Contacting users by SMS is an effective way to gain attention. SMS open rates are much higher than email—often cited as high as 98%!
When you send SMS campaigns from Iterable, you also gain the benefits of Iterable's cross-channel marketing platform:
- Data — Measure campaign and experiment-level SMS conversion, revenue, and opt-out attribution with native click tracking and reporting.
- Segmentation — Build dynamic customer lists with SMS engagement and behavioral data that track target audiences in real-time across the customer lifecycle.
- Insights — Gain a single, unified view of your customers’ data and interactions across all channels including SMS, email, social, and more.
- Personalizations — Individualize user experiences based on behaviors in real-time, and personalize SMS messages with unique user data at scale.
This article provides a high-level description of Iterable's SMS support.
If you aren't ready to add SMS to your plan, you can still learn more about SMS marketing strategy and receive step-by-step guidance by downloading The Savvy Marketer's Guide to Building a Stellar SMS Strategy.
In this article
- Getting started
- Account setup
- Using best practices
- Gaining consent
- Verifying phone numbers
- Making a template
- Having two-way conversations
- Measuring your results
- Terms to know
- Want to learn more?
To get started with SMS, work with your Iterable customer success manager to address questions like:
- What kinds of messages do you send, when, and why?
- How many SMS and MMS messages do you plan to send, per day and per month?
- Do you need to send messages internationally?
- Do you have an existing SMS provider that you're transferring from?
- Is your SMS channel outbound only, or do you need to receive and manage replies?
- How do users opt in to your SMS channel?
Not all SMS use cases are eligible. To make sure your use case is suited for SMS and you can send to the regions you need to contact, read Restricted SMS Content and Regions.
Setting up SMS guides you through account setup and what to do to before sending your first message.
Using best practices
Best Practices for SMS Compliance describes industry-wide best practices to ensure that your SMS marketing is compliant with local requirements.
Obtaining consent is a critical step for SMS marketing. To learn how to manage, attribute, and track SMS message unsubscribes in Iterable, read SMS Unsubscribes and Resubscribes.
For advanced opt-out management options, read Managing SMS Opt-Outs by Message Type.
You can use SMS Smart Opt-In to create a seamless, two-click opt-in process for your users to join your SMS channel from an email or in-app message.
Verifying phone numbers
You can use Iterable's phone verification features to send security codes to users. When they reply with the correct code, you have verified their phone numbers.
To learn about setting up phone verification for your project with API calls or a CSV upload, read SMS Phone Verification.
Iterable doesn't provide a lookup service for phone numbers. However, if you
phoneNumber and it doesn't appear on the user profile, check for
superficial signs of an invalid number (bad area code, wrong format). You can
also use a lookup tool from a third party.
Making a template
For step-by-step instructions to create a SMS or MMS message you can send from Iterable, read Creating SMS Templates.
Having two-way conversations
To a create two-way SMS experience for your users, you can leverage Iterable journeys and automate SMS responses. To learn how to do this, read Handling Inbound SMS Messages.
Measuring your results
To measure results from your SMS campaigns and understand the metrics gathered by Iterable, read SMS Campaign Metrics.
Terms to know
Here are some of the most common terms about SMS that you should know.
Alphanumeric sender ID
Alphanumeric sender IDs are a way to send messages straight from your brand name to your international users.
Format: This kind of sender ID can have:
- From 3 to 11 characters.
- Uppercase and lowercase Ascii letters (but not special characters).
- Numeric digits, 0-9 (but it can't be only numerals).
- Registration: Alphanumeric sender IDs have a rigorous registration process in certain countries, and as a result provide unmatched deliverability for international A2P messaging.
- Messages from this type of sender ID can only be sent to select countries, and aren't deliverable to the US and Canada.
- Additional countries may not fully support alphanumeric sender IDs and convert the messages to a local long code.
- Outbound SMS only. Alphanumeric sender IDs don't support inbound replies.
- Because users can't reply with keywords, opt-out instructions must include an alternative contact method to unsubscribe (usually a web link). When the message comes from an alphanumeric sender ID, Iterable includes an unsubscribe URL in the default opt-out instructions. To learn more, read SMS Unsubscribes and Resubscribes.
When a business or organization sends automated messages to customers. This includes both transactional and marketing messaging.
An entity that provides telecommunications services. In this context, they provide mobile data services to consumers that include SMS messaging. Examples: AT&T, T-mobile, Sprint.
Converting text from one format to another. This ensures that messages are correctly formatted. Iterable supports GSM-7 and UCS-2 (UTF-16) character encoding for SMS messages.
To learn more about character encoding and its impact on SMS segments, read Creating SMS Templates.
A vCard (or Virtual Contact File) is a standardized file format for virtual business cards. You can attach a contact card file (.vcard) to an SMS campaign in Iterable. Adding the attachment converts the message from SMS to MMS.
To learn more, read SMS Verified Contact Cards.
Long code sender ID
Long codes are general-use phone numbers available for low-volume SMS and MMS campaigns.
- Registration: During setup, you must complete a registration process to send A2P (Application to Person) messages from 10DLC (10-digit long codes).
Throughput: Once registered, your brand is given a trust score (or brand
score) from The Campaign Registry (TCR,
an authority that administers the US wireless carriers' registration). This
score determines your throughput. TCR assigns scores based on factors such as
brand presence, and it's the same regardless of the SMS provider you choose.
For more information on message throughput for registered 10DLC campaigns, read How Carriers Determine Throughput(Telnyx).
Most Iterable customers use long codes. This is a cost-effective choice if you're just getting started with SMS marketing.
Message throughput is the maximum number of messages you can send in a given period of time. It's most often measured in messages per second (MPS).
Some carriers such as T-Mobile impose daily limits in addition to an MPS limit.
The type of sender ID that you choose has an impact on your message throughput.
How many users do you send messages to, and how often? An SMS campaign sent to 10,000 users within one hour for a marketing blast has different throughput needs than a transactional SMS campaign for a triggering event that occurs 10,000 times on any given day.
MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service)
Sending and receiving messages that contain attached multimedia content, including images, videos, and audio.
To learn about the types and sizes of files Iterable accepts for MMS campaigns, read Creating SMS Templates.
A sender ID is a unique phone number or name that identifies your SMS sender. As a part of SMS setup, decide whether to send from long codes, short codes, or alphanumeric sender IDs. The type of sender ID you choose impacts your SMS pricing, message throughput, and deliverability.
Short code sender ID
Short codes are five- or six-digit numbers used for high-volume, rapid SMS campaigns. Short codes are more expensive than long codes.
- Registration: Short codes must be registered on a national registry, which can take 8 to 12 weeks to set up.
- Throughput: The default limit is 100 MPS, but that can be upgraded at an additional cost.
SMS (Short Message Service)
Sending and receiving text-only messages. These messages are short: up to 160 standard alphanumeric characters in length.
To learn more about SMS messages and their limits, read Creating SMS Templates.
The party that provides SMS services and administers SMS message sending on your behalf.
A body of text that includes the SMS message body. SMS segments are limited in the number of characters they contain. The character limit varies depending on the type character encoding used. There can be one or more SMS segments per SMS message or campaign.
To learn more about SMS segment limits and how they work, read Creating SMS Templates.
Toll-free sender ID
Service that enables users to send and receive messages from a toll-free number.
A text-enabled toll free number can send and receive SMS messages. You can request a toll-free sender ID for Iterable SMS services in US and Canada.
- 10 numeric digits (0-9)
- Must begin with 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, or 888.
- Registration: Use case registration is required. (Unverified toll-free numbers may be blocked as spam.)
- Messages from this type of sender ID can only be sent to the US and Canada.
Want to learn more?
For more information about some of the topics in this article, check out these Iterable Academy courses. Iterable Academy is open to everyone — you don't need to be an Iterable customer!