Communication is a crucial part of business. You communicate with customers to appeal to them and retain their interest. You connect with suppliers and investors to keep the business going. You contact colleagues to discuss operations and routines.
That can get hectic as your business expands, primarily when you accomplish these tasks yourself. So what’s the solution to getting swamped by hundreds of calls, texts, and correspondences every day while trying to run your business? Automated messaging or auto SMS is the answer.
So what is an automatic text message, and what does it mean for your business? Let’s find out in this article.
Understanding Automated Messages
There is a big chance that you have already encountered it in your everyday life. A system maintenance announcement from your bank, a credit card bill reminder, or a notification about an upcoming sale: are all messages you may have encountered before and are typical examples of automated messaging.
It's easy to overlook them as part of our normal routine, but they are immensely helpful. An auto SMS can serve as a reminder or provide valuable information about important aspects of our lifestyle.
Do you know that you can also use automated messaging for your business? First of all, let's dissect what auto SMS is all about.
What is an Automated Message?
An automated message is a preset, scheduled message. In this case, auto SMS is text pre-scheduled and pre-written for an intended purpose.
There are different types of automated SMS according to the criteria by which they are sent:
These are the most common. A scheduled SMS involves preparing a message for a specific purpose and setting a schedule for sending it. Examples are Christmas messages, sale announcements, and monthly reminders.
Automated messages can be sent based on a reference timeline. For example, retail stores can dispatch an auto SMS to customers days after their last purchase, or utility companies can send payment reminders between their billing period and the due date.
Trigger-based auto messaging requires a particular event to initiate sending the message. A typical example is an automated reply notifying someone is out of the office after a client sends them a message or creates a transaction. Another popular application is sending a "thank you" message after someone successfully pays for a product or service.
How Does Automated Messaging Work?
You can access basic auto SMS features in your phone through an automated SMS program, an app, a business phone number, or a virtual number service.
All of these deliver the basic idea of an automated message - prepared and scheduled. The extent of customization, however, can vary.
So how does an auto SMS work for you, the user? That is how it's typically set up:
- Installing the automated messaging system or service
First, the business contacts a service provider or downloads the application to gain access to the auto SMS system. After this, they can visit the dashboard, manage settings, and assign persons responsible for auto messaging and other possible tasks.
- Setting up a Contact list
Contact numbers of pertinent people like customers and suppliers will be added to the contacts list to enable them to receive automated messages.
- Creating a Calendar
Events that warrant scheduled messages like anniversaries, seasonal sales, and holidays will be plotted so that a related SMS can be designed on those days.
- Plotting Events
Aside from scheduled automated texts, the business will consider timeline-based messages like customer billing cycles.
- Creating the Text Content
The contents of the automated SMS are drafted and reviewed. It's essential to check that the messages are correct, complete, relevant, and appropriate.
- Setting up Triggers
Businesses will also set up triggers for auto SMS and reply depending on a particular event. For example, it's typical to notify customers that the store is closed when they send a message outside office hours.
Accurate planning and preparation are essential when plotting auto messaging to avoid missing opportunities and maximize its use in business operations.
Common Applications of Automated SMS
To give you more clarity and a more significant idea of the picture, we've gathered some typical automated message examples you could use in your business.
Welcome messages are a great way to start your relationship with a new customer or member. A welcome message can make a customer feel valued and appreciated and serve as their first portal to access information about your business.
Stores use welcome texts to encourage new members to visit their app or website to see information like store locations, membership perks, and sales events and announcements.
"Thank you for joining ABC Grocery. You are now qualified to avail of our member benefits and points!
To check promotions and discounts, you may visit http://www.abcgrocery.com.
Have a wonderful day ahead!"
Missed Call Alert
When nobody picks up, it's easy to assume the other party is unavailable. Following up with a missed call SMS shows that you care about the customer and exhibit a professional and helpful attitude. It also helps to add information about when the customer can contact you or expect a response.
"Sorry, it appears we've missed your call. We are currently unavailable, but you can contact us at these hours."
Closed Store Alert
Like a missed call alert, this is also a professional approach to informing customers about store hours and non-working days.
"Oops! Snack Shack is closed at the moment.
Please get back to us during our business hours for orders and inquiries.
We are open from Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm.
Sorry for the inconvenience, and we hope to hear from you soon."
These serve as an extra assurance to customers that their transaction has successfully gone through. A business that practices this shows that they are credible and on top of things.
"Hi, this is to confirm that you have successfully loaded $$$ into your account ending in xxxx.
Thank you for using Global Communications."
Auto SMS is a valuable tool in marketing as well. You can use automated messages to notify customers about upcoming sales, events, and other promotional activities. It's a great way to subtly introduce a call to action to customers who would have otherwise been unaware of the upcoming event.
"Hello, dear customer.
Great news! Our annual 3-day Valentine's Day sale is just around the corner, from February 12-14, 20xx. Enjoy up to 70% off on selected products, with freebies and extra points for our members.
Have fun shopping at XoXo Supermart!"
Thank You Message
Automated thank you messages are thoughtful and courteous gestures that establish customer rapport. It's also a valuable tool to ensure your brand stays in its consciousness for longer.
"Dear customer, thank you for ordering our product. Your rating and feedback are highly appreciated.
Visit our store on our app or ShopppHub to see similar items.
Again, thank you for choosing MNL Retailers."
There are many other ways you can use automated messaging to your advantage. Establishing your goals and understanding your regular operations is an excellent approach to deciding what to apply to automated texts.
Advantages of Automated Messaging
For only a small investment and some effort, auto SMS can make a big difference. Here are some ways using automated messaging can help you.
Lightens the Workload
Manually sending text messages is a time-consuming and arduous task. It can also be annoying as you know that you or your colleagues could be doing another essential task with the time taken to send text messages. The more customers you have, and the larger your company gets, the more difficult it becomes to reach or respond to everyone.
Auto SMS removes the burden and time wasted constructing messages and sending them to specific contacts. It also frees up the workforce so you can focus on other tasks. With automated messaging, you can allocate your time for different operations.
A proactive, approachable, and responsive business will likely retain and keep customers in the long run. It also encourages them to put in a good word about you with their peers.
A customer receiving a prompt response or message creates a positive impression of your company. This is especially the case for informative messages like news and transaction confirmations. It makes your business look competent and adds credibility in the eyes of the customer.
Gives More Access
By automatically responding to customers, you can inform them when they can reach you. This way, customers are more informed about the business' availability and schedule.
When you're consistently unable to contact a business, you tend to look for an alternative to provide the needed product or service. However, a response with the relevant information can encourage you to wait and reach out again when that business is available.
This approach ensures that you're not losing opportunities due to missed communication.
Where to Get Affordable Automated Messaging
Do you want to try automated SMS but are concerned about your budget? Curious about what could be the best text messaging service for your business? Let's take a look at some of the options you could try. We have a few examples so you can get started on sending automated text messages even on your Android or iPhone:
TextMagic is a simple application if you're just getting started on auto SMS. The initial registration and setup are straightforward and user-friendly. TextMagic lets you send replies to API, email, and web apps, schedule SMS, set up templates, and automate responses. It uses a pay-as-you-go approach at $4 for a virtual number monthly and messages starting at $0.04 each.
Sakari is primarily geared toward outgoing messages and lets you manage conversations, create marketing campaigns, and integrate messaging in apps like Zapier. Sakari starts at $16 monthly for 500 messages, sent or received.
SalesMsg carries the basic package such as Conversations, Contacts, Triggers, and Analytics and can be integrated with CRM platforms Hubspot. It costs $25 monthly for 500 messages plus one phone number and offers a free trial. However, it's only available in the U.S. and Canada.
EZTexting is a beginner-friendly program that lets you maintain conversations, set up marketing campaigns, and view reports. It includes a user guide and walk-through and is a good starting point for those who need to be tech-savvy. It starts with a free trial, then at $24/month with a number and 200 messages.
LimePhone is a virtual business number that lets you schedule messages, send automated replies, and integrate with apps like Facebook and Slack. LimePhone allows team texting, text links, conversation routing, and automatic feedback collection. You can start with a free trial at $9.99/user monthly, including unlimited SMS and inbound calls and a large area of text and call services ideal for small businesses.
Introducing Limephone: The One-Stop Business Communication Service
We've briefly mentioned LimePhone on the list above, but now let's take a closer look at what it is and how it can help your small business.
LimePhone is a virtual business phone number you can access with your phone, computer, landline, or softphone. It's a versatile tool that lets you integrate your modes of communication with widely used social media and CRM platforms.
What Else Can You Do with Limephone?
LimePhone offers many services that can give you a competitive edge over other businesses.
Even with the most basic Starter package, you can send unlimited SMS and receive inbound calls without a limit. You can make outgoing calls for any parcel, even internationally. These calls are of high quality and support call forwarding, call scheduling, recording, concurrent calls, and analytics. Send automated messages, broadcasts, and voicemails to phones and email.
LimePhone also lets you integrate your virtual phone number into your website and widely-used platforms like the following:
Do you need help understanding a process or getting technical issues? LimePhone has dedicated email and chat support for users in every package.
LimePhone offers a free demonstration for new users. Sign up for it on the website and provide your contact information to gain access to its many features.
- Are automated messages easy to use?
- Yes. After the initial setup, auto SMS will do the rest of the work. Many apps are beginner-friendly as well.
- Are there free auto SMS apps?
- You can find free programs with auto messaging with only essential functions, but they may need to carry more tools suited for small business needs.
- Can I use auto SMS on desktop computers?
- Many auto messaging and virtual number services like LimePhone are compatible with desktop and mobile devices.
Auto SMS is an affordable and accessible approach to simplifying communication for your business. It gives you more time for other tasks and ensures you are always accessible to customers, even out-of-office.
How you use automatic SMS is completely up to your individual use case. So take stock of what your business needs and check out what solution offers the most functionality for the best price. While you’re at it, check out www.limephone.io to get a free trial. LimePhone may just be the one service you were looking for.