How to Send Automated Text Messages

January 23, 2023
Written by
Twilion
Reviewed by
Twilion
Twilion

How to Send Automated Text Messages

Want to know how to keep up with customer communications to increase loyalty and sales while making individuals feel seen and valued? Thankfully, manual labor doesn’t have to factor into the equation. After all, as you seek to interact with hundreds or even thousands of customers, reaching out manually is far from the best use of your employees’ time and resources.

Automated messaging makes it possible to scale your marketing efforts with ease. And with solutions like Twilio MessagingX, you can scale confidently.

Here, we’ll show you how to set up automatic texts and use automated messaging to boost customer engagement through SMS marketing.

Why should my business use automated texts?

An automated text message is an easy way to get your customers’ attention. Not everyone checks their emails constantly, but almost everyone has their phone on them nearly all the time, every day. This makes it convenient for you and for your customers. In fact, many prefer SMS as a communication option.

Automated messaging with SMS is one of the most direct and effective methods you can use to inform your customers about promotions, confirm orders and deliveries, and maintain customer engagement. It goes right to their pockets, and they see it seconds after you send it.

Set up automated text messages in 5 steps

Now, you have a handle on why automated text messages are an asset to your business messaging. The next question is: What to do next? If you’re wondering how to send automated texts, you can check out the following 5-step plan.

1. Create a sign-up form

The first step toward sending an automated text message for business purposes is to create a sign-up or opt-in form for your customers to consent to receive your automated text messages. You can use a digital form provider like Google Forms or Jotform.

Just be sure to request your customer’s phone number and include a checkbox for them to consent to receiving automated text messages. You can even offer incentives, like special deals and discounts, to help people sign up.

As you grow your SMS marketing list, keep in mind best practices:

  • Let customers opt out of notifications
  • Offer incentives
  • Send messages at the right time

An alternative to sign-up forms is a keyword campaign, allowing customers to sign up using SMS by texting a keyword to a particular number. This has 2 components: a keyword and a "from" phone number to send text messages. But even with this technique, you still need to allow customers to opt out.

2. Organize your list

Just as with any other type of marketing, list segmentation is crucial for automated messaging with SMS. No customer wants to receive an automatic text message that’s irrelevant to them or their interests. So segment your list based on geography, demographics, or initial engagement method with your company.

Additionally, if your sign-up form includes other preferences, segment your list with these factors for even greater personalization. You can also design a sign-up form that segments your automated text messages by asking customers what type of messages they want to receive.

3. Write your message

Your automated text message defines how customers will perceive your company. Beyond whatever promotion you offer them, how you choose to communicate has a tremendous impact. The right word choice has everything to do with the decision customers make.

Also, keep in mind your format. Automated text messages aren't the place to write an essay, or even a 500-word column: you have a finite number of characters to catch attention and inform customers. Brevity is the key, but give your customers a clear idea of what you have to offer.

You might also write a message in response to a particular customer action—like a confirmation message after a customer places an online order. In these cases, your message should simply state the details your customer needs to know. Personalization tokens (places in text where you can insert values personalized to the recipient) make it easy to personalize the content of your message to each customer to express appreciation and care.

4. Choose an API

An application programming interface (API) is the tool that will allow you to send automated text messages. Generally speaking, APIs are software interfaces that allow 2 programs to interact. These can serve numerous purposes and connect many types of programs—including programs to send SMS messages.

Once you’ve selected an SMS API provider, your developers can integrate SMS with your software to allow you to send messages en masse (in a group). The specific steps will vary depending on the API you use, but it can be as simple as writing a few lines of code.

The right API for your business will depend on a few different factors. And while we may be biased, Twilio’s Programmable Messaging API has extensive reliability, functionality, and customizability, as well as the capability to scale with your business.

5. Schedule and send

This is your liftoff moment: your messages go out to hundreds or thousands of users who receive a notification and open their phones to see what you’ve sent. You can even schedule your messages to go out at a particular time, using one of several applications, including Twilio’s Programmable SMS API.

Send automated text messaging with Twilio APIs

Now that you know how to send automatic text messages, you have a foundational tool for SMS marketing. We've gone over some of the best practices involved and have a basic familiarity of the tech that will enable you to send automated text messages.

The potential uses for automated messaging are limitless, but marketing is one of the most valuable functions to drive loyalty and return on investment. After all, when you can insert yourself directly into the pockets of your customers, you can rest assured your messages will reach them—but the first step to engagement is to get eyes on your offers.

Combined, companies using Twilio SMS services send or receive more than 130 billion text messages each year. Plus, MessagingX allows users to send and receive text messages with simple code, enabling you to reach more than 180 countries and using Twilio’s programmable software to ensure compliance and deliverability.

Learn more about Twilio’s APIs for SMS and read our deep dive, SMS Marketing 101.