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What's SMS Got to Do With Conversational AI?

Learn more about how conversational AI marketing relates to SMS messaging and learn how to unlock a new level of customer engagement.

illustration the equation of a smartphone + Generative AI Symbol = ???
May 22, 2024
Chloe Mulliner
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Reading time about 7 min

The topic of AI is coming up left and right in conversations about marketing, so what does it all mean? Follow along to find out how conversational AI relates to your SMS marketing strategies.

Go Deeper: Conversational AI & Natural Language Processing

To fully grasp what SMS has to do with conversational AI technology, it helps to understand each moving part and how they relate to one another.

In our guide below, we break it down so you can discover how to embrace conversational AI SMS marketing strategies of your own.

 

What is conversational AI?

Let’s start from the top. What is conversational AI? Conversational AI is a trained artificial intelligence (AI) technology designed to process, understand, and respond to human language. Using machine learning technology called natural language processing (NLP), conversational AI can interpret voice and text data and simulate human conversation.

Siri is an example of conversational AI that listens to human-generated questions and responds with pre-programmed responses. And because it uses machine learning, it better understands information the more humans interact with it.

Chatbots are another example of conversational AI. Some are used for automatically responding to customer service inquiries, while others, like ChatGPT, are designed to compose written content, such as essays, emails, and text messages.

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What is SMS?

Now, let's move on to SMS. What is SMS? SMS is a short message service and refers to the standard text messages you send and receive on your mobile phone. They're sent over a cellular network, and each SMS text has a limit of 160 characters.

You're already familiar with SMS marketing if you oversee a company that sends text messages to your customers or clients. The beauty of SMS marketing is that you can simultaneously send mass automated messages to many people. For instance, you can send out invitations to an event, information regarding an upcoming sale, appointment reminders, customer service responses, and even surveys and questionnaires.

 

How does SMS fit into conversational AI?

At this point, you might be wondering how SMS relates to conversation AI.

If you recall, conversational AI can be used to interact with humans, so there are several ways that this kind of technology can integrate with SMS marketing.

For one, you can use it to produce conversational AI SMS messages. Just as you would use a chatbot like ChatGPT to help you compose a message, conversational AI marketing tools will respond to your prompts. For instance, you can instruct the technology to write an SMS message about your business's upcoming summer blowout sale, which would respond with several examples of marketing copy you could include in your SMS marketing campaign.

Similarly, you can program conversational AI to interpret customer data and create personalized messages tailored to specific customers based on their preferences, purchase history, and behaviors. This helps you develop personalized content more likely to resonate with your customers, leading to higher conversion rates.

Furthermore, you can use conversational AI marketing solutions to respond to your customers in real-time automatically. So, if a customer texts your business with a question, the AI technology will reply with a pre-programmed response. For example, if your customer inquires about your return process via text, conversational AI technology will provide an automated response outlining your return policy. This instant communication can help boost customer satisfaction by quickly addressing customer needs.

What are the benefits of using conversational AI for SMS?

There are many benefits to using conversational AI for text messaging. The following are just a few of the many ways it can improve your text marketing strategy.

Convenience

One of the biggest perks of integrating conversational AI marketing solutions with your SMS tools is convenience. After all, AI technology can save you time and energy as you let it do all the heavy lifting for you.

For example, you can use AI to compose your SMS marketing messages or provide you with ideas to incorporate into your campaigns. Instead of fussing over what to say or how to say it, AI technology will do it all for you.

Conversational AI marketing tools also provide convenience due to their automated features. You can set up the technology to automatically respond to your customer's questions and concerns, so you don't have to dedicate all your time to manually monitoring your SMS inbox. This is convenient for you, the marketer, and your customers, as speedy communication can improve customer retention rates and enhance customer satisfaction.

High Open Rates

SMS messages already have an impressive open rate. In fact, it’s estimated that SMS messages have a 98% open rate, making them one of the most effective ways to reach your audience.

Now, just imagine if the content within your messages was curated to your customers’ needs and preferences. Conversational AI for SMS technology produces customized messages your customers are more likely to open and interact with due to the content better pertaining to them.

Cost-Effective

Incorporating AI technology into your SMS marketing strategies can help you cut costs, too. For one, AI technology can save you time and energy when brainstorming new topics and messages—and as you know, time is money when operating your business. It also offers scalability, making it easier to produce more content in less time and with fewer resources, which saves you money in the long run.

 

What are the challenges of using conversational AI for SMS?

As with anything, there are some limitations you need to be aware of when incorporating conversational AI into your text marketing campaigns. So, what are the challenges of using conversational AI for SMS? Some challenges include character limits, spam, and security issues.

Character Limit

Character limits are not a unique challenge to using conversational AI but rather SMS messages in general. Because SMS texts can only include up to 160 characters, you're limited with what you say and how you say it. Therefore, when using conversational AI to compose messages, you must include the 160-character limit within your instructions.

Spam

Another thing to be mindful of is AI-generated spam, in which spammers send unsolicited messages to customers. While you won't be involved in sending these unwanted messages, you should ensure all your SMS content complies with marketing rules and regulations. This means familiarizing yourself with marketing legislation, such as the CAN-SPAM Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and ensuring your content follows the guidelines.

Security

When incorporating conversational AI technology into your SMS strategy, you may need to take special precautions regarding security, particularly if you’re dealing with sensitive or private customer data.

Let’s say you run a healthcare clinic and want to experiment with AI within your SMS marketing strategy. In this case, you’d need to ensure that all content is HIPAA compliant, meaning it doesn’t include identifiable patient health information. Again, this is just a matter of monitoring and programming the technology to abide by certain standards and guidelines.

What are some examples of businesses that use conversational AI for SMS?

There are many different kinds of businesses that are taking advantage of conversational AI in their SMS marketing strategies.

One example is the banking industry. Banks will use conversational AI SMS messages to respond to customer inquiries and automatically conduct customer requests like checking account balances and transferring funds. Banks may also use conversational AI to deliver customized customer recommendations and advice.

Those in the retail space can also take advantage of this technology in several ways. For one, retailers turn to conversational AI to help them generate content ideas and marketing messaging. For instance, you can write a prompt for the technology to craft messages inviting customers to an upcoming event or sale. You can also input customer data, such as shopping behavior and purchase history, so the AI produces personalized content that appeals to specific customers.

And those in customer service fields can use AI to their advantage, too. Because many customers have the same questions and concerns, it’s easy to program your technology to provide set responses to address them and solve their problems. For example, instead of manually responding to every customer who inquires about your shipments, you could program the technology to automatically deliver shipping updates via SMS messages.

 

The Future of Conversational AI for SMS

The future of conversational AI for SMS marketing is bright. There are so many exciting opportunities to incorporate this technology into your strategies to improve and enhance your customer engagement.

Interested in learning more about SMS and AI technology? Check out some of our helpful resources below:

For more information on conversational AI for SMS, or if you’re ready to start your SMS text marketing journey to engage your audience better, start a free 14-day trial (no credit card required), and see how EZ Texting can help you grow your business. Happy texting!

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