Send messages at precisely the right moment, at any time, with no extra effort from you. Sounds great right? With SMS automation, this becomes a reality. In this article, we’ll explore different ways you can set up text message automation for your business, making it accessible and effective for everyone.

What is SMS automation?

It’s a powerful tool that sends text messages automatically to a predefined list of recipients based on specific conditions. With SMS automation, you can fire off text messages automatically depending on particular customer behaviours or events. Businesses use text message automations to:

  • confirm online orders
  • send welcome messages
  • recover abandoned carts
  • alert staff to critical bugs
  • send personalised marketing offers
  • remind patients of their appointments

…and more.

Why your business needs text automation

Automation is really a game-changer. Take back hours of your day by setting up set-and-forget communications. It’s great for:

  • Time efficiency: save time by sending messages automatically, allowing your team to focus on high-priority tasks.
  • Ease of setup: start with basic trigger and action rules, or scale up to custom solutions. With straightforward implementation, messaging automation is accessible even for businesses with minimal technical resource.
  • Customer engagement: personalise messages to specific customer actions, increasing engagement and building a stronger connection with your audience.
  • Consistency: maintain regular communication by automating messages for various purposes, to give your customers timely information.
  • Scalability: as your business grows, so will your message volume. Reach more customers with the same ease, so your messages reach the right people at the right moment.

Find out how different teams can use workflow automations to improve productivity.

While messaging automation may sound very technical, it doesn’t have to be. We’ll show you different ways you can set up text automation for your business.

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How to set up automated SMS – 4 different ways

Here are the options.

  1. Web portal: set up automations in your web browser via our online Dashboard
  2. Direct integration: connect SMS directly to the applications you already use in a few clicks
  3. Indirect integration: use a no-code/low-code platform to add SMS to almost any application
  4. Get coding: build your own fully customised solution

Let’s dive right in to which option is right for your business.

 1. Build SMS automations in our web portal

Use our Dashboard, for no-fuss, simple text message automations. It’s great for starting out with automations and you can even build an auto-responder to quickly answer FAQs faster or ask for more information.

ClickSend SMS Automations Dashboard
In the ClickSend Dashboard you can set up automations based on time, contacts or inbound messages.

Automations can be:

  • Time-based – send messages at regular intervals
  • Contact-based – trigger messages when a new subscriber is added to your contact list
  • Inbound – fire off messages when you receive a message

Inbound message rules can be used to reply to all messages, or only messages that contain a particular word or phrase by choosing SMS keywords.

This is the basic building block to create an autoresponder.

Create a multi-level campaign with an SMS autoresponder

Create an SMS autoresponder to provide near-instant replies for common questions, or to ask the routine questions you need to know when providing a service. All with inbound rules.

Check out this example of a typical journey for booking a car wash service via text message. The car wash company could get all the details needed to give an accurate quote within minutes of the original enquiry – without physically typing out messages for every customer.

SMS Automations: Using an Autoresponder

Here’s what you need to consider when building your SMS autoresponder:

  • FAQs: what types of messages are your customers already sending you? Are you spending a lot of time answering the same questions?
  • User journey: what information do you need from users? What keyword do you want them to respond with? Depending on their reply, is there further information that you or they need to continue with your service?

In the example above, Crystal Car Wash has set up the following rules.

  1. Send a message whenever they receive an enquiry – they then ask which service. ‘Express Wash’ and ‘Platinum Wash’ are configured as SMS keywords.
  2. When customers respond with their choice of service, they ask whether it’s for a Sedan or SUV (again, both configured as keywords).
  3. Once the customer has responded with the service they want and then the car type being washed, Crystal Car Wash can quote for the service. Most importantly, is that they contact Niveen to book a time.

Once you have your questions and answers mapped out, you can set up your autoresponder.

Building SMS autoresponders – as simple as a few inbound SMS rules

Here’s how:

  • Within the Dashboard, click your profile and then Messaging Settings to get to inbound rules settings.
  • Click Add New Rule, name your rule (and add your dedicated number if you use 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.
  • Or if you want to send if a keyword appears in the message, change it to ‘Message Contains’ and enter the keyword.
  • Choose ‘AUTO_REPLY’ as the action and enter the message to be sent.
    💡 There are several other actions you can choose, including automatically forwarding inbound messages to your email, moving/creating contacts, forwarding messages, etc.
  • Save and you’e done ✅

Set and forget SMS messages are now being sent straight to your customers, at whatever time suits them.

2. Direct plug-and-play, ready to use connections

Connect in a few clicks using one of our ready to use direct SMS integrations. This is great for those getting started with plugins and integrations, but prefer an out-of-the-box solution.

We have our ready-built integrations with some of the biggest online applications. For example, If you use Zoho, Magento, WooCommerce, Salesforce or Freshworks as your CRM software, you can easily add SMS capability with add-ons or plugins. Check out our library of ready to use integrations.

Not on the list? That’s ok, we have an easy workaround.

3. Integration platforms: add SMS to almost any app without coding

No direct integration? No worries.

Thanks to no-code integration platforms, you can connect to almost any app without a line of code. Connect using an integration platform, designed to connect two applications together with trigger-and-action rules.

Many of our clients love integrating their booking platform and ClickSend via Zapier.

So if we don’t have a direct integration that fits, you know you’ll find it via one of our integration partners.

In our autoresponder example above, Niveen replies YES to 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 you can save time by automating this part of the process too. We know which option we would choose 😎

Send a link to your appointment scheduling tool, then using a platform like Zapier, you can send text messages based on their booking. Set up:

  • automated confirmation texts – triggered when the appointment is confirmed,
  • automated appointment reminders – 24 or 48 hours before the appointment,
  • an autoresponder – allowing customers to reschedule or cancel their appointments,
  • thank you messages – sent after appointments to seek feedback or positive reviews.

Our customers also love to automate using Make (formerly Integromat) for multi-part workflows, Integrately, Microsoft Power Automate and more.

4. Use our open API for a fully customisable solution

Keep full control over your SMS automations by adding your own SMS functions into your applications. Or consult your developer – this option requires technical know-how.

  • Want to retain full flexibility while automating SMS?
  • Can’t find the direct integration you’re looking for?
  • Got access to skilled coders or your own coding experience?

If the answers are yes, have a browse through our API documentation to get started.

SMS Automation FAQs

How does text automation work?

It works by creating different rules or workflows. When certain events or conditions are met (e.g., a new customer sign-up or an abandoned cart), the system sends pre-written text messages to the designated recipients.

Can I automate two-way conversations?

Oh yes, you can. You can set up automated responses to common queries and then have human agents take over when needed. This will ensure a smooth customer experience.

Can I add SMS automation to my other marketing tools?

Absolutely. Salesforce, Hubspot, and Jira are only a few of the integrations you can connect with. Integrating SMS automation with your existing software will help you streamline your marketing strategy.

Is SMS automation cost-effective?

Yes. It is efficient all around, as it reduces the need for manual messaging and helps you reach a large audience quickly. It can also result in high conversion rates, making it a worthwhile investment.

Can text automation be used for customer support?

Yes! You can program automated responses to common queries. It can also be integrated with live chat systems to provide efficient customer service.

Is SMS automation suitable for small businesses?

Absolutely! SMS automation is beneficial for businesses of all sizes. ClickSend caters to every type of business.

Claim back your time – start automating today

Set and forget messaging automations that save you hours? Yes please.

Reach out to us for help getting started – there’s always a friendly human ready to have an online chat. Or sign up now to get started with our powerful SMS automation software.