SMS Template

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Use Twilio Engage to build SMS message templates to include throughout your marketing campaigns.

You can build an SMS template and include personalized content in messages based on user profile traits. Once you build the SMS, Twilio Engage saves the template for you to preview, maintain, and reuse.

Use personalized SMS messages to connect with users in real-time, as they reach a specific step in a journey.

SMS template types

You can choose between two SMS template types:

  • Media, which contains media and text content
  • Text, which contains text content of up to 1600 characters

Build an SMS message template

You must first configure your SMS service with Twilio to build an SMS template in Engage. Visit the onboarding steps for more on how to connect a Twilio account.

Follow these steps to build an SMS template:

  1. Navigate to Engage > Content and click Create template.
  2. Select SMS, then click Configure.
  3. Enter a template name and select your template’s language.
  4. Select your template’s content type, then click Next.
    • For text templates, enter your message’s text in the Body field and add any desired merge tags.
    • For media templates, enter your message’s text in the Body field, add the media URL, then add any desired merge tags. Media templates support PNG, JPEG, and GIF files.
  5. Include an opt-out message in the body of your text. For example, “Reply STOP to unsubscribe.” See SMS Best Practices for more information.
  6. Once you’ve finished adding your template’s content, click Save.
  7. Segment confirms that your template was saved.

Use the SMS Templates screen to preview and update existing SMS message templates.

Engage content validation

For all content editors in Engage, you’ll see alerts for any issues in your template, such as invalid profile traits or incorrect liquid syntax. Engage both flags template issue(s), and displays recommended next steps. While you can save these templates, you must fix any issues before using them in Engage campaigns.

Test your SMS template

Send a test SMS message before you include it as a step in your Journey.

  1. After you build your SMS template, click Test SMS.
  2. If your template has profile traits, enter a trait value for the test SMS. This ensures that your merge tags work as expected.
    • Empty fields show the default value that you’ve assigned. For example, loyal customer would be the default for the following merge tag: {{profile.traits.first_name | default: "loyal customer"}}. If there’s no default value, the field will be blank.
  3. Enter recipient phone numbers for the test message.
    • Profiles that you send test messages to must have a userId in Segment.
  4. Click Send test SMS.

You can also test SMS templates directly within Journeys before you send them.

Personalize with merge tags

Personalize SMS content in Engage using profile traits as merge tags in your messages.

To personalize an SMS, click Merge Tags in the SMS builder and select the profile traits to include in your message.

Engage inserts the selected traits inside merge tags based on cursor placement in the message. This allows you to personalize each SMS you send to recipients. You can also use liquid templating to create dynamic content in the SMS editor.

To learn more about profile traits, visit Segment’s Computed Traits and SQL Traits documentation.

Use Link Shortening to send shorter, more manageable link URLs in your Engage SMS campaigns.

Configure Link Shortening in your Twilio Console in six steps:

  1. Set up an Organization
  2. Register Domains
  3. Add Domain Name System (DNS) records
  4. Generate a TLS certificate
  5. Upload your TLS certificate
  6. Configure fallback and callback URLs (Optional)

Once you’ve configured Link Shortening, Twilio automatically shortens the link URLs for recipients of your SMS messages. Link shortening occurs during the message sending process, so shortened links don’t appear in the message editor.

Link Shortening is only available for SMS messages.

Working with SMS message templates

You can edit, duplicate, and delete SMS templates within your Engage workspace.

Edit an SMS message template

To edit an SMS template:

  1. Navigate to Engage > Content.
  2. Select the icon next to template you want to edit. Click Edit.
  3. From the template’s overview page, select Edit or Settings.
  4. Edit your template, then click Update Template to save your changes.

Duplicate an SMS message template

To duplicate an SMS template:

  1. Navigate to Engage > Content.
  2. Select the icon next to template you want to duplicate. Click Duplicate.
  3. From the Duplicate Template popup, click Duplicate.

After you duplicate a template, you can edit it from the Templates page.

Delete an SMS message template

To delete an SMS template:

  1. Navigate to Engage > Content.
  2. Select the icon next to template you want to delete. Click Delete.
  3. From the Confirm Template Deletion popup, click Delete Template.

SMS best practices and limitations

Include an SMS opt-out message

When you build an SMS, include an opt-out message in the body of your text that informs recipients they can unsubscribe from a message channel.

When an SMS recipient replies “Stop” to an SMS, they’ll receive an opt-out confirmation, and Engage updates their phone number subscription status. Visit the User Subscription States documentation to learn more about user subscriptions in Engage.

SMS character limit

Note that there’s a 1,600 character count limit for SMS messages. Visit Twilio’s SMS Character Limit documentation for more information.

Next steps

Use the Templates screen in Twilio Engage to build personalized email templates.

This page was last modified: 11 Jun 2024

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