Learn about the two main types of preprogrammed text messages, how to work them into your marketing strategy, and when they're the most effective.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a marketing team of 1 or 100, at one point or another you’ve probably felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day. It’s just the nature of the industry. With that in mind, finding ways to get ahead of schedule can feel like mini-vacations.
Marketing automation in itself has become an industry, raising the bar for SaaS providers (like us) to find ways to keep up with the demand for scheduling tools. But with necessity as the mother of invention, many of us have found a way to answer the call with automation tools. Here at SimpleTexting, that comes in the form of text message preprogramming, or scheduled text messages.
What is a Preprogrammed Text Message?
A preprogrammed text message is any SMS or MMS communication that is delivered to a recipient without a need for manual intervention to send. In other, simpler, terms- it’s a message that you set and forget.
A preprogrammed text message must be triggered by an action. Two of the most common are:
- Scheduled text message where one sets a date and time in the future for a message to send.
- Setting up an autoresponder or drip campaign that automatically sends a message when a recipient triggers it with something like a keyword.
Both methods of scheduling serve the same ultimate goal: to help you set up text message communications for the future.
Types of Preprogrammed Text Messages
So, let’s explore the scheduling actions in a little more depth to reveal the purpose of each kind as well as their most common use cases. Going forward, let’s refer to them simply as the traditional scheduled texts and autoresponders.
- Traditional Scheduled Texts These kinds of messages are mainly used as a time-saving tool. If your business, for example, operates off of a marketing content calendar or plan, you have a good idea of what’s coming down the pipeline. You can use that foresight to develop your messages in advance, and manually schedule them to go out whenever you want. Setting these scheduled texts up varies depending on what provider you’re using— some text message providers don’t offer a scheduling feature. But for most organizations it’s as simple as selecting a “schedule for later” button instead of “send now”.
For the The Alabama Extension at Auburn University’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the ability to schedule out a semester’s worth of messaging in one sit down saved their stretched-thin team countless valuable hours.
- Autoresponders In addition to saving you valuable time, autoresponders also provide additional added value. Mainly audience engagement. Autoresponders are a series of automatic messages that a user can receive after subscribing to your list. They give you the efficiency of creating a messaging program without having to launch campaigns manually. The autoresponders are sent out across a predetermined set of time, like 5, 10, and 25 days after purchase. If you’re unfamiliar with how autoresponders work, this may seem a little confusing. So we’ll demonstrate with a hypothetical example: Suzie’s bakery has a subscriber list of customers that is continually updated as new folks join the list from her site’s web form. She wants to try and hook new subscribers with special deals that bring them into the store, so she sets up an autoresponder message. The welcome message thanks them for joining the list, and offers them 15% off their first purchase. She then schedules that autoresponder to send 1 hour after someone joins her list. Now, instead of monitoring a spreadsheet for new subscribers and messaging them manually, she knows all new members are receiving the offer without any extra action on her part.
While it’s not an official kind of preprogrammed text, there’s one additional feature you can layer into your strategy tp help save you time. Here at SimpleTexting, we call them templates and duplicates.
- Templates and Duplicates With the help of templates or duplicate messages, you can save time by reusing your frequently sent messages, campaigns, inbox replies, autoresponders, and keyword confirmation messages. A template would be a message that you write out in advance and save. When the time comes to send it, you simply select it instead of typing it out again. This is a great tool for things like appointment reminders/confirmations, answers to FAQs, and billing/service reminders. A duplicate on the other hand allows you to recycle a campaign without rewriting and re-specifying it. For example, some campaigns with advanced features and autoresponders can take some time to set up. If you want to run that same deal or offer again, all you have to do is simply clip, copy, paste and send. The campaign and all of its intricate specifications are set, fresh and new as if you had just created it.
Benefits of Using Preprogrammed Text Messages For Your Business
In addition to saving you time (and time is money) preprogrammed texts have a variety of other perks. These benefits are also examples of some of the times when preprogrammed text messages can be the most useful:
- Never forget to send important reminders by scheduling or automating them ahead of time
- Avoid billing errors or lapsed payments by scheduling out reminders as soon as a purchase is made
- Reduce missed appointments (which cost literal time and money) but automating reminders to customers
- Upsell customers through relevant autoresponders
- Effortlessly solicit for ratings and reviews by scheduling a template to send out after purchase
- Respond to customers needs and questions quicker with keywords (even outside business hours) to help boost customer satisfaction
How Do Preprogrammed Text Messages Allow Your Business to Reach More Customers?
By creating preprogrammed text messages, you’re in essence creating an extension of you and your team’s abilities. You can reach more customers because, with mass texting, you can be communicating with more than one person at a time!
Unlike a traditional phone call, mass texting sets you off to the races by sending one message out to hundreds at once.
You can only be in one place at a time, but your text messaging platform can be everywhere. For example: say you want a way to capture sales leads with your personal touch. With preprogrammed texting, you can do that without even saying a word or lifting a finger.
Let’s imagine you’re a real estate agent. By using a keyword, you can instantly get back to someone who has expressed interest in a property. With an autoresponder you can follow up regularly with leads without any extra effort.
- You reserve a keyword that interested parties can text in to your number or short code. For this example let’s pretend you’re a real estate agent looking for clients. You reserve the keyword “DreamHouse”.
- You make up physical ads to place around your market as well as digital ads and social media posts instructing people to text “DreamHouse” to 555888 to view their perfect property.
- You begin collecting subscribers, or people who have texted in your keyword to your number. Before launching your ads, you set up an autoresponder scheduled to go out as soon as someone texts in the keyword.
- The autoresponders will thank them for their interest and include a link to a landing page you created showcasing some of your dreamiest listings for every price point.
- You can track your link to see who’s clicked through the site and see if it’s led to any requests for showings.
- Just like that, you’re reaching more customers and engaging with them without even trying.
How to Make Preprogrammed Text Messages Part of Your Marketing Strategy
Integrating text messaging, specifically preprogrammed texting, into your marketing strategy can be easier than you think. Especially if your organization already has a preset marketing calendar.
There are two things you should take into consideration before getting started.
- With text marketing you need to secure express written consent from all of your subscribers. This means that, even though you may have customer’s contact information, they must agree to receive texts from you before you start sending them.
- You need to find a text message provider. Without the assistance of a provider’s software, you won’t be able to achieve the benefits of mass texting at all. If you’re shopping around for a provider now, we’ve written out a helpful guide for features you should look out for to ensure you’ll be able to work preprogrammed texting into your marketing mix. [Read: What to Look For in an SMS Provider]
How Do You Set Up Preprogrammed Text Messages?
Once you’ve selected a provider and a plan, how you’ll go about setting up scheduled texts depends on them. To help give you an idea, here’s what the process looks like at SimpleTexting:
Traditional Scheduled Texts
1. Navigate to Messaging > New campaign. Once you’ve given your campaign a name, selected your intended recipients, and composed your SMS message, click Next.
2. On the next page, select the Clock icon.
3. Choose the date and time you want your message to be sent out, then click Set time. Take note of the time zone, which can be changed in your settings.
4. Double check the time and date, and your message, just to be sure. If everything looks good, click Confirm and schedule! Done. Our platform will take care of the rest.
After logging in to SimpleTexting, navigate to Messaging > Autoresponders. In this view, you can see all your active autoresponders. To create one, click New autoresponder and give it a name—don’t worry, this won’t be visible to subscribers. Then, choose a list to send updates to, and set the delay time for the message (you can choose from minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months). Finally, compose your message and click Save autoresponder to make it active.
Who knew the power a delay could have? Of course, all of this sounds great in theory, but what does it look like in practice? If you’re looking to find out, give SimpleTexting a try for free, for 14 days. Our team can walk you through the process of creating automated messages catered to your unique marketing goals.
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