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SMS FAQs

Overview

In this article you'll find answers to frequently-asked questions about Cordial's SMS channel. You can find additional guidelines in our SMS Marketing: Do's and Don'ts article.

FAQs

Where can I find a vanity short code? 

Visit the website, usshortcodes.com, to learn if the vanity code is available for purchase.

What are the SMS and MMS character limitations?

SMS message character limit 

Wireless carriers typically define a single SMS message as having 160 characters. Cordial supports sending messages exceeding 160 characters, and they'll usually appear as one message without any break (unless the device is older, in which case the messages will be broken up according to the limit). Messages exceeding 160 characters result in additional wireless carrier messaging and data charges because the wireless carrier will count each message separately.

When a special character (or non GSM-7 character) is used, the remaining number of characters in an SMS message is reduced to 70 characters. Special characters include emojis. You can learn more about GSM-7 characters here.

Using Smarty 

When using {$contact.first} to display a contact's first name, the length of a rendered message will be different for each contact depending on the length of their first name combined with the rest of your SMS message content.

MMS messages

MMS messages have a 1600 character limit and must include your brand or program name.

Shorten your web links: The SMS link shortener can be used to reduce the length of your web links and give you the most value out of the 160 character limit.

For best results, use the Preview and Test tools to check the appearance of your SMS message before sending the campaign to your contacts. You can see how many characters you've used with the Preview tool.

How do I send a Welcome message following the opt-in confirmation message?

Cordial’s clients often want to follow the DOI confirmation with another message that delivers on an offer that was presented in the acquisition flow. This is possible using a Custom Event that makes the record immediately available for audience selection. If this is in your marketing plan, please let your CSM know that you need the Inbound SMS Custom Event added to your account.

This is an Engineering ticket and can take up to a week to enable. 

Can I use emojis in my SMS and MMS messages?

Yes, you can. Be aware that emojis may not show up properly in some handsets or with some carriers. Note also that older 16-bit emojis will count as a single character and newer 32-bit emojis count as two characters in a message. Depending on the emoji, it would either be emoji (16-bit) + 69 characters, or emoji (32-bit) + 68 characters. These character counts could cause your SMS message to spill into a second message. 

What metrics or other data are available for my mobile marketing program?

1. Timestamp of consent acquisition: Yes, we track incoming sms keywords with date/timestamp of the consent.

2. Consent acquisition medium (e.g., cell-submit form, physical sign-up form, SMS keyword, etc.): No, we are not tracking which method the subscription is coming from. It might be something we could add at a later time. Currently we don’t have many clients opting into SMS from various sources for one brand.

3. Capture of experience (e.g., language and action) used to secure consent: Yes, we capture and store the opt-in keyword with a date/time stamp when someone directly responds to a short code. If a customer opts into SMS via a website, there’s no keyword to capture.

4. IP address used to grant consent: We don’t track/capture IP address via SMS. The only way to capture the IP details at opt-in is if the opt-in was web-based and was captured from the browser being used. But this would be done by the client since they manage their website.

5. Consumer phone number for which consent to receive messaging was granted: We're tracking the SMS mobile number, which is generally provided when the customer opts into SMS. If you're referring to a separate phone number, the client can send us that data via the API.

6. Identity of the individual who consented (name of the individual or other identifier (e.g., online user name, session ID, etc.): Yes, if it’s provided during opt-in. For instance, if the customer is on a web browser page and they are updating their preferences in Account Settings, the client should use the REST API to send us the info that the contact subscribed to SMS and pass along the email address associated with it.

How do I run a contest or sweepstakes in my mobile messaging channel?

Every new sweepstakes has to be approved by the carriers before the sweepstake begins. This process usually takes about two weeks from submission.

For a sweepstakes or contest, the carriers need the following assets:

1. Rules of the sweepstakes or contest: it usually includes legalese like eligibility, promotional period, how to enter, and the prizes.

2. The CTA to enter the sweepstakes.

3. The landing page of the sweepstakes.

I already have a short code with another provider. Can I bring it to Cordial?

You can! Migrating your existing short code to Cordial takes two to three weeks. There is no cost to you for migrating.  In order to migrate (port) a short code to Cordial, you will need to provide the following:

1. A completed program brief with a screen shot of the call-to-action (similar to new short code application).

2. A copy of the most recent paid receipt for the short code from your previous provider, usually from iconnectiv.

3. Transfer the short code from your current SMS provider to our provider, Sinch, via the usshortcodes.com website. You'll want to transfer the short code to Account ID 850. Note your current provider can do this for you if you are not managing your short codes and don't have an account on usshortcodes.com.

4. A migration letter, printed on company letterhead, indicating the intention to migrate the short code to Cordial's provider, Sinch.

Ex: This letter authorizes the transfer of short code <####> from <current provider> 
to Sinch America, LLC. The effective date of migration will be <month you wish to
migrate>>
-Date
-Signature

Once the short code is fully migrated to Cordial's SMS provider, SMS messages can no longer be sent from the previous provider.

Do I need my contacts to subscribe again if I decide to move to a Cordial short code?

When moving from one short code to another, the best practice is to message your contacts on the old short code about your new short code. Something like, "We're getting a new number! Look out for our next text from 55555, and if you have questions email us at help@cordialthreads.com. Reply STOP to stop." Then send a message to your contacts on the new short code with a message list, "Hi from our new number! If you need help with anything or have questions, email us at help@cordialthreads.com. Msg frequency varies. Reply STOP to stop."

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