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.

Compliance Notes

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

💡 SMS Compliance Pro Tips


  • 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
  • Be aware of SHAFT guidelines. Do not send SMS content about Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, or Tobacco (including cannabis and vaping)


  • 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
  • SMS messages will not send before 8 AM or after 8 PM Contact local time
  • Contacts will not receive more than one SMS Campaign message per 24 hour period

Create an SMS Campaign

To create an SMS campaign, click the Campaigns icon > New Campaign > SMS Campaign

SMS Campaign Settings

Enter a descriptive name to identify your campaign. This name is only visible in your Sendlane account and will not be communicated to Contacts.

Click the Google Analytics checkbox to identify traffic coming into your website from your campaign using Google Analytics. Paste your UTM Tracking Code in the provided text box.

Click Next: Audience to save your selections and continue!

SMS Campaign Audience

Drag and drop Lists, Segments, or Tags into the Included and Excluded sections to determine who receives your SMS campaign.

🚨  Excluded will override Included

For example, if you put your Jewelry List in the Included section and the Apparel Tag in the Excluded section, Contacts with the Apparel tag applied to their Contact Profile will not be sent the SMS Campaign even if they are on the Jewelry List.

Check the Audience size for your SMS Campaign at the top right of the Audience screen and click the Update button to calculate a new Audience size if you change your Audience up!

Click Next: Content to save your selections and continue!

SMS Campaign Content

On the Content screen, you’ll see how many credits your SMS Campaign will cost per Contact in your SMS Campaign’s Audience, create your SMS message’s text, insert at least one tracking link, insert optional emojis or images, and send test versions of your SMS Campaign.

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. Use the emoji button in the bottom right corner to add an emoji to your message!

Tracking Link

Including a tracking link in your SMS message makes it easy for a contact to access your product home page or website, which drives traffic to your site from your SMS messages.

To track engagement with your SMS Campaign, you must insert a tracking link. Click the Create Link icon of the Text Message section and insert your link, starting with HTTP:// or HTTPS://

If you’d like to assign a Tag to all Contacts who click your tracking link, select the Tag to apply from the Tag dropdown.

Click Create to save your tracking link! 


Use the Remaining Characters | Credits Used counter in the bottom left of the Message screen to monitor how many credits your SMS Campaign will cost per Contact.

🚨 Credit & Character Limit

The true cost of your SMS Campaign may not be reflected in the character 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

MMS Messages

To add an image or .GIF to your SMS Campaign, click the Add Image icon in the bottom right of the Text Message section, then drag and drop or browse to select your file. MMS Messages are limited to .JPG, .JPEG, .PNG, or .GIF files of 500KB or less.

MMS Messages have a flat cost of 5 credits and a 1,000 character limit.

Test Message

Send a test of your SMS campaign to as many phone numbers as you’d like by clicking Send Test SMS. Enter phone numbers separated by commas and click Send to send your test.

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

🚨 Test messages will deduct credits from your account.

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

SMS Campaign 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.

🚨  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!

Additional SMS Resources

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

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