Getting started with SMS

International calling codes

Accounts in all regions can send globally using our SMS functionality. You must use phone numbers that are prefixed by their international calling code (for example +44 for the UK).

Overview

You can make use of our SMS functionality to send SMS campaigns to contacts or send a single SMS to a contact. You can also add and store SMS contacts separately to any email contacts, meaning you only need a mobile number for them. Additionally, if you wish to personalise your campaigns, you have the option to store further information against your contacts. We also provide a reporting section, where you can manage your replies and adjust your SMS settings. This enables you to add respondents to SMS and email address books, as well as send auto-responder campaigns.

SMS functionality is accessed by mousing over the area switcher menu (it says 'Email' upon logging in) in the top left corner and selecting SMS from the menu.  

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Enabling SMS on your account

To begin (and if you haven't done so already), you'll need to contact us to start using SMS. After this has been completed, you'll then need to create an SMS from name. Also, and only if you want to, you can also contact us to set up:

SMS from name

The SMS from name is your sending identity. If you choose an SMS from name which is a word - 'Mycompany', for example - then recipients will see your message arrive from that word (though this can depend on which country they're in).

However, recipients won't be able to directly reply to your company name as it’s a word rather than a phone number. If you'd like direct replies to work, then you'll need to contact us to provision a phone number to route replies through. Remember, if you’re sending marketing messages, most countries require you to allow recipients to opt-out. If you’re planning to send marketing messages, you’ll generally need to set up a number to use for this purpose.

Your company's name will already be your default SMS from name. However, you can have more than one from name if you wish, and any newly created from name can be set as your new default.

If you have provisioned one or multiple phone numbers from us to route replies through, these will appear in your list of from names, and you can select any of these as your default from name, if you’d like to send from it. You cannot edit or delete these numbers.

Please note: To meet network requirements, SMS from names can be a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 11 mixed alphanumeric characters and numbers and cannot contain a space. SMS from names cannot be made completely of numbers

To create an SMS from name:

  1. Go to Campaigns > SMS from names
  2. Click New from name
  3. Enter a name and then click Add from name

New profiles are listed under 'SMS from names', where they can be edited and deleted.

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Blocked from names

We have a small list of blocked from names that you can't use. If you try to use a from name that's blocked, you’ll get a warning notification. If you're having trouble adding your company name as your from name, please contact your account manager.

Shared short code and keywords

A short code is usually a five- or six-digit number that can send and receive SMS to and from mobile phones. There are two types of short codes: dedicated and shared.

Shared short codes are a more common and cost-effective option than having a dedicated short code, but you'll need a keyword to go along with your shared short code if you want to allow recipients to respond to you and opt-in or out of your SMS campaigns or offers. The keyword is used to identify replies to your company to ensure you receive them and can reply if you wish.

For example, if your keyword was 'COMPANY', a contact could send 'COMPANY when does the sale end?' to the shared short code. You'd then see this in your 'Replies' section and could respond to it if you chose to. The keyword must always be the first word of a message as it identifies the SMS campaign that's being responded to on a shared short code.

Information

Each secondary account needs a separate keyword.

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Please note: Short code requirements and behaviour will vary depending upon the countries you're interested in dealing with.

Long number/virtual mobile number (VMN)

Alternatively, you may prefer or require a long number (a 10- to 15-digit number which is essentially a valid phone number) if you want recipients to be able to respond to you and opt-in and out of your SMS campaigns or offers. Unlike short codes which are generally shared, a long number, which is also sometimes referred to as a virtual mobile number (VMN), is dedicated to you and therefore you won’t need a keyword to receive responses. However, a downside of a long number is that it is likely to come with sending restrictions, making it less suited to marketing communications than a short code.

Please note: Long number requirements and behaviour will vary depending upon the countries you're interested in dealing with.

You can still send SMS without a short code and keyword or long number. It just means you can't receive replies or opts outs (note that in most countries you're required to allow contacts to opt-out of marketing SMS messages). You might want to do this in the case of a transactional SMS, which is triggered through our API. A transaction SMS message informs your contact of an order status and doesn't need a response. 

Please note: It may take a few days to fully provision identities, short codes and keywords with mobile networks.

Allowing contacts to opt-out (unsubscribe)

In most countries, it's a requirement to allow contacts to opt-out of marketing SMS messages.

Information

Short codes can be classified as premium rate numbers by some service providers or mobile devices. If a contact tries to send an opt out SMS message and they have a network block for premium numbers, the opt out won’t work. This appears as Not sent for the contact who's trying to opt out. For Android users, they see a modal saying This may cause charges to your mobile account, and it applies when sending SMS messages to five digit numbers.

With a shared short code

To opt-out with a shared short code, contacts can reply or send a new SMS to your short code with the keyword, followed by a space, followed by a designated word, such as 'STOP'. For example, if your keyword was 'COMPANY', a contact would need to send 'COMPANY STOP' to opt-out. While 'STOP' is the most common opt-out word, which we'd recommend using, there are also some other opt-out words that can be used after the keyword. The full list is:

  • CANCEL
  • END
  • QUIT
  • STOP
  • REMOVE
  • UNSUBSCRIBE

Contacts will only be opted out if the opt-out word follows directly after the space after the keyword, that is 'KEYWORD OPTOUTWORD'. For example, if the keyword is 'COMPANY', the contact would need to be instructed to reply with 'COMPANY STOP'. If any other characters are added before the opt-out word then the opt-out process won't work.

With a long number

Because a long number is dedicated to your company, you don't need a keyword to allow contacts to opt-out. To opt-out with a long number, contacts must send a new SMS to your long number with either the word 'STOP' or one of the other opt-out words above. The opt-out word must be the first word in the response from the contact in order to opt them out.

Allowing contacts to opt back in (re-subscribe)

With a shared short code

To opt back in with a shared short code, contacts can reply to an older message from you before the opted-out or send a new SMS to your shared short code with the keyword, followed by a space, followed by either the word ‘START’ or 'UNSTOP’. For example, if your keyword is 'COMPANY', a contact would need to send 'COMPANY START' to opt back in.

With a long number

Since a long number is dedicated to your company, you don't need a keyword to allow contacts to opt back in. To opt back in, contacts can simply reply to an old message or send a new SMS to your long number with either the word ‘START’ or 'UNSTOP'.

 

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