SMS Text Message

Within the SMS editor, you can enter text and add data fields for personalization. The best practice is to keep SMS messages short, with a clear call to action, and send only to those who have consented to receive them. Always include a link in your SMS so the recipient can get more information.

Please note the following:

  • Before you send an SMS campaign, be sure you can answer this question: How will this SMS add value to my customer, right now?
  • If you design and send an SMS message greater than 160 characters, the message will be split by the carriers. Large messages are segmented into 153 character segments and sent individually then rebuilt by the recipient’s device. For example, a 161 character message will be sent as two messages, one with 153 characters and the second with 8 characters. Even though you are writing your large message as a single message, and the recipient will receive it as one message, Communicate will count two messages towards your allotment of SMS messages as technically it truly is two messages.
  • If you include non-GSM characters, such as eastern characters, in SMS messages, those messages have to be sent via UCS-2 encoding. Messages containing any UCS-2 characters are limited to 67 characters and will be concatenated into 67 character message segments, even if the messages contain less than 160 characters.

When you select Text Message from the Create New (communication) screen, the following screen is displayed:

Click Create New SMS. Firstly, you are asked to provide the name of the project (you can if needed create a new project here) and the communication name. You are then presented with the SMS design screen in the Element Editor tab, which looks like this:

From this screen, you can use the Element Editor tab to design the SMS message. In the blank box, enter text, which can either be from the Standard Character Set or the Premium Character Set (details are given below as soon as you start typing).

When creating the SMS message, click on Add personalization to insert a Data Field or System Field. The Data Fields displayed are based on the Data Source selected (to select a data source, use the Contacts tab. You can insert a Data Field that is not in the currently selected Data Source by selecting Add Custom Field (it must, however, exist in one of your Data Sources). For each custom field that you add, you will be prompted to provide a default value to be used whenever there is no value present. System Fields are standard fields not dependent on any Data Source (mostly time and date related).

Note: SMS is character-based, so you must account for longer than expected personalizations in your character counts.

To test the message, click Preview and Test and then Send Test to send it to a test number.

To select a contacts list for the SMS message, use the Contacts tab. For details on creating a contacts list, see Data Sources.

When your message is complete, click Save. Alternatively, you can click Save As Team Template (if you want this message to be a template).

An example of a message is shown below:

Add personalization

When creating the message, click on Add personalization to insert a Data Field or System Field. The Data Fields displayed are based on the Data Source selected (to select a data source, use the Contacts tab). You can insert a Data Field that is not in the currently selected Data Source by selecting Add Custom Field (it must, however, exist in one of your Data Sources). For each custom field that you add, you will be prompted to provide a default value to be used whenever there is no value present. System Fields are standard fields not dependent on any Data Source (mostly time and date related).

Contacts tab

This allows you to add personalization to the message using data from a Data Source. See Data Sources for how to create a Data Source. After importing a Data Source, the fields in that source appear as Data Fields when you select Add personalization.

Phone numbers for SMS messaging

For SMS messaging, phone numbers must comply with the E.164 format. E.164 is a standard for the phone number structure used for international telecommunication. Phone numbers that follow this format can have a maximum of 15 digits, and they are prefixed with the plus character (+) and the country code.

For example, a U.S. phone number in E.164 format would appear as +1XXX5550100.

When you send an SMS message, it will go to all the valid phone numbers in your data source.

Note: Phone numbers are not validated when the data is uploaded.

Campaign names

The name is what makes each campaign unique to the project. Use descriptive names so that it is easier to identify individual campaigns in the communication (as shown on the Project Campaigns list). Communicate will track the metrics for each unique campaign.

To resend the same campaign again, for example with a different data source, you can reuse the original campaign name. Communicate will track the metrics for both sends as belonging to the same campaign.

Sender name

This is the sender ID that will be displayed on the receiving device as the message sender. For example, you can use your business brand to make the message source easier to recognize. The sender name can be:

  • Up to 11 alphanumeric characters in length
  • Requires one letter
  • No spaces
Note: Not all countries support sender IDs. For an up-to-date information, see Supported Regions and Countries.