Automated Text Messages | Automated Texting Service Guide
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Learn How to Set Up & Send Automatic Texts + How to Get Started with Automated Texting Software

Time-savings and efficiency start with automated messages. But automating text messages isn’t exactly… easy.

So I’ve put together a guide to automated text messages.

If you want to:

  1. Learn what automated text messages and autoresponders are
  2. Understand why automated text messages save time
  3. Know 4 reasons why automated texts save time
  4. Learn how automated text messages work
  5. Get 6 ways businesses and organizations use text message automation
  6. Get access to proven automatic text reply templates

Then you’ll love the detailed strategies in my article.

Read on for more!

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What are Automated Text Messages?

Automated text messages are scheduled text messages. They’re pre-written messages that get automatically scheduled and sent to a recipient at a specific date and time. They result in a more timely, personalized connection with your contacts. Automated text messaging may also refer to scheduling, dripping, or triggering auto reply text messages in mass texting campaigns. Many business text messaging platforms provide various ways to automate text messaging.

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What is an Autoresponder?

An autoresponder is a type of automatic message, auto reply, or auto response. Autoresponders get triggered by time intervals, rules, keywords, or events. Autoresponders often take the form of autoresponder email messages or automatic SMS text messages. But they can also apply to automated voice calls and other forms of communication.

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What is an Autoresponder Text?

SMS autoresponders (autoresponder texts) are a type of automatic text response. Keywords like STOP, SUBSCRIBE, and HELP often trigger an autoresponder text to send. Many business texting services also allow you to set time, event, or data triggers. Businesses and organizations often use autoresponder texts to:

  1. Schedule texts to send at specific dates and times.
  2. Send out-of-office messages
  3. Trigger a message based on customer actions.
  4. Send a bulk text message broadcast to contact or subscriber lists.
  5. Start conversations from a website, landing page, or form with a click-to-text prompt.
  6. Remind contacts, customers, or clients of future appointments or events.
  7. Send text message marketing with offers or promotions.

4 Reasons Why Automated Text Messages and Autoresponders Save Time, Increase Efficiency and Improve Engagement

Automated text messages save time. You increase efficiency when you hand off repetitive messaging tasks like:

An automated text messages service like MessageDesk can handle all of the above messaging.

But aside from time savings, automated text messages have some other benefits. These include the following.

1. People prefer the convenience and speed of automatic text messages

People prefer texting. In fact, some 85% of customers prefer texting with businesses and organizations.

Email and voice will always be important messaging and communication channels.

But…

Some 76% of consumers recently reported that they don’t like talking to businesses on the phone.

And 3 out of 4 people get frustrated when they can’t respond or take action after receiving a message.

2. Automated texts get higher open, click, engagement, and response rates than emails

Text messages have clear advantages and benefits over email and voice. They have fantastic open, click-through, and response rates, especially when compared to email.

Texting is also the way to go when it comes to making sure your message gets delivered and read.

Here’s a quick breakdown for your reference:

Open Rate Click Rate Response Rate
Automated texts 98% 36% 45%
Automated emails 20% 2% 6%

3. SMS automation increases messaging efficiency and saves time

An automated messaging system saves time. Texting software helps you craft more efficient campaigns and automate the response and follow-up process.

This leads to things like reducing call volume and improving communication and engagement.

Depending on how you chain messages for texting, automated texts can also support two-way SMS and one-way SMS.

All someone needs to do is text an autoresponder keyword like “HOURS”, “SCHEDULE” or “HELP”. This leads to an immediate auto response.

It can also open new incoming text message threads with a real person in a team SMS inbox at your organization.

4. Automated texts are conversational and easy to personalize

Most importantly, SMS automation makes it possible to personalize and customize text messages on a much larger scale.

Templated text messages and personalization tags make this possible. These are pre-saved messages that keep you from having to type the same message repeatedly.

There is nothing sweeter to a person than the sound of their own name. Personalization tags allow you to auto-insert contact information like {{ FirstName }} into a text message.

Features like this add up to a more immediate and conversational experience that gives people instant access to information.

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How to Get Started with an Automated Texting Service

Can you set up automated texts on iPhone? Can you set up automatic text responses on android?

Yes, but…

Your personal phone has limited texting capabilities. You can only automate text messages on iPhone for auto responses while driving.

You’ll need a business texting service if you’re setting up automated texts as a business or organization.

Software like MessageDesk comes with the SMS automation, mass messaging, and phone number features you need to effectively reach your audience.

Here’s how to set up automated text messages on most business texting platforms.

1. Choose an automated text messaging service

There are many great automated texting services (including MessageDesk) that make it easy to send automatic texts.

But you’ll want to find the right automated text message service or auto text app that works for you.

MessageDesk offers automation features designed to suit everyone from larger eCommerce businesses and small nonprofits to local businesses.

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2. Create a free account and set up your SMS phone number

Next, you’ll need to create a free account and get a text number for your business or organization. MessageDesk offers several SMS phone number types including 10-digit local numbers and toll-free numbers.

To text from your existing business landline, you’ll need to submit a number porting request.

Note: It will likely take from 1-7 days to successfully text-enable your business number once you submit your request. Sometimes, this process is referred to as number hosting (not to be confused with number porting).

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3. Organize your text subscriber and contact lists

Already using an email marketing service or email marketing automation tool like Constant Contact or Mailchimp?

Then you’ll want to make sure your contact and text subscriber lists are in order.

Many business texting services like MessageDesk make it easy to sync contact information between these platforms. This makes it possible to get your email campaigns and automation workflows in sync with your SMS auto reply messages.

MessageDesk also makes it easy to import a .csv file with a list of more than 500 subscribers or contacts at a time.

Note: Segmented and personalized messages will always produce more engagement and yield more responses. The best way to segment contacts is to group them based on their goals or similarities. The more segmented the group, the more direct and personalized you can make your messages.

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4. Set up a text message autoresponder keyword

Autoresponders get triggered when someone texts a keyword to your SMS phone number. Autoresponder keywords are often something like LEARN or PROMO.

You’ll want to choose a short yet memorable keyword for your autoresponders.

Here are some keyword examples used in context:

Dear {{ FirstName }}, Text SUBSCRIBE to receive all our latest news and exclusive offers! Text UNSUBSCRIBE to stop these updates.
Hi {{ FirstName} }, Text WEATHER to receive a 7-day weather forecast for the [AREA/CITY]. Want to stop receiving these messages? Just text STOP.
Hey {{ FirstName }}, text HOURS to see what our opening hours are over the Christmas holidays.

Note: Every automated text messaging service requires that you get consent from your contacts before you text them. TCPA compliance is mandatory for A2P 10DLC texting. Otherwise, contacts can’t receive automated texts from you. Read my guide to TCPA compliance for more information.

5. Set up office hours for out-of-office text messages

MessageDesk allows you to customize and set up automatic out-of-office messages. Just set availability using the date/time picker for any day of the week. You can also add emojis, images, personalization tags, and links to further personalize your auto response.

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6. Schedule a mass text broadcast to encourage people to opt-in

Once you’ve got your autoresponder set up it’s time to advertise your keywords.

There are several ways to do this:

  1. Make your autoresponder keyword visible on signage and billboards
  2. Advertise your text number on your website and social media accounts
  3. Include a click-to-text button from your website
  4. Send a mass text message broadcast, text blast, or bulk text to your contacts

Platforms like MessageDesk also let you chain messages for texting into campaigns. These campaigns deliver recurring messages over a period of time or send messages as one-time autoresponses.

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7. Automate text messages with Zapier

Zapier can make your entire messaging experience automatic. There are three ways you can use Zapier with MessageDesk to automate your text messaging.

Add or update a contact

Whenever a new contact is created in your CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce, you can sync them with MessageDesk. Or, when you add a contact to your rewards program or newsletter in an app like Square, Shopify, or Squarespace.

Add contact to a group

If you already have a contact and you want to add them to a group in MessageDesk you can do so as well.

Send a message

Trigger a text message to be sent when an action happens in another app. You can now automatically send a message to a customer 2 days before an appointment and much more.

Try Automated Texting Sofware for Free

Get started with a 14-day free MessageDesk trial. No payment required. ❤️

6 Ways Businesses and Organizations Use Text Message Automation

1. SMS marketing automation

Automated SMS marketing campaigns are great for creating demand and generating leads.

Many businesses and organizations begin automating their text message marketing with scheduled campaigns.

Campaigns can be sequences of broadcasts and auto-response texts for sending automatic text messages. Your objective is to get someone to text your keyword and opt-in to text messaging.

Once they’ve opted in, you can focus on delivering them relevant content.

SMS marketing automation best practices:

  • Start with a memorable keyword and a compelling content offer.
  • Be courteous upfront regarding your opt-out policies.
  • Send relevant content when someone texts your keyword and opt-in.
  • Text photos, images, and media like QR codes and gifs to show vs. tell a story
  • Include a single call to action (CTA).
  • Your CTA should drive a person to a webpage or other resource.
  • Good CTAs will prompt contacts to learn more or do something else.
  • After the person has opted-in, send them personalized follow-up messages based on their interactions with your business or organization.

SMS marketing automation examples:

  • Scheduling a new product announcement
  • Texting an image of a QR code to scan and learn more
  • Automatically sharing a new blog post or piece of content once it’s published
  • “Text Keyword To” automatic reply promo messages
  • Texting a link for text to give and text to donate campaigns for nonprofits and other organizations.
  • Automatic “Happy Birthday” promotional rewards
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Suggested Article: What is SMS Marketing | How to Run a Text Marketing Campaign

2. Automated outreach for sales teams

Texting can be an effective tool for sales teams. SMS works well for following up with prospects and keeping leads warm.

Automated text responses also give salespeople new ways to connect with leads and prospects. Text messages can be a great tool to keep deals moving forward.

Automated sales campaign best practices:

  • Schedule automated messages to send at relevant times like during business hours.
  • Include links that allow multiple recipients to schedule a meeting with you.
  • Be persistent and consistent in your messaging to establish a rapport with your recipients.
  • Keep messages short and to the point.
  • Provide a clear call to action (CTA).

Automated sales text message examples:

  • Schedule meeting or Zoom conference follow-ups
  • Share product information or promotions and special offers
  • Send automated shopping cart reminders for e-commerce sales
  • Automatic sales receipt messages
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3. Automated customer service responses

Automated text messages also work well for responding to customers and expectations. These kinds of automated customer support messages are informational.

They’re designed to deliver relevant information to contacts at the right time.

Automatic customer service text message best practices:

  • Consider how automated texting works with your other communications tools.
  • Personalize your text messaging and consider tone whenever possible.
  • Make sure your communication is relevant.
  • Make sure your communication is timely.
  • Set the right response time expectations.

Automatic customer service text message examples:

  • New customer welcome messages
  • Automatic out-of-office, office closed, or revised office hours messages
  • Instant “Text-to-Pay” messages and payment reminders based on due dates
  • Links to exit surveys, polls, and Google reviews
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Suggested Article: 7 Ways to Use Text Messaging to Improve Customer Service

4. Automated appointment reminders and confirmations

Using multiple communication methods to remind people? Then you’ll also want to consider automated text reminders.

You may already send an email reminder five days prior to an appointment. This could be followed by SMS messages three days in advance. Then, finally, a phone call the day before an appointment.

Automated appointment reminder best practices:

  • Make sure you have consent from your contacts to send automated texts.
  • Make your no-show and cancelation policies clear and transparent.
  • Only send automated text reminders at the right times (normal business hours).
  • Personalize text messages with media and tags like {{ FirstName }} whenever possible.
  • Make your texts actionable with calls to action (CTAs) for rescheduling or canceling.
  • Give your message recipients a way to call you by using a business text messaging service that supports call forwarding.
  • Treat text message appointment reminders like a campaign with multiple reminders days before and on the day of.
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Suggested Article: Guide to Text Message Appointment Reminders

5. Automated invoice and payment reminders

The key to automated payment reminders is including instructive calls to action (CTAs).

Calls to action in your automated messages tell a customer how to pay and eliminate confusion. Every time you tap send on an invoice reminder, you want to include a link and clear text.

Phrases like “Pay Now” can help eliminate confusion. The easier it is for a customer to pay an invoice, the more likely it will get paid on time.

Example invoice collection campaign

  • Day 1: email and text link to the invoice
  • Day 2: text invoice reminder
  • Day 3: text invoice reminder
  • Day 5: text invoice reminder
  • Day 7: email and text link to the invoice
  • Day 9: call customer
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Suggested Article: Guide to Small Business Invoicing

6. Automated review campaigns

Texting works great for sending a link to your Google business page. All you need is to include your Google review short link in your automated text messages.

Automated review campaign best practices:

  • Save your Google review message as a template with a shortlink preformatted and ready to go.
  • Add personalization tags like {{ First Name }} and {{ Last Name }} to the message.
  • Schedule Google review text message templates to send to people you know are pleased with your service.
  • Create groups of customers based on their actions and send them all a review message.
  • When a customer pays a bill, that’s a good time to send an automated review text message.

Suggested Article: The Ultimate Guide to Google Reviews

Automated Text Message Templates and Examples

Below I’ve added a list of text message templates and examples for use with automated text response campaigns. Check out my list of 60+ text message templates for more.

Special offer

Thanks for opt-ing in. We’ve got cool stuff headed your way. Here’s 10% off your next order to get you started. Use code 10PERCENT at checkout.

Thanks for joining

Thanks for joining {{ OrganizationName }}’s VIP text list! Get $5 off your next purchase when you show this text to your server at checkout! Expires 3/25.

Thanks for your interest

Thanks for your interest in {{ OrganizationName }}! We’ve got more info on our website at {{ OrganizationWebsite }}. In the meantime, check out this explainer video on YouTube: [URL]

Event updates

Hi, {{ FirstName }}! You’ve joined the event update text group. As a reminder, doors open at 3pm on Friday. For more info visit [LINK]. We can’t wait to see you!

RSVP

Hey {{ FirstName }}! Please respond YES or NO to RSVP for this week’s live webinar. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Volunteer opportunity

Hi, volunteers! Who’s interested in volunteering for our event? We’ll be helping {{ OrganizationName }} on 3/25 from 12-3pm. Respond back to RSVP and let us know if you’ll be joining us!

Reservation confirmed

Your Reservation at {{ OrganizationName }} is confirmed for [TIME]. Call or text {{ OrganizationPhone }} for updates and more information.

Order received

Thank you {{ FirstName }}, your order has been received! We will alert you when your order is ready for pick-up. Call or text {{ OrganizationPhone }} for updates and more information.

Abandoned cart

Hey {{ FirstName }}, you’ve got good taste. Just don’t forget the items in your shopping cart. Order within the next 2 hours to guarantee delivery by Wednesday!

Automated Birthday Rewards

Happy birthday {{ FirstName }}! To make you feel just a little more special we’ve got you for 30% off your next purchase. Just use code ITSMYBIRTHDAY at checkout and we’ll get things squared!

Out of office

Hello, {{ FirstName }}. We’re currently out of the office but we’ll be back during normal business hours. Our current business hours are: Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Office closed

Hi there, {{ FirstName }}. We’re currently closed. For order information please visit our website at {{ OrganizationWebsite }}.

Office hours holiday update

Hey {{ FirstName }}. Thanks for reaching out. Just an FYI we’ll be closed on Monday. For emergencies please call {{ OrganizationPhoneNumber }}.

Schedule a meeting

Hi {{ FirstName }}. Pick a time that works best for you to schedule a meeting: [LINK]

Appointment reminder

Hi {{ FirstName }}, this is {{ OrganizationName }} confirming you have an appointment on 3/25 at 3pm. Thanks for scheduling your appointment with us, and if you have any questions, reply via email or text. We’ll see you then!

Payment reminder

Hi {{ FirstName }}. Thanks again for your business. Here is a link to your invoice for {{ InvoiceBalance }} due on {{ InvoiceDueDate }}: {{ InvoicePaymentLink }}. If you have any questions feel free to call or text us back at {{ OrganizationPhone }}.

Review collection

Hey {{ FirstName }}, how was your experience shopping with us today? We pride ourselves on great service and it’s your feedback that makes that possible! Take a minute and let us know what you thought! [LINK] - {{ OrganizationName }}

Try Automated Texting Sofware for Free

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Final thoughts and next steps

An automated texting service can simplify your messaging and help your business or organization save time.

When used correctly, they're a fantastic way to build and maintain conversational experiences with your contacts, customers, and clients.

Start sending texts with a free MessageDesk account today. Check out our paid plans - pricing starts at just $14 per month. You’re also free to meet with a messaging expert for a demo.