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How to send automated text messages in 5 steps

How to send automated text messages

Knock knock —  it’s your itinerary calling. And it wants to say STOP. 🛑 It knows how much you use digital forms for onboarding and appointment processes, but sending follow-up messages without automated touchpoints? That has to change. Because sending SMS messages to clients (without spamming) takes a lot of time and effort.

But sending automatic text messages to clients doesn’t have to be a nightmare, especially when you offload all your work to the magic of automations! Welcome to the wonderful world of scheduled text messages, making your day (and your poor old itinerary) a little happier.

Let’s explore how to save time on repeat text messages and scheduling touchpoints via text automation by using two of the best tools on the market (OpenPhone and Zapier, respectively).

How to send automated texts without needing to use an iPhone or Android device

Before we break down the steps, it’s important to have your tools ready to go. If you haven’t already signed up for OpenPhone as an owner or admin, you’ll have to do so before getting started. You’ll also need to create a Zapier account. 

For the uninitiated, Zapier is a workflow automation tool that can be used with thousands of programs on the App Store. From an SMS scheduler to autoresponders, it’s the best friend you never knew you wanted. Plus, it works seamlessly with OpenPhone!

In this tutorial, we’ll demonstrate how OpenPhone and Zapier allow you to auto send text messages after the completion of a Google Form. However, keep in mind you can use Zaps to tie OpenPhone with similar apps like Typeform and Jotform. The use cases are pretty much limitless, such as:

Before we go any further, keep in mind you may also need to complete additional verification to send business texts if you’re using a virtual phone service. This is a newer requirement pushed for by the large US cell carriers to reduce the volume of fraudulent messages their customers receive. It’s a win/win for businesses though, as it lowers the risk of your outbound messages being filtered by your recipient’s carrier. With OpenPhone, you can complete this verification step by filling out the US carrier registration form (if your team hasn’t already done so).

Now, on to the meat and potatoes! 🍲

1. Create a form 

It can’t get much more basic than this, huh?

Start by creating your small business form in Google Forms, Jotform, or other digital forms. Make sure you request the recipient’s phone number and add an opt-in checkbox for contact consent to avoid accidentally spamming someone. Once you have approval, to add clients to your contact list, you’re clear to proceed to the next step.

And don’t worry; it’s okay if you don’t have any client numbers at first. Feel free to use your own phone number as a way of testing your auto send text message (more on that later).

2. Add a trigger and action in Zapier

This step is way easier than it sounds.

Log into Zapier’s dashboard, then navigate to the “Create your own workflow” section. You’ll see two major sections: Connect This App. . .With This App, and, When This Happens. . . Do This!

Type “Google Forms” into the Connect This App text box, followed by OpenPhone in the With This App section. Congrats; both third-party apps are now listed!

Now it’s time to add actions and triggers. In the second section, choose “New Response In Spreadsheet” under the When This Happens box, and “Send A Message” in the Do This! box.

This might look like word salad, but it’s way easier to understand in context. 🥗

Setting up an automatic texting workflow in Zapier

See? Not so bad! 

3. Connect your apps to Zapier

Now that you’ve built the bones of your automated triggers, you’ll need to connect your accounts to continue. Zapier makes it extremely easy to do this. Just follow the prompts on-screen to connect your Google account with ease. ⬇️

Connecting your Google Forms account to Zapier

Next, pick a specific Google Form to connect with the commands you just created, including the spreadsheet that collects form responses (read: the repository of your customer’s phone numbers). By the way — this is all done in-app. Here’s what it’ll look like:

Selecting a worksheet that collects your Google Form responses in Zapier

Now it’s time to connect your OpenPhone account to Zapier. You know the drill; easy peasy!

Connect your OpenPhone account to Zapier

Once connected, choose a number in the OpenPhone app to send messages from. This can be your business’ mainline or any number in your OpenPhone workspace that you want to field incoming messages. 📞

Naming your numbers appropriately in OpenPhone gives you a huge advantage, as evidenced here:

Selecting a specific number to automatically text from with a Zap

In either case, make sure the number you choose is relevant to your contacts; whether you’re texting from a specific local area code or appealing to a wider area by using a toll-free number!

4. Compose your automated text message

Now you’re cooking with gas! 🔥 It’s time to compose your automated text message for the general public. 

Pro-tip: with the fields you’ve included on your form, you can take customer’s answers and automatically include them in your text messages. For example, the info that leads enter under the “What Is Your Phone Number?” section of your Google Form can tell Zapier what number to text. You can also use other form fields to customize your text messages, including names. ✅

This is what a sample campaign might look like:

Mapping the text fields in your Google Form to your automatic text messages in Zapier to personalize text messages

Once you’re satisfied with the writing, detail, and level of personalization in your automated text message, just tap “Next”. ⏭

5. Test sending an automated text message

Okay, almost done! But first, a little protection against Murphy’s Law. Zapier will need to send a test message to ensure everything’s set up properly. 👀

First, go back to your Google Form and submit a test form with a phone number you don’t mind sending a test text to. This makes sure that all your information is working correctly on the backend.

Next, go back into Zapier. The screen should prompt you with a ‘Let’s test out this Zap’ heading. Here’s what it looks like when Zapier gives you a heads-up:

Test sending a text message in Zapier

Just make sure that your “From”, “To”, and “Message” forms are all correctly filled out. If you’re satisfied, just tap send to submit the Zap. If you receive it correctly within a couple of minutes, you know you’re good to go.

Successful test automatic text message sent in Zapier


And there you have it! You’ve just built your own auto sender in just a couple of clicks. Way to go, you. 🎉

But the marvel of Zapier doesn’t stop here. This platform is chock-full of ways to automate routine communication tasks, with workflows stemming from customer re-engagement to recorded calls.

Partnering it with OpenPhone creates even more space for fun in your VoIP texting processes. You don’t have to pinch yourself; it’s all real.

And just in case you don’t believe us, we’ll prove it! Automated texts usually correspond to lots of messages, right? Let’s take a quick look at how to set up an auto-reply function in real-time, all using OpenPhone. 🙌

How to set up an auto-reply to incoming messages

Sending automatic texts as auto-replies in OpenPhone

Let’s assume you’re using the web app to set this up (although bear in mind that OpenPhone is compatible with Apple, iOS, and Samsung smartphones as well). Just follow these three steps to add text auto-replies:

  1. Log into OpenPhone and select “Settings”. ⚙
  2. Select “Workspaces”, then click “Phone Numbers”. Choose the number you want auto-replies on.
  3. Navigate to the “Auto-Replies” section to set up auto-replies based on any of the conditions you see in the screenshot above.

Make automatic messages a breeze with OpenPhone

OpenPhone mobile and desktop app

As you can see, automatic text messages are easy to use and even easier to set up. Reaching customers at any time of day, growing teams can leverage the power of shortcuts to dramatically improve their workflow and save time.

Of course, setting up your business phone with OpenPhone is the first part of the process. Just port your number (or get a new one), connect to WiFi, and start impressing your customers!

And by the way — pricing starts at just $15 per month. What’s not to love?

See for yourself why scaling teams use OpenPhone. Sign up for a free trial at your convenience.

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