SMS Features

Our three-step SMS wizards enable you to quickly create SMS programs—without training or tech skills. You’d be able to use smart features such as inserting dynamic contact information and adding personalization to your text messages. It is the easiest two-way SMS online tool to quickly launch surveys, alerts or reminders, educational curriculums, auto-responders, and other two-way SMS engagements you can think of.

Personalize feature

Script-based characters

Languages

SMS character length

Keyword Prefix

SMS Wizards

Blast

Send information via SMS text, immediately or in the future. Learn more »

Poll

Conduct simple surveys via SMS and quickly gather feedback. Learn more »

Curriculum

Schedule a series of SMS text messages spread out over time. Learn more »

Auto Reply

Contacts send an SMS keyword and the system automatically reply with the information you specified.  Learn more »

Webhook

Manage data on your own server, but send and receive SMS via simple API. Learn more »

 

Personalized SMS campaign

The Personalize feature allows you to insert unique information (e.g. first name) for each contact into every message sent. For example, if you choose “First Name,” your SMS could begin with “Hi Jane,” or “Hi George.”

Below the SMS text box you’ll see Personalize – hover over it and select the contact attribute that you like to insert into the SMS. They are based on the contacts columns added on your Contact’s page. The recipient’s data is highlighted in blue when added into the message.

The Advanced attributes are the dynamic data of the contact that triggered this engagement and will be highlighted in red. For example, the phone number of the contacts who received your IVR survey call will be inserted into the SMS notification.  Learn how to create an SMS trigger notification »

Example: Let’s say the recipient’s name is John and the triggerer’s phone number is 639200600711. If the message in the below screenshot is sent, the recipient will get this SMS: “Hi John, caller 639200600711 left a voice msg. Please check engageSPARK to listen to the recording”.

Note: The character counter assumes a length of 20 for each dynamic contact attribute. Billing will be based on the actual length of each message.

To edit the contact information, visit the Contacts page. Add more contact fields by clicking Add a Column. There is a 1,500 character limit on each custom field—if it exceeds, the text will be cut short to 1,500 characters. Now if you create a new engagement, you will see the newly created field as an option for personalizing your messages.

 

Send messages in script or character-based languages

The platform supports Non-Latin Characters, also known as Unicode, which are other language scripts such as Hindi and Mandarin. You will be able to send messages in any language with a Unicode set, which covers most written languages. (See “Length of SMS Message” for information on Unicode message length).

Right-to-left language scripts (e.g. Arabic and Hebrew) are automatically detected by the system to make typing easier on our platform. Note: The user’s telco network and phone must also support the language scripts.

 

Languages feature: adding different language versions

When engaging people in countries or regions with multiple languages, it is recommended that you send voice calls or SMS messages using their own dialect or their preferred language. To create a multi-lingual engagement, click Languages and add the different translations for the same content.

Note: We do not do automated translation, as it is often inaccurate. We allow you – the message content expert – to provide your own translation.

Based on the Language field set for each contact on the Contacts page, the message recipient will receive one or another of your added messages. You can specify a contact’s language on the Contacts page (or using the Upload Contact template) or on Step 2.

 

SMS length and character limitations

Be able to determine how many characters are being used and how many SMS parts by looking at the SMS Counter at the bottom right of the text box.

A single SMS body will have a maximum of 160 characters including spaces for Latin characters. While an SMS body that contains a Unicode character or other language scripts is up to 70 characters for one SMS. Check the SMS counter to know how many characters were entered and if Unicode characters are used.

An SMS becomes multi-part (also called concatenated SMS) if it exceeds 160 characters (70 characters for Unicode). Once the 160 (or 70 for Unicode) character threshold has been crossed, each message part will contain 150 characters (or 67 for Unicode). So if you send a message with 300 Latin characters, it will be considered a multi-part SMS and you will be billed for two SMS (our billing is per SMS delivered).

To sum up:

  • 160 characters (70 Unicode) = 1 SMS
  • 161 to 300 (71 to 134 Unicode) = 2 SMS
  • 301 to 450 (135 to 201 Unicode) = 3 SMS
  • 451 to 600 (202 to 268 Unicode) = 4 SMS

and so on.

Tip! Generally, there is no limit on message length, but we recommend limiting your message to 450 characters or less to ensure the delivery of the entire message. Note that in some countries, there is a limit on sending multi-part messages. For example, in the Philippines 458 characters (including spaces) is a safe limit for the entire message to be delivered—that would be 4 parts of the SMS body.

 

Keyword prefix to run multiple two-way SMS engagements

Do you want to run multiple two-way SMS engagements at the same time? If yes, you need to add a prefix. A Keyword Prefix is only needed if you are doing multiple two-way SMS engagements at the same time using the same phone number. It helps engageSPARK differentiate which incoming messages are associated with which engagement for reporting purposes.

Click Show Settings at the bottom part of Step 1 to go to the Keyword Prefix section. Tip! Use short, easy-to-remember keywords (e.g. INFO) to avoid the likelihood of errors or typos.

Note: The keyword prefix has a 10 character limit and is not case sensitive. Avoid using ‘JOIN’ as a keyword prefix because it is reserved for SMS Opt-in. Other reserved keywords you can use as a prefix are the following: START, STOP, UNSUBSCRIBE, THIRD_PARTY, NAME, CURRICULUM, SMS, VOICE, SMS_VOICE, CUSTOM, HELP, UNSUB.

Example: If you are doing a survey about water usage and a survey about food consumption, you could advise your audience to begin their reply with either “FOOD” or “WATER” depending on which survey they are responding to.

Have questions or need a little extra help? Get in touch via live chat or drop us a message here: