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Automated text messages: A guide on how and why to send them

Reading Time: 11 minutes

There’s a common misconception that sending automated text messages is easy and requires no in-depth strategy.

The idea behind SMS automation is to help marketers save time with pre-written messages. While this saves them the trouble of manually crafting a message every time they need to send a text, it’s wrong to imagine you don’t need an effective strategy for this. 

Like other marketing techniques, you need a calculated approach to succeed with your automated text messaging campaigns. 

This automated text message guide will show you how to build the perfect SMS strategy and generate more leads for your brand. 

Send the right SMS at the right time with Omnisend

How to send automated text messages

If you’re wondering how to send an automated text message, here are several ways to do it.

1. Use SMS marketing platforms

Services like Omnisend, SimpleTexting, and TextMagic simplify automated text message campaigns and workflows. 

They help you create and schedule autoresponder sequences, drip campaigns, abandoned cart reminders, and more. To get started with bulk SMS sending using these platforms:

  • Create an account
  • Import contacts and segment your audience
  • Map out customer journeys
  • Craft compelling messages
  • Schedule delivery based on desired timing and frequency
  • Track and A/B test to optimize campaigns
Learn key stats and tips

SMS is easier to use and more cost-effective than ever. Discover the real impact behind SMS marketing and why you should incorporate this valuable channel.

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2. Integrate with your CRM

Many customer relationship management (CRM) systems integrate with SMS marketing tools. Popular options like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho allow you to set up and send automated text messages from within the CRM.

Here’s a quick overview of how automated text messages can be integrated with Zoho. 

Sending automated text messages with Zoho
Image via Zoho

You can trigger automated text messages for scenarios like abandoned cart reminders, order confirmations, or personalized promotions. Set up automated text messaging for business through CRM integration by:

  • Ensuring seamless data flow between your CRM and chosen SMS platform
  • Configuring automation rules and defining triggers 
  • Monitoring performance metrics for optimization

3. Leverage API integration for custom solutions

Businesses with unique requirements can directly integrate SMS functionality into their existing systems. 

How does that work? 

Developers build a custom integration between your systems (e.g. a marketing automation tool) and an SMS API provider like Twilio or Plivo. 

To set up automated business text messaging using API integration, developers need to:

  • Integrate the SMS API into their systems
  • Define automation logic
  • Programmatically handle message delivery and tracking 
  • Implement rate limiting for SMS service provider limits

4. Capitalize on messaging apps

You can use built-in text scheduling features or third-party apps to send automated text messages from your phone.

  • iOS: Has a native text scheduling feature, but it’s not directly accessible from the default Messages app. Instead, you must use the Shortcuts app to schedule texts.
  • Android: Doesn’t have a built-in native text scheduling feature. However, like iOS, there’s support for third-party apps that offer this feature. These include Google Messages, AutoSender, and  Auto Text.  

5. Set up email-to-SMS gateways

Email-to-SMS gateways like ClickSend or EZ Texting can convert emails into SMS or MMS messages. You can even use automation platforms like Zapier or IFTTT (If This Then That) to set up an email-to-SMS gateway. 

Here’s how the process works:

  • Choose a reliable SMS gateway provider
  • Obtain gateway credentials (or install an add-on like Gmail’s Email to Text)
  • Specify the recipient’s mobile number in the email’s “To” field (e.g., [email protected])
email-to-SMS on Google Workspace Marketplace
Image via Google Workspace Marketplace

No matter which method you use for sending automated text messages, certain key tips apply:

  • Get explicit opt-in permission before sending texts
  • Keep messages concise, contextual, and focused on a single call-to-action
  • Personalize messages with the recipient’s name, purchase details, and so on 
  • Segment your audience based on demographics, preferences, etc. for targeted messaging
  • A/B test different message copy, send times, and automation flows to optimize performance
  • Monitor key metrics like open and deliverability rates, and adjust sending sources or IPs if issues arise
  • Respect your recipients’ privacy and opt-out preferences
  • Use a consistent sender ID to avoid appearing spammy

How to send automated texts with Omnisend

Setting up an automated SMS program for your business is easy with Omnisend. Once done, you’ll have a dependable system for promptly communicating with all your customers on a personal level.

Here’s how to set up automated text messages with Omnisend.

Step 1: Sign up with Omnisend

There are many automated text message services you can sign up for, but not all of them allow you to reach a global audience. Omnisend provides robust automation features ideal for ecommerce businesses of all sizes. 

Our automation library has many pre-built workflows you can use for your SMS campaigns. The ready-to-use text message templates are simple to customize, making it easy to send your first automated text message within minutes of signing up. 

Save time with Omnisend’s robust SMS automation features.

Step 2: Upload your contact list or start building one

Once you’ve registered with Omnisend, you’ll need to upload your contact list and make sure that every number is in international format. Omnisend has multiple ways to easily add contacts:

How to send automated text messages with Omnisend

Keep in mind that it’s a best practice to send text messages only to customers who specifically opted into the service. In some countries, including the United States, the law mandates this requirement, so ensure that you have express consent before adding anyone to your text message list.

If you don’t have a list, it’s a good time to start building one. Integrate Omnisend’s ready-to-use signup forms into your website, and they’ll work seamlessly with the automated SMS features.

Need help with building an SMS list? Our award-winning support team is only an email or live chat away, 24/7.

Choose Omnisend for SMS Marketing

Step 3: Create an automated text campaign

For automating text messages on Omnisend, start by selecting the pre-built workflow that best matches your business goals. Among the most useful automation workflows for SMS are the Welcome workflow and the Product Abandonment workflow.

You can set these up to work with just SMS or as part of a series that includes email and push notifications. Just ensure you add the right messaging types in your preferred sequence.

For example, you can set a Welcome series to send an SMS immediately after a customer signs up. Then, configure the workflow to send a welcome email sometime after the SMS. If used correctly, these two messages can complement each other to spur a first purchase.

Similarly, employing an Abandoned Cart workflow reminds potential customers of products they are interested in. Incentivizing their purchase with a well-timed offer delivered via automated text message could be the key to getting them over the line.

Create an automated text campaign

Step 4: Add content to automated message text

Once you’ve selected the right automated workflow template, you’ll need to customize it to work for your business. Some things to add are your campaign name and the sender’s name.

Most importantly, you need to craft your customized message. 

Additionally, your auto-generated text messages need to include opt-out instructions. For recipients based in the US and Canada, opt-out instructions should involve a keyword response (e.g., “Reply STOP to unsubscribe”).

In other parts of the world, an unsubscribe link would suffice—so make sure to check the requirements for each country you’re planning sending to. Thankfully, Omnisend has features that make these opt-outs easy to manage.

When you’re done customizing the text message, save the campaign so it can start sending out messages.

Use Omnisend’s free SMS length and pricing calculator and plan your next text messages.

Step 5: Monitor campaign performance

Once you have your SMS campaign up and running, you can just sit back and let the software do all the work. However, you should also go through Omnisend’s reports to see what’s effective and gather insights on what you can improve for your business.

Monitor automated text messages campaign performance

To view only SMS, you can filter the visible campaigns:

You can also view your trends to see how your campaigns perform over time and decide whether you need to make adjustments:

SMS performance

Here are some of the most important SMS metrics you should keep an eye on:

  • SMS sent – The total number of text messages sent
  • Click rate – The percentage of recipients that clicked on a link in an SMS
  • Sales – The dollar value of sales generated by the campaign
  • Unsubscribe rate – The percentage of customers that unsubscribed or chose to opt out of your messages
  • Bounce rate – The percentage of intended recipients that did not receive the SMS for any reason (such as for an invalid number).

Divatress logoSMS marketing success story

For Divatress, more SMS subscribers click through to the website (8%) than email users (3%).

Over the first year alone, SMS campaigns realized $123,000 in sales.

Curious how to achieve such results?

Here’s how Divatress grew its SMS subscribers by 70K in eight months.

Types and examples of automated text messages

Writing automated text messages can be daunting because they need to be short but also engaging enough to drive recipients to action. Yet, learning how to write engaging text messages can help you boost your site traffic and revenue.

Here are some effective automated text message types and examples you can use as inspiration for crafting your own pre-written marketing messages:

Promotional and personalized marketing messages

Usage: Promote products, services, and events, and create personalized offers for customers based on their preferences or behaviors. Consider including links in texts to increase engagement and drive conversions.

  • Special offer: TWO HOURS LEFT to get 40% off your entire order at [brand_name]! Use code: [code] at checkout! Sale ends TONIGHT [date]! [link]
  • Sale notification: [brand_name]: Our best offer just got even better. Buy a [bundle_name] and receive [item_name] as a free gift. Seriously. Click this link to access now [link].
  • Personalized discount: Hi [first_name]! It’s [brand_name]. Your exclusive 10% off code is: [code] Shop now: [link] Text us at [phone_number] if you have any questions!
personalized SMS by Moon Magic
Image via Omnisend

Event-triggered messages

Usage: Automate based on customer actions or events, such as subscription to your SMS list, purchases, or cart abandonment.

  • Welcome message: Hey there, [first_name]! Thank you for signing up for the [brand name] newsletter. Here’s a 10% off voucher—a gift for your first order. Enter [code] at checkout.
  • Abandoned cart reminder: Hi [first_name]! Did you forget about the items in your cart? They’ll look great on you! Treat yourself and enjoy free shipping. Just enter [code] at checkout.
Abandoned cart reminder by Basic Piece
Image via Omnisend

Transactional messages

Usage: Provide important transactional information, such as order updates, shipping notifications, or booking and payment confirmations.

  • Payment confirmation: Thank you [Name] for your purchase. Your payment for [Order #123] has been successfully processed.
  • Order confirmation: Hello [first_name]! Thanks for shopping at [brand_name]. We will send you another text when your order is on its way. You can also track your order at [link].
  • Delivery and pick-up options: Hi [first_name]! Your order [number] will be delivered tomorrow. Not going to be in? Designate a safe place or reschedule here [link]
Delivery and pickup SMS by Baking Steel
Image via Omnisend

Reminder messages

Usage: Give friendly nudges to customers to take actions like appointment confirmation and renewals, and remind them of deadlines or upcoming events. 

  • Deadline reminder: Reminder: Your gym membership expires next week on [Date]. Reply RENEW to continue.
  • Appointment reminder: Hi [first_name]! It’s been [#] months since your last [service]. Text back or call [phone_number] to set your next appointment. See you soon!
Appointment automated text message
Image via Omnisend

Alerts and notifications

Usage: Send timely alerts and notifications about important updates, changes in service, or emergencies.

  • Updates: Hi [first_name]! Items you recently viewed are now back in stock! Take a look at [link]
  • Service outage alert: Service Alert: Your internet will undergo maintenance from 12 AM to 4 AM. We apologize for the inconvenience. 
  • Account alert: An unauthorized login attempt was blocked. Please update your password.

Verification and authentication messages

Usage: Verify user identities or authenticate account access for security purposes, often as part of a two-factor authentication process.

  • Account verification: Your verification code is [123456]. Enter this code to complete your account registration.
  • Two-factor authentication: A new device was recently used to access your account. Reply YES to confirm it was you.

Customer support messages

Usage: Give on-demand assistance and service updates, answer queries, or resolve customer issues.

  • Support ticket confirmation: Your support ticket #7890 has been received. Our team will get back to you shortly.
  • FAQ response: For frequently asked questions about our products, visit our FAQ page [link].

Feedback and survey requests

Usage: Gather customer feedback, opinions, or insights through automated survey requests.

  • Customer feedback survey: Hi [first_name]! How was your shopping experience with us? Please reply between 1 (bad) and 5 (great).
  • Customer review request: Hi [first_name]! Thanks for your recent purchase! Can you leave a review of your experience with us? It’ll only take 1 minute. Just go here: [link]. Thanks for your help!
Customer review request SMS by Lunar
Image via Omnisend

Seasonal greetings

Usage: Spread some cultural or holiday cheer, send birthday wishes, or share special occasion messages to connect with customers.

  • Birthday discount: Happy Birthday [Customer Name]! Enjoy a special 10% birthday discount on us.
  • Holiday greeting: Happy Holidays from [Your Business Name]! Wishing you joy and prosperity this holiday season. Here’s a 25% off code for your next purchase: NOEL2024

Emergency broadcast

Usage: Quickly communicate critical alerts during crises, disasters, or public safety incidents.

  • Emergency weather alert: Tornado Warning: A tornado has been spotted in [County/Area]. Seek shelter immediately if in the affected area.

Educational or informational messages

Usage: Share tips, how-to’s, industry insights, product information, and other helpful educational content.

  • Informational message: This week’s topic: Renewable Energy. Read more at [link]
  • Product tutorial: Learn how to use our new [Product] features with our step-by-step tutorial video: [link]

Reasons to send automated text messages

Here are some of the reasons why automated text messages are a hit with marketers:

  • Unparalleled open and response rates. Over 80% of people open texts within 5 minutes, and 77% respond within 10 minutes.
  • Immediate, convenient delivery. Text messages offer instant delivery to mobile devices.
  • Efficient and cost-effective. Automating text messages saves time and resources, enabling quick and personalized communication.
  • Personalization and engagement. Using contact information and conversational templates to create engaging messages enables personalization at scale.
  • Enhanced customer service. Automated text messages facilitate providing proactive customer support, sending order updates, and addressing inquiries.
  • Streamline marketing campaigns. Text messaging for businesses can automate reminders, promotions, and campaigns, boosting efficiency and conversions.
  • Two-way conversational capabilities. The best text messaging services for businesses offer two-way SMS to improve engagement and customer interaction.
  • Data collection and insights. Analyzing text interactions can refine messaging strategies and campaign effectiveness over time.
  • Global reach. SMS messages have a global reach, allowing businesses to connect with customers across different regions and time zones effectively.
  • Improved customer retention. Automated text messages engage customers effectively, fostering long-term relationships and loyalty.
  • Reduced no-show rates. Sending reminders and acknowledging confirmations reduces the chances of missed appointments and improves attendance.
  • Emergency alerts. Texts are great for sending urgent notifications and alerts for critical situations as they don’t need internet access.

Things to consider (compliance, cost, consent)

Now that we’ve learned how to create an automated text message, let’s look at some important factors you should consider when sending these. Three important ones include SMS compliance, costs, and proper consent.

Let’s discuss each briefly.

Compliance with regulations

Automated text messaging is governed by various laws and regulations, depending on country and context.

In the US, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and CAN-SPAM Act set rules for commercial texts. These include guidelines on: 

  • Prior consent
  • Opt-out mechanisms
  • Disclosure requirements

Europe’s GDPR has strict data privacy provisions that apply to the collection and use of phone numbers for text communications.

Familiarize yourself with applicable laws and industry best practices to stay compliant. Violations can result in hefty fines and damage to your brand’s reputation.

Cost

The costs of sending automated text messages can vary significantly based on the method and volume. 

For instance, SMS marketing platforms typically charge per message or have monthly/annual fees. If you’re using SMS APIs and building custom integrations, you’ll pay per message plus potential developer costs.

Estimate your expected texting volume and calculate the SMS cost. Be sure to research various pricing models to find the most cost-effective solution.

Consent

Explicit consent is required before sending automated bulk SMS messages in most regions.

Consent can be obtained via opt-in web forms, keywords, and checking boxes during signups or purchases. It’s a good idea to offer double opt-in consent and keep consent records.

Maintain updated subscriber opt-in databases in compliance with SMS regulations. You should also provide easy opt-out options.

Wrap up

Automated text messages are powerful tools for businesses to engage customers effectively and efficiently.

By leveraging a great automated text message service like Omnisend, businesses can streamline marketing campaigns and enhance customer communication.

From promotional campaigns to transactional notifications, the strategic use of automated SMS can boost engagement, conversions, and brand loyalty.  

Implement an automated text message strategy to improve customer relationships, enhance engagement, and ultimately, drive business success.

Add automated SMS to your marketing campaigns and automation workflows with Omnisend.
Bernard Meyer
Article by
Bernard Meyer

Bernard is the Sr. Director of Communications & Creative at Omnisend, with a passion for good research, helping ecommerce businesses with their marketing automation needs, and beating absolutely everyone in Mario Kart 64.