What Does Twilio Do? Powerful Text & Voice Automations For Agencies

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Looking for an automation software solution for your marketing agency? Then you’ve likely heard of Twilio. Twilio is an integrated communications platform, which gives you the ability to send and receive phone calls, text messages, video calls, programmable video, real time account notifications, and more for your agency and clients.

The software is simple to use for developers since it is all based on a series of communications APIs, but it can be challenging or costly for non-technical folks, like many marketing agency employees, to utilize. 

In this post, we’ll discuss what Twilio is, how you can connect it to your existing channels, what it costs, what its challenges are, and whether adding a no-code solution, like HighLevel, can potentially help.  

What is Twilio?

How can marketing agencies use Twilio?

1. Text + SMS

2. Email

3. Voice + Video Calls

4. Automated Marketing Campaigns

5. Chatbots

How much does Twilio cost?

What are the challenges of using Twilio?

How to set up Twilio if you aren’t a developer using HighLevel

What is Twilio? 

First things first, what does Twilio do? Twilio is an API developer platform that simplifies automation while powering robust applications. It’s essentially a customer engagement platform.

The platform is well-known and used by some of the biggest startups, tech companies, healthcare providers, and nonprofits, such as Lyft, Uber, Airbnb, Reddit, Stripe, Instacart, and The American Red Cross. However, you don’t have to be an industry leading corporation to benefit from using Twilio. Businesses of all sizes and from all verticals rely on the platform to drive customer engagement. Through the software, developers of varying skill levels can add a variety of flexible ways for customers to communicate through their apps and devices.

Here are some potential use cases:

If you have a ride-sharing app, your developers could build a custom integration through Twilio’s web service APIs to facilitate connectivity between drivers and passengers. This would mean drivers and passengers could communicate easily within your app without revealing their personal phone numbers.

Or, if you are a global bank, you could require users to opt into two factor authentication when they log in regardless of which country they are based in.

And, your support team could set up an automated contact center, using Twilio Flex complete with a phone tree automated routing and virtual phone numbers that allow them to help customers all over the world.

In the next section, we’ll dig into the specifics of how marketing agencies can utilize the software both in-house and for their clients.

How can marketing agencies use Twilio?

Twilio’s automation tools can be utilized for several different industries, but it’s particularly useful for marketing. Twilio for Marketing helps keep customers engaged at any level of the marketing funnel. Here are the 6 main ways Twilio accomplishes this:

1. Text + SMS

Twilio SMS messaging is the biggest draw to the platform for most companies. It’s what Twilio is known for. Instant connections are crucial in many industries. 

Twilio allows you to buy a new business number so you don’t have to use someone’s phone. And, it enables you to receive replies, so it’s not just a one-way convo.

The ability to send an automated message to a hot lead the minute they express interest in your product or service can make all the difference in making a sale.

For instance, in a study by Dr. James Oldroyd of MIT, it was discovered that a real estate agent’s chances of successfully contacting an online lead were 100x higher if the agent followed up with the lead within 5 minutes of them filling out the initial Trulia form.

In this case, Trulia’s click-to-call app developed through Twilio instantly connected the agent with the lead on a live call. However, if the agent was busy and unable to talk, they were sent an automatic text message with the lead’s contact information to follow up later.

2. Email

The Twilio SendGrid Email API gives you the ability to send out automated emails at scale. You can even automate emails alongside texts. If you have permission to use your customer’s phone number and email address for promotional messages, then this combination can be used as a powerful marketing tool.

For example, let’s say your startup allows prospects to fill out a form to sign up for a demo. Once their contact information is collected, an automated email is instantly delivered. If the end users don’t reply to the email, they would receive text messages – also automated – that prompts them to revisit the site to finish setting up a time for their demo. The possibilities for driving customer engagement through email and text are endless.

3. Video and Phone Calls

Through Twilio Voice, developers can automate phone and video calls via sip trunking. This applies to audio and video calls. Automated calls can obscure one or both party’s private phone numbers for privacy and security through the app.

Callify.ai is an excellent example of a company that successfully used Twilio’s voice call functions to improve its marketing techniques. The owner of this recruitment agency discovered that 80% of his recruiters’ daily cold calling efforts were wasted. Once he implemented Twilio Programmable Voice, this number dropped to 20%.

The success came from a pre-recorded message from the recruiter to essentially screen the interest of prospects before the actual recruiter took the call. This allowed the recruiters to focus on just the calls that were more likely to turn into leads, which resulted in a 30% incremental benefit as well.

4. Automated Marketing Campaigns 

Twilio for Marketing is an excellent way to build flexible, instantly responsive marketing campaigns. With the software, developers can automate lead nurture campaigns through email, text, chatbots, or a combination of these. You can even create sophisticated drip campaigns that can link different forms of communication together like text, email, and chatbots.

Here’s an example of how Cleanly, an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning app, used Twilio’s automated marketing campaign capabilities to make a sale. In this case, one of their existing customers had just returned from a business trip and the automated text arrived at just the right time with a promo. Because of the timeliness of the message, instead of going home to do laundry, Ankita was able to use their laundry service and go to brunch instead.

Here’s what Cleanly’s automated message to Ankita read:

Ankita, it’s Cleanly. We’d love another chance to earn back your business. Enjoy $10 off your next 3 orders with code FRESH30: [link] Text ‘STOP’ to quit. We’ll be sad.

Had the message not been customized for Ankita as part of a drip campaign, the company may not have gained back her business.

5. Chatbots

Chatbots are useful tools for customer engagement. When your team is signed off for the day, your chatbot is still on your site and ready to answer questions. Chatbots can be programmed to do several useful things like screening prospects, directing customers to FAQs and other useful pages, and connecting leads with a sales representative.

Using a chatbot designed through Twilio, you can create a series of automatic responses that are triggered by common customer questions. For example, if you’re often asked about the price of your services, you could program the chatbot to direct visitors to a pricing page or collect their email to have you contact the prospect for a custom quote.

How much does Twilio cost? 

Twilio pricing is similar to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in that it has usage-based pricing. While it’s free to get started, the costs can add up quickly the more you use the platform. If you don’t pay attention, you could easily be surprised by a staggering bill.

The company does offer committed-use and volume discounts, but without clear packages or pricing models, budgeting for the platform can be tricky. Take time to examine their pricing page and pay close attention to the services you’ll most likely use.

What are the challenges of using Twilio? 

Twilio is a great API platform, but it is not without its challenges. The biggest challenge for agencies using Twilio is that the platform was designed for developers, not marketers. 

Though it’s touted for developers of all skill levels, there is still a steep learning curve.

The expense and pricing structure also represents a challenge for Twilio users. But the cost doesn’t matter if you can’t even use the platform. If you don’t have a designated developer on your team with the bandwidth to implement Twilio, consider trying a no-code solution that works on top of Twilio, like HighLevel. 

How to set up Twilio if you aren’t a developer using HighLevel 

Twilio is baked into HighLevel so when you open a HighLevel account, you have access to the power of Twilio through no-code, drag-and-drop builders. 

You don’t even have to worry about pricing because HighLevel requires your clients to enter a credit card into the system for their usage and allows you to set a markup percentage for the credits so each time a text is sent, a credit is deducted from the client wallet and a percentage of the charge is sent to you as profit.

In each client sub-account, you can purchase phone numbers from any area code and even purchase pools of numbers that can be dynamically swapped on web pages for call tracking purposes.

In HighLevel Workflows, you can build automated sequences that combine the power of Twilio’s email, SMS, phone, and voice services to build the ultimate lead-nurture sequence. Image this:

  • You run a lead generation campaign for a client and each time a lead is generated:
  • The lead receives an email
  • The lead receives a text message they can reply to
  • The lead receives a ringless voicemail
  • Twilio calls your client, reads a custom whisper message containing the lead’s name, and prompts your client to push a key to connect with the lead

All automated – all within five minutes of the lead being created!

In sum, using Twilio can help your marketing agency automate a ton of tasks. The key is determining what solutions you need from the API platform and whether or not you can implement them yourself or go through a no-code solution like HighLevel. 

Explore everything HighLevel can do for you and get started for free for 14 days.