How to automate your text messages for efficiency, engagement, and results

Phone with headset and messaging icons

With open rates of 98%, text messaging continues to outpace other communication channels in reach and effectiveness.

After all, most people carry their phones with them, so there’s little lag between when texts are received and when they’re opened and read. And studies repeatedly show that text messages beat other communication channels in ROI.  44.8% of businesses reported SMS/MMS being their top channel for ROI.

But if your organization is still sending text messages “on the fly,” or if your SMS marketing remains siloed from the rest of your marketing efforts, you may not be getting the most out of your texting efforts.

To boost the impact of your text messaging strategy, put automated messages to work for you.

What is an automated text message?

An automated text message is exactly what it says on the tin, as they say—a text message that is sent automatically when certain conditions trigger its delivery.

To manage text messages, savvy senders use a messaging API, which is simply an interface that allows users to send and receive messages and attached files over some kind of communication system, such as text messaging. The standard messaging systems for text are SMS and MMS.

Setting up automated text messages in a messaging API is similar to creating an email sequence or drip campaign in a CRM tool. Automated text messages can be written, designed, and scheduled ahead of time—which brings huge benefits for your organization.

Why send an automated text message?

Using a messaging API to create automated text messages has several benefits:

1.      Boost efficiency: Automated text messages simplify communication with your customers by allowing you to reach them without putting strain on your employees’ time and resources.

2.      Improve targeting: Setting up sequences and conditions can allow you to segment your audience and target promotions and deals to those most likely to take advantage of them.

3.      Ensure consistency and coordination: Writing, planning, and setting up texts in advance can help you make sure that your texts stay on brand and on message—and avoid campaign drift. Plus, setting up automated text messages can ensure that the moment your special promo goes live, all targeted customers receive the news.

What types of automated text messages can you send?

Automated text messages are ideal for:

  • Promotions: Set up your texts in advance and send them the moment you launch your promotion. Or target specific audiences for special promotions relevant to their needs.
  • Reminders: Remind your audience of big events, special deals, or upcoming closures with automated texts. You can send multiple reminders as necessary.
  • Updates: Keep your audience informed of any relevant info with automated updates, such as weekly specials, updated hours of operation, or unexpected appointment openings.
  • Internal Communications: Texting is useful for your internal team as well! Remind them of changes in the office or big upcoming events.
  • Lead Follow-ups: Prompt your leads toward action with automated texts that drive them toward action. Once they respond, move them into a two-way conversation with someone on your sales staff.
  • Customer Service: Automated texts can be helpful for answering frequently asked questions or narrowing down specific needs so you can direct customers to the right person.
  • Customer, patient, or user onboarding: When a new patient or customer opts-in for text messages from your organization, the messaging API can trigger a sequence that requests additional information, directs the recipient to finish setting up an account, or reminds the recipient to set up access to an online portal.

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What are some concerns about automated text messages?

While automated text messages have clear advantages, there are several concerns to keep in mind:

  • Be very clear about how to opt-in and opt-out of messages: Make sure recipients can easily opt in and opt out of messages. Not only will your customers appreciate the ease and flexibility, but you’ll also avoid getting your campaign shut down. Remember that all messaging traffic is required to comply with relevant laws and regulations. Learn more about best practices here.
  • Keep your message consistent with your registered campaign: It’s fine to create automated sequences and texts that are aligned with registered campaigns, but make sure the texts adhere to the campaign and its description so that your texts aren’t flagged as spam.
  • Balance automation with a human touch: According to Zendesk, about 75% of consumers will spend more time with companies that provide good customer service. At the same time, Zendesk also reports that consumers like to resolve issues by themselves, and that they believe AI can be helpful for simple questions. Companies can balance customer needs by automating simple requests and providing clear pathways to a human agent.

How to start sending automated text messages

To start sending automated text messages, you’ll need a messaging API that meets your needs—and the needs of your customers and users.

Start by determining whether you’ll primarily use texting for notifications or conversations. Notifications can include opt-ins, 2-factor authentications, appointment reminders, and certain sales promotions; these campaigns are ideal for automated text messages.

If, however, you would like to enable real-time conversations with a person or a bot, you will need a platform that supports two-way communication. Two-way text communications include customer support or service, reservations and confirmations, sales or account team engagement, and surveys.

Local or global?

Now that you have an idea of how you’ll use texting, think about the range of customers or users you’ll need to engage. A local school district in the US likely will not need global texting capability, but an organization with team members or customers scattered around the world will. How far will your texts reach?

In the US, 10DLC or Short Codes are ideal platforms for one-way communications or very simple two-way communications. If you need global one-way capabilities, you can’t go wrong with alphanumeric SMS, a form of Application to Person (A2P) messaging that allows you to use letters, numbers, and spaces to identify your organization to mobile subscribers.

For two-way communications in the US, businesses can still use 10DLC, Toll-free messaging, and short codes, but they also have SMS options available. Globally, SMS is by far the most popular messaging channel, and it allows two-way conversations. 

Wading through all the options and possibilities may seem a little overwhelming, but once you’ve narrowed down your needs and the needs of your mobile subscribers, your options will become much clearer.

Integrating automated text messages is an ideal way to boost your marketing and communication strategies without draining your resources. If you need help deciding which options are right for you, or if you’re ready to dive in and start seeing results from your automated text messages, don’t wait—reach out to a Bandwidth expert today.