When it comes to digital marketing, you have a surplus of options for connecting with your audience. Email and social media are popular and effective methods, but are not without their flaws. Spam folders and the ability to hide activity on Facebook make it easy for users to ignore your campaigns.
If you're having trouble reaching leads, you may want to look into WordPress SMS plugins. You can send texts to your subscribers regarding e-commerce orders, appointments, new posts, and more. This provides a direct line to your leads as well as existing customers and clients.
This post will give you a complete guide to sending SMS messages to subscribers via WordPress. We'll discuss how it works, why you may want to do it, and how to enable this type of notifications with or without a plugin. Let's get started!
In This Article 🔍
- An Introduction to Sending Text Messages With WordPress
- The Benefits of Using a WordPress SMS Gateway
- 10 WordPress SMS Text Message Plugins
- How to Send SMS Messages to Subscribers Without a WordPress Plugin
- Wrapping Up
An Introduction to Sending Text Messages With WordPress SMS Plugins 💬
Although SMS isn't discussed as frequently as email or social media as a way to get in touch with users, it has a variety of use cases for many different types of WordPress sites. For example:
- Online retailers can send order confirmations and updates, as well as coupons and other special offers, straight to their customers' phones.
- Various service providers such as medical professionals, short-term rental managers, and home maintenance specialists can send notices about upcoming appointments.
- Content creators including bloggers and news sites can send notifications regarding their latest posts.
- Non-profits can create text message reminders regarding upcoming events or opportunities to donate.
- Notifications about upcoming membership site or other subscription renewals can be via text message with a direct link to the renewal page.
- Businesses can run contests or giveaways to generate interest in their brands.
- Interactive elements such as polls, quizzes, or surveys can gather information about users while also increasing engagement.
You'll first need to collect users' phone numbers. You could add a phone number field to your contact form, or require users to include their phone number when creating an account:
Another way to collect numbers is through combinations of 'keywords' and 'shortcodes'. In this context, a keyword is a term users can send via SMS to opt into your campaign (e.g., FREE, or SANDWICH). The shortcode is a five-to-six digit number that acts as the recipient of the keyword.
Once you start collecting numbers you can send links, coupon codes, promotional images or videos, and standard text messages containing reminders or other information. However, you'll need a WordPress SMS plugin or other mass text messaging platform to do so.
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The Benefits of Using a WordPress SMS Plugin 💸
Although we've covered the many uses of text messages for marketing and notifications, its true benefits become clearer when you look at the relevant statistics. For starters, 90 percent of SMS messages are read within three minutes of being sent.
Compare this with email's 20 percent open rate and you can see why implementing an SMS marketing plan could be beneficial. While it's easy for emails to end up in spam folders or for users to delete them unopened, text messages create a sense of urgency and familiarity that leads to higher open rates.
Additionally, SMS messages have resulted in impressive Returns on Investments (ROIs) as high as 680 percent. Brands using this marketing technique also found that text messages have higher-than-average conversion rates, and have reported retention rates of 99 percent.♟️ With almost nothing to lose and a lot to gain, starting a text message campaign for your brand is a smart move. #WordPress Click To Tweet
However, it will involve a small investment upfront. As we said earlier, you'll need a WordPress SMS plugin or comparable platform to start sending mass texts to subscribers.
There are several tools unrelated to WordPress you can use, and we'll discuss some of them later in this post. Even so, WordPress SMS plugins have their upsides, including:
- Easy integration with plugins such as Gravity Forms, WooCommerce, and more
- Streamlined text message creation using the familiar WordPress interface
- The ability to quickly send links to your latest post using tags
- Tracking and analytics visible right in your WordPress dashboard
Managing your SMS marketing and notifications through WordPress keeps all your key information integrated and in one place. You won't have to bounce back and forth between platforms, making your workflow more efficient.
10 WordPress SMS Text Message Plugins 🏅
Whatever your goals when it comes to sending text messages with WordPress, there's an SMS plugin that will help you accomplish them. The trick is finding the best one to suit your specific needs. Below, we've collected ten plugins that can help you send different types of SMS messages to subscribers.
- Formidable Forms
- Gravity Forms
- Joy of Text
- Twilio SMS Notifications for WooCommerce
- Appointment Hour Booking (Twilio)
- Appointment Hour Booking (Clickatell)
- Easy Appointments
- WordPress SMS
1. Formidable Forms + Twilio SMS Add-On
Since you'll need a method for collecting phone numbers from your subscribers, integrating WordPress SMS gateway plugins with form builders makes perfect sense. Formidable Forms can help you do just that with its Twilio SMS add-on.
Twilio is a digital communications platform. Using an Application Programming Interface (API), it can send and receive SMS messages via your WordPress site. In order to use the Formidable Forms Twilio add-on (as well as the other plugins and extensions in this post powered by this platform), you'll need to create an account and retrieve an API key.
If you choose to combine Twilio and Formidable Forms through this add-on, you'll be able to:
- Receive texts via your forms (for example, accepting poll votes by SMS)
- Send texts to subscribers whose phone numbers who've collected in your forms
- Create conditional notifications and automated responses (such as birthday wishes)
In order to use this extension, you'll need a Formidable Forms Pro Business License. This plan costs $199 per year. Pricing for Twilio is on a pay-as-you-go basis, so you only have to cover the cost of what you use. The programmable SMS feature starts at $0.0075 per text message sent or received. This is approximately $1 per every 133 texts.
2. Gravity Forms + Twilio Add-On
The Formidable Forms add-on is a handy solution if you're already using the plugin on your site. However, those who prefer the popular alternative Gravity Forms will be happy to know that this form builder also has a Twilio add-on. Once you have your account, integrating the two platforms in WordPress is fairly intuitive:
It also includes a variety of helpful features for keeping track of form submissions and engaging your customers, such as:
- Automated notifications sent to you via text whenever someone completes or form or makes payment
- Bitly integration for creating short links that won't eat up your 160 character limit
- Integration with the Gravity Forms PayPal extension to send payment notifications to your customers
Gravity Forms is a premium-only plugin, and licenses start at $59 per year. However, the Twilio extension is part of the Pro add-on package. It requires you to buy a middle-tier plan at $159 per year. Even so, the additional cost grants you access to several other useful features as well, and lets you use the plugin and its extensions on up to three sites. Twilio rates apply.
3. Appointment Hour Booking + Twilio Add-On
When you're busy trying to juggle work, keeping up your home, and whatever other commitments you have, it can be easy to let things slip through the cracks. That's why combining Appointment Hour Booking and its Twilio add-on is a smart move when you're providing services to clients.
By sending reminders about upcoming reservations, you can minimize the likelihood that your client will end up being a no-show. It also gives them a last-minute chance to cancel or reschedule, helping you avoid wasted time waiting on someone who forgot you were coming to repair their refrigerator.
The combination of Appointment Hour Booking and Twilio provides several helpful features:
- Incorporates a phone number field into your booking form to collect contact information from subscribers
- Sends automated booking and reminder notifications
- Provides easy integration of your booking system and SMS notification process
You can access Appointment Hour Booking for free, but to use the Twilio SMS add-on you'll need their Professional plan, which runs for €54 per year. Once again, you'll still have to pay Twilio's per-text charge of $0.0075.
4. Joy of Text
If a premium form builder isn't the right fit for your site, never fear. Joy of Text is the most flexible of the WordPress SMS plugins on this list, and focuses solely on the task of sending text messages from your site. Like the previous tools we've mentioned, this plugin also uses Twilio to fuel its features:
One of the best things about Joy of Text is that it's highly versatile and can meet the needs of almost any WordPress site. Key features include:
- Integration with many popular plugins such as WooCommerce, BuddyPress, MemberMouse, and Easy Digital Downloads
- WhatsApp integration for international digital communication capabilities
- Scheduler and Notifier extensions so you can set messages to send at a later date and automate SMS notifications
The Joy of Text Pro plugin alone starts at $65 per year. However, all of the above-mentioned features require additional extensions, which run between $15 and $25 per year for a single site. If you're interested some or all of them, you may want to purchase one of the extension bundles.
You may also want to consider Joy of Text Lite, which will enable you to collect phone numbers via a form and send mass texts to your subscribers. Regardless of how much you pay for the plugin, you'll also need to factor in Twilio SMS rates.
5. Twilio SMS Notifications for WooCommerce
One of the most convenient features you can offer your e-commerce customers is automated text updates regarding their purchases. Fortunately, there are several WordPress SMS plugins that can help you implement this functionality, including Twilio SMS Notifications:
As an official WooCommerce extension, you can rest assured that this tool will work seamlessly with its parent plugin to deliver accurate and timely notifications to customers. Other key features include:
- Enable customers to opt-in to SMS updates during the checkout process
- Send notifications for various order status updates including processing, completed, canceled, and refunded
- Test your messages before sending them to customers by delivering an example to yourself first
In order to use this plugin, you'll need to have WooCommerce installed and activated (which you can do for free). A single site license for the Twilio SMS Notifications extension is just $49 per year, though you'll also need to consider the per-text fees.
6. Appointment Hour Booking + Clickatell Add-On
In addition to integrating with Twilio, you can also pair Appointment Hour Booking with the Clickatell add-on. This alternative digital communication platform also offers two-way messaging via shortcodes and long numbers. You can easily connect it to your WordPress site using an API key:
It's probably not surprising that this add-on is very similar to the plugin's other SMS extension. However, there are a few potential perks to choosing this option over the other. With Appointment Hour Booking and Clickatell, you can:
- Send messages to individuals or groups across the globe to over 1,000 countries
- Personalize texts using special tags to show subscribers' names and other information
- Real-time reporting of analytics in your Clickatell account dashboard
You'll need an Appointment Hour Booking Professional plan as described above to use the Clickatell add-on. You'll also need to create an account with the communications platform. It's free to sign up, but pricing for sending and receiving test messages varies depending on several factors.
If you use a long number and send texts only within the United States, the price is comparable to Twilio. To send text messages to other countries or to use shortcodes, however, you'll have to fork over some additional cash.
7. Easy Appointments + All in One Extension Package
Easy Appointments provides an alternative to Appointment Hour Booking if you're looking to create a system for managing reservations. Its All in One Extention package includes Twilio SMS for creating reminders and notification texts. Conveniently, it will also incorporate a phone field in your booking form to help capture subscribers:
The parent plugin includes many features that make it an effective tool for scheduling appointments, including a Full Calendar view and the ability to create bookings based on location, services, or specific staff members. To help enhance those features, Easy Appointment's Twilio integration includes:
- Status updates and booking confirmation messages
- Custom templates for a variety of status types for quick message composition
- Automated reminders that can be set to go out five to 120 minutes before the appointment
The Easy Appointments plugin itself is free, making it simple for you to try it out to see if it could be a good fit for your business. If so, you'll need the extension package to access the Twilio integration.
Licenses cost $39 for one year or just $59 for two years, making this the most affordable of the booking-related WordPress SMS plugins. Twilio rates are not included.
8. Notification + Pushbullet Extension
When it comes to email and push notifications, this plugin has it all. Notification can update you and your users regarding published posts, content pending review, new comments, user registration, available updates, and more. With the Pushbullet Extension, you can also send text message notifications via WordPress:
This is another option to consider if you're looking for an alternative to Twilio. Pushbullet works to connect your devices so that you can, for example, send SMS messages from your computer. Unfortunately, the platform is only able to send texts to Android devices, which could severely limit your reach.
Some of the upsides of this plugin include:
- The ability to create push notifications as well as text messages from your WordPress dashboard
- Access to the Notification plugin's wide range of built-in triggers
- Automation enables you to set-and-forget notifications for your WordPress site
Notification is a free plugin, and you can purchase a single-site Pushbullet extension license for just $24 per year. However, support is sold separately at $19 per year, although it covers all BracketSpace products.
You'll also need a Pushbullet account to use this extension. You can create one and send up to 100 texts per month for free, or invest in Pushbullet Pro for $39.99 per year (or $4.99 per month).
9. WordPress SMS
Finally, if you want to have complete control over which SMS provider you use, WordPress SMS may be the plugin for you. It can integrate your WordPress site with more than 200 SMS gateways, so you can shop around and find the one that's best for you. Once you've made your decision, you can easily compose and send texts from your WordPress dashboard:
WordPress SMS has many features that make it flexible for a variety of use cases. Highlights include:
- Integration with WooCommerce, BuddyPress, Ultimate Member, Contact Form 7, and more
- SMS scheduling so you can send your bulk texts during peak hours
- The ability to set up an SMS newsletter, including a subscription form for your site
You can download this plugin for free from the WordPress Plugin Directory, or invest in a Pro Pack. This premium option includes access to all the available SMS gateways and plugin integrations, as well as lifetime updates and ticketing support. You can get a single site license for a one-time payment of $15.
SMS rates will also apply, but will depend on which gateway you choose to utilize. Twilio and Clickatell are both supported by the plugin, so there are definitely affordable options available.
This WordPress SMS plugin offers you all the benefits of bulk text message marketing and your customers the peace of mind order updates bring. WooSMS affordable, easy to use, and streamlined for online retailers. If Joy of Text seems a little too broad for your purposes, you can focus your efforts WooCommerce notifications:
WooSMS is a simple, straightforward way to send text messages from WordPress to yourself and your customers. It includes several handy and unique features, such as:
- Multilingual templates and automatic international mobile number conversion for sending order updates around the world
- SMS templates for 11 different order status updates, including pending, completed, backordered, canceled, and refunded
- Support for multiple admins so all your store managers can create and receive updates
As far as pricing goes, this plugin is free to download. WooSMS is powered by BulkGate, which uses a credit system to charge for their services. Ultimately, how much it costs to send your text message notifications will depend on which countries you need to cover and whether you want to enable two-way messaging. One-way SMS in the U.S. runs at about €0.0078.
How to Send SMS Messages to Subscribers Without a WordPress Plugin 👨💻
You can't send text messages to subscribers without an SMS gateway. However, if none of the plugins listed above appeal to you, there are other ways to go about using Twilio, Clickatell, or another similar platform.
If you have some development experience, you may want to simply build your own plugin to integrate Twilio with WordPress. A complete guide for setting one up is available on the Twilio blog.
Alternatively, if building your own plugin is beyond your current coding knowledge, you can still accomplish a custom WordPress SMS plugin alternative using a software integration platform such as Zapier:
You can sign up for a free account and use Zapier at no cost for up to five 'zaps' (integrations). Over 130 SMS gateways are available through this platform, including:
Zapier offers integration with WordPress itself, as well as WooCommerce, Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms, and a handful of other plugins. Just like when using a plugin, you'll still need an account with whichever SMS gateway you integrate with your WordPress site, and that provider's rates will apply.
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Wrapping Up 📦
Email and social media marketing can sometimes feel like shouting in the void. SMS provides a direct line to your users' phones so you can capture their attention and build your platform.
WordPress SMS plugins make incorporating text messages into your marketing plan easy. Online retailers can keep customers updated with the WooCommerce Twilio extension. Service providers, however, may prefer using Easy Appointments to create an all-in-one booking and notification system.
Plus, having an impressive support team behind your WordPress site can free up your time to make the most of your marketing efforts. At WP Buffs, we take care of updates, performance optimization, security, and more – so you can focus on converting your leads.
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Will Morris is a staff writer at WordCandy.co. When he’s not writing about WordPress, he likes to gig his stand-up comedy routine on the local circuit. If you want some freebies, check out our free speed and security ebooks, webinars for WordPress professionals, WordPress blog or WordPress podcast all about building monthly recurring revenue.