaching and engaging with your customers. When urgency is key, SMS prompts action with timely, relevant content that demands attention.

According to our State of Messaging Report, SMS message volume surged in 2023, experiencing a 47% year-over-year increase. Brands across all industries are beginning to realize the conversion power of SMS.

So, how do you choose the right SMS provider for your business? integrates natively with Twilio SMS, but you might prefer a different SMS gateway provider for compliance, cost, or geographic considerations.

In this post, we’ll cover how to evaluate SMS marketing tools, what to look for, and how to know the best SMS app for your unique marketing needs.

Let’s jump in!

What is SMS marketing software?

SMS marketing software allows businesses to send text messages to their customers. These messages range from promotional offers and updates to transactional notifications and customer support. With the rise of mobile usage, SMS has become an increasingly popular channel for marketers to reach and engage with their target audience.

How to use SMS marketing tools

SMS marketing tools are typically user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it simple for businesses of all sizes to implement SMS into their marketing strategy. Most providers offer bulk messaging, personalization, scheduling, and analytics, allowing companies to create targeted campaigns that drive conversions.

You’ll need to understand your audience and goals to use SMS marketing tools effectively.

Remember, using SMS as a marketing channel is about being timely and relevant. Your customers are on the move, and their phones are always with them. This means your messages can be a powerful tap on the shoulder, offering just what they need, exactly when they need it.

Of course, you should always ensure your customers know where they’re going after they click. Always include a clear call-to-action (CTA) that guides them to the next step, whether making a purchase or signing up for a webinar. This clarity enhances the user experience and ensures your SMS drives the desired action.

And remember, SMS is best for short, direct, time-sensitive content. There are better channels for long-form content or complex narratives. Think of it as the golden opportunity to deliver bite-sized value that brightens your customers’ day and nudges them closer to your brand. Keep it simple and meaningful, and you’ll find SMS an incredibly effective tool in your marketing toolbox.

Recommended reading: Your guide to personalized, multi-channel mobile onboarding

5 must-haves when choosing the right SMS vendor for your business

When vetting potential SMS vendors, several factors come into play. Here are five key considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right SMS provider for your business:


SMS marketing encompasses some of the most strictly regulated forms of direct customer outreach. Your SMS service provider should be your ally, well-versed in the complexities of consent management, and equipped with the tools necessary to fulfill legal obligations without headache.

At a minimum, your SMS provider should comply with varying regional laws and industry standards, like GDPR in Europe or TCPA regulations in the United States. Look for features that support opt-in mechanisms, easy management of opt-outs, list hygiene tools, and robust data protection measures.

Recommended reading: SMS marketing compliance: 6 steps to protect your business


A true SMS marketing powerhouse isn’t a silo; it plays well with others. Your SMS provider should offer seamless integration with your existing tech stack through APIs and webhooks. This includes Journeys as the centerpiece of your messaging strategy but extends to your CRM, analytics, and more.

By integrating SMS into your current workflows, you can easily incorporate it into your omnichannel strategy and deliver a cohesive customer experience. This also allows for easier data syncing and segmentation, ensuring your SMS messages are highly relevant and personalized to each recipient.

Recommended reading: The secret to successful omnichannel marketing? Personalization

Features and analytics

The features offered by your SMS marketing software can make or break the effectiveness of your campaigns. Look for vendor offerings that align with your strategic needs, whether two-way messaging, MMS capabilities, or the ability to segment your audience with surgical precision.

Furthermore, analytics are your compass in uncharted marketing waters. Your provider’s tools should deliver the raw numbers and translate them into insights that inform future actions. The ability to understand the impact of your messaging—and therefore refine it—is non-negotiable.

Pro tip: can send you analytics through our reporting webhook or native integration with Mixpanel and Amplitude. You can track message metrics like converted, clicked, delivered, bounced, and more directly in your preferred analytics tool.


The breadth of coverage your SMS provider offers can directly affect the reach of your campaigns. A provider with a broader coverage area could save you from juggling multiple vendors if you operate in various markets. A global audience demands a vendor that can deliver worldwide while maintaining the same reliability and quality across borders.

Think about coverage not just in geographic terms but also in terms of service reliability and delivery speed. A delayed message is an opportunity missed, so extensive coverage translates to effective messaging across the board.

Recommended reading: 7 content tips for better SMS engagement

Capacity to scale

Your business isn’t stagnant, so why should your SMS provider be? Whether amid a holiday sales blitz or benefiting from sustained growth, your SMS gateway provider must handle the load without faltering.

Inquire about the provider’s handling capacity per minute and ensure it aligns with your business’s potential. Scaling should be smooth and transparent, devoid of operational hiccups that can sour customer experiences. While stability in the present is a checkmark, the ability to grow seamlessly alongside your business truly sets the best SMS providers apart.

The right SMS vendor is the one who aligns with your goals

Selecting an SMS provider is a milestone in your marketing roadmap. It’s a partnership that should bring clarity and efficiency to your communications while giving you the flexibility to adapt and grow. By mining for the essentials, you’ll ensure that the messages you send resonate—and are received—in the best possible way.Ready to elevate your SMS marketing game? Discover how can amplify your reach and engagement.