If you run a WordPress website, you probably are used to getting email notifications. But would you like to receive SMS notifications as well? For example:
- when you receive a new order in your WooCommerce store?
- when someone encounters a problem while trying to pay for the contents of their cart?
- when someone fills out your web enquiry form?
- when a team member publishes a new blog post?
Responding quickly to customer orders and enquiries can help make a personal connection and lead to exceptional service experiences.
And SMS alerts might help you if an email notification occasionally gets caught by a mail reader’s junk filter.
SMS alerts from WordPress can be enabled using a Zapier.com account, combined with a free Twilio.com account (and yes, they do support SMS messages sent to Australian mobiles). The trial accounts available will allow you to receive some free SMS alerts (if you need a lot, you’ll need to upgrade to their paid plans, but these don’t cost that much). When we first came across Zapier, we thought it was a fantastic service, but it didn’t integrate with WooCommerce (which is what we wanted at the time). It prompted us to write the WooCommerce Zapier extension.
Zapier lets you trigger SMS alerts from WordPress in various situations.
- Core WordPress has trigger events for Zapier including new posts and new comments.
- If you are using WordPress and WooCommerce for your online store, then you can trigger SMS alerts for new orders, or changes in order status (that might indicate events related to your payment gateway).
- If you are using WordPress and Gravity Forms to collect online enquiries, you can trigger SMS alerts when forms are completed online.
Here is what you need to do to get SMS alerts going:
- Register for a Twilio Trial account. Get your free Twilio phone number, and also verify a phone number to send SMS messages to. We’ve found the free Twilio account works just fine for SMS notifications.
- Go to Zapier.com and register for their free account. Zapier connects to hundreds of cloud systems, most of them work with the free account – WooCommerce, Gravity Forms and Twilio all do. To use it with WooCommerce, you’ll need to purchase the WooCommerce Zapier extension for $59 (get this from WooThemes.com). To use with Gravity Forms, you’ll need their free Zapier add on.
- Use your Zapier account to set up your Trigger (e.g. Gravity Forms, New Form completed) and your Action (Twilio, Send SMS). It isn’t that hard, but you may need to step through the instructions.
Naturally there are many other useful triggers and actions you’ll find you can carry out via Zapier.