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How to send automated text messages: A guide to scheduled SMS marketing

Team MessageFlow
15 min
SMS
January 5, 2024

Whether on its own or as a part of a cross-channel communication strategy, the SMS provides you with excellent means for directly reaching your customers. It’s immediate and has perhaps the widest user base of all channels, but the true potential of a text message unfolds when you automate its dispatching. Scheduling texts for optimal times and diverse purposes, be it for marketing campaigns or transactional notifications, is a powerful automation tool that will optimize your operations, as well as boost customer service and experience. In case you thought about it but are unsure where to start, we have a guide for you discussing how to send automated text messages, as well as covering a number of other related topics. Let’s jump right into it!

In this article, we’re addressing questions such as:

  • How can texts be sent automatically?

  • How do I make an automated text message?

  • Is there a way to send an automatic text response?

  • How to send text messages for marketing?

Text message automation in a nutshell

Implementing SMS automation at your organization isn’t complicated. Step 1: choose dedicated software that allows you to set up automatic text messaging campaigns. Step 2: proceed to predefine rules and workflows within it, which are collections of instructions that govern when and how your recurring messages will be sent.

While working out these rules, consider various customer actions or particular events like sign ups or purchases. They will provide context for your messages, making sure they stay relevant to the recipients. In essence, the events and preset conditions you provide serve as triggers for dashing out specific SMS. Yes, you do need to invest some time in setting this all up, but once you’re done, you have the entire process of managing and sending texts in a scalable and targeted manner streamlined, working in the background to keep your audience informed and engaged.

Benefits of sending automatic text messages

Automated text messages aren’t industry-specific and find application wherever there’s a need to keep a communication line open with a user or a customer. Making them a part of your operations doesn’t require a huge amount of tech expertise, while offering a plethora of tangible benefits. The platform you’ll employ will take care of all the heavy lifting, providing an integrated environment for creating, scheduling, and sending SMS messages, as well as analytics tools for you to assess the efficiency of your campaigns.

Set up automated text messages with ease

SMS automation solutions are used by a wide spectrum of individuals so they provide a friendly interface allowing anyone to configure their campaigns. Going through an intuitive workflow creation, you can define the rules and conditions that’ll trigger specific text messages in response to all sorts of customer actions.

Once your scheme is all set up, the automation system takes the reins, executing the predefined rules without your supervision or need to manually intervene in the campaign. The two major boons here are the ease of setup coupled with the self-sustaining nature of the basic triggers and rules system, which allows you to save time and resources, and focus on other critical aspects of operations.

Integration with other systems

SMS can easily be made a part of a bigger communication ecosystem. You can integrate scheduled messages with an existing CRM, marketing tools, or other platforms in your arsenal. This linking will help you improve data management and allow for an omnichannel communication approach.

Integrating text message automation with other systems enhances the overall operational efficiency and improves data synchronization. For instance, you can use customer information available in the CRM to personalize SMS messages in accordance with the specific trigger events on the go.

Advanced scheduling

Advanced scheduling of SMS automation allows you to optimize the crucial timing factor. Exactly when a customer receives the message does matter for the effect it produces. With this feature, you step outside the basics and take into account things like user behavior and global time zones.

The goal is to maximize user engagement by delivering the message precisely when it’s most likely to capture the recipient’s attention, further capitalizing on SMS’s immediacy and directness.

Auto texts raising customer engagement

Today’s fast-paced world creates an expectation among consumers to stay informed in real-time. Text marketing meets this demand via updates and notifications delivered directly to users' mobile devices, usually within seconds from an event taking place. These event triggers range from order confirmations, to shipping alerts, to personalized promotions, all leading to more interactions from the users.

One crucial element bolstering engagement levels is personalization. Extracting information from customer profiles, preferences, and past interactions becomes essential in enhancing the relevance and impact of your SMS communication. The goal here is to capture attention and develop a sense of genuine connection by addressing the user in a direct and meaningful way.

On top of that, including targeted CTAs in your text automation, prompting specific behavior such as making a purchase, participating in a survey, or visiting a website, is another method for getting the engagement rate up.

Easy scale up

Regardless of your business size, an automated SMS system will maintain a consistent and straightforward process no matter what the volume of your campaigns is. The underpinning technology keeps pace as the message numbers grow, making sure that scaling up of operations remains easy. 

The scalability factor is crucial, especially if you’re expecting or already experiencing rapid growth. It allows you to maintain operational efficiency and run seamless communication even with a larger audience.

Use automated texts to collect detailed insights

Another big benefit you get from SMS automation is all the data it generates, allowing for detailed assessment of campaign performance. The analytics capabilities built into the software you’re using should give you a glimpse of how users react to your messaging. The data-driven nature of the insights, including metrics like open rates and engagement patterns, enables you to optimize content and refine targeting strategies accordingly, enhancing the overall campaign effectiveness.

The analytics will usually extend beyond individual campaigns, to offer a sweeping view of customer engagement, especially if you’re using the cross-channel approach. The option to integrate auto text messages with other systems and means of communication amplifies the depth of understanding, allowing you to compare campaign performance with broader business metrics. 

Start sending automated text messages in 5 steps

Now that you’re better acquainted with the basics, it’s time to take steps to actually set up automated text messages for your business. Here’s a step by step guide that will get you going. 

  1. You need to have a zoomed-out picture of the entire process, so start by mapping out all the rules, triggers, and workflows within your SMS automation platform. Think of and define conditions and situations that will govern when SMS messages are dispatched.

  2. Next, establish triggers that will set off your automated messages. Triggers can include customer actions (website visits, product purchases, signups, etc.), time-based events, or even external factors. These prompts should stay in line with your business objectives to ensure strategic message delivery for most impact.

  3. Next up are workflows that outline the sequence of events initiated by specific actions. A workflow is a bit broader idea that defines the path of communication, not just what starts it, allowing you to send dynamic and personalized messages based on user interactions.

  4. Then, proceed to integrate the SMS automation system with other business tools you may be using, such as CRM or marketing platforms. This serves to synchronize data and enhance the efficiency of the entire process. Before you go live with your workflows, use the text messaging service interface to configure and test the automation mechanism.

  5. Finally, stay on top of things by monitoring campaign performance through the platform's analytics. Dig into user interactions, open rates, and engagement metrics to see what worked and what didn’t, and to steadily refine the auto text process. Taking an iterative approach will make sure that the messages you dispatch align with your business goals and deliver intended results.

Basis for triggering automated messages

Since triggers which spur the dispatch of messages are such an essential component of SMS automation, let’s have a look at some of the types you may find useful in designing your marketing communication workflows.

Event-based SMS triggers

This is a simple “if X, then Y” relation. An automated text is sent when a specific event or milestone in the customer journey occurs. Particular examples may include reaching a certain status in the loyalty program, completing a tutorial, or participating in a webinar. A good rule of thumb here may be that if it’s important for your business outcomes, then it may warrant an SMS being sent as a follow up.

Location-based triggers 

An interesting trigger base for sending an automated text message can be the user's geographical location or proximity to a specific point of interest. Delivering a relevant message aligned with the customer’s current location is one way to prompt action you may want to explore. People often make hasty decisions of all sorts, and all they need may be a nudge from you.

Behavioral triggers 

Customers are browsing your digital platforms all the time so you may want to react to their actions such as clicks, downloads, or interactions with specific content, by sending automated texts that align with the interest they show and capitalize on their behavior. You don’t have to try to prejudice every action a user can take. Two or three most essential ones will be a great starting point.

Cross-channel triggers

When using multiple communication channels (Email, social media, etc.) within a single campaign, you can trigger SMS messages in response to actions or events taking place in any of those other channels, creating a cohesive and synchronized customer experience. This will also show to the customer that you’re actually “listening” to the communication and are trying to react fittingly.

Time-based triggers

For whenever timing plays a particularly important role, you can send messages at specific intervals or predetermined times, ensuring on-point and strategic delivery. The previously discussed advanced scheduling will help in getting this aspect right.

Contact-based triggers

Your contact list holds lots of data points which upon change can trigger the sending of a message. This allows for personalized SMS fitting individual customer profiles, contributing to building a strong relation with the brand. If you’re against a cookie-cutter communication, this is your opportunity to go against it and show the customer that an individual approach isn’t just a buzzword for you.

Inbound-based triggers

You can send scheduled text messages in response to customer actions aimed directly at you, such as replies to incoming messages (also containing a specific keyword) or interactions with previous communication. These incoming reactions can serve as triggers for subsequent automated texts, creating a dynamic communication flow, resembling more of a dialog than a boring broadcast.

Summary of automated texting

The central idea behind SMS automation is to have a system in place that does the important job for you of replying, informing, welcoming, or updating the customers in a variety of contexts and does so at a scale. This channel is a direct, cost-effective way to connect with and foster customer loyalty. 

Now, the best way to go about setting it up is to have a trusted partner that will provide a robust tech solution for creating, launching and optimizing the process of sending automated text messages. 

Send automated text messages with MessageFlow

MessageFlow is a no-fuss, easy to set up automated texting service for both marketers, with its user friendly interface, and developers, who want to create deep integrations via our API for even greater flexibility and more detailed reporting. 

The text marketing software we offer has a number of differentiating features that promise to significantly improve your campaign outcomes. These include:

  • Direct connections with Mobile Network Operators for a 98% deliverability

  • Compliance with regulations in local markets (ISO 27001, ISO 27018, GDPR, PSD2 for secure payments) 

  • Strict security measures to counteract scamming and phishing 

  • Throughput that allows you to send millions of messages an hour for a timely and wide reach

  • SMS arriving within 3.5 seconds on average

  • Dedicated short code phone numbers for two-way communication

On top of all that, you can go cross-channel and use automated texts in combination with other channels like Email or mobile Push Notifications to make your campaigns even more impactful.

Contact us today and we’ll use our expertise to help you turn the meaning of SMS into a System Making Sales for you.

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