Preparation Checklist for Sending Communications
- 1. Prepare your contact data
- 2. Organise your contacts effectively
- 3. Consider your audience, regional compliance obligations and languages
- 4. Make sure you have the right features available on your account
- 5. Get your team ready
- 6. Think about your message content
- 7. Automations
- 8. Check your credit balance & credit limit
- 9. Send a test message
- 10. Send your message
- 11. Tracking
Before you need to send any important (and potentially urgent) messages, we recommend you make some time to adequately prepare your data, content and overall strategy so that you are ready to send when the time comes.
Following this list will help you to ensure that you are ready to send effective messages and to comfortably manage responses.
1. Prepare your contact data
- Make sure you have the correct contact information (including any custom information such as location) for your target audience. Read this article to learn how to create/import contacts in the web portal.
- You may also want to send a test broadcast to your contact list, asking recipients to send a response to acknowledge their receipt of the message.
- Ensure your contact numbers are entered in the correct format.
2. Organise your contacts effectively
- When sending to large audiences, it's beneficial to segment your contacts to help you track your broadcasts - E.g. segmenting staff lists by state or department.
- Avoid recipients receiving your message multiple times by ensuring that you remove duplicates from your contact lists.
- You may need to write segment-specific messages if the content needs to vary (e.g. if sharing links to state government sites for updates).
- If you need to remove contacts from your lists, read this article.
3. Consider your audience, regional compliance obligations and languages
- If you are sending to multiple states/provinces/jurisdictions/countries then you may want to consider the local legislations with regards to opt-outs and permitted message content. This article provides some links to useful sources to help you understand the regulations and compliance obligations for various countries.
- Think about the local languages and other regional dialects - you may need to translate your message into other languages before sending.
4. Make sure you have the right features available on your account
- Do you want people to be able to communicate with your organisation by sending messages to a single number? If so, you'll need to have a Dedicated Number set up.
- Do you need to be able to trigger automated journeys from inbound replies (e.g. automated responses, assigning contacts to groups, forwarding responses to mobile or email)? If so, you'll need to have an autoresponder active on your account.
- Will you be using SMS to send links to additional information sources? If so, you might benefit from using our trackable URL shortener.
- Will there be people needing to send messages who don't have access to the platform? You may need to have Email to SMS set up on your account.
- Do you need to send a visual to help communicate your message (e.g. hygiene guides)? You may want to use our MMS product instead.
5. Get your team ready
- If you need to give access to other people to be able to send messages, you may need to create sub-accounts.
- You may want some people to be able to send SMS messages by using email instead of having to set them up in the web portal. See this article to learn how to use Email to SMS.
6. Think about your message content
- You should identify yourself in your messages so that people know who is communicating with them.
- You can create message templates to save you from having to take time writing your messages and maintain consistency.
- Do you want to personalise your messages to include information such as the recipient's name?Read this article to learn how to set up placeholders.
- Think about the length of your message and how this translates to credit and cost.
Read this article for information on character counts and the impact of "special" characters.
- Think about the best way to send information in your message. For example, including images using MMS.
You can use URL Shortener feature to automatically shorten lengthy URLs, while allowing you to track engagement by recipient, so you can keep track of who has and has not opened the link.
- Think about the end-to-end flow - do you just want to send a single message that terminates with the recipient, or do you want to encourage responses with actions to follow?
E.g. sending out a message to students at a university asking them to reply which have travelled within the last 28 days, and then wanting to place all those that have into a separate contact group so you can send specific messages with instructions just to them.
- Do you want to forward responses to your messages to a mobile number or email address(es)? This is especially helpful if you want to be able to keep a team of people across responses without having to have them set up in the web portal.
- It's possible to trigger actions based on keywords in responses to your messages, such as forwarding to mobile or email, sending automated responses to replies, adding contacts to groups based on their responses, and more.
See this article for an overview of autoresponders.
You can view various user guides on setting up autoresponders here.
8. Check your credit balance & credit limit
- When sending messages using "normal" or "GSM" characters (i.e. no emoji's or special characters), the character limit per message is 160 characters.
- Make sure you have enough credit on your account to send your broadcast.
When you compose your message, you will be shown (underneath the message field) how many credits the message will use. Multiply this by the number of contacts you need to send to in order to work out how many credits you need to be able to successfully send your message to all contacts.
You can add credit to your account through the dashboard - simply head to the billing section and choose your package.
9. Send a test message
- Use the "Send Test" button to send test copies of your message to a test group of numbers.
- This is especially useful if you have created an automation flow and want to make sure it works properly before sending out to a large database of contacts.
10. Send your message
- It might be a good idea to stagger your send - especially if you are requesting responses that you are forwarding to mobile, or want to be able to manage via the inbox. This is so that you don't inadvertently become inundated with responses all at once.
- If you are sending to different time zones, you may want to schedule your message to send at a convenient/socially acceptable time. Schedule messages by simply toggling the Send Now button in the SMS Campaign screen.
- It's important to know the delivery status of your SMS broadcast (i.e. whether there were any delivery failures) and, where possible, the engagement rates (if you have added any links to your messages).
- You can view various reports in our dashboard.
If you need any help with sending emergency broadcasts, start a chat with our friendly customer support team - click the face in the bottom right corner of your screen.