Setting up an Email to SMS Gateway with Smith.ai Live Chat

Updated 3 weeks ago by Kelsey Johnson

What is an Email-to-SMS Gateway?

Our Email-to-SMS feature turns emails into text messages to your clients or leads. Using this feature, you can send texts to follow-up on form-fills, nurture leads, send links to book consultations — or anything else you can think of! If your clients or leads respond to these text messages, Smith.ai Live Chat agents will respond immediately — answering FAQ, qualifying leads, scheduling meetings, and more.

Why would I want this?

According to Campaign Monitor, "SMS open rates are as high as 98%, compared to just 20% of all emails." Texting your new leads is likely to result in much higher conversion rates than emailing them.

How much does it cost?

An Email-to-SMS Gateway is free with any of our Live Chat plans. We don't charge for any of the emails that we turn into text messages (seriously). When your leads or clients respond to a text message, we charge the price of one live chat ($5-$7, depending on your plan).

Note: like with Live Chat, we will not charge for spam or sales texts.

How to set up your Email-to-SMS Gateway

  1. Sign up for a Smith.ai Live Chat plan (if you haven’t already).
  2. Sign into your account and set up SMS Answering. We'll give you a unique 10-digit phone number.
  3. Email us at chat@smith.ai to let us know that you want an Email-to-SMS Gateway. We will need the email address you plan to use.
  4. Wait for us to get back to you, letting you know we’ve set up your gateway. In the meantime, determine which of your clients and/or leads should receive text messages. Set up an automated workflow to send emails that we will transfer into text messages (but don't turn it on until we get back to you).
If you pre-qualify leads with a few questions, you can make sure you’re texting only potential new clients who are a better fit for your business. This saves everyone time, and can save you money.

How to format your emails

Once we let you know your Email-to-SMS Gateway is set up, you can start sending emails that we convert to text messages for you. Make sure your emails are formatted like this:

From: your-approved-email-address@example.com

To: recipient_phone_number@sms.smith.ai // (for example 5555555555@sms.smith.ai)

Subject: RecipientFirstName : RecipientLastName : email_address (no spaces)

Body:

<insert SMS message here>

Send a test email to ensure the text message comes through in the way you want. You can also test-respond to the text, to see what your lead or client will see. We will never charge you for any test chats.

We capture the first name, last name, and email address of your lead so that we are able to provide personalized communication during our text message exchanges.

How to set up closed-loop automation using Zapier

  1. Set up a Zapier integration with Smith.ai Chat. Zaps are triggered by the end of each chat conversation (in this case, a completed text message exchange).
  2. Set up a Zap with a “New Chat” trigger.
  3. Under “Action,” find the marketing automation tool you use (like Mailchimp, Mailshake, etc.)
  4. Set the Zap “Action” to stop the automated follow-up.
  5. Test the process to ensure your new leads don’t continue to receive reminders or follow-ups once they text back.


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