You may be familiar with email autoresponders. Well, SMS autoresponders are similar in function, but just a little different conceptually. There are two basic ways to use an SMS autoresponder: a single reply or specific replies based on keywords received. Here are the differences:
Every time your virtual mobile number (VMN) receives a message, a previously created autoresponse will be sent to the sender. This would work great if you wanted to send a standard message to everyone – like an out-of-office notification or a receipt confirmation (i.e. “Thank you for your message, someone will be in touch shortly.”.
But the true power of autoresponders comes in the ability to customise replies using keywords.
When using a VMN you can specify any keyword you want to use in your campaign (if you’re using a shortcode you’ll have to restrict yourself to the keywords you’ve purchased – unless you own the shortcode too!). For this, you could run an opt-in campaign using the keyword JOIN.
Anyone who sent the word JOIN would get your welcome message. If someone misspelled JOIN by accident – say they sent JOINT (autocorrect possibly?) – they would get no response – so it’s a good idea to think about the common misspellings and set them up as keywords also.
Using keywords, you could have customers opt in to other lists so you can segment your marketing to make it even more effective. You could also use a series of autoresponders to create a short survey that varies the questions based on the reply received. To do this sort of survey you simply need to ask participants to pre-pend their answers with A1 (for question 1) and then have the keyword ‘A1’ trigger question 2, and so on.
By creating autoresponders based on keyword processing you’ll be able to keep the people on your list informed, make them feel like they are interacting with you (even if they know it’s an autoresponder), and also help you make the most of every message.