Create, test, and send an SMS campaign

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


Did you know that 98% of SMS messages are read within five minutes of them being received? Pretty powerful, huh? If you're looking to create your own SMS campaigns, you're in the right place!

Step 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, choose to send either a Broadcast or Automated SMS.
    • Broadcast campaigns are sent to an address book and allow split testing.
    • Automated campaigns are used for SMS auto-responders and don't allow split testing.
  4. For Split test, choose whether you want to send a split test campaign or not.
    For this article, we don't send a split test campaign. To learn more about split testing, check out the article Send your split test SMS campaign.
  5. For Link shortening, choose Shorten or Do not shorten.
    Link shortening saves character counts and allows us to track SMS interaction.
  6. In the SMS campaign editor, enter your SMS message.
    A single SMS message can be a maximum of 160 characters, or 70 characters if you're using a non-Latin alphabet/character set. You can exceed this amount, meaning your message will flow into a second SMS, as indicated by the counter at the foot of the message. 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.
  7. Select SAVE.

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.

Step 2: Test your SMS campaign

You can test send by using the Test send button, which is available in various places within the application. One of them is on the page where you compose and edit your SMS campaigns. It can also be accessed in the Test send column in the Unsent and Sent sections on the SMS dashboard.

To do a test send:

  1. Select the Test send button.
  2. To add a new mobile number to your Test address book:
    1. Select New test address. 
    2. Enter the phone number in the international format.
    3. Select Create.
      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 a test number to choose contacts to send to (hold Ctrl to select multiple addresses). You can also search for them by their phone number.
  4. Select Test send to confirm the send, once you've made your selections.
  5. When you're finished with testing, select SAVE & CONTINUE.

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.

Step 3: Send an SMS campaign

You have worked hard to create an SMS campaign, now it's time to send it out to the world! To send an SMS campaign, follow these steps:

  1. Under the heading Select the contacts to send this campaign to, select the contacts you want to send the SMS to.

  2. Under the heading Select send time and speed, 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.
  3. For Select send time, choose to send the SMS campaign either immediately or schedule it using the date and time picker.
  4. 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.
    To learn more about SMS send speed, check out the article Set SMS send speed.
  5. 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).

    The custom expiry is useful if your SMS is time-sensitive, for example, a 24-hour sale or travel updates.
  6. Select CONTINUE.
  7. On the Send page, you see the total amount of contacts you're sending to. You also see:
    • the ‘From name’ that will appear 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)

Personalise your SMS campaign

You can add personalisation by clicking on the personalisation icon to the right of the message box icon and selecting any one of the five fields. For instance, clicking Field 1 will add @FIELD1@ to your message and the value held against your contact for this field will be added to your message when it's sent. Please note that there's a 128 character limit for a personalisation field.

See also

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