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Sending SMS

MessageBird offers a range of ways to send your SMS. SMS can be sent from within your Dashboard, or on your side via email or through an API connection. Below we will discuss the ways that you can send an SMS and the steps you need to take.
  • Campaign Builder: Send personalised messages, use templates and schedule campaigns to one or more recipients at the same time. Read more about using our Campaign Builder below in this article.
  • Quick Send: Send a quick SMS from your Dashboard to one recipient at the same time. Read more about using Quick Send below in this article.
  • Bulk Messaging: Send SMS to one or more recipients using different content, by uploading an Excel or CSV file in your Dashboard without storing any contact data. Read more here about Bulk Messaging: Sending SMS in bulk
  • Email to SMS: Allows you to send SMS directly from your email client. Read more here about setting up Email to SMS: Sending Email to SMS
  • Inbox: Send SMS via Inbox using your SMS channel. Read more on this page about setting up your SMS channel for Inbox use: Install SMS as an Inbox channel
  • API: Send SMS straight from your API integration. To use SMS via our API, please check our Developers Documentation.

Campaign Builder

To work with the Campaign Builder, go to the left-hand side of your Dashboard and click on SMS → Campaign Builder. Below we will discuss instructions for both the regular Campaign Builder, as well as the Campaign Builder Beta. Please click for your relevant guide:
Campaign Builder
Step 1: Creating the Message
The first step in setting up your Campaign is creating the message. You can start typing an SMS from scratch, or you can also use templates and personalisation in your SMS. Read more here on how to use these: Using templates & personalisation
Step 2: Adding Originator & Recipients
On the second step, you will be asked to add your originator and recipients:
Select an originator: The originator is the name or number from which the message is sent. You can read more here about how to choose an originator suitable for your SMS: Choosing an originator
* Note that you must use your own originator. Messages with a 'MessageBird' originator will be blocked.
Select one or more recipients: A recipient is a contact who will receive the message. Please note that you can send campaigns up to 20,000 contacts. To add recipients you can choose between:
  • Manually add a number: Type a name or number to add a contact from your phonebook quickly.
  • Contacts from phonebook: Select specific contacts from your phonebook.
  • Groups from phonebook: Select specific groups from your phonebook.
  • Submit your own numbers: Add up to 300 mobile phone numbers manually.
  • Import single-column CSV file: Import a file that contains just the recipient numbers.
Step 3: Verify and schedule your message
On the last page, you will be shown your SMS for verification, and you will have the option to schedule it to send at a later date. Check your message to make sure it's exactly what you want: Are all the settings correct? Any typos or missing spaces? Did you select the right originator? Have the proper recipients been added?
On this page you can also choose to receive a copy of the campaign via email or you can create a template based on this campaign. Once you're ready, press 'Send' to send your SMS, or read instructions below on how to schedule this.
Schedule
If you don't want to send the message right away, click on 'Schedule' in the bottom-right corner. Select the date and time you would like to send the message. If needed, you can also set the frequency and the end date.
If you need to make any changes, you can go back without losing any previously entered information. Keep in mind that the scheduled start time will use the same time zone which you’ve set up your account.
Campaign Builder Beta
Our Campaign Builder Beta is currently in a closed beta. If you would like to try Campaign Builder Beta, but don't have access, please reach out to our Support team via this page.
Step 1: Set a Campaign Name (Optional)
The first step in Campaign Builder (Beta) is to name your campaign. This is a new feature that will help you differentiate your Campaigns; your campaign name won't be visible for your end-users. This step is optional, so you don't have to decide upon a name straight away.
If you choose to skip this step, we'll give your Campaign a default name based on the timestamp, similar to:
Step 2: Set your Originator
In this step, we'll show you how to set your Sender (also known as "Originator"), which is the designated name or number your recipients will receive your message from. You can read more here about the originator: Choosing an originator. Make sure you are also familiar with any Country Restrictions, which may influence your originator options.
When setting your originator in the Campaign Builder Beta, you have the following options:
  1. 1.
    Sender Name: This can be a name or number. If you use a company or brand name as the Sender name, the amount of characters needs to be between 3 and 11. If you use a MessageBird number as the Sender, the maximum amount of characters is 17.
  2. 2.
    Your numbers: Select any of your pre-purchased MessageBird numbers. The number you select will be used to send the campaign.
  3. 3.
    Use my dedicated numbers: This number is only for your use. Any messages sent to that number will always go to you, whether you send out a message first or not.
  4. 4.
    Shared number: Every MessageBird account includes access to a Shared Number, which is free to use and allows you to receive replies direct to your account. (Shared numbers are currently available in the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom.) Note: You always need to send an SMS message to your recipient first in order for them to be able to reply to you.
Step 3: Set your recipients
In the next step, you will add the contacts who will receive your SMS. Please note that you can send a campaign to up to 20,000 contacts. You have the following options:
  1. 1.
    Upload a .csv file: Drag and drop your .csv file to the recipients modal. You'll be asked to set the Delimiter (which determines how contact entries are separated in the .csv file) and Columns (which dictate the different types of information you are storing per contact).
  2. 2.
    Groups: Select specific groups from your MessageBird Dashboard.
  3. 3.
    Contacts: Select specific contacts from your MessageBird Dashboard.
  4. 4.
    Manually input up to 300 recipient phone numbers.
Once you've selected all your message recipients, click Add and view the recipients in the Campaign preview page.
Step 4: Write your message
It's time to compose your Campaign message. This is the text your recipients will receive via SMS.
  1. 1.
    Each SMS message can contain a maximum of 160 characters including spaces. Your Campaign message can contain up to1377 characters total (generating approximately 8 SMS).
  2. 2.
    If your message contains any special characters (such as emojis), 1 SMS can only contain up to 70 characters, instead of 160 characters.
  3. 3.
    You can use Templates to pre-populate your campaign message. All your saved templates will be displayed in a drop-down menu by clicking on it.
  4. 4.
    When sending URLs in your message, it is important to note that your message may be reviewed in buffering before being delivered. Please note that some countries do not allow sending URLs in SMS messages - read up on Country Rules & Restrictions before sending.
  5. 5.
    Personalize your message with Custom Fields (variables), such as First Name, Last Name, and Company. You can set these up when designating your Columns while importing your contacts. These variables will be automatically imported into the drop-down menu +Custom Fields at the bottom of the Write your Message modal. Pro-Tip: Using custom fields may impact the total cost of your campaign due to the variation in the number of characters in each SMS.
Step 6: Scheduling (Optional)
In this step, you can set a date, time, and frequency for sending your Campaign. Once you've scheduled your campaign, you can reopen the Schedule modal and unschedule with the Unschedule button.
Step 7: Advanced (Optional)
In this step, you can set custom configurations for your campaign:
  1. 1.
    Send a copy of the campaign to your email address for free.
  2. 2.
    Create a template of the campaign you just set up.
  3. 3.
    Set the SMS validity: This configures the timeframe during which the SMS will be valid in the telco network. Once the validity expires, the message becomes invalid and will not be sent.
If you change your mind, you can reset (clear) these options by selecting Advanced Settings and hitting Reset Options.
Step 8: Preview before launching
Almost there! You can preview your campaign via either of the following sections:
  1. 1.
    In the Campaign preview:
  2. 2.
    Select Send or Schedule, this will open the pre-send campaign preview.
Before sending, you'll notice a Cost Estimation with a corresponding number of SMS to be sent. Keep in mind, this is an estimation and the actual cost of your campaign may differ.
Step 9: Launch!
Once you've double checked your campaign, click Send or Schedule!

Quick Send

In the left menu in your Dashboard click on SMS → Quick Send. On the new page, you will be asked to fill the recipient, an originator, and the content of your SMS. When you have completed your SMS as below, you can click on 'Send SMS' to send your message.
*Note that you must use your own originator. Messages with a 'MessageBird' originator will be blocked.
When using Quick send, there is no option to personalise or schedule your message. Templates are not available, and you will not be asked to confirm your SMS before it is sent. If you are looking to use these features, you should use Campaign Builder.
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