SMS text messaging is a great way to communicate with contacts and leads because you’re able to reach them pretty much anytime, with stellar delivery and open rates.
On the flip side, you can get into real trouble sending messages to people who didn’t sign up to receive them, as we discussed in our “How not to be a spammer” video.
I want you to be able to send your SMS messages to people who want them and avoid sending them to people who don’t. So in this video, I’ll go through the entire process in 4 steps:
Get an SMS number
Create a text message
Set up an automated welcome text and then
Get your contacts to opt in.
First, let’s get an SMS number.
You can purchase a number by hovering over the profile icon in your Ontraport account, selecting “Administration,” Data then “SMS” and finally, “+Buy Number.”
You can search for numbers by country and area code. Choose the country, area code and phone number you want to use.
The “Voice message” box is where you can write text for an automated message. If a customer tries to call your number, the message you write in this box will play back to them as an automated recording.
A few extra things you should know:
The first number in your account is free. It’s going to be $5 a month for every additional number.
Note that you will be charged for every message sent and received by the number you purchase. Costs vary from country to country but they start at about two cents per message.
In some countries, like Australia, there’s some additional paperwork required to set this up, so if your country isn’t available, contact our support team and we’ll walk you through that process.
Once you have your SMS number, you’re ready to move on to the next step… Which is to Create messages.
We’ve talked about how to create messages in past videos and it’s just as easy with SMS.
Let’s start by creating a welcome message. This is important because you’re actually required to tell people how to opt out in the first message you send them.
Go to messages, click + new message, and then click SMS.
We’ll name the message in the upper left, something like ‘Opt-in Welcome’. Then, just type something in here like ‘Hi there, you’ve opted in to receive texts from PawsitiveVibes. To opt out, reply STOP.’
That last bit is the required opt-out message, so don’t forget it!
You can also include a link to a free resource here, like an ebook or some other valuable content.
Save this message and you’re done.
Next, I’ll show you how to automate your initial response.
When someone opts in to receive SMS messages, you’ll want to send them that welcome text we just wrote, so let’s take care of that now.
Let’s assume that you’ll have some people opt in by entering their number into a form, and others who might opt in by texting you directly. The latter usually happens when you’re running a live event or webinar and you tell people, “Hey, text your email address to this number and I’ll send you a free resource.”
We’ll create a new automation for this and our trigger will be simple: “SMS Received from Contact.” Since we said we’re getting opt-ins from a form also, we’ll add a second trigger for ‘Contact submits a form’ so now either action will kick this off.
Then, we’ll add your welcome message by clicking on the ‘what happens next’ box here, and selecting an SMS element. In the palette editor on the left, select the text message we wrote in the last step as well as the number you want to send it from, which we created in the first step.
Then just add an end element here and here, name your automation something like ‘text opt in welcome.’
Publish the campaign, and you’re done!
The last step will be to get contacts to opt in.
There are two ways to do this. You can use either one or both!
If you want contacts to fill out a form with their phone number, set it up so they can enter their SMS number into a form.
You’ll do that by specifically selecting “SMS number” for the field -- you can’t just use any number field. If you don’t like the way that looks for someone filling out your form, remember you can always rename it with a label that you like better: “mobile number” or “cell number” or whatever else.
If people text your SMS number, and the text includes a contact’s email address, we’ll merge that number with the existing record that shares the email address in your account, if there is one. Otherwise, we’ll create a new record with both the email and SMS number.
Actually, there are three formats that our system captures — a contact’s email address, a contact’s first name and email address and a contact’s first name, last name and email address.
Before we wrap up, there are a few more things I want to run by you about SMS. First, let’s talk about default country codes. Ontraport is out of the US, so the default in all accounts is the US unless you change it. What this means is that a +1 gets added to every number automatically. In other words, Ontraport assumes any number entered in a form is a US number.
But let’s say you’re an Australian business, and everyone you want to text is Australian too. That’s an easy fix.
To change the default country code, just go to the business information section and change the country to “Australia” in the country field -- or your home country. This will change the default country code automatically.
You have one more option with country codes. Maybe you’ve got folks opting in from all over the world and anticipate that choosing a default country code is going to cause you problems. In that case, just set up the form to include the country field on it -- problem solved!
That’s all there is to it! From here on out, you’ll be able to send contacts SMS messages in the same way that you’d send them an email — one at a time, using a broadcast or automation or through “Contact Quick View.”
Great work! You’ve just completed the four-step process of setting up an SMS number, creating your SMS messages, automating your initial response and getting contacts to opt in to receive your texts.
Before we wrap up this course, let’s tackle one last major issue, one that many people often have questions about — email delivery.