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SMS marketing automation: the beginner’s guide

As a marketer or business owner, you need to stay connected to your customers. SMS marketing automation lets you send the right message to the right people at the right time.

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Text marketing is evolving.

Part of that evolution has to do with a shift toward automated text messages.

While one-off campaigns will always have their place in your text marketing strategy, smart marketers know that timely, personalized, and hyper-relevant texts are too powerful not to send.

Let’s go deeper into precisely what SMS automation is and look at different types of automated SMS campaigns you can use in your own business to grow your revenue.

What is text marketing automation?

As opposed to a one-off SMS marketing campaign that you create and send to a whole list of people in one go, automated text messages are set up once and then automatically sent to a particular individual when they take a specific action.

Imagine you want to send a welcome text message to people who subscribe to your online personal training service. The purpose of this text is to thank them for signing up and provide them with more information on what happens next.

Thanks for signing up for the Sweat Club! Get ready for daily workouts, meal plans, and the inspiration you need to be the best version of you. Fill out this Google Form so we can track your progress together:

It would be inefficient to manually create and send this text to every person that signs up. Instead, you can send an automated welcome text.

The idea is that you don’t need to lift a finger, and everything is taken care of behind the scenes.

The benefits of SMS marketing automation

Text message marketing automation lets you:

1. Personalize your customers’ experiences

Research backs up what most of already know––personalized marketing works. That’s because:

2. Improve your team’s productivity

With automation, a lot more can get done. It’s hard to quantify this higher productivity value, but studies have shown that automating repetitive aspects of someone’s job can save at least six hours a week.

3. Reduce the potential for errors

If you send a text message to a new customer and include the wrong name, they won’t be impressed. A text strewn with spelling mistakes is also not going to make a good impression. 

These kinds of errors show a lack of interest and attention to detail. With automated SMS workflows, you can proof and check them repeatedly before setting them live.

4. It makes your SMS marketing scalable

When you’re starting, automation isn’t usually as high on your priority list. Using the online personal trainer example above, if they sign up ten clients a month, manually sending welcome texts isn’t unrealistic.

But if that tripled, suddenly it becomes a significant time drain. Automation makes your marketing scalable and future proofs your business from growth traps.

Using SMS automation in your business

You can send automated texts using what most people refer to as triggers. Triggers can be specific dates, events, or something the contact has–or hasn’t–done. Here are some of the most popular examples of triggers and triggered messages.

⚡ Trigger: subscribes to texts | 📲 Triggered message: welcome text

Close to 96% of visitors to your website aren’t yet ready to buy. However, these people have shown interest in seeing what you have to offer. So it’s a good idea to keep in touch with them.

A great way to do this is to get them to subscribe to future text messages. Once they’ve subscribed, you can then use an automated text campaign to welcome them to your list and offer a special subscriber-only offer that compels them to buy.

Most of our customers use a keyword and autoresponse to this. (An SMS keyword is a word or phrase that people can text to your number to receive future messages.) 

Here’s an example from Toroe Eyewear. The e-commerce brand used this tactic to generate a 156x ROI or over $7K in sales.

When people text in the keyword, they receive the following message.

Hey! Welcome, Use 10TEXT to get 10% Off your First time purchase. Go here >

⚡ Trigger: abandoned cart | 📲 Triggered message: Complete purchase

We all know how easy it is to add something to a cart. The problem is that even the most optimal checkout processes involve taking more steps to complete a purchase.

There’s a wide range of reasons why people abandon their carts, from shipping costs to concerns about security.

So no one silver bullet will reduce all cart abandonment. But, abandoned cart text messages can help you recover the majority of those lost sales where the person simply got distracted.

Josh, we didn’t want you to forget about these awesome items. Click this link and complete your purchase:

⚡ Trigger: customers birthday | 📲 Triggered message: happy birthday

Birthday texts are one of the most common types of automated texts. That’s because they can be extremely effective when done the right way. (This article covers how to set up automatic birthday texts.)

Word on the street is it’s your birthday. Happy Birthday from everyone at Dos Hermanos. If you come by and show us this message, you can get 50% off your meal.

⚡ Trigger: customer purchases | 📲 Triggered message: review request

Consumers tend to look for lots of new, updated reviews indicating whether they should purchase from you. Displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by as much as 380%.

You can quickly grow the number of reviews you have by automatically sending review requests via SMS. (This is most often done by connecting your online store or CRM to SimpleTexting.)

Thank you for being a customer! If you have a minute, we would love it if you filled out a review. Sharing your honest opinion would mean a lot. You can leave one here:

⚡ Trigger: appointment booked | 📲 Triggered message: appointment reminder

One of the best ways to reduce your no-show rate is to send appointment confirmation texts.

You can connect Google Calendar to SimpleTexting, or third-party scheduling tools like Acuity to send these text reminders.

Hi John, you have an appointment at 1 pm on July 16th. Just reply “C” to confirm. This time is reserved especially for you and Dr. Burns. Please give at least 48 hrs notice if you can’t attend. All you need to do is call or text this number.

⚡ Trigger: new lead | 📲 Triggered message: nurture flow

According to research, 50% of leads generated by organizations are qualified but not yet ready to purchase.

Using automation to set up a series of lead nurturing texts can be a great way to move these leads and purchases.

These SMS drip campaigns gradually “drip” useful content about a company, product, or industry. The best part is that they’re straightforward to set up with our autoresponder feature.

Welcome to Bookworm! You’ll be the first to know about our new releases.
Do you prefer novels or nonfiction?
Good to know! We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest fiction.

You can also automatically nurture Facebook leads in the same way.

How automated SMS marketing works

Some of the automated SMS we listed above can be set up within SimpleTexting. They include: 

  • The welcome text (from a keyword or SimpleTexting web form)
  • Birthday text
  • Lead nurture flow (from a keyword or SimpleTexting web form)

Most of the time, though, you’ll need to integrate the applications you use to run your business—such as your e-commerce platform or accounting package—with SimpleTexting.

These SMS marketing automation tools help you ensure all the information you need to send automated texts is always available and up to date. Here are a couple of examples of our most popular integrations:

We have over 60 integrations listed on our SMS integrations directory, and those are just the most popular. If you have access to development resources, you can also consider using our SMS API. (If you have no idea what an API is, this beginner’s guide is a good starting point.)

The wrap on SMS marketing automation

All marketers face the challenge of limited time and resources.

That’s why automated messages need to be part of your text marketing strategy. You can use them to drive results without having to spend time working on them over and over again.

Our platform makes it incredibly simple to set up automated email campaigns and you can have them driving revenue for your business for years to come.

If you still have questions, our team of SMS marketing experts would love to help. We’re available seven days a week. 

Text or call us at (866) 450-4185 or use the chat at the bottom of your screen. You can also request a demo or sign up for a 14-day free trial–no credit card required.

Drew Wilkinson
Drew Wilkinson

Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.

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