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Create SMS Messages with MobileConnect

Learning Objectives

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

  • Create effective SMS messages using MobileConnect.
  • Identify the dos and don’ts of SMS messaging.
  • Follow MobileConnect best practices.

More than 5 billion people have mobile devices, which means you can reach a lot of customers with MobileConnect. But those customers are more discerning when it comes to receiving text messages. After all, they often give these messages immediate attention. So, they expect high-quality, relevant, and timely messages—and it’s up to you to deliver. In this unit, you learn how to apply best practices to your sends and integrate MobileConnect with Journey Builder.

Where to Send

Location isn’t just a factor for segmentation or regulation when it comes to MobileConnect. Different countries and regions require separate short or long codes to send to recipients in this area. SMS remains an extremely effective tool around the world, but you need to properly prepare your efforts to make sure you have everything in place to conduct your send. That’s why MobileConnect uses guides for SMS sending to help guide your efforts. That way, you can make sure you follow the correct guidelines and regulations as you prepare to send messages.

When to Send

Much like MobilePush, you want to send SMS messages only when the subscriber is likely (and awake) to receive them. The problem is that you can’t always predict when your SMS messages arrive on a mobile device. The device could move back into a network range after losing signal for awhile, or the subscriber could be turning their device back on (or recharging their phone).

MobileConnect does give you some control over send times, though. Just start your sends early enough in the specified time zone to make sure a long send won’t run into nighttime hours. Also, set send blackouts to prevent sends from kicking off at a bad time.

What to Send

Of course, you always want to send only the most relevant and important content in your messages. SMS messages are immediate and tend to demand more attention, so you want to keep things short and include a definite call to action. However, SMS messages also require a little more regulatory language than other messaging options. You need to include directions that help the subscriber receive assistance or stop receiving your messages (fingers crossed they won’t). MobileConnect provides stored headers and footers that help you standardize this legalese, so use those tools to help you ensure regulatory compliance.

Send Using MobileConnect API

The MobileConnect app and REST API work together to automate the sending of many types of SMS messages. For example, you can send an SMS confirmation after a subscriber enters information on a web form, or automatically trigger a shipping confirmation. Because the REST API is so versatile, you can create a lot of different options. 

In this module, we assume you are a Marketing Cloud administrator with the proper permissions to create mobile messages. If you’re not an administrator for Marketing Cloud, that’s OK. Read along to learn how your administrator would take the steps in a production org. Don’t try to follow these steps in your Trailhead Playground. Marketing Cloud isn’t available in the Trailhead Playground.

Example: Outbound Message

This example shows how to create a message in MobileConnect, then send that message as part of an API trigger. Use the MobileConnect Outbound message template to define the content for each message. Here’s how.

  1. In the MobileConnect app, click Create Message and select the Outbound template.
  2. Name the message.
  3. Select the short code to be used for delivery. Use the same code on which contacts subscribed to a specific keyword.
  4. Select the API Trigger send method.
  5. Define message content. Both the MessageContact and MessageList APIs allow for override of defined message content, meaning you can include more relevant content in the API call and still use the message structure for the send.
  6. Activate your message. Both the messageContact and messageList request bodies use the API key received during this step.

After creating this message, use this code sample to trigger the send.

POST https://YOUR_SUBDOMAIN.rest.marketingcloudapis.com/sms/v1/messageContact/MzA6Nzg6MA/send
Content-Type: application/json
Authorization: Bearer YOUR_OAUTH_ACCESS_TOKEN
{
  "mobileNumbers": [
  "13175551212"
  ],
  "Subscribe": false,
  "Resubscribe": false,
  "Override": true,
  "messageText": "Welcome to our list!"
}

This code uses the Override parameter to force the message to include the text from the code. You can change the text following messageText to whatever you want.

Send SMS Messages in Journey Builder

MobileConnect and Journey Builder get along well. In fact, you don’t even need to open MobileConnect to send messages via Journey Builder—you can just build them in Journey Builder, select your short or long code and delivery options, and you’re ready to go. Journey Builder also helps you automate your messages and honors any send blackout times. That way, you’re less likely to send a message to somebody when they’re not expecting it.

Note

Note

Want to learn more about sending SMS messages in Journey Builder? Check out SMS Messaging with MobileConnect.

So, why would you want to include SMS messages in your journeys? These messages make excellent reminders for upcoming appointments or events, so insert a reminder 2 days before the assigned time to make sure everybody is on the same page. You could also include member-only sale announcements or reminders so that customers don’t miss out. These kinds of messages serve a quick single purpose that includes a clear call to action.

Let’s press on with MobilePush—head to the next unit for everything you need to know about app messaging.  

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