Step up your business game with SMS messages for subscribers and customers. Interactive SMS programs give you an opportunity to maintain a direct, highly personalized communications known for high engagement rates (open rate, CTR). This article shows you how to create an SMS message in the Campaign platform, step by step.
Before you begin
- The provisioning team enables one of the SMS platforms for your organization.
- Your organization administrator must enable SMS for you at the user account level.
- You can confirm your access by going to Settings > User management | User accounts > select user > User permissions. If the Enable SMS checkbox is not visible, SMS is not available to your organization. Contact our support team to enable this feature.
- Create a text to join program so that subscribers can opt in.
When you have all these elements in place, you can move on to create an SMS draft or template. Use a draft if you want to do a one-off SMS send independent of any programs. You can assign your SMS template to existing group of automated messages, which is not an option for drafts. You can link both types of SMS messages to a text to join program, on different stages of creation.
Create an SMS draft
- In Campaign, go to SMS and group messaging > SMS drafts. Click the New draft button.
- The process of creating a draft is divided into three sections – you start from Set up your SMS page.
- Click Select SMS contacts to choose the contact source. From the Location dropdown menu, select Shared or Private to browse through the right locations. From the Contact source dropdown menu, select Database, Contact list or Query and navigate to the source. Click Done.
- Once you choose the contact source, you will notice a new button: Select programs in the Text to join programs field. Click the button and check the program you want to assign your SMS draft to. Click Select.
- Fill the Name your SMS field. The name should not include more than 100 characters or the SMS message will fail to send.
- In the Location field, click Browse. From the dropdown menu, select Shared or Private, depending where you want to save your SMS draft. Next, navigate to the right folder and click Done.
- Fill the Campaign name field. The campaign name should uniquely identify the marketing campaign that includes this message delivery and all associated email and mobile app messages.
- Type the content of your message in the Enter SMS message field. To use personalization, click the dropdown menu with the pictogram and select the personalization attribute you want to use, e.g. EMAIL or RECIPIENT_ID. After you click, you will see a special code in your message that will be replaced by personalized content.
- Optional: If your message includes untracked links, we recommend ticking the Replace URLs in this SMS message with shortened, trackable links checkbox.
- Click Continue to go to the next step or Preview to see how your message looks and make any necessary edits. Click Start over to erase all of your previous settings and edits.
Note: The preview may vary as per the screen size and the resolution of the device. It can also change for different operating systems. The actual message also may get truncated in some cases if the personalized text increases the character count beyond the acceptable limit.
- Clicking Continue in the previous step will take you to step 3 – that's because step 2, the Add settings page, is optional. You can go back to step 2 by clicking it in the step list.
- In the Tagging field, enter the tags you want to associate your draft with. You can also click the field to see a dropdown menu with previously added tags and select them.
- In Delivery optimization section, click the Throttling button if you want to enable this feature (Off is selected by default). Throttling means that your messages will be sent in batches of 1,000 at a time, which helps avoid exceeding link shorteners' send limits.
- Optional: Add any additional information about the draft in the Note for this SMS field.
- Click Continue.
- In the Finalize your SMS section, choose when you want to send your message by clicking one of the options:
- Send now: your SMS will be sent immediately.
- Schedule: select the date and time and when you want to start processing the contact source.
- Publish (for messages sent through programs): Your SMS will be sent according to the programs or API calls that use it.
- Click Continue.
- In the Confirm and send step, you will see a summary of settings and edits you created in previous steps. Take a close look and make sure everything looks correct. When you're ready, click Send now, Send as scheduled or Publish, depending on the settings. If you need to make any changes, click Cancel and click the step you want to edit.
After you send a message draft, the draft no longer appears on the Select SMS draft page.
Note: If you want to send to multiple campaigns, be sure to set up consistent sending hours in each campaign.
Personalized text while previewing a draft
Personalized text doesn't display if the value for a field used in the message draft is missing in the database. If there's a default value for that field, that value is used for generating personalized text.
If the server is down, you may not be able to see any personalized text in spite of selecting the Highlight personalized text checkbox. In that case, wait for some time, and try again.
Acceptable format for mobile numbers while previewing SMS message drafts
You can specify a mobile number so that the preview can include personalized text for a specific contact in the preview pane.
The mobile number must be in E.164 format.
Enter the mobile number with country code on the SMS preview page without any special characters. Use only up to 15 numeric characters. For more information, look up E.164 format on the Internet.
Duplicate and SMS draft
If you want to keep a copy of the draft, before you send the draft you must duplicate an existing draft and save it as a template for future messages.
Click the draft name to select it and then click Duplicate. The duplicate copy of the SMS draft appears with the same Scheduled time/date as the original SMS.
Create an SMS template
- In Campaign, go to SMS and group messaging > Messages and templates. In the Mobile content tab, click Create SMS.
- In the Create automated SMS template window, complete the following template elements:
- Name: Type in a distinctive name for your template.
- Contact source: Click Select and go to the contact source. First, click Shared or Private tab to choose if you want other Campaign users to access your template (Shared is selected by default). To look for a specific source, click one of the radio buttons: Database, Contact list or Query. Click Select to confirm your choice.
- Template location: Click Select and choose a folder to save your template. Follow the same steps as in the Contact source field.
- In the Message notes field, add additional information about the template (optional)
- Type the content of your message in the SMS message body field.
- (Optional) One-off SMS sends support personalization based on relational tables and databases. Click the dropdown menu with the pictogram and select the personalization attribute you want to use, e.g. EMAIL or RECIPIENT_ID. After you click, you will see a special code in your message that will be replaced by personalized content.
Tip: For some recipients, personalized text may increase the character count beyond the permissible limit. To avoid such cases, you can use a recipient ID with more characters in field values as the sample data for your preview.
- Click Save. This will activate two more buttons: Save as and Automate.
- Optional: To save the same template in other locations, click Save as. Enter the new name and choose the location. Click OK.
- Optional: Click Automate to connect your template to a text to join program.
- On the Automate SMS send page, click the Select programs button and check the program of your choice. Click Select.
- Optional: Add tags to your message in the Tags tab.
- Optional: In the Assign your SMS template to existing group of automated messages field, click the dropdown to select the automated message group of your choice. Only groups that share the same contact source will appear in the dropdown. Using other dropdown menus, select:
- When to start sending your SMS (how many days and what time after the trigger event)
- How to process contacts (immediately or after an short interval)
- SMS status you want to save(Pending or Active)
- Click Submit.
Edit a published SMS message
You can edit any type of published SMS message; however, you cannot edit an SMS message that was published by another user. When a message is in Edit mode, you cannot copy or delete the message until you republish it. While editing the message, create a unique SMS message name. If you want, you can change the message settings and content, and then republish the message.
You can see the republished message in the Published SMS messages list. It replaces the original message and is identified by the original content ID. If the original SMS message is used in API calls, future API calls use the republished message.
If you start editing any published SMS message but do not republish the message, the message remains in edit mode – you can find it in the SMS message drafts list. You can change the edited message at any time and then republish it. However, you cannot cancel the editing of a published SMS message. You must republish the draft even if there is no change once it is in editing mode.
Notes about SMS throttling
- The minimum throttling rate is 1,000 and the system rounds the entered number to the nearest thousand. The send is divided into buckets of 1,000 and these buckets are evenly distributed over the course of an hour based on the throttling rate.
- If you enter a throttling rate greater than the number of contacts, throttling is overridden and the SMS message is sent immediately.
- The 'one hour' send period begins when you click Send Now or, for Scheduled SMS messages, at the scheduled send time.
- When you use the SMS Link Tracking feature, SMS throttling can be used to prevent failed sends due to Bitly-imposed rate limits.
- SMS Throttling is supported for SMS sends through Unica Campaign.
- SMS Throttling is not supported for the following:
- Throttling for an SMS message used as a program step
- Throttling for SMS in automated messages groups