Are you tired of how impersonal it feels to send emails or post on social media? These are tried and tested marketing platforms but it can feel like nobody is listening or that your emails are being deleted unopened. You should consider adding SMS messaging to your marketing plan, its format is very similar to an email subscription, but instead of sending out emails en masse, its short texts with a 160 character limit. These texts can contain coupon codes — or a link to a coupon — that you can show at a store or restaurant. Just like in any other subscription plan you can opt-in or opt-out at any time. It’s another great way to generate revenue!
We are all familiar with text messaging, it’s a reliable communication medium, and the greatest thing is that the messaging app comes in all phone models, no need to download extra apps. Receiving and sending texts feels really personal, like you are having a face to face conversation and it’s a part of our everyday lives.
If you want to expand your customer base and keep them engaged in a different way, you may consider researching WordPress SMS plugins and designing an SMS marketing plan.
What’s SMS marketing good for?
SMS marketing is a similar way of communicating with users as social media posts or emails, though not as much seems to have been written about it. Anyone with a WordPress website can find a useful function for it:
- If you have an ecommerce, you can send out SMS to your customers’ phones to update them on their order status or to offer them coupons and discounts.
- If you offer a service that requires appointments with clients (dentists, real estate agents, handymen, etc), you can send reminders for appointments.
- If you are a content creator, you can send a notification for new posts.
- If you are a charity, you can notify of upcoming charity drives and fundraisers.
- If your website has membership or subscription plans, you can send links for quick renewals.
- If you have a business, you can notify of vouchers and promotions. You can also send your customers short polls, quizzes, or surveys to get feedback.
But you need a phone number database in order to be able to send SMS. There are different options for collecting phone numbers. One option is to add a field in the account creation form for your customers to complete with their phone number. This field should not be a requirement for creating an account, if a customer doesn’t want to supply you with their phone number, they’ll complete the field with a fake number and your SMS bill will be more expensive and not reach all your customers. This is a strict opt-in marketing channel.
Another option is by having customers and potential customers make the first move by sending a keyword relevant to your business (such as ‘SHOES’ or ‘TICKETS’) via SMS to a shortcode phone number (a simple 5-digit number like ‘22333’).
Another option is by making a form available at physical stores where they can provide their phone number at the checkout counter.
Once you create your phone number database, in order to send messages en masse you’ll need a platform for mass text messaging, such as a WordPress SMS plugin.
Pros of installing an SMS plugin on your WordPress site
As you can see, text messaging is an incredibly versatile tool that will compliment your digital marketing plan. The stats will blow your mind:
- SMS have a 98% open rate while email only has 20-30%.
- 90% of SMS are read within 3 seconds.
- 50 percent of US consumers receiving branded SMS texts go on to make direct purchases.
- SMS marketing recipients have about a 14% conversion.
- SMS has the ability to support other digital marketing mediums.
- SMS are so popular because their 160 character limit makes them easy to understand and it takes no time to read them.
Here you can take a look at a text message marketing case study. In summary, a British motor racing circuit used a text messaging campaign to provide their 45,000 recipients with an optimized ticket ordering page and it generated a 680% ROI. Fascinating!
You probably feel ready to have SMS messaging as part of your marketing plan now. It’s clear it’s an incredibly effective marketing channel. There are several WordPress SMS plugin options that you can invest in that feature seamless integration with your other plugins, text message creation through the WordPress interface, the ability to send short links, useful analytics, and allow you to manage everything through a single platform.
Diverse WordPress SMS plugin options
Up next: an assortment of 10 different plugin options, some may be more suitable for some functions than others. Do as much research as you need to find the one most suitable for your business!
1. Formidable Forms with the Twilio SMS Add-On
Get the Formidable Pro Business Package and start collecting your customers’ phone numbers into your Formidable Forms! If you are interested in creating forms and having the information input through text messages this is a great option. Formidable Forms is super useful for community text voting, having customers answer surveys without them having visit your site, and recording all answers to a text for future marketing analysis.
All communication can be done through SMS with the Twilio SMS add-on. Twilio is a cloud communications platform that adds messaging to your websites: send and receive global SMS, MMS and chat messages. There’s no need to negotiate contracts with carriers, with its software you can reach everyone. There are no contracts with Twilio, you pay for what you use, starting at $0.0075 per text sent or received.
Another useful feature is the conditional and scheduled messages, great for the holiday season, sending birthday wishes, and asking for feedback after appointments.
2. Gravity Forms with the Twilio add-on
A popular alternative to Formidable Forms is Gravity Forms, so if you already have it installed, know that it also has Twilio add-on that can be seamlessly integrated. Now you can start receiving notifications by SMS whenever a form is submitted or payment is received. It also has a URL shortener for sending links, as it integrates with Bitly; and with the PayPal add-on you can send an SMS notification once payment has been confirmed.
The Twilio add-on is available with Gravity’s Pro and Elite licenses. Check out the other add-ons included in each pack and see how they’ll also help you engage with your customers.
3. Appointment Hour Booking with Twilio or Clickatell add-on
An appointment booking interface allows both parties communicate their availability in a clear way, there is no more need for tedious back and forth conversations trying to agree on a date or time of the day. The Appointment Hour Booking can be used for appointments that have a specific start time and duration! You can set open hours and working days, set the duration of the appointment, and also define unavailable dates. This WordPress plugin is useful for scheduling classes, doctor’s appointments, meetings and more.
Appoint Hour Booking is a flexible tool that allows for lots of customizations and plugins. You can link the form to a payment processor plugin and to an SMS add-on.
There are two SMS add-on options for Appointment Hour Booking:
- By pairing with Twilio: You can send automated booking and reminder notifications as SMS so clients won’t forget about upcoming appointments and also give them the possibility to reschedule.
- By pairing with Clickatell: Allows bilateral communication between you and your client by sending personalized messages to mobile phones around the world, and you can see the analytics reports in real time. You can access the Clickatell add-on by purchasing the Appointment Hour Booking Professional plan.
If you are only texting clients within the US, and you are using a long number instead of a shortcode, the prices are comparable. Otherwise, if you are texting outside the US and/or want to use a shortcode, Clickatell will cost extra.
4. Joy of Text
Connecting with your customers and blog followers is easy with Joy of Text. With the free version, Joy of Text Lite, you can send SMS to groups or individuals. It has a built in subscription form and it automatically sends a welcoming message to those who subscribe. You can also personalize your messages with a wide range of tags and check that each phone entered is valid.
On the other hand, Joy of Text Pro has the following additional features: it has support for Twilio, integration with the WordPress user database, you can receive and route inbound SMS messages to a phone or email, you can remote message, read text exchanges as message threads, and do much more!
Joy of Text can be seamlessly integrated with WooCommerce, Gravity Forms, Easy Digital Downloads and WhatsApp.
Keep your customers happy with automatic notifications!
SMS is the best way to notify customers about their order’s status, and with Twilio for WooCommerce — an official WooCommerce add-on — you can even customize the ‘Successfully Delivered’ SMS and add a coupon code for your customer’s next purchase, don’t be afraid to be creative with this fast and effective tool.
With Twilio for WooCommerce, clients can opt-in to the SMS updates during check-out, and they’ll receive a new text whenever their order status changes. This add-on is fully customizable, you can personalize the text for all status updates through the Order Status Manager. It’s really easy to use!
Amelia is another WordPress booking plugin. It allows you to send reminders for upcoming events as email and SMS notifications to your customers (or employees). It’s perfect for law consultants, gyms, clinics, beauty salons and repair centers.
It’s very simple: choose when to send the reminder from the three options available, pick your sender ID name and set up your message options. No training needed before you can start using it.
With Amelia, you can fully automate the interaction with customers into a smooth booking experience. Synch with Google Calendar and WooCommerce, set a custom services schedule, add custom fields to booking forms, configure one-off events and more!
Easy Appointments is a free plugin for managing reservations. In order to create text reminders, it requires that you purchase the All in One Extension package to integrate Twilio and add a phone field into your client form.
Some of Easy Appointments’ features are the ability to create a full calendar for each location, service and worker with even the most complex time table. Regarding price tags, you can hide the price, add custom currency, and display its before/after.
With the extension you can add to your plugin: 2-way Google Calendar sync, iCalendar, Twilio, and integrate WooCommerce and PayPal. Twilio will allow you to send SMS notifications for booking confirmations and reminders, and there are templates included for faster communication.
Notification is a great alternative to the default WordPress emails. You can create custom push notifications and alerts in minutes for your subscribers. This integration opens the door for easy push and SMS notifications.
It’s super easy: pick a trigger action (such as posting new content), create a message, set its recipients, and save! Now every time the action occurs, the notification you created will be sent to the people you’ve listed as recipients.
You can also create notifications for yourself, for example, for when there is a new comment or a new user has registered.
The Pushbullet extension will allow you to turn these notifications into SMS messages. Other extensions available allow you to send notifications when certain conditions are fulfilled, schedule notifications, and link to WooCommerce. So far Pushbullet only allows you to send texts to Android phones.
Another option for boosting your business: with WordPress SMS you can manage subscribers and groups, schedule SMS, send SMS newsletters and it supports unicode. After a quick install and simple configuration, you’ll discover that its interface is very user-friendly.
WordPress SMS works well for all SMS marketing functions, it’s great for everyone, from restaurants, to charities, to churches to ecommerce sites. Compose and schedule texts right on your WordPress dashboard!
This is a great option for those who are looking for the freedom to choose their SMS provider.
This plugin combines text message marketing and purchase updates. This is a free plugin, you only have you pay for the messages. It’s straightforward and optimized for ecommerce.
WooSMS is great for sending bulk SMS messages promoting products and notifying customers about their orders. You can also use WooSMS to send you messages every time a new order is placed or you run out of stock.
WooSMS has been designed to ease business transactions when clients are from other countries, it has multilingual templates and the numbers are automatically converted into their international format.
This is a very complete plugin, other features included are URL shortener and the possibility for bilateral communication with customers.
Maybe none of these options feel suitable to your needs, in that case, continue exploring! There are many more plugin options available for WordPress. In fact, if you have some coding experience, you can try creating your very own plugin in PHP, check the Twilio blog, it has a great tutorial for it.
Or you can use Zapier, which will integrate all your favourite tools. Its free version connects you to their support team, establishes one-to-one connections between your apps and allows you to automate some tasks. Super easy! With a few clicks create workflow and spend more time on solving important problems. With the Premium version you can build more complex workflows with more steps and add conditionals.
SMS is becoming an increasingly essential part of effective multi-channel marketing and it does not require heavy investment. It’s a super easy-to-use tool that allows for a lot of customization and there are numerous apps for all its applications, from online retailers to service providers.
SMS is one of the most immediate messaging channels and it allows for 1:1 interaction with customers. Email and social media are tried and tested methods and you can easily integrate text messaging into your campaign.
After analyzing ten options for SMS plugins, we can conclude that SMS marketing can also track meaningful ROI and gather useful information, thus debunking the misconception of it being an untrackable channel.