Today I’m going to show you how to use automated text messages to grow your business by driving, qualifying and converting leads via mass texting.
SMS messaging drives, qualifies, and converts leads automatically. That means you can build contact lists around the clock while saving your team tons of time and resources.
If you typically market your business via channels like email, social media, or your website, you might be surprised to learn how much those traditional digital channels look like donkeys—compared to a unicorn channel like automated texting, which can drastically improve your results.
Ready to leave awful conversion rates behind and start using a unicorn channel instead?
Find out how SMS marketing works and get a step-by-step guide to automating your text message marketing.
Here’s the map of the Unicorn Land territory we’ll cover in this guide to automated text messaging:
- What is automated text message marketing?
- How do automated text messages work?
- What are some automated text message examples?
- Is there an app that automatically sends text messages?
- How do I send an automated text message? (Step-by-Step Tutorial)
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What is automated text message marketing?
Text message automation is the process of sending SMS messages to individuals or groups at scheduled times or after specific triggers.
You can also call it an automation text, an auto message, or an automated text message. Either way, this marketing tactic allows you to connect with customers on their mobile devices.
So what makes it a unicorn marketing channel?
Once you set up an SMS workflow and trigger a message to send, you can auto text leads and customers. That means your team doesn’t have to waste time on repetitive tasks.
And people who have opted in to receive your texts tend to be very receptive. The response rate for SMS messages is over 200% higher than channels like email and Facebook.
To experience an automated text message in action, try the Customers.ai welcome workflow that we’ll build together in the tutorial below.
Opt-in to receive an automated text message from the Instagram mobile app. A U.S.- or Canada-based phone number is needed to view this particular demo.
How do automated text messages work?
Like most organic marketing channels, text automation requires people to opt in. Once they subscribe, you can send them one-off messages based on their actions or your promos.
You can also add them to ongoing drip campaigns. These workflows send automatic text messages daily, weekly, or on any schedule you choose.
What are some examples of automated text messages?
Text automation lets you connect with subscribers in several key ways. Here are a few messages you can send with automated text—and don’t forget to view our full guide to SMS text marketing examples.
Also known as autoresponders, these texts send automatically when someone joins your list.
Welcome messages greet subscribers and thank them for opting in. Auto replies also tell SMS subscribers what to expect and how to opt out.
Is your business offering a limited-time discount or a seasonal special? Promo messages are great for sharing sale details and coupon codes.
They can also include links that customers can tap to start shopping.
Has your business changed its policies or services? Automated status updates can help you share these updates quickly.
From flights and hotel rooms to salon services and medical appointments, automated SMS messaging can confirm bookings.
These texts include all the details customers need for a successful trip or service.
Missed appointments can lead to lost revenue—but automated reminders can help.
With an appointment reminder text, you can schedule messages to get customers to reconfirm or cancel before a certain time.
With automated text messages, you can also invite people to virtual or offline events.
Event invites usually list the when, where, and why—along with details about how to get tickets.
Is there an app that automatically sends text messages?
We’re glad you asked. Yes! Customers.ai is the app for marketers who want to engage leads and customers via SMS messaging.
With Customers.ai, you can grow your list and create segments based on user actions and qualities. You can use the app to create one-off messages or send automated texts on an ongoing basis.
And with the free trial of Customers.ai, it’s easy to get started at no cost. Once you’ve built your list and grown out of the free plan, you can upgrade to a paid plan with advanced SMS marketing tools.
How to Send Automated Text Messages Step-by-Step
To start auto texting, you can collect mobile numbers using channels like Facebook, web chat, and Zapier-powered integrations.
In the walkthrough below, I’ll show you how to use Instagram to grow your VIP text message list. Experience this live demo for yourself here.
How to Send Automated Text Messages Step 1: Prompt Instagram followers to engage
First, set up a simple workflow to automate your DMs. An Instagram marketing tool like Customers.ai’s new visual automation builder makes the process quick and easy.
For example, take a look at Customers.ai founder Larry Kim’s Unicorn Club automation.
To set it up in Customers.ai, start a new automation with an Instagram comment autoresponder trigger.
Then add the keywords to trigger the workflow. In this case, the keywords include “UNICORNCLUB” and similar terms.
In Instagram, get people to engage. How? Just ask. Publish an Instagram post with a call-to-action (CTA) that asks people to comment with a specific keyword.
In the Instagram post above, Customers.ai founder Larry Kim prompts followers to comment “UNICORNCLUB.”
If you’ve followed Larry for long, you know that he often posts about unicorn marketers. His Instagram followers already have a sense of what they can gain from signing up for SMS updates.
But what if you’re new to your industry or if you’re marketing to a less-aware group of prospects?
It’s a good idea to offer an incentive to sign up. It’s also helpful to clarify the value your text updates will provide.
For example, retail brands can offer coupon codes or host giveaways. Coaches and creators can offer insider tips or first news about launches.
How to Send Automated Text Messages Step 2: Collect subscriber details via DMs
Next, auto reply to users who engaged. Slide into their DMs and ask for their contact information.
In Customers.ai’s visual automation builder, you can add a series of prompts. That way you can ask for a variety of contact details.
As you can see in the example above, this workflow requests users’ emails and phone numbers. Here’s how it looks in an actual Instagram exchange:
After a user has opted in to receive SMS messages, the workflow applies a “unicorn” tag. With a tag, you can segment leads and send them the right marketing campaigns in the future.
The automation also asks how long the user has been following Larry. Think of this as our qualifying question. Use questions to help you qualify leads and confirm if they’re a good fit for your products or services.
A good qualifying question depends on what your company does. You might ask users about their budget or when they’re planning to make a purchase.
How to Send Automated Text Messages Step 3: Send a welcome message
Once a new subscriber signs up to your SMS list, there’s no need to wait. You can schedule texts to subscribers right away.
To text users via Customers.ai, add an SMS widget after the trigger.
Here’s how the automated SMS looks in an SMS inbox. It welcomes new subscribers and thanks them for joining the Unicorn Club.
Your autoresponder might tell people what they can expect from your list. If you promised to give out coupon codes in exchange for signups, you can set them up to send automatically.
From there, you can start scheduling text messages to go out over time. With recurring messages, you can nurture leads and keep your company top-of-mind.
How Customers.ai Creates a Fast Track to Unicorn Land
Just like that you’ve left Donkey Land, where conversion rates are low and reengagement opportunities are limited.
Now you’ve arrived in Unicorn Land. Here, you can automate text message marketing, build an engaged community of brand enthusiasts, and reengage people on demand.
Ready to get started? Sign up to try Customers.ai SMS tools for free.
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Important Next Steps
- See what targeted outbound marketing is all about. Capture and engage your first 50 website visitor leads with Customers.ai X-Ray website visitor identification for free.
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- Advance your marketing performance with Sales Outreach School, a free tutorial and training area for sales pros and marketers.