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SMS Marketing Platforms — Klaviyo vs Attentive

SMS Marketing is becoming quite important for most Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands. In fact, whenever I sign up for a brand’s product nowadays, I tend to see more SMS notifications than in the past.

SMS text messages to existing customers can have an open rate in excess of 80% and conversion rates north of 20%. When you think about the typical 1% conversion rate of social media ads or the low open rates of email marketing, you can understand why SMS is now perceived as a vital channel for repeat orders / abandon carts, etc.

The two leading platforms for SMS are Klaviyo and Attentive. Most young companies have a hard time deciding between the two, so I wanted to give a quick summary of the way I look at SMS tech platform decisions.

Attentive:

PROS:

1. White glove on-boarding. One of the best experiences on any tech platform in terms of how detailed and complete the Attentive team is on making sure every aspect is covered when you join the platform.

2. The Attentive team will custom design your pop up windows and signup forms for you.

3. They provide an on-boarding specialist to walk through the process.

4. They provide a 30-Day free trial

5. SMS-first company. Their focus is solely SMS, so they are more advanced with certain features such as A/B testing, sign-up forms, and various product features.

CONS:

1. Integration with Klaviyo: If you’re using Klaviyo for email marketing, then the integration with Attentive is a bit weak. You can understand the importance of having your email and SMS integrated. You don’t want to be overly communicating with your customers on both Email and SMS if the two systems are not talking with each other.

2. Attribution: Attentive does integrate with Klaviyo, but not perfectly. Because they are two different platforms, each will have their own reporting and this will lead to duplicate attribution. Attentive has a 30-day attribution window for anyone who received a text. Klaviyo has a standard 5-day attribution window for anyone who opened an email, so this can lead to both Attentive and Klaviyo attributing the same purchase to their platform.

3. Lists: The pop-up forms on the website to capture a phone number / email will be in an Attentive format, which then send email addresses to Klaviyo; however, the result is that email addresses are not assigned to a list, as would be the case for Klaviyo. There are manual workarounds for, but it is not automated, which would be the case if you were working with just Klaviyo.

Klaviyo:

PROS:

1. Email and SMS all housed in one platform to allow for more seamless reporting (i.e. attribution mentioned above) and messaging plan. We can create a singular physical “flow” within Klaviyo that includes email and SMS messaging and then segment within that flow based on customer actions (i.e. if someone did not open an email, we can trigger sending them an SMS, if they did open an email, we can re-target with another email vs. an SMS). Using Attentive, we wouldn’t be able to segment that way because SMS would be running on a different platform.

2. Lower Costs. Attentive is $300/month + 0.02/SMS (we could probably get them down in per SMS price here) for 25 messages/second delivered. Klaviyo is $2/month + 0.01/SMS for 3 messages/second delivered. It is $299/month + 0.01/SMS for 25 messages/second delivered. Klaviyo is currently “pay as you go”, but will likely be switching to a subscription model soon, where you choose your billing plan for X number of SMS “credits” per month, similar to how their email plans are set up.

CONS:

1. Text to subscribe option currently creating duplicate profiles within Klaviyo, so while the functionality is an option, it’s not recommended because it creates issues with profiles in Klaviyo. Sign-up is then done via pop up form.

2. Less support during the on-boarding process.

3. Design templates available that can be customized with images and colors, but no design support.

4. Less features — Klaviyo is historically an email first platform that is investing heavily in SMS this year. There are a number of features that are slated to roll out this year that are not yet available (2-step forms, better A/B testing functionality.

5. To get started on Klaviyo, you first need to get a toll-free number, this takes about 7–10 days to approve. From there, you’d update your sign up form to include phone numbers. All phone numbers must be double opt in, meaning that once people sign up, they’ll receive a text that they must reply Yes to, to confirm SMS consent. Every SMS is required to have opt-out language as well.

Takeaways:

Overall, I have been recommending Klaviyo to brands that are already using Klaviyo for their email marketing. The integration and reporting attribution features of having both your SMS and Email in one platform are too important to ignore.

However, Attentive is just the best-in-class SMS platform out there. I have worked with over a dozen SMS systems and for pure SMS, Attentive is hard to beat in terms of features, support, deliverability, reporting, etc. If you are doing your email marketing in another system (non-Klaviyo) or doing email marketing in-house, then I would hands-down recommend using Attentive.

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