What is automated text message marketing?
Automated text message marketing is sending text messages on a pre-determined schedule or sending when certain conditions are met.
The greatest benefit of automated text message marketing is that automated text messages runs on your behalf 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And automated SMS marketing is: consistent, measurable, and repeatable.
And, automated text messages marketing eliminates the errors made by people when sending messages manually. But it can also can amplify the errors when used incorrectly.
Also known as SMS marketing, text messaging should be a core part of your marketing strategy. And this article will help you understand how to send automated text messages.
The first type of automated text message is a scheduled text message.
Scheduled text messages – automating send time
A scheduled text message is a type of automated text message that is sent on a pre-determined date and time.
If you have signed up with a brand’s loyalty program or subscribed to marketing text messages, you’ve likely received a scheduled message.
Below are several examples of scheduled automated text messages:
Drip sequence for an upcoming webinar or other event
A drip sequence is an automation that drips a series of messages to a recipient based on a pre-determined schedule. A common example, is a welcome series for a new customer.
The drip sequence is configured to send a text message on day 1, day 3, day 7 and so on.
- Thursday 12:47 PM
Multiple people can be in the drip sequence simultaneously, but at different stages.
Sharing special offers, sales and promotions
This type of scheduled text messages is sent to a group of recipients opted-in to receive information about sales, offers, and promotions.
This type of automated text message is typically scheduled around an event, such as Cyber Monday.
- Friday 4:17 PM
Emergency alerts and notifications
Special notifications send to recipients for unique circumstances. For examples, a road closure notification, a class cancelation notification, and in some cases true emergency notifications such as tsunami warning or earth quake warnings.
Scheduled text messages are typically marketing related and sent as a mass text message.
A scheduled text message is typically a message that is sent to multiple recipients at the same time and doesn’t fall under the definition of a transactional message.
The exception to this rule is emergency alerts and notifications. While still sent as scheduled broadcast messages, they are considered transactional.
Triggered text messages – automating from data
You’ve likely received automated text messages based on your activities as a consumer.
For example, an order confirmation from Amazon.com or an appointment reminder from your dentist office.
Unlike scheduled text messages which are sent to multiple people at the same time, a triggered text message is an automated SMS message sent to an individual only when specific rules and conditions are met.
The term ‘trigger’ means that something caused the text message to be sent.
Triggered automations are usually automations built with a drag-and-drop designer.
Marketing automation platforms, such as DailyStory, offer drag-and-drop automation builders.
Automation builders allow you to model a business process or decision tree based on your data.
For example, here are some example of automated text messages that are triggered:
- Order confirmations or shipping notifications – sent when an order takes place or is shipped.
- Appointment reminders – upcoming reminders for an appointment.
- Post-purchase follow-up for customer reviews or testimonials – sent after a purchase is made.
- Recovering abandoned shopping carts – sent when a purchase is not completed.
- Automatically replying to incoming customer texts or keywords – take actions based on the content.
And here is how you would build out an automation to tag a contact if they opened an email or not:
Automated text messages are special, here is why
The majority of automated text messages are transactional. A transactional text message is unique from a marketing text message and there are special rules for sending transactional messages: they bypass sending rules such as opt-outs, the can be sent more than once, and they can be sent at any time.
Now that you understand what automated text messages are, let’s look at how you can start using them for your business.
Get started with automated text messaging
Ready to start automating your text messages? Below are the steps to get started.
Sign up for a SMS marketing service
The first step, before anything else, is to identify and sign up for the technology that will enable you to automate your text messages.
When surveying what automated text marketing services are out there, you’ll want to understand all the SMS marketing features available, whether those features make sense for what you want to achieve (or if you need something more) and the total cost associated with a subscription.
Most text messaging platforms support scheduled text messages, but not all support automations.
What to look for in your automated text message marketing platform
When selecting a text message marketing platform all software is not created equally. Features such as drag-and-drop automation builders, web forms, website integration, and working with your existing software apps are crucial.
Don’t pick your SMS marketing platform on price alone. Or because you just want to send a text blast.
Regarding features, all of which DailyStory supports, consider:
- Cost – how much you will pay to send your text messages
- Ease of use – how easy is the software to use
- Support for scheduling – schedule sends for a particular date and time
- Drag-and-drop automation builder – required for trigger-based text message automations
- Audience segmentation – group recipients together by common characteristics
- Support for SMS keywords – ability to run automations when keywords are texted in
- Conversational texting – support for 2-way text messaging
- Any complementary tools – email marketing, push notifications, web forms, popups, APIs, and more
- Integrations – connect to your existing apps and services
- Robust reporting – quickly and easily understand performance
While there are many SMS marketing platforms, we would recommend avoiding services that advertise themselves as text blasting or mass texting services. These types of services are harmful to your business reputation.
Now that you have a good understanding of what is required to automate your text message marketing. Let’s look at how you get started and run some automated text messages!
Start building your contact list (if you don’t already have one)
If you already have an opted-in contact list, great! Go ahead and upload it into your new SMS text marketing service.
If not, you’ll want to focus on growing that list, especially since it’s a best practice (and the law) to send text messages only to those who are specifically opted into receiving those texts. (In other words, you can’t just add everyone in your customer database to your text message contact list without their explicit opt-in.) The good news is that about 91 percent of consumers would opt-in for text messages from brands.
Definitely start with advertising across all platforms and even within your business if you have a physical location for customers.
Plan your automated text message marketing campaigns
Successful automated text campaigns don’t just happen. Based on some of the examples you’ve already seen, list out the types of automated campaigns you want to put in place. The best campaigns come down to the structure of your business, the needs of your customers and your overall business goals.
Then, flesh out each campaign idea with an outline that identifies who’s targeted, when they’re being text messaged (what triggers need to happen), the general messages you want to convey and your goals for that campaign.
For example, if you’re looking to have an automated Welcome text message series, you’ll likely decide that it will go to new text subscribers immediately and that the overall content is to educate these new subscribers on what they can expect from you, with the goal of them clicking on a special offer link later on in the series.
Create your message content
Now that you have an idea of the automated text message marketing campaigns you want to run and a service to deploy them on, it’s time to flush out exactly what each text message in your campaigns will say.
Remember that you’re working with 160 characters, but within that, you want to identify who you are, be clear and concise, include a call to action if appropriate and give them directions on how to opt out.
That can be a lot for 160 characters, but MMS text messages can help convey more information in that limited space.
Monitor your performance
The only danger of automated text message marketing is the tendency to “set it and forget it.” And truly, the benefit of automation is that you can focus your energy and time elsewhere, but you do want to understand what’s working and what’s not along the way.
Some metrics that you’ll want to stay on top of:
- Bounce rate (where carrier violations can prevent some text messages from delivering to your recipients, as well as incorrect phone numbers)
- Click rate
- Resulting sales (which you’ll want to tie back to your specific automated campaigns)
- Unsubscribe rate
By monitoring your automation performance over time, you can easily tweak anything that’s not driving the results you’re looking for.
The power of automated text message marketing can boost your business revenue over time, so if you’re not currently using this tactic, now’s the time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions about automated text messaging.
Who can send automated text messages?
To send automated text messages you’ll need either a text messaging platform or a marketing automation platform. DailyStory is a marketing automation platform and sends millions of scheduled and automated text messages for our customers.
Why should I used automated text messages?
You should use automated text messages to keep your customers up-to-date with important account information, purchase activity, important notifications and many other reasons. Text messages have a great open rates and opted-in customers want you to text them.
How do I start sending automated text messages?
Start with scheduled text messages, such as an announcement for a special sales day. Then, move on to automated text messages that are sent when your customers do things, for example: an automated follow up after a purchase.
How much does it cost to send an automated text message?
The cost of text messaging depends on the size of the message, the type of sending number, and other factors. You can browse DailyStory’s text message pricing to get a better idea.
What number do my texts send from?
Your text messages will send from a number that you select. DailyStory offers short codes, toll-free numbers, and long codes. Which you choose depends on a number of factors.
Can people reply to my automated text message?
Yes! Messages sent from DailyStory are conversational. In fact, we consider conversational messages a best practice and part of the magic ratio.
When is an automated text message sent?
An automated text messages is sent either at a pre-determined date and time, or it is sent when an automation is triggered by an activity.
Are all automated text messages considered transactional?
No, all automated text messages are not considered transactional. A good rule of thumb is that if the recipient requires or requests the information in the text messages, it is transactional.