Create, test, and send an SMS campaign

Learn to create, test, and send an SMS campaign to your contacts.


98% of SMS messages are read within five minutes of them being received; it’s a powerful way to get your messages to your contacts. In this article we show you how to create your own SMS campaigns.

1. Create an SMS campaign

To create an SMS campaign:

  1. Go to SMS, and select NEW CAMPAIGN.
  2. Enter a campaign name, then select SAVE.
  3. Under Campaign details:
    • For Type of send, Select BROADCAST or AUTOMATED.
      • Broadcast campaigns are sent to one or more address books and allow split testing and personalisation.
      • Automated campaigns are used for SMS auto-responders and don't allow split testing or personalisation.
    • If you choose to send a Broadcast SMS, then for Split test, select YES or NO to choose whether you want to send a split test campaign or not.
      If you choose to send an Automated SMS, this option is greyed out.
      To learn more about split testing, check out the article Send your split test SMS campaign.
    • For Links, select SHORTEN or DO NOT SHORTEN.
      Link shortening saves character counts and allows us to track SMS interaction. To learn more, check out the article Use link shortening and tracking in an SMS campaign.

    When you’ve configured your settings, select SAVE & CONTINUE.
  4. In the SMS campaign editor, enter your SMS message.

    SMS character count

    A single SMS message must be a maximum of 160 characters, or 70 characters if you're using a non-Latin alphabet/character set. It’s possible to exceed this amount, meaning your message flows into a second SMS, as indicated by the counter at the top of the message editing window. Adding elements like personalisation can vastly increase your character count.
    To learn more, check out the articles Why data fields might increase SMS cost and SMS message length and Unicode.

  5. Select SAVE.

Personalise your SMS campaign

You can add personalisation to a broadcast SMS campaign by expanding the DATA FIELDS drop-down menu and selecting any one of the five fields.


For example, select Field 1 to add @FIELD1@ to your message. The value held against a contact for this field is inserted when your message is sent.

There's a 128 character limit for a personalisation field for SMS.

2. Test your SMS campaign

You can access the test send function for SMS in two places:

  • The SMS campaign editing screen
  • On the All SMS campaigns screen, in the Test send column.

To perform a test send:

  1. Select Test send.
  2. Select SELECT TEST NUMBER to choose contacts from your SMS Test address book (hold Ctrl to select multiple addresses), or select NEW TEST NUMBER to add a new contact to the SMS Test address book.
    You cannot add suppressed contacts to your test address book. If you see the Errors found message when trying to add a new address, this is likely to be the reason why.
  3. Select TEST SEND to confirm the send.
  4. When you're finished with testing and ready to send, select SAVE & CONTINUE.
    If you’re not ready to send, you can select SAVE then exit the SMS editor, and return to your campaign later.

Keep it short

If your SMS is longer than 160 standard GSM characters, it costs more to send. Don't get caught out by extra costs. Learn about SMS message length and using Unicode in your messages.

3. Send an SMS campaign

You’ve created your SMS campaign, now it's time to send it out.

To send a broadcast SMS campaign:

  1. Open your campaign in the SMS editor and select SAVE & CONTINUE or go to All SMS campaigns and select the Send icon.
  2. Under the heading Select the contacts to send this campaign to, select the contact lists you want to send the SMS to.
  3. Under the heading Select send time and speed:
    • For Select send time, select Immediately or Scheduled.
      If you select Scheduled, use the date picker to set the time and date of your send, then expand the time zone drop-down menu and select the time zone you are sending the SMS to.
      This doesn’t affect the time zone set on your account. You can only select one time zone for SMS sends.
    • For Select send speed, you can use the default sending speed, meaning as soon as possible, or choose to spread the campaign send out over 1, 2, 3, 6, 12 or 24 hours.
    • For Undelivered SMS, select Expire after three days if you want the standard SMS expiry time of three days. If you want your SMS to expire earlier, select Expire on, and then choose a date and time. You can set a minimum time of one hour and a maximum of three days (72 hours).
      If a network can’t deliver an SMS at the first attempt, they make multiple further attempts to deliver up to the message expiry time. The custom expiry is useful if your SMS is time-sensitive, for example, a 24-hour sale or travel updates, so you don’t want the network to continue trying to re-send the SMS for the full three days.
  4. Select CONTINUE.
  5. On the Send page, you see the total amount of contacts you're sending to.
    You also see:
    • the From name that appears for those who receive the campaign
    • your number of available sending credits (which needs to exceed how many credits this send will use)
    • whether or not your message includes Unicode characters
    • the address books you’re sending to
    • the send time
    • the number of recipients
    • the estimated credits you’ll use for this send (this is an estimate only and doesn't account for longer messages due to personalisation)
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