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SMS channel setup


Cordial's SMS channel allows you to send SMS texts to contacts as batch or automated messages using our native SMS solution.

Please contact your CSM for details about enabling the SMS channel for your account. The short code provisioning process may take anywhere from 8-12 weeks to complete due to the mobile carriers' requirements. Once your short code has been approved and the SMS channel is enabled for your Cordial account, you'll gain access to SMS settings directly on the Account Settings page.

Cordial supports multiple short codes within a single account. To submit a request for multiple short codes, contact your CSM.

SMS settings

To access SMS channel settings, log in to your Cordial account and open the dropdown menu in the top right corner. Navigate to Settings > Account Settings and select SMS from the left navigation menu.

Configure your SMS program

Click Edit in the Configure Your SMS Program pane to begin setting up your SMS program.

Much of this information will be populated on your behalf by your CSM during the initial SMS channel setup.

Promotional program

  • SMS short code: Your SMS short code. Must be an approved and active short code. Cordial supports multiple short codes within a single account.
  • Program name: Enter the name of your program. Learn about using the SMS program name via the API.
  • Program keyword (optional): Enter one or more keywords that contacts will text to your short code in order to subscribe to your SMS program. If not specified, the default opt-in keywords will still apply (YES, Y, OPTIN, OPT-IN).
  • Brand name: Enter your brand name.

You can learn more about promotional SMS messages here.

Transactional program

  • Program name: Enter the name of your transactional program.
  • Add tags: Enter any desired tags to organize your program.

You can learn more about transactional SMS messages here.

Customize your program keywords

There are two types of programs keywords: one that triggers double opt-in, and one that triggers single opt-in. Double opt-in is the default for all SMS programs.

  • Double opt-in message (DOI): Cordial automatically responds to a text-to-join message with an SMS message asking the contact to confirm their intent to subscribe by replying with a specific confirmation keyword (ex: "yes"). Once the user responds to the DOI with an affirmative response, Cordial automatically responds with a confirmation message and the contact is subscribed to SMS.

    You can set a daily limit of DOI messages that can be triggered by a contact. The default setting is unlimited. If you want to set a limit, configure the Limit double opt-in input. You can set the limit for up to 10 DOI messages.

  • Single opt-in message: A mobile device contact texts a specific keyword (ex: "join") to a client-owned short code. This action subscribes the contact to the SMS channel.

This setting and function only impacts the process where the keyword is texted from the mobile device held by the user. This will not affect scenarios where the contact address is updated via the track.js upsertContact or any other method where the address is updated outside of the scenario where a keyword is texted directly from the customer’s device.

To use single opt-in keywords, contact your CSM to have it enabled in your account.

    • Single opt-in Matches exactly operator: When the Matches exactly option is selected (the default option), a second input is shown that will accept either a single word or a phrase. The Matches exactly operator is generally used with sentences, like, "Sign-up for Cordial text messages." 
    • Single opt-in Contains keyword operator: When the Contains keyword option is selected, the keyword (ex: "join") is shown in read-only text and cannot be edited.

Customize your messages

Your SMS channel is automatically configured to support the double opt-in signup method. The double opt-in workflow requires contacts to confirm their intent when signing up to receive SMS messages.

In this section, you can customize your opt-in, confirmation, and help messages. All three messages can be edited at the same time.

To maintain regulatory compliance, double-check that your messages are entered exactly as they appear on your carrier-approved SMS short code request form.

We recommend using a link shortening service such as Bitly for links in your opt-in, confirmation, and help messages. Always ensure that shortened links will not change or expire after a set period of time.

Mobile carriers consider individual messages as having 160 characters or less. When the character count exceeds 160, Cordial will send the message in question as one message, but it will be processed as two or more separate messages by mobile carriers—and might show up as separate messages on older devices. Additionally, the following extended characters will count as two characters instead of one:

|, ^, , {, }, [, ], ~, \

Messages encoded in UTF-16 are limited by carriers to 70 characters instead of 160. The use of emojis 🙂 in SMS changes character encoding to UTF-16 and reduces the message character limit to 70.

Opt-in message

Your contacts will receive the opt-in message immediately after texting any of the program keywords to the short code.

Contacts are not subscribed until they confirm their intent, or double opt-in, by responding with one of the approved opt-in keywords. The subscribe status is set to pendingDOI while Cordial waits for a response.

Be sure to include HELP and STOP as keywords for OPTIN.

Opt-in confirmation message

The opt-in confirmation message will be sent to contacts who confirm their subscription following receipt of the opt-in message. This is the conclusion to the double opt-in workflow and the contact is now subscribed to receive SMS messages. Learn more about SMS subscribe status here.

Based on SMS messaging best practices, your confirmation messages should include the following information:

  • Program name and purpose: Provide the name of your SMS marketing program along with a brief purpose.
  • Number and frequency of messages: Inform your contacts of message quantity and send frequency they should expect (number of messages/frequency).
  • Message data & rates disclosure: This is the required verbiage reminding your contacts that their mobile carrier may impose data and messaging fees.
  • Opt-out instructions: Include valid opt-out keywords such as STOP, QUIT, and OPTOUT. Learn more about MS subscribe status and default keywords here.
  • Help and stop keywords: Let your contacts know which keywords to text for support and to cancel further messages, such as the HELP and STOP keywords.

Help message

You can also customize the message contacts will receive when responding with the HELP keyword.

Additional help keywords include info and aide.

Your help message should include one or more assistance outlets such as a support email address or a customer service phone number. The help message should not result in a dead end without any recourse.

Append opt-out and help keywords to your messages at least once monthly as a way to remind your contacts how to unsubscribe and where to go for help. Including this reminder will count toward the SMS message 160 character limit, so it's best suited for shorter messages.

Default stop message

Your contacts can unsubscribe from receiving further SMS messages at any time using any of the approved opt-out keywords such as STOP. Contacts will be unsubscribed immediately upon texting an opt-out keyword and will receive the following message:

  [Brand Name]: You are unsubscribed from [Brand Name] alerts. No more messages will
  be sent. Reply HELP for help.

Test and preview your setup

You can live preview your opt-in, confirmation, and help messages individually by sending tests to a mobile phone number.

1. In the Customize Your Messages pane, click Send Test and choose which message to test, enter the recipient's phone number, and select Send Test Now.

2. When you're satisfied with your SMS channel settings, you can begin creating messages using the SMS channel.

EasyText Signup

With Cordial’s Lightbox, contacts using a mobile device on your website to opt into SMS can receive an EasyText Signup. EasyText Signup allows for simple SMS opt-in by pre-populating the message and short code into the contact's mobile device. The benefit of EasyText Signup is a more seamless opt-in to your SMS program where the contact isn’t required to enter their mobile number. The mobile device is automatically detected and the SMS opt-in is sent to the device.

How it works

When a contact enters their email address on the Cordial Lightbox, the contact is asked to complete their sign up by opting in for SMS messages. The contact clicks on the sign-up button, which loads the pre-populated message to the brand’s short code. The contact simply clicks the send option in the SMS app to begin the SMS double opt-in process.

The EasyText Signup is setup in the Cordial Webform Lightbox in the custom JavaScript section.

iOS and Android devices have different parameters that are included in the custom JS code where 1.) Android: sms:10907?body= and 2.) iOS: sms:10907&body=

Populate your short code in the JS snippet as an sms parameter (sms:10907) and the body of message in JS snippet as body parameter (body=Send this text to subscribe to recurring automated personalized marketing alerts (e.g. cart reminders) from clientName.

Custom JS code

function getMobileOperatingSystem() {...}

if (Android) {parent.window.location.href = "sms:10907?body=Send this text to subscribe to recurring automated personalized marketing alerts (e.g. cart reminders) from clientName";


else {parent.window.location.href = “sms:10907&body=Send this text to subscribe to recurring automated personalized marketing alerts (e.g. cart reminders) from clientName”}

EasyText Signup only works when a contact is on a device that has the SMS app installed. Text messages directly to the short code will not be associated to an email contact record.

Invalidate continually failed contacts

SMS contacts that continually fail over seven consecutive sends are marked as invalid. Cordial automatically suppresses addresses marked as invalid from any sent message.

SMS contacts that continually fail to receive SMS messages put unnecessary strain on the mobile carrier's ability to deliver messages in a timely manner. Removing old or unengaged subscribers from a marketing list results in more engagement, more responses, and more revenue.

The default value of seven consecutive failures may be modified to a longer invalidation period by contacting your CSM.

Invalidation will reset if an SMS message is delivered within the seven day period. For example, if a message fails to send on Monday and Tuesday, but is delivered Wednesday, the invalidation counter resets until another message fails.

Here are some common reasons for SMS message failures:

  • The mobile device is powered down or inoperable.
  • The SIM card is not in the phone.
  • The mobile device has been out of network range for more than 72 hours.
  • The contact blocked the number instead of unsubscribing.
  • The mobile contact is traveling overseas (connected to another network).
  • The message was blocked by the carrier.
  • The message content was blocked by the carrier.

Remove deactivated contacts

Since deactivated mobile numbers are recycled and given to new carrier subscribers after a certain amount of time, the new subscribers have not explicitly opted in to receive SMS messages from your brand. 

To ensure SMS text messages aren't sent to new carrier subscribers, Cordial downloads a list of deactivated numbers from the carriers on a daily basis. Those deactivated numbers are flagged as deactivated, and SMS contact information is removed. The SMS contact will no longer be subscribed to SMS and will be excluded from receiving future SMS messages until the contact opts into a new SMS program. This process is also known as blacklisting.

Once a contact's number is flagged as deactivated, Cordial creates an SMS system event called deactivated. This blacklists that address under that particular contact ID, in a hidden object. The crdl_phone_deactivation event will display in the contact's profile and event data report. This event is available in Audience Builder, where you can create an audience of deactivated contacts.

Once deactivated, the SMS address can no longer be added or updated for the particular contact ID. But the SMS address can be added to a new contact ID.

Cordial’s TCPA compliance

All mobile programs must be reviewed by the mobile carriers (Verizon, AT&T, and others) for compliance with the TCPA laws and CTIA guidelines. In addition, it’s important that marketers adhere to the Code of Conduct established by the Mobile Marketing Association. 

Cordial works with our clients to help them through this process, which requires the submission of program components to be reviewed & approved by the carriers. It is up to you as a marketer—and your legal team—to ensure compliance with these laws and guidelines.

With Cordial's native SMS offering, TCPA compliance is inherent in the platform. Here's how we do it:

  • Cordial has a native SMS double-opt-in flow, which sends the opt-in message. Once the contact opts in, the confirmation SMS message is sent, and the contact will be set to 'Subscribed.'
  • All SMS contacts are required to complete the double-opt-in flow before the platform will allow sending SMS messages to that contact.
  • A contact’s 'Subscribe status,' 'Date subscribed,' and 'Keywords used to subscribe' are available on the contact's attribute profile.
  • We automatically unsubscribe contacts who reply with the opt-out keywords.
  • Cordial receives and processes a list from our mobile aggregator that deactivates bad numbers. We also monitor and deactivate numbers that are no longer receiving text messages because they have been discontinued.

Logging of incoming user responses are not part of the UI but can be provided as needed.

Subscribe keywords

A contact's SMS marketing program subscription status will be set to subscribed when they reply to the opt-in message with one of the confirmation keywords (not case sensitive):

  • y
  • yes
  • optin
  • opt-in

Unsubscribe keywords

A contact's SMS marketing program subscription status will be set to unsubscribed when they send a message to your short code with any of the following keywords (not case sensitive):

  • stop
  • cancel
  • quit
  • end
  • unsubscribe
  • optout
  • opt out
  • opt-out
  • arret
  • revoke

When a contact texts one of the above unsubscribe messages to your short code, they will be added to a suppression list at the carrier (i.e. Verizon, At&T, etc.) for 90 days. To remove the contact from the carrier's suppression list, they must text UNSTOP to your short code. Note that this will only remove them from the carrier's suppression list; it won't change their subscribe status in Cordial. To change their subscribe status, the contact must opt in again by sending one of the opt-in keywords.

Supported regions and countries

Currently, only U.S. issued short codes are supported. Your U.S. based short code cannot be used to send messages to non-U.S. phone numbers and over non-U.S. carrier networks.

SMS short codes

SMS short code messages are used for one-way communication and cannot be used for conversational purposes. For example, you can send an SMS to promote a shoe sale, but contacts will not be able to respond with questions regarding the sale or request information on a recent order.



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