The Ultimate Guide SMS Chatbots
This is the ultimate guide to SMS chatbots in 2023.
In this guide, I will cover:
- What SMS chatbots are
- Why you should use them
- What chatbot software to use
- And how to create a SMS chatbot yourself
So if you're looking to create text message bots, you'll love this new guide.
Chapter 1: Intro to SMS Chatbots
In this first chapter, I will provide an intro to SMS Chatbots. So:
What is a SMS Bot?
A SMS chatbot or text bot is a computer program that can automatically reply to messages on SMS.
SMS bots work 24/7 and can have multiple conversations with several people at once. They are often used to send notifications, automatically answer questions and promote marketing campaigns.
Why use SMS Chatbots?
In my opinion, SMS is one of the most underestimated channels out there.
That’s a lot. And you can reach all of them by using SMS.
But that’s not it.
SMS has a huge open rate of 98%.
And the best part: your competition is not using it.
About 61% of marketers still don’t use SMS. So if you start now, it’s very likely that you will be one of the first ones in your industry.
So, now I hear you thinking “Okay, SMS is an interesting channel. But why use chatbots?”
Well, apart from the ten most important reasons why you should use chatbots, SMS has a huge advantage over other channels if it comes to chatbots.
Facebook has some strict policies if you want to use chatbots, and WhatsApp has even stricter rules.
But with text messages? There is no strict policy you must follow.
(Of course, the user must start the conversation or you must have consent to message them, otherwise, you can get intro trouble)
Want to broadcast a message to all your customers? No problem.
Is there a ’24-hour window’? No, there isn’t.
Must we be approved before we can use the channel? Absolutely not.
And this is a huge benefit.
So in short: You can reach anyone, at any time and your competition is not (yet) on this channel.
That’s why you need to use SMS chatbots.
NOTE: The SMS regulations can differ per country. But in general, you must have consent from the user or the user starts the conversation. For example, in the United States, there are certain rules written down in the TCPA.
How do SMS bots work?
A text message bot works really simple.
Just like you send a text message to a friend, you can send a text message to a chatbot (I will even show this later on in this guide).
When you are sending a text message to the chatbot, the chatbot will try to answer that message, just like any normal person would do.
So let’s say:
- A user starts a conversation with a SMS chatbot of an automotive company. The user asks “What Ford occasions do you have?”
- The chatbot understands this message and recognizes the words “Ford” and “occassions”
- Based on those recognized words, the chatbot will look in the car database for “Ford occasions”
- Finally, the chatbot will send a message back with all the Ford occasions in the car database.
Pretty simple, right?
Chapter 2: How to create a SMS chatbot with ManyChat and Twilio
Now, we know what a texting bot is and why we should use it.
So it's time to create one ourselves.
I will show you how you can create a SMS chatbot in just a matter of minutes, by using ManyChat and Twilio.
Let's dive in.
Create a SMS Chatbot with Manychat
The first thing you need to in order to make your SMS bot is create a free ManyChat account:
Click on Get started free:
And sign up with one of the signup methods (for example, your Facebook account):
Then, follow all the steps I explain in this video:
Chapter 3: What chatbot platforms for SMS?
Now we've seen how we can create our own SMS chatbot, it's time to look at the different chatbot builders that support SMS.
So, what chatbot platforms can you use to build your SMS bot?
And how much does a SMS chatbot cost?
How much does a SMS chatbot cost?
The pricing of your SMS chatbot depends on the chatbot platform that you use.
Because we already covered Twilio, we will first go over their pricing. And then compare it with ManyChat’s and MobileMonkey’s pricing for SMS.
Twilio SMS pricing
The benefit of Twilio is that they serve the whole world.
With Twilio, you pay for two things: a phone number and the number of messages you send and receive per month.
But these rates differ per country.
So, here are the prices of some countries on Twilio:
|Country||Phone number per month||Price per message|
MobileMonkey SMS pricing
MobileMonkey only serves two countries as it comes to SMS: United States and Canada.
If you want to activate a phone number, it will cost you $9 one-time.
Moreover, they don’t offer seperate pricing for SMS, but it is part of their pricing plans. With every plan, you get a certain number of credits. Sending a SMS is 10 send credits each and sending MMS is 20 send credits.
This comes down to $0.11 per text message and $0.22 per MMS message.
SMS chatbot platforms
Here is a complete comparison table with all the SMS chatbot platforms I’ve reviewed so far:
By the way, if you want to easily compare them all, here is complete chatbot platform comparison table with over 52 chatbot builders.
Now It's Your Turn
So that’s how you can create your own SMS chatbots.
Now I want to turn it over to you: Are you going to create a SMS chatbot?
Or did you already create one?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now.