SMS Automation: 3 Ways to Trigger Text Messages

SMS Automation: 4 Ways to Trigger Text Messages

Are you spending too much time sending messages manually? Or using email automation and not quite getting the cut-through you need?

Enter SMS automation. Incredible cut-through and easier than email.

Take your customers on a journey using SMS automation. Have real conversations with your customers and staff alike; use SMS automations to send instant, highly personalised text messages.

So Let’s Get Started: How to Automate SMS

How you choose to automate your regular messaging depends on your business type, complexity and message content.

Here are the popular ways to automate texts:

  1. Within your web browser (aka the dashboard option)
    Sign in to your account and set up automations within our dashboard. We offer time-based or contact list based triggers to fire off messages. Or you can use incoming messages to trigger an action.
  2. Connect ClickSend SMS to the applications you already use
    With hundreds of integrations, you can build SMS automation into the applications you use everyday, without writing a line of code!
  3. Connect SMS to applications indirectly 
    If we don’t have a direct integration with your applications, you may be able to link your applications with one of our no-code partners.
  4. Custom integration
    Want full control? Create your own custom build with our open API.

Read on for more information and how to choose which type of integration is right for your business.

1. Set Up Automations from the Dashboard

For: these text message automations are great if you have limited web resources to build custom integrations or are in a hurry.
Who: people who are starting out with automations. Those who want to quickly set up rules to help answer some of the most frequently asked questions, or make use of an auto-responder to quickly obtain critical information to answer customer questions faster.

Through our Dashboard, you can set up no-code automations based on time, contact list updates and inbound messages:

  • Time-based: send messages at regular intervals
  • Contact list: trigger messages when a new subscriber is added to your contact list
  • Inbound: fire off messages when your contacts send you a message (use this to create an SMS auto-responder)
ClickSend SMS Automations Dashboard
In the ClickSend Dashboard you can set up automations based on time, contacts or inbound messages.

You can use inbound message rules to automatically respond to all messages, or respond to messages if they contain certain text in the message body (keyword). This is how we build auto-responders.

Creating an SMS Autoresponder

Within the Dashboard, click on your profile in the top right corner of the screen and select Messaging Settings. This will take you to the inbound rules settings. Here you Add New Rule, then name your rule and add your dedicated number if you have one.

SMS Automations: Inbound Rule Settings
ClickSend Dashboard: Adding a New Inbound Message Rule

If you want your action to trigger on all inbound messages, leave the ‘Match For’ section blank. However, if you want it based on a keyword in the message text, change it to ‘Message Contains’ and enter the search term.

For an autoresponder, you will need to choose ‘AUTO_REPLY’ as the action and supply the text you would like to be sent back to your customer.

💡 Note: there are several other actions which can be triggered, including automatically forwarding inbound messages to designated email addresses, move contact, create contact, forward SMS, etc.

Once you click save, anyone who sends a message with the expected search term will automatically receive a response.

Building Out Your Multi-Level SMS Campaign with Autoresponders

SMS Automations: Using an Autoresponder

Use a multi-level autoresponder so you can get all the answers you need to provide your service in an instant.

  1. Map out the user journey you want your leads to go through: what information do you need from them? Which search terms do you want them to respond with? Depending on their response, what further information do you need from them?
  2. Use the contact list SMS automation to send a welcome message to all contacts as they subscribe to your database or send an enquiry. In your response tell customers to respond with X or Y option (or more if you wish!).
  3. Create inbound rules with different message content depending on reply options given. Customise these automated responses based on the customer response.
    In the example above, Niveen has responded that she wants an Express Wash. Crystal Car Wash has created an automated response rule with search term as ‘Express Wash’ and a different response where the search term is ‘Platinum Wash’.
  4. To continue the customer interaction, when crafting these messages, ask your contact to respond with new supplied choices, creating custom inbound rules to anticipate these responses.
    For example, Crystal Car Wash includes in their response to ‘Express Wash’ a question about the car type – an essential question for their business to be able to quote a price.

To further streamline your processes, you might then want to integrate further with your own scheduling applications and more. This doesn’t have to be a job for the web developers – there are no code/low code options out there.

2. Ready to Use Direct Integrations

For: you have your favourite application and want a quick and easy way to send straight from this applications without using another platform as a connector.
Who: you want to get started with automations, but possibly have limited development resource or want an out-of-the-box solution.

Not only are the hundreds of integrations you can access via an integration platform, we have our own ready-built direct integrations with some of the biggest online applications. For example, if you use Zoho, Magento, WooCommerce, Salesforce or Freshworks as your CRM, you can easily enable SMS, MMS, voice or direct mail capability straight from the platform.

Check out our full range of ready to use integrations.

3. SMS Automation via an Integration Platform as a Service

For: those who have more experience with text message automations but possibly have limited coding ability who want to use triggers from other applications to send messages.
Who: if you’re into home automations, enjoy tinkering with IFTTT or get excited by Rube Goldberg machines, you’ll love our no-code integration partners.

If our out-of-the-box automations do not fit your purpose, or you want to send messages triggered by another application, we have several integration partners who can help. You don’t need to be a web developer to connect your existing applications to ClickSend in order to send triggered messages. There are hundreds of ways to integrate communications via intermediary platforms known as Integration Platforms as a Service (IPaaS).

In our example below, Niveen responds positively to help with making a booking for her car wash. You could pick up the phone and give her a call, then try to tee up a time that fits your business’ appointments. Or better yet, you could automate this part of the process too.

SMS Integration via Zapier for Bookings
Many of our clients love integrating their booking platform and ClickSend via Zapier.

Send a link to your appointment scheduling tool, then using an iPaaS like Zapier, you can send text messages based on when their appointment is.

For example:

  • Send a confirmation message, triggered when the appointment is confirmed,
  • Send an appointment reminder 24 or 48 hours before the appointment,
  • Set up an autoresponder to allow customers to confirm, reschedule or cancel their appointments,
  • Thank customers after their appointment and/or ask for feedback.

Integrate via Zapier, or choose from 20 connectors that are ClickSend enabled. Our customers also love Automate.io, Integrately, Integromat, Microsoft Power Automate, PieSync.

4. Use Our Open API for a Fully Custom Built Solution

For: retain full control over your SMS automation by building your own SMS functionality into your applications.
Who: experienced developers or coders or businesses with good access to technical resourcing, who know exactly what they want and how they want it configured.

  • Want to retain full flexibility while making use of our powerful integrations?
  • Can’t find the direct integration you’re looking for?
  • Got access to skilled coders or your own coding experience?

If the answer is yes, the sky is the limit. Build SMS, MMS, voice, fax, direct mail and more into your existing applications exactly how you want.

Check out our full API documentation and find your preferred SDKs here.

We can’t wait to see what you build!

ClickSend Automations: More Than Just SMS

Send more than just SMS with our automations – with ClickSend you can send multimedia messages, voice calls, beautifully printed postcards, direct mail letters, fax and more. Why not test out which combination of business communications works for your business and automate them for a truly multi-channel experience.

Partner with ClickSend for powerful, reliable messaging automation. Sign up now to get automating.

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