How to Send an SMS Campaign

SMS Campaigns are one-time, broadcast-style SMS text messages you can use to send updates, announcements, or any other type of marketing content to your Audience.

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Compliance Notes

Before sending your first SMS Campaign, review these best practices:

💡 SMS Compliance Pro Tips

    Do

    • Collect Contacts’ documented permission to send them SMS marketing messages
    • Explain the frequency of sends in your content pitch (“Sign up to receive weekly updates and deals!” is better than “Sign up to receive updates!”)
    • Send SMS Campaigns between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM EST
    • Be aware of SHAFT guidelines. Do not send SMS content about Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, or Tobacco (including cannabis and vaping)

    Don’t

    • Send content about illegal actions or substances, violence, adult content (including nudity), profanity, or hate speech
    • Send Contacts more than one SMS message per day.

    Sendlane's Built-In Compliance Tools

    • Contacts will not receive SMS messages until their consent to receive SMS marketing messages is documented in their Contact Profiles
    • If SMS messages are scheduled or attempted to send immediately after 8 PM in the time zone of the Contact's area code, the Campaign will be sent the following morning at 8 AM due to quiet hour legal restrictions
    • Contacts will not receive more than three (3) Campaign SMS messages per 24 hour period
1

 Create an SMS Campaign

To create an SMS campaign:

  1. Click the Campaigns icon 
  2. Click New Campaign 
  3. Click Create SMS Campaign

2

 Configure SMS Campaign Settings

General

In the Campaign Name field, enter a descriptive name to identify your campaign. This name is only visible in your Sendlane account and will not be communicated to Contacts.

Audience

  • Send to dropdown: Select Lists, Segments, or Tags that you want to send your SMS campaign to
  • Don't send to dropdown: Select Lists, Segments, or Tags that you do not want to receive your SMS campaign
  • Don't send to overrides Send to For example, if the Jewelry List is in the Send to section and the Apparel Tag is in the Don't send section, Contacts with the Apparel tag applied to their Contact Profile will not be sent the SMS Campaign, even if they are also on the Jewelry List.
  • Check the Audience size estimate to see how many Contacts are included in your selected audience

Advanced

If you'd like to override your global UTM settings, check the Customize UTM tracking checkbox and make your desired changes.

3

 SMS Campaign Content

Text Message

Enter your SMS Campaign’s content in the Text Message box and see a preview of your campaign as it will appear in your Contacts’ text messaging app.

The SMS Campaign builder will automatically alert you if you include a word that is considered a spam indicator by carriers and will not let the SMS Campaign go out until the potential spam keyword is removed.

Use the buttons in the bottom right corner to:

  1. Insert MMS MMS Messages are limited to .JPG, .JPEG, .PNG, or .GIF files of 500KB or less. MMS Messages have a flat cost of 3 credits and a 1,000 character limit.
  2. Create a tracking link
  3. Add personalization
  4. Add a unique coupon code
  5. Add custom data
  6. Add an emoji

🚨 Use emojis with care: inserting an emoji causes your message's character count to double

    Characters in the ASCII format (A - Z, a - z, 0-9, spaces, and most common punctuation) are 8 bits each. Inserting an emoji into an SMS message removes ASCII formatting and causes all characters to use more bits (roughly 16).

    If your message is Flash sale today only!! your message will equal 8 bits x 23 characters for a total of 184 bits. If your message is 🎉 Flash sale today only!! each character now requires roughly 16 bits; 16 bits x 23 characters equals a total of 368 bits. Adding a single emoji roughly doubles the size of every character in the message, additional emojis after the first take up the same amount of space as any other character. The message 🎉🎉🎉 Flash sale today only!! is 16 bits x 25 characters for a total of 400 bits.

    TL;DR, adding even a single emoji greatly increases the size of your message, so take care when deciding which messages really need them. 

Tracking Link

To track engagement (clicks), you must add a link to your SMS message that leads back to your website. SMS messages cannot collect open rates because there is no tracking pixel in an SMS message. All tracking links must begin with  HTTP:// or HTTPS://

You can automatically turn all links in the Text Message window into tracking links by checking the Automatically Track Links checkbox:

You can use the link builder to create a tracking link with an associated Tag. Contacts who click the link will have the selected Tag added to their contact profile. To use the link builder:

  1. Click the Create Link icon
  2. insert your link, starting with HTTP:// or HTTPS:// 
  3. select a Tag to apply from the Tag dropdown.
  4. Click Create to save your tracking link!

Whether you check the Automatically Track Links checkbox or use the link builder, ensure that the tracking link is highlighted in green in the Text Message box. Links that are not highlighted in green will not track clicks.

    Tracking links are permanently tied to the message they were created in. If you create a tracking link for Campaign A, then copy and paste the tracking link from Campaign A into Campaign B, click and revenue data from Campaign B will be attached to Campaign A where the tracking link originated.

Credits

Use the credit counters in the bottom left of the Message screen to estimate how many credits your SMS Campaign will cost per message, the total number of credits that will be used based on the Audience you selected, and the number of SMS credits remaining in your account.

The actual cost of your SMS Campaign may not be reflected in the counter because:

  1. Your business name will be appended to all SMS messages to identify you as the sender
  2. Emojis change your message's encoding and increase the number of credits used
  3. Contacts receive an opt-in confirmation when they receive their first SMS message from you
4

 Send a Test Message

Send a test of your SMS campaign by clicking Send Test SMS. Enter phone numbers separated by commas and click Send to send your test. Test messages will use SMS sending credits to send.

Try sending a test message to different devices and operating systems to ensure your content displays properly for all of your Contacts!

Click Next to Summary to save your message’s Content and continue!

5

 Set SMS Campaign Schedule

Schedule

Select one of the following options for your SMS Campaign:

  • Save as Draft Save your Campaign in your Sendlane account to send later
  • Send Immediately Send your Campaign right away
  • Schedule Select a date and time for your Campaign to be sent

When your Campaign sends, you’ll see its progress on your SMS Campaigns page! Once it’s out, come back in 24 hours to dive into your Campaign’s reporting.

Optional Settings

Select the Skip contacts during quiet hours checkbox if you want Contacts who will be in quiet hours when your Campaign sends to not receive your SMS campaign once they are out of quiet hours. Leave the box unchecked to send the SMS campaign to quiet hours Contacts once they are out of quiet hours.

🚨  SMS Daily Limit

    SMS messages will not send to Contacts without consent recorded. Contacts who have not opted in will not receive the message, and Contacts will not be included in report numbers. Contacts will not receive more than one SMS message during a 24 hour period, and messages will not be queued.

What if someone responds to your SMS Campaign message? Check out our guide to the Sendlane Reply Center to engage directly with your Contacts!

Troubleshooting

Why does my SMS Campaign say "Stopped" on the SMS Campaigns page?

SMS Campaigns are generally stopped due to being blocked by wireless carriers. If you have questions about a stopped Campaign, please contact your Customer Success Manager or our 24/7 Product Support team!

Why didn't my SMS Campaign go out?

Your SMS Campaign may not have gone out if:

  • Your account didn't have enough SMS credits to complete the send. Upgrade your SMS account to send your Campaign!
  • You attempted to send a Campaign earlier than 8 AM or later than 8 PM. If SMS messages are scheduled or attempted to send immediately after 8 PM, the Campaign will be sent the following morning at 8 AM due to quiet hour legal restrictions.

 Please contact your Customer Success Manager or our 24/7 support team if none of the above situations apply so we can get your SMS Campaign out as soon as possible!

Additional SMS Resources

Check out the Sendlane Marketing Journal for tips, tricks, and best practices for SMS Marketing:

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