How to Set Up a Text Message Autoresponder with Smart Replies

August 18, 2022 | By Sam Pelton
How to Set Up a Text Message Autoresponder with Smart Replies

Don’t you sometimes wish you could just add a few more hours to the end of the day?

I’ll bet you’re someone who’s always looking out for better, more efficient, and less expensive ways to run your business.

Because, let’s face it… There just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything that you want to do.

(Not to mention, not enough money in the bank account!)

You want to provide the absolute best customer service possible. But with the busyness and constraints that come with the realities of life, you need tools that allow you to serve customers or run operations in the most effective, efficient, and cost-effective way possible.

And that’s why we live in a world of automation.

Because automation is just so dang convenient!

But there’s one area of your business in which you probably haven’t implemented automation to its fullest potential: a text message autoresponder.

Utilizing a text message autoresponder flow (we call them “Smart Replies”) can save time, hassle, and money, for both consumers and businesses.

What Is a Text Message Autoresponder Via Smart Replies?

Do you want to give your customers a QUICK AND EASY way to get the info they need?

Or maybe you want to direct them to the right kinds of promotions that will be relevant to their interests?

Giving your customers a streamlined, easy experience will INCREASE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION, BOOST SALES, and LEAVE YOU MORE SATISFIED with your business’s performance.

Setting up a text message autoresponder through Smart Replies allows you to create and send out automated text responses.

These automated responses are triggered by whatever particular word your customer texts in.

This enables you to create an engaging and interactive experience for your text subscribers with little effort on your part!

A text message autoresponder flow via Smart Replies may look something like this:

  • Your customer texts in a keyword to subscribe to your SMS promotions.
  • Your customer receives an automatic confirmation message upon subscribing.
  • The automatic confirmation message contains instructions for your customer to reply back with other words, based on what they need or are interested in.
  • Your customer replies back with the appropriate word, which triggers a new automated message.

Here’s a flow chart of how it might work:

Smart Replies Flow Chart

(There is no limit to how many “trigger words” and automated responses you can set up, so the possibilities are almost endless!)

Why Use Smart Replies for a Text Message Autoresponder?

If you’re smart, you’re probably thinking, “This sounds kind of cool, but is it something I really need?”

So while some of the reasons already mentioned may be a bit compelling, perhaps you need more of a nudge.

Check out these stats on texting:

Why Use Text Alerts - 3 reasons infographic

In addition, Hubspot shows these numbers:

  • 82% of consumers think that getting an “immediate” response to a sales inquiry is important or very important
  • 90% of consumers think that getting an “immediate” response to a customer service inquiry is important or very important

So basically, using SMS for your business is… well, kind of a no-brainer!

And using autoresponders can help you get the “immediacy” aspect your customers are looking for.

But how?

What Are Some Examples of a Text Message Autoresponder?

Here is a sampling of some ways you could use Smart Replies as a text message autoresponder.

Provide Easy Answers to Sales Inquiries

Why not give your sales leads a quick (and CONVENIENT) way to find info on your services?

This saves them the hassle of having to dig around your website, which removes barriers to their conversion journey.

And, of course, fewer barriers to purchasing means more purchases. And more purchases means a more successful business and greater satisfaction for you with your marketing efforts!

This is how a “sales” text message autoresponder flow might look:

Send Targeted Promotions

All the time, effort, and money you put into your sales promotions are wasted if you’re giving the wrong kinds of promotions to the wrong types of people.

If someone’s not in the market for new shoes, for example, they won’t care about your outstanding “half-off” shoe deal.

Using a Smart Replies autoresponder flow can help direct people to the right deals that are relevant to them.

This means they are more likely to take advantage of those deals, which means better pay-off for your efforts, less anxiety about wasted marketing efforts, and greater sales.

Here’s an Example of How the Flow Might Be Set Up

After your customer texts in your keyword to subscribe to your text alerts, they could receive the following. > Thank you for subscribing to ’s text alerts! What deals are you interested in? Reply SHOES, TOPS, ACCESSORIES, or ALL.

Depending on how someone responds to the above message, they would receive a text back with the relevant promotion.

Answer Basic Questions

Many times people just need basic info, such as your company hours, availability, or a link to order.

You could save yourself and your customers some time by compiling a list of some of the most common and basic questions your customers ask.

Then you could set up easy trigger words that will send out the answers to some of those questions.

The Flow Could Look Something Like This

After your customer texts in your keyword to subscribe to your text alerts, they could receive the following: > Thanks for subscribing to ’s text alerts! For store hours, reply HOURS. For weekly specials, reply SPECIALS.

Depending on how someone responds to the above message, they could receive any of the following:

If your customer replies with HOURS > We are open 8am-7pm M-F and 10am-6pm on weekends!

If your customer replies with SPECIALS > Here are our specials for the week! Monday: Free appetizer with any entree purchase. Tuesday: Half-priced chicken entrees. Wednesday: $3 off drinks. Thursday: 75% off desserts.

Provide Account or Order Information

As a consumer yourself, have you ever tried to find some info about an account or about an order and been frustrated that the information wasn’t easy to find?

You want to help prevent this kind of frustration for your customers.

Using Smart Replies as a text message autoresponder gives you an opportunity to provide your customers with EASY links so they can locate the info they’re looking for.

This Is What This Type of Flow Might Look Like

After your customer texts in your keyword to subscribe to your text alerts, they could receive the following: > Thanks for subscribing to ’s text alerts! For order status and updates, reply STATUS. To make changes to your order, reply CHANGES. To place another order, reply ORDER.

Depending on how someone responds to the above message, they could receive any of the following:

If your customer replies with STATUS > Click here to view your order status: [link]

If your customer replies with CHANGES > Click here to make a change to your order: [link]

If your customer replies with ORDER > Click here to place another order: [link]

Create an SMS Support Bot

Building on all of these different uses (providing easy answers to sales inquiries, answering basic questions, and providing links to account information), you can utilize Smart Replies as a text message autoresponder support bot.

What does that mean, exactly?

It means you can use automated texts to process and answer all different kinds of questions and support inquiries, just like you might use an automated phone system (i.e. “Press 1 if you need to , press 2 if you have ”).

This is also similar to how you might interact with an online chatbot.

In this way you can mix and match different types of automated responses based on whatever you think your customers may have questions about.

For an example of what an SMS support bot might look like, check out our support bot Mya by texting MYA to 74121.

Business casual woman holding books and texting smart replies

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How Hard Is It to Set Up a Text Message Autoresponder?

At this point you may be thinking…

  • “This sounds like a lot of work!”
  • “I’m not super computer-savvy!”
  • “I don’t want to spend hours getting something like this set up!”

Never fear!

Setting up these Smart Replies is easy.

The hard part is just deciding what kind of content you want to include in your Smart Replies workflow, but you’re welcome to use some of the examples above for guidance!

Once you’ve decided what you want to send in your Smart Replies text autoresponder workflow, it’s just a matter of entering those messages into your SMS marketing platform.

There are 3 simple steps to this.

Step 1: Create an Account

You first need to create an account on the SMS marketing platform.

But don’t worry - If you’re still not sure whether you want to move forward with a full plan, you can always get your feet wet with a free trial account first.

Step 2: Set Up Your Opt-in Keyword

Once you have an account set up, you can go directly to the Opt-in Keywords page and set up your initial opt-in word and welcome response.

This is the word people will first text in to be automatically subscribed to your text list. They’ll receive the first welcome message automatically upon texting in the keyword. (You’ll be able to view the opt-in keyword and the text-in phone number anytime there under the Opt-in Keywords page.)

Step 3: Input the Smart Reply Messages

Once your Opt-in Keyword is set up, all that’s left to do is to input all of your autoresponder messages from the Smart Replies page.

To input an autoresponder message, you can simply…

  • Navigate to that Smart Replies page
  • Select the “Add Smart Reply” button
  • Input your trigger word (this is the word people will text that will initiate the autoresponse message)
  • Input the message you’d like to be automatically sent out
  • Click “Save”

Do this for each message you’d like to set up, and your text message autoresponder flow is good to go.

How Much Does a Text Message Autoresponder Cost?

Now we come to the million-dollar question.

Can your business afford this? How much does it all cost?

Cost Factors

The answer really depends on 3 primary factors:

  • The size of your customer/lead base
  • How many of those customers/leads sign up for your text alerts and engage with your Smart Replies
  • How many other SMS you decide to send aside from the automated flows

If you’re a smaller business just getting started with a text alert system, it can cost you as little as $19 per month.

Larger enterprise businesses can run upwards of $1,300 per month or more.

So as you can see, costs really vary!

Cost Breakdown

You can use a convenient slider tool here to help you determine how much a text message autoresponder system would cost for you.

But if you want a little more of a breakdown at a glance, here’s a chart that could help:

  • If you’re sending 1,000 messages or fewer per month: $19-$35 per month
  • If you’re sending 1,001-5,000 messages per month: $48-$138 per month
  • If you’re sending 5,001-20,000 messages per month: $110-$449 per month
  • If you’re sending 20,001-50,000 messages per month: $349-$949 per month
  • If you’re sending 50,001-100,000 messages per month: $749-$1,749 per month
  • If you’re sending more than 100,000 messages per month, you’ll want to get a custom quote.

And if you have no idea how many messages you may need for your business, no worries!

You can always start on the lower plans and upgrade later as needed.

Businessman texting smart replies outside

What Are Some Tips and Best Practices for Setting up a Text Message Autoresponder Flow?

Maybe you still feel a little intimidated by this whole process.

You like the idea but you’re just not sure how you would get it implemented.

What kinds of “trigger” words would you set up? What type of message flow should you pursue? How many messages should you include in your flow?

Here are some tips to get you started.

Tips for Your Trigger Words

Your “trigger” words would be the words people must text so that they will automatically receive the response message.

What “trigger” words should you use to initiate your text message autoresponder flow?

1. Use Single Words

While you can use multi-word triggers, we would recommend that your triggers be single words with no spaces and no punctuation.

This just helps remove confusion and make things easier for your customers.

So for example, instead of “ACCOUNT INFORMATION” as your trigger word, you can simply have “ACCOUNT” as the trigger.

2. Make It Simple

Don’t use a complicated or difficult-to-spell word as your trigger.

Instead, use simple words like won’t get mistyped, misspelled, or fall victim to auto-correct issues.

Some examples of what NOT to use as triggers:

  • Your business name, if it’s a difficult or unusual name
  • Words that could be confused with other similar words like EFFECT/AFFECT
  • Difficult words that will probably get auto-corrected on people’s phones, like HORSDOEUVRES

Some examples of triggers you could use instead:

  • INFO
  • FOOD

Tips for Your Autoresponse Messages

Your autoresponse messages are the texts that are sent automatically when your customers reply with the designated trigger word.

Here are some ways you can craft the best and most effective autoresponses.

1. Don’t Give Too Many Options

In your autoresponse messages, you shouldn’t overwhelm your customers with too many trigger options for them to text in.

While there may be exceptions, we would generally recommend limiting your autoresponse messages to listing 3 or fewer trigger options each.

2. Keep Your Messages Short

Stay under the 160 character limit for SMS messages when possible.

This will serve 2 purposes:

  • It will help save you money by using up fewer messaging credits (since messages beyond 160 characters count as 2 or more credits per recipient).
  • It will help keep your messages brief and to the point, which people will generally prefer.

People don’t want to read whole paragraphs! When it comes to SMS, short and sweet is usually better.

3. Don’t Make People Have to Follow a Bunch of Steps

Building onto the previous point about keeping your autoresponse messages short, also try to make them as concise as possible.

Try to give them the information they’re looking for quickly, so they don’t have to keep texting in different trigger words, or end up walking away confused and frustrated.

Make it easy for them!

Example of what to do:

Customer responds with the trigger word HOURS, and your autoresponse gives them some simple information regarding your business hours.

Example of what NOT to do:

Customer responds with the trigger word HOURS, and your autoresponse sends the following message: > Reply MONDAY to view our Monday hours, TUESDAY to view our Tuesday hours, WEDNESDAY to view our Wednesday hours

and so on…

Then the customer replies MONDAY and your autoresponse sends the following message: > Reply NORMAL for our normal Monday hours or HOLIDAY for our holiday hours,

and so on.

Keep it simple!

4. Give Your Customers an Easy Option to Reach a Real Person

It is extremely frustrating as a consumer to not be able to easily reach a real person when you have a simple question.

While automated systems have their place, make sure your customers have an easy way to reach a real representative for your business directly. That way, they don’t feel like they’re going in circles.

As an example, you could do this by having your phone number at the bottom of your text. Or you could have a specific trigger option that would direct them with info on how to speak to a live person.

Conclusion: Use a “Smart Replies” Text Message Autoresponder to Boost Your Business and Make Your Life Easier

So now you know all about Smart Replies and setting up a text message autoresponder.

You know:

  • What Smart Replies are
  • Why you should use them
  • How you can use them
  • How to set them up
  • How much they cost
  • What are best practices for setting them up

It’s time to get a text message autoresponder set up for your own business so you can give your business a boost and make your life easier!

Sign Up Today.

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