In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive business environment, you have to pull out all the stops to satisfy your customers. That includes interacting with them through their preferred channels. And since nine out of 10 people prefer communicating with businesses via SMS and MMS text message, you may be looking for ways to make your business more text-friendly. One way to do this is by using automated text messages.
We’ll go over how to use automated text messaging in your business and why it’s such an effective way to communicate with your customers. We’ll also introduce you to a different type of business solution that may fulfill your text messaging needs but with a ton more functionality.
What’s so great about automated text messaging?
According to marketing automation platform Mailchimp, the average open rate for emails is only 21.33%.
That begs the question: Why would businesses only focus on emailing customers if they’re unlikely to open them, let alone read them?
Meanwhile, text messages have about a 98% open rate.
This explains why there’s a growing number of automated text message services popping up for small businesses. Automated text messages are a way to send mass messages to your customers — just like you would with email but via text instead. You can also use this technology to automatically send messages to individual customers.
Practical use cases of automated SMS
There are countless applications for automated text messages. You’ve probably received one or more of the following via text:
- Appointment confirmation texts — either for a scheduled appointment or when it’s time to make one
- School announcements
- Weather delays for kids’ sporting events
- Requests to rate your experience or give feedback
- Real-time emergency alerts
- Overdue library book notices
- Ride statuses with Uber
- Prescription refill alerts
- Posted payment notifications
It’s pretty wild when you think of everything that’s been automated, isn’t it? Just think, some of this information was once delivered over the phone. And if you didn’t answer, you had to listen to the voicemail, then return the call, and speak to someone — or leave another voicemail.
Makes you wonder how we ever got anything done.
Now you can automate a lot of tasks with a text message, especially when they require no response or a simple “yes” or “no.”
And you can do more with automated text messages than just appointment reminders and “rate your experience” polls. Here are just a few more ways automated texts can work for your business:
- Auto-responses to after-hours customer inquiries
- Announcements of promotions and flash sales
- Abandoned online shopping cart reminders
- Drip campaigns
- Basic technical support
- Lead qualification
Automated text messaging tells customers they’ve been heard, their call is important, and you’ll follow up with them as soon as possible. It’s also a way to recognize your VIPs by texting them about special promotions. Heck, automated texting can even qualify a lead and shepherd them through most of the sales cycle before you have to invest your time and expensive resources.
Help ensure your business texts reach your contacts
Keep in mind that the large US cell carriers now require additional verification from businesses texting from virtual phone services like OpenPhone. This verification step is done when your business information is submitted to The Campaign Registry, a third-party organization selected by the major US cell carriers.
If you send business text messages to the US using OpenPhone, you can get your information over to The Campaign Registry by completing our US carrier registration form.
How businesses send automatic text messages
Small businesses and organizations first must choose a mass texting solution. TextMagic, Simple Texting, Twilio, and EZ Texting are popular choices for text message marketing, sales, and customer service.
Here’s how you would use an SMS automation solution:
- Build your contact list by running an opt-in campaign that encourages customers to receive your text messages. For example, customers can text JOIN to 464646 for $20 off a $100 purchase.
- You create text messages to send to your contacts through the tool’s interface.
- You would schedule or send your mass text immediately to your subscriber contact list. Messages can be set to recur as a reminder, and lists can be segmented into groups for more targeted messaging.
Using OpenPhone for automated text messaging
If you need to text more than just your marketing campaigns, then you may want a robust solution that provides a wide range of text functionality. This is especially true if your needs are more centered around improving customer service or internal communications.
Automated text messaging through auto-reply texts and OpenPhone’s integration with Zapier is just the beginning of the app’s texting capabilities — not to mention all the cool features that go beyond texting.
You want your customers to know their calls are important to you no matter when they call, right? With OpenPhone, you’re able to set up automatic text replies to be sent when you miss a call, receive a text, or receive a voicemail. You can also customize the replies based on whether it’s being sent during or after business hours.
Auto-replies are easy to set up through OpenPhone’s intuitive interface. Just follow these steps:
- Login at my.openphone.co.
- Go to your phone number’s settings. Be sure to select the number that you want to assign auto-replies to if you have multiple numbers.
- Scroll to the Auto-Replies section to set them up.
And OpenPhone’s smart about it. A customer will only receive an auto-reply once every three hours — no matter how many times the customer reaches out. That way you’re not inundating them with messages.
Integration with Zapier
OpenPhone can connect with over 3,000 applications via the workflow automation tool Zapier, and one of its actions is to send a text message. So you’d be hard-pressed to come up with an automated text scenario that you couldn’t make happen with OpenPhone and Zapier.
For example, you could send an automatic confirmation text when:
- A new contact fills out a Typeform survey on your website
- Someone registers for your webinar on the Livestorm platform
- A customer schedules a meeting with you via Calendly
Other text-related features of OpenPhone
Now that we’ve detailed OpenPhone’s automated text message capabilities, here are other text-related features you can use to improve your communication and workflow, so your employees can focus on other tasks.
- Schedule text messages: Queue up text messages based on your recipient’s time zone whether you want to follow up with a contact or just send them a message later.
- Group text messaging: Keep everyone on the same page by setting up groups so multiple people can communicate at the same time. You can use both SMS or MMS.
- Voicemail to text: Voicemails automatically get transcribed and sent to you via text message when you miss a call. Talk about a time saver!
- Snippets: Provide lightning-fast and on-brand responses to customers and prospects with answers to frequently asked questions or other repeat text messages. OpenPhone even provides business text templates for 25 different scenarios.
- Shared numbers: Share responsibility for incoming calls and texts, working from a team calling and SMS inbox.
- More integrations: Automatically push your texts to Salesforce, HubSpot, Slack, and other apps you already use to get context faster.
OpenPhone: More than automated text messaging
In addition to automated and on-demand text capabilities, OpenPhone provides all the features you’d expect in a small business phone system plus a litany of non-standard features. Things like shared phone numbers, local numbers, call recording, and mobile and web-based apps make us the No. 1 business phone app trusted by thousands of professionals.
I know, you were looking at how to send automated text messages. And now your mind’s kinda blown.
We have that effect on people. Just get a load of what our customers are saying.
OpenPhone’s automated text messaging, auto-reply templates and group messaging just may meet all your business’s text messaging needs. And with all the additional features — well, OpenPhone may be the solution you didn’t know you were looking for. Try OpenPhone free for seven days and see for yourself.