Text automation helps business owners and marketing professionals interact with customers or clients on autopilot. Automated messages have become increasingly popular in recent years as a form of marketing automation because of their substantial time-saving benefits and the fact that they can significantly enhance customer experience.

This article explains all there is to know about automated text messages and how you can set up SMS automation for your business.

What is an automated message?

Automated text messages are SMS messages that are automatically triggered and sent to individuals or groups of subscribers using specialised software. A little manual work is required to set up automated messaging workflows, but once that's been done, you can 'set and forget' them and focus on other areas of your business.

Why and how automated text messages work

Automated text messaging is often used by brands for customer service messages (e.g. automated appointment reminders, order confirmations, shipping confirmations, and feedback requests) and SMS marketing purposes. For instance, once a subscriber opts in to receive marketing texts, you can begin to automatically send text messages for flash sale notifications, abandoned cart reminders, special offers, loyalty discounts, or other announcements to them.

The triggers for sending automated text messages can be based on a specific event occurring or set to a particular predetermined time.

For example, an automated text message for order confirmation would be triggered after the customer makes an online purchase. An automatic reminder could be sent an hour after a user abandons their online shopping cart, followed by recurring messages, such as a second one the following day and another one the day after that. Similarly, you can schedule automated messages for appointment reminders three days before appointments are due to happen.

You can also send automated yet personalised messages for your SMS campaigns by combining the power of automated texting with mass messaging. For instance, if you have decided to launch a new product line a week before Christmas, you can schedule a bulk automated message campaign starting, say, 16th December, at 5 pm. Requiring no further input from you, the scheduled text messages will be sent out automatically as soon as the clock strikes 05.00 on the day.

Subsequent SMS messages can also be scheduled at specific dates and times to optimise the performance of your text message marketing campaigns.

If these communications had to be sent out manually, you can imagine how much time and resources it would take to send the same message to a long list of people. You would constantly have to monitor every customer's every move to be able to time your messages perfectly.

Another great thing about automatic text messages is that they are quick and very visible for those on the receiving end. 98% of sent text messages have a 100% chance of being opened by recipients, which is phenomenal compared to other communication channels.

Furthermore, there's quite a bit of evidence to support that many people prefer to be contacted by text as opposed to other channels. For example, nearly half of all internet consumers in the U.S. say they prefer to receive loyalty-related communications via text message.

Man looking at a smartphone on a street

How to send automated SMS messages

The benefits of text message automation are apparent. So if you're wondering how to set up automated text messages, the easiest way to get started is to sign up with an SMS provider that offers an automated messaging API for integration with your CRM system.

Integrating your CRM with Messente's automated texting software

Messente's SMS messaging API can be integrated into your CRM system in a couple of ways, depending on the type of tool you're using.

If you have a custom-built CRM that captures a large volume of customer data, you may need your developers to work on a bespoke integration. This would ensure you can create various messaging workflows based on very specific customer actions or triggers carefully defined by you. Messente's automated text message service offers comprehensive API documentation for developers to support custom integrations.

If you use an off-the-shelf CRM solution, as many smaller businesses do, Messente can be integrated quickly using Zapier, an online automation tool, to send automatic text messages. More than 2,000 applications can be connected to Messente through Zapier, and this integration method requires no coding or development work. There will be a cost to pay for using Zapier, but if you are only planning to send a low volume of text messages, say a hundred to a thousand messages per month to start, this should be a nominal amount.

Note: Messente is also offered as a premade (free-of-charge) integration with certain online marketing platforms. For more details, please reach out to us.

Automated text messaging workflows

There are two primary concepts that you can have your automated texting service work off of.

You can build your automated text message system around FAQs and buyers' journeys.

Questions frequently asked by customers

What are some popular questions that you often get from your users? Make a list. Now think about what their follow-up questions are like. Try to figure out how you can best answer common queries without involving live agents. With an SMS chatbot, you have to find the right balance between the length and content of the message. It's a good idea to keep responses short and specific.

For instance, you can start with something like this:

Hello [Name], how may I help you? Reply with
1 - Promos
2 - T&Cs
3 - Security
4 - Payments
5 - Pro plan

Once the customer replies with a number, say 3, you can send another automated message with a list of subcategories within Security that have a history of inviting a lot of questions. This process can go on until the customer reaches the specific issue they want to know about and get a satisfactory answer. Even if you don't aim to provide exact answers, this process can still help you route each support request to the most relevant team member.

Customers' purchasing processes and experiences

This workflow encapsulates your user’s purchasing experience. It would be a bit more close-ended, depending on what kind of sales process your brand has.

It could start at a point where the customer wants to inquire about a certain product, which would require some back-and-forth. Or it could start directly after they have already placed their order via your app or website, in which case an automated order confirmation text should be sent out. This can be followed up with a request for payment via text unless they've paid online or chosen the cash payment option. 

The next text should naturally be a shipping notification sent out as soon as the package has been released for delivery. Once the package is delivered, another SMS should be sent to either confirm whether or not the customer has indeed received the package. One last text goes out to collect feedback, which can be in the form of a star rating and/or an open-ended response.

Automated text message workflow example

Text automation example: Appointment reminder message flow

Here's how to send automated texts that could help you reduce missed appointments or pre-empt cancellations, allowing you to fill what would otherwise be a wasted slot.

It's a super simple two-message flow. A confirmation message could be triggered upon the appointment being booked, and the second one would be the actual reminder, scheduled for a few days before the appointment date. And you're done!

We look forward to seeing you on [15/12/20] at [10 am] for [haircut and blow dry] at [company name]. Need to change your appointment? Click here: [URL]

Just a friendly reminder that your [hairdressing] appointment is booked for [15/12/20] at [10 am]. See you soon! Need to cancel? Call [01234 567890].

Get started with SMS automation

Automated SMS messaging can drive your business forward, helping you increase customer satisfaction, boost productivity within your team, and achieve excellent returns on investment.

Use Messente's SMS API with your CRM system to send automated text messages quickly and efficiently. Feel free to use or take inspiration from our messaging workflows above – they will give you a great headstart. And if you want to adopt a more targeted approach to mass texting, such as for certain VIP customers, you can use Messente's Phonebook API to create custom groups of subscribers.

Did you know you can sign up to Messente for free to take a look around? Create an account now.