Get Your SMS Codes

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Investigate sending regulations.
  • Identify super message needs.
  • Prepare for a US or Canadian SMS implementation.
  • Implement SMS codes globally.

Before You Start

Salesforce pays for the first year of the lease on your code and waives activation fees. Discuss future fees with your account executive. As a reminder, professional services are required to obtain US and Canadian private short codes.

SMS Considerations

Now that you understand the language of SMS, let’s review what you need to do to prepare your SMS program. Think of it like building a burger—you need to layer in the right pieces in the right order to get it right. Let’s start with the most important ingredient: regulations. 


Countries have specific preferences and regulations for controlling SMS messages. As we mentioned in the first unit, the CTIA provides a monitoring handbook that we encourage you to review. However, this material is not intended as a comprehensive guide to compliance with laws and regulations that apply to short code programs. Additionally, if you are sending from or to countries outside of the US, it’s important to understand local laws and regulations for sending text messages. Consult a lawyer to develop an SMS regulatory framework for your company and to ensure you adhere to relevant laws in all the markets (states, countries, or territories) in which you are operating. Bottom line: Don’t forget the special sauce on your burger. No one wants a dry burger or a lawsuit. 

Super Messages

A super message is how Marketing Cloud evaluates consumption of email messages, landing page impressions, and mobile messages. Think of super messages like a burger bun—you may want something light like a lettuce wrap or something more hearty like a pretzel bun. It all depends on how hungry you are. Similarly, you need to gauge your customers’ appetite for your content to determine how many super messages you need.

Email messages are pretty easy to estimate since one super message equals one regular email send. For SMS messages sent within the United States, one SMS is equal to 10 super messages. (Note: SMS messages are a bit more nuanced depending on what country you are sending outbound messages to.) 

So how many do you need? Let’s see how Scott’s tallies the number of super messages the restaurant needs for customer and employee SMS campaigns.

Customer Campaign

Description Total
Frequency: Send one outbound SMS sales alert (under 160 characters) to subscribers once a month 12
Audience: Number of SMS subscribers 10,000
Total number of SMS messages sent (Frequency x Audience) 120,000
Multiplier x 10 1,200,000

SMS messages are 160 characters and any messages over 160 characters count as two messages.

Employee Campaign

Description Total
Frequency: Send one outbound SMS employee alert (under 160 characters) to employees once a week 52
Audience: Number of employee SMS subscribers 40
Total number of SMS messages sent (Frequency x Audience) 2,080
Multiplier x 10 20,800

So, Scott’s adds the projected customer and employee campaign numbers together and determines the restaurant needs at least 1,220,800 super messages for its SMS program.


Each country has a different super message multiplier ranging from 10 to 95, so be sure to ask your account executive about current multiplier rates for the countries you support.  

Get SMS Up and Running (in US and Canada)

Now let’s get to the meat (or veggie patty, if you prefer) of your SMS program. With a little help from a services partner (yep, you need one of these implementation experts for help with US and Canadian codes), you’ll be ready to kick off your SMS program in 8–12 weeks (typically). Why so long? It is a multistep process involving campaign submission forms, code provisioning, aggregator approvals, as well as carrier testing. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you prep.

First, gather some important information.

  • Company info (tax ID, years in business, company mailing address, and website)
  • Campaign title, type, and description (name of your SMS campaign and explanation of the campaign)
  • Opt-in type and keyword (web opt-in via API? Single or double opt-in? What keyword?)
  • Opt-in message (what customers receive when they opt-in to your campaign)
  • Message frequency (1 msg/week, 3 msg/week, 5 msg/month)
  • HELP (customer support) and STOP (opt-out) message copy
  • Toll-free phone helpline and a customer support email
  • Mobile-enabled terms and conditions webpage (with an active URL)
  • Mobile-enabled privacy policy webpage (with an active URL)
  • Business Unit/MID information

Whew. Once you’ve got these details ready to go, your services partner takes this info and works with aggregators to obtain the code(s) on your behalf (with no additional fees). Keep in mind, if something is incorrect or incomplete, the aggregator may ask for fixes, which can delay implementation.


The terms and conditions pages tend to be a common hangup in the process. Be sure to start working on this in advance and confirm the requirements with your services partner before submitting to the aggregator.  

Once the aggregator approves your code request, they work with carriers to complete the activation process. When that’s done, your services partner confirms that your setup is accurate in Marketing Cloud and you’re ready to start texting. 

Get an International Code

Good news, MobileConnect supports SMS programs across the globe. Better news? Outside of the US and Canada, you can acquire and activate international or local country codes without a services partner by working directly with your account executive.

You need all the same info from the previous section, so check out that list. Plus, you should be able to answer these questions.

  • What country or countries do you plan to send to?
  • Do you want one-way or two-way support? (Two-way support means your customers can respond to your messages.)
    • If you want one-way support, how do customers opt out of the campaign?
  • Do you want to use an Alpha ID or From Name, if possible?
  • What is the anticipated send volume per country or market?
  • When do you want to start sending your campaigns?

Want more information about specific enablement guides for your country? Check out the help page MobileConnect Enablement Guides.

Are your SMS codes ready? Awesome. Now you can begin sending messages. See you in the next unit as we cover how to do this using MobileConnect. BRB (be right back). 


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