June 17, 2020
Recently, one of our readers asked if it was possible to send SMS messages to their subscribers along with email newsletters.
The answer is yes. You can easily send text messages to your website users by using one of the many SMS plugins for WordPress.
In this article, we’ll show you how to send SMS messages to your WordPress users, step by step.
Sending SMS messages can be highly effective in bringing back customers to your website. Particularly, when used with other marketing tools like an email newsletter, push notifications, and search traffic.
Text messages have a fantastic open rate. Some studies suggest that SMS open rates are as high as 98%.
Compare that with a typical open rate of just 20% for emails, and you can see why SMS messages are becoming a preferred marketing medium.
People check text messages much more quickly than they check emails. It takes an average of 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text and 90 minutes to respond to an email.
Of course, you don’t want to overdo it. Even when they’ve opted in, most users won’t want daily texts from you. Even weekly might be too much.
Important: Make sure you obey the law. Different countries have different legal requirements for text messages, particularly marketing messages.
You might also want to use SMS messages to send receipts or order updates. We’ll cover how to do that later in this tutorial.
Sendinblue is an email marketing service that also allows you to send SMS messages to your subscribers.
To get started, you’ll need to set up an account with Sendinblue if you haven’t already got one. On the Sendinblue website, click the ‘Sign up free’ button to start creating your account.
Once you’ve finished the account setup process, you’ll see your Sendinblue dashboard. If you didn’t complete your profile during the setup stage, you’ll be prompted to do so here.
Before you can start sending messages, you’ll need to contact the support team. Go to the Sendinblue contact page and write a message that includes:
Once your account has been approved, you’ll get an email from Sendinblue. Note that this can take up to 24 hours.
While you’re waiting for your account to be approved, you can start creating an SMS campaign in Sendinblue.
First, click the + button in the Sendinblue menu to go to the Apps and Integrations page.
Then, scroll down the page to find the SMS Campaigns app and click the slider to activate it.
Next, you’ll need to purchase SMS credits. In your Sendinblue dashboard, you’ll see ‘0 SMS Credits’ on the left-hand side. You need to click the ‘Get more credits’ link to purchase SMS credits.
You’ll be taken to the ‘My Plan’ area of the dashboard. In the SMS Credits section, click the ‘Get More SMS Credits’ link.
Sendinblue defaults to selling you 100 credits at a time. You can buy fewer, but the minimum charge is still $1.14 plus tax.
Note: It costs 1 credit to send a text message in the US, but you’ll need to pay more than 1 credit per message in other countries.
Once you have selected the number of credits, go ahead and complete your purchase.
Once you’ve bought your credits, you may need to wait for up to 48 hours for them to appear in your account. You may also get an email from Sendinblue asking you for more details about what type of SMS marketing you plan to do.
This is to help you stay in compliance with SMS laws.
You’ll need to reply to them with answers to their questions before your credits can be added to your account.
In order to send out SMS messages, you’ll need to import your list. You can do this by going to the Contacts tab in your Sendinblue dashboard. Then, click the ‘Import contacts’ button.
You can either upload a .csv file from your computer, or you can copy and paste contacts line by line. Whichever option you choose, Sendinblue offers examples to help you.
Important: Your users need to have opted in for SMS marketing messages.
You can collect website visitor’s phone numbers and consent using a WordPress form plugin like WPForms, or using a marketing popup plugin like OptinMonster.
Once your credits show up and your account is approved, you can start sending messages.
First, you’ll want to add a test contact in Sendinblue, so you can test your SMS campaign.
Simply, go to the Contacts section in your dashboard, then click the ‘Add a contact’ button.
Next, fill in your details, including your mobile phone number.
After that, you can either add your test contact to an existing list, or you can create a new one.
Once you’ve done that, click ‘Save and close’. You should see a message telling you that the subscriber has been successfully added.
When your SMS credits have been added to your account, you can test out sending a text message.
First, go to the SMS tab in your Sendinblue dashboard. Next, click the ‘Create my first SMS campaign’ button.
You can enter whatever you want for your Campaign Name. This isn’t seen by the recipients. You should also enter an SMS Sender. This will display for users in certain countries.
Next, enter your SMS message. Beneath the message box, you can see how many characters you’ve used and how many SMS messages will be sent.
At the bottom of the screen, click the ‘Send a test’ button.
Next, a popup box will appear. Enter your mobile number, which you included when you added yourself as a contact earlier.
You should see a message telling you that your test message has been sent successfully.
Now, check your phone to see if the text has come through. Here’s ours:
If your text hasn’t arrived, wait a minute or two and it should appear. If not, double-check that you’re using the right mobile number.
Once you know everything’s working, you can continue setting up your campaign. Click the X to close the ‘Send a test’ window, then click the ‘Next Step’ button on the top right of the screen.
Now, you’ll need to choose your contact list(s). Check all the lists you want to use, then click the ‘Next Step’ button.
That’s all you need to do! Your SMS campaign is now ready to send.
You can review the details and change them if you want to, using the ‘Return to this step’ links. Once you’re happy, click ‘Schedule’ on the top right.
You can either schedule your campaign so that your texts are sent out at a specific time, or you can send it immediately.
Important: Avoid sending your text messages early in the morning or late at night. Be mindful of timezones, too. Not everyone will remember to turn on Do Not Disturb mode overnight.
What if you want to send your customers notifications about their orders?
If you’ve decided to start an online store, then you might want to send text updates as well as emails to your customers.
The easiest way to do that is with a suitable plugin such as YITH WooCommerce SMS Notifications. This plugin lets you use an SMS gateway, such as Twilio, to send SMS messages to your customers. They receive these when their order status changes, such as when it’s dispatched.
You can set up YITH WooCommerce SMS Notifications so that it’s enabled for all customers, or you can let customers opt-in at the checkout.
Also, you can use it to get SMS notifications yourself about new orders. This makes it easy to stay on top of things if you’re away from your computer.