The widespread usage of mobile devices presents businesses with a great opportunity to use SMS as a powerful communication tool.

Since people carry their mobile phones everywhere, SMS messages are guaranteed to be highly accessible to your audience. The instant reach and high open rates of text messages make it an ideal channel for time-sensitive information like promotions, reminders, and updates.

As SMS increasingly becomes a key component in marketing strategies, many businesses are now considering which type of texting solution is most efficient. That’s why it’s important to determine whether to invest in a pre-built platform or develop a custom solution.

In this article, we will explore the key considerations when buying vs. building a texting solution and cover the essential aspects and the specific functionalities needed for effective SMS marketing.

Use Cases of Texting Solutions

SMS texting solutions are changing the way businesses communicate with customers. Sending updates, promoting special offers, or improving internal communications can all be managed on one platform. Here’s how businesses are using texting solutions:

  • Customer service: Resolve inquiries and support issues through text
  • Appointment reminders: Reduce no-shows by sending appointment reminders with options for customers to confirm or reschedule
  • Marketing and promotions: Drive engagement by alerting customers to sales, new products, and exclusive deals
  • Order and delivery updates: Keep customers informed from the moment they place an order until it’s delivered
  • Payment reminders and billing: Ensure timely payments with billing notifications and reminders
  • Emergency alerts: Send urgent updates and safety information
  • Feedback and surveys: Collect immediate customer feedback
  • Event management: Manage updates and promotional information for attendees
  • Loyalty programs: Send updates on loyalty rewards and program benefits

Texting solutions have proven beneficial for businesses of all sizes across various sectors. However, companies often face a choice between custom-built and pre-built solutions. Deciding which one to implement can be challenging, as various factors are needed to be considered.

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of each option below.

Buying Pre-Built Texting Solutions

When deciding on a texting solution for your business, pre-built options are often a top choice. These ready-made platforms offer robust messaging systems that are quick and efficient to implement.

One of the biggest perks of pre-built texting solutions is how fast you can get started with your text message marketing campaign. This includes everything from ready-to-use features such as automated messaging, two-way communication, and analytics. Not having to customize these features from scratch not only saves time but also cuts down on costs and complexities.

Additionally, the support that comes with pre-built solutions is incredibly valuable. Providers typically offer ongoing maintenance and updates to ensure that the system remains up-to-date and secure without requiring your team to manage it.

However, recurring costs and subscription fees can add up over time, especially if you need advanced features or handle a high volume of SMS messages. This can impact your budget, so it’s something to keep an eye on.

Customization is also another potential issue. While these solutions are packed with features, they might not offer the level of customization you need. If your business has specific requirements that aren’t met by the standard offering, you might find yourself feeling constrained by the platform’s limitations.

Building a Custom Texting Solution

Custom-built texting solutions are created specifically to meet your business’s unique needs. Instead of buying an off-the-shelf product, you develop a system tailored exactly to your requirements. 

You will still need a third party development platform that can integrate with telecom providers and this often involves using APIs, programming languages, and frameworks to build your applications.

Deciding to build a custom texting solution offers a lot of control and flexibility. While it requires more investment and time upfront, the long-term benefits can be substantial.

  • Design every feature and functionality to match your specific needs.
  • Tailor the solution to fit your exact business processes and workflows.
  • Easily scale the solution to handle the increased volume of marketing text messages.

However, with custom-built solutions, you are responsible for ongoing maintenance, updates and keeping up with compliance issues. Unlike pre-built solutions, where the vendor handles updates and support, a custom solution requires continuous maintenance and improvement. This adds to the long-term resource commitment needed to keep the system running smoothly.

With these definitions clarified, let’s explore some key criteria that can help you determine whether building or buying an SMS solution is the best choice for your business.

woman sending a text message

Key Criteria When Deciding To Build or Buy A Texting Solution

When you’re looking at the best way to integrate SMS into your business operations, the decision to either build a custom solution or buy a pre-built one comes with its own set of considerations.

Resource Availability

If your team has limited IT resources, a pre-built solution might be the way to go. These are plug-and-play, easy to set up, and come with ongoing support—ideal for teams that need to stay focused on core business activities.

However, if you have the IT capability, building a custom solution could give you the flexibility to precisely tailor the system to your business’s specific needs.

Unified Teams Needing Better Integration

Pre-built texting solutions generally perform well for standard communication tasks across departments and improve your business communications. However, if your operations are complex and require specific integration, a custom-built solution might be necessary for seamless functionality throughout your organization.

Businesses Using Multiple Channels

For many businesses, pre-built texting solutions offer a quick and effective way to support multi-channel communication strategies. They typically include a variety of features that can be swiftly integrated into existing operations.

However, if your strategy requires unique features or deeper integration, a custom solution might provide the necessary flexibility that fits your marketing goals.

Systems Managing Large Data Volumes

While pre-built solutions are often capable of handling huge data volumes and integrating with common software systems, they might not meet very specific data management needs. If your business requires specialized data handling or integration capabilities, consider a custom solution that could offer tailored functionality.

Businesses Needing Scalable Solutions

Pre-built solutions are designed to scale and can generally accommodate a business’s growth quite effectively. However, if your business anticipates rapid or highly specialized growth, a custom-built solution may offer more precise scalability. This allows you to adapt and modify your system to meet changing demands as your business evolves.

Beyond these key criteria, there are additional factors to consider when buying or building a texting solution. Let’s explore these additional considerations to help you make a well-rounded decision for your SMS campaigns.

Additional Considerations When Buying vs Building a Texting Solution

When deciding whether to build or buy a texting solution, several important factors must be considered. Let’s break it down.

Business Needs and Goals

First, take a good look at what your business really needs. What are you looking to achieve with SMS business solutions? Are there specific features you need that aren’t commonly available in pre-built solutions? 

Understanding your primary use cases will help clarify whether a pre-built solution can do the job or if you need something custom-built to fit your unique demands.

Budget and Costs

Building a custom solution involves high upfront costs for development, design, and integration. On the other hand, buying a pre-built solution involves lower initial costs, such as a subscription fee or a one-time purchase. 

Think about the long-term financial picture, too. Custom solutions might save you money in the long run by offering lower per-message costs avoiding reduced fees, while pre-built solutions will have ongoing subscription costs and typically higher per-message fees depending on the package selected.

Time to Implement

How quickly do you need this solution up and running? If speed is of the essence, a pre-built solution can be deployed almost immediately. Building a custom solution, however, takes time—usually several months from development to testing to deployment. 

Buying might be the way to go if a fast time to market is critical for your operations or upcoming text message marketing campaigns.

Customization and Flexibility

Consider how much customization your business requires. Pre-built solutions offer limited customization, which might not meet all your needs. If your business processes and workflows are unique, a custom-built solution provides the flexibility to tailor every feature to fit perfectly.

Maintenance and Support

Think about the level of ongoing support and maintenance you’ll need. Pre-built solutions typically come with updates, vendor support, and maintenance, which is great if you lack technical resources. 

On the other hand, custom-built solutions require in-house resources for maintenance, updates, and troubleshooting. Make sure your team is ready to handle this long-term responsibility.

SMS Functionality and Key Features

The functionality of text message marketing services is another critical consideration. Here are some key features to look for:

  • Automated messaging: Schedule messages and send automated responses
  • Two-way communication: Allow customers to reply to your texts
  • Analytics and reporting: Track message delivery, open rates, and responses
  • Personalized messages: Customize texts based on customer data
  • Integration capabilities: Integrate with existing CRM, ERP, and other systems
  • Message templates: Use pre-defined templates for quick and consistent messaging
  • Opt-out management: Manage opt-out requests to comply with TCPA
  • Scalability: Handle increasing message volumes as your business grows
  • MMS support: Send multimedia messages, including images and videos
  • Short code messaging: Using  shortcodes for specific use cases
  • Mass messaging: Send bulk messages to large groups of recipients
  • Text-enabling: Enable text messaging capabilities on landline or VOIP numbers

Compliance with Regulations

Compliance with regulations such as TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) is essential when handling customer data in text messaging. Pre-built solutions often come with built-in compliance features, ensuring that your business meets all legal requirements with minimal effort.

Scale Your Marketing Efforts with Textellent’s SMS Solutions

Whether your business prefers to build or buy, it’s important to consult with a trusted provider to make the best choice for your text message marketing strategy.

Textellent’s business texting solutions simplify designing, managing, measuring, and integrating SMS and MMS campaigns. Whether you need a solution for customer service, sales, or marketing, Textellent supports your entire customer journey. 

Scale Your Marketing Efforts with Textellent's SMS Solutions

This text message marketing service enables local business lines and accommodates businesses of any size. It provides robust scheduling, appointment reminders, and shortcodes for easy opt-in programs—all with TCPA compliance managed by AI.

Sign up for a free trial or request a demo consultation today.

FAQs About Buying vs Building a Texting Solution

What level of technical expertise is needed to build a custom texting solution?

Building a custom texting solution requires a high level of technical expertise in areas such as software development, API integration, data security, telecom knowledge, and regulatory compliance. Your team needs to be proficient in these areas to ensure the project’s success.

How does user training differ between pre-built and custom solutions?

Pre-built solutions often come with vendor-provided training resources, such as onboarding sessions, tutorials, documentation, and customer support, making it easier for your team to learn how to use the system. Custom-built solutions require you to develop your training materials and processes.

How can SMS solutions improve customer loyalty?

SMS solutions can significantly improve customer loyalty by enabling timely and personalized communication. Features like appointment reminders, order updates, and personalized offers make customers feel valued and improve customer satisfaction with your brand.