How to Engage Your Audience With Automated Text Interaction Flows
Most marketing and communications managers are familiar with mass text messaging and text-for-information as ways of increasing customer engagement, but that’s not all you can do. Text messaging can also be used to interact with your target audience via automated, scripted flows. This is a great way to engage with current and potential customers because people appreciate the convenience of text, and you can quickly capture and provide information in support of user needs and business objectives.
What Can Automated Text Messaging Interaction Flows Be Used For?
Automated text interaction flows are a great way of providing information customers need, gathering explicit information from consumers, and for driving your audience to take action.
Automated text message interaction flows work really well for:
- Lead Generation
- Booking Appointments
- Event Reservations
- Incident Reporting
- Providing Product Information
- Conducting Surveys
For example, a lead generation text messaging flow might begin with a text thanking the customer for their interest in your product and requesting they reply with their name. The flow might then continue on with additional information-gathering questions like their email address and their sense of urgency. The final text message in the flow might be a thank you message setting the expectation that a company rep will be reaching out soon.
How Do Automated Interaction Flows via Text Message Work?
Automated interaction flows via text begin with a business goal in mind. A series of sequential questions is then designed to gather and/or provide information in support of that goal. Many text messaging consulting services support this feature and will assist you with designing an optimal text messaging flow. You can also add text interaction flows to your desktop or mobile application via API integration.
To start a text interaction flow, people who see your call-to-action will text a keyword of your choosing to a short or long phone number. They will then receive and respond to your sequence of automated questions via text. Their phone number, a date and time stamp, and their responses will be stored in a database or spreadsheet. Many platforms will automatically notify you when an interaction has taken place.
Best Practices for Texting Programs Using Automated Interaction Flows
All of the questions in an automated text messaging flow are important, but the first and last are especially important. The first response should serve as confirmation to the user that they have taken the correct action. This can be achieved by including the organization name and by indicating next steps that are in line with the call-to-action that prompted the person to interact in the first place.
Thank you for your interest in Acme widgets! Let’s get started. Please reply with your first and last name.
The final message in the flow should end with the information the user needs, a call-to-action (e.g. tap here to…), or set an expectation (e.g. we will be calling you soon). For example:
Thanks again! We’re pleased to meet you. An Acme representative will be in touch by phone later today.
As noted above, many scripted text interaction features notify organizations when a new interaction record is available. Setting up an internal process for flagging when a record has been reviewed and/or acted on is important. This will help ensure an organization responds promptly when follow up is needed and that there are no duplicate internal efforts.
Automated interaction text flows are a great way to engage with your audience. If you end a flow with a call to action, it will likely contain a URL. Read Best Practices for Using URLs in SMS Text Messaging for tips on ensuring a positive user experience for your audience and a successful outcome for your organization.