Create outbound text messages

Text messages (SMS) allow you to reach customers directly on their mobile devices. You can send text messages from real-time marketing by generating a phone number to use within the app. This article explains how to add a phone number generated in the Azure Communication Services preview, Twilio, or TeleSign, and how to create and send text messages in real-time marketing.

Note

Text messaging using a toll free number generated in the Azure Communication Services preview is only supported in the countries listed below.

Supported countries Supported type Legal designation Range
United States Toll-free Transactional Domestic

As discussed below, the Marketing app tracks text messaging metrics for channel insights purposes, including incoming SMS responses.

Add a sender number using the Azure Communication Services preview (US only)

To generate an Azure Communication Services preview phone number to use in real-time marketing, go to Settings in the area switcher menu. Then go to Customer engagement > Azure SMS preview and select +New text message sender on the top ribbon.

Once you agree to the Voice and text message terms and select your country or region, you’ll be provided with a toll-free United States phone number.

Generate phone number screenshot.

Toll-free numbers are a good option for transactional A2P messaging, which means sending automated messages to large groups. Toll-free numbers don’t require template registration, so once you get a number you can immediately start sending messages.

Note

During the Azure Communication Services preview, the text message service is limited to a single toll-free phone number with a limited number of outbound messages per month (1,000 per organization). The phone number you receive will be your dedicated number for the duration of the preview.

Active Azure Communication Services subscriptions used in other products cannot be integrated with Dynamics 365 Marketing yet.

Tip

Carriers, just like email providers, have ways of filtering spam messages. This results in the phone number being blocked and becoming unusable. Due to carrier filtering, you should only use toll-free numbers for transactional messages (as opposed to promotional messages). You should avoid sending promotional content or misleading information. Promotional content includes free products or discount offers.

Add a sender number from a Twilio or TeleSign account (Worldwide)

You can purchase or reuse an existing Twilio or TeleSign SMS account to send text messages in real-time marketing. The integration works for all countries in which a phone number can be purchased through TeleSign or Twilio.

Important

To ensure that third party SMS providers handle STOP commands properly, you must configure your consent settings directly with the provider.

Sign up for and configure a Twilio account

Twilio integration uses Twilio's public APIs to send and receive text messages. You need to sign up for a Twilio account to enable real-time marketing SMS integration. To create a Twilio account:

  1. Go to Twilio and sign up for a trial account that can be upgraded to pay-as-you-go. If you expect to send high volumes of SMS traffic (more than 100,000 messages per month), contact Twilio to request an invoiced enterprise account.
  2. In your Twilio account General Settings, note the ACCOUNT SID and AUTH TOKEN values. These values are required to create the integration between Dynamics 365 Marketing and Twilio.
  3. Purchase SMS phone numbers through your Twilio account.

Sign up for and configure a TeleSign account

Like Twilio, TeleSign integration uses TeleSign's public APIs to send and receive text messages. Also, like Twilio, you’ll need to sign up for a TeleSign account to enable TeleSign SMS integration. To create a TeleSign account:

  1. Go to TeleSign and sign up for a trial account. If you expect to send high volumes of SMS traffic (more than 100,000 messages per month), contact TeleSign to request an invoiced enterprise account.
  2. In your TeleSign account Dashboard, note the CUSTOMER ID and API KEY values. These values are required to create the integration between Dynamics 365 Marketing and TeleSign.
  3. Purchase SMS phone numbers through your TeleSign account.
  4. On the TeleSign SMS Settings page, switch the Status Callback toggle to Enabled. This applies to Standard accounts. If you have an Enterprise account, you’ll need to contact TeleSign to enable the status callback setting for you.

Set up your Twilio or TeleSign sender numbers in the Marketing app

To add a Twilio or TeleSign sender number to the Marketing app:

  1. Go to Settings in the area switcher menu. Then go to Customer engagement > SMS providers and select +Text number setup in the top ribbon.

  2. Add a name to associate with the number. This is for your identification purposes, so adding the provider name makes sense. Then, select the Next button.

  3. Select the provider (TeleSign or Twilio).

  4. If you selected TeleSign, enter the CUSTOMER ID and API KEY noted in the steps above. If you selected Twilio, enter the ACCOUNT SID and AUTH TOKEN. Then, select the Next button.

  5. On the next screen, select +Add to add the TeleSign or Twilio number that will be used for the integration.

  6. On the Add SMS number pane, add the number, its type, and a short description to distinguish it.

    Add SMS number screenshot.

  7. Select the Add button, then select Done. The number setup is now complete.

  8. To receive SMS replies through Twilio or TeleSign using the numbers you set up, you also need to specify and set up the Callback URL.

    Callback URL screenshot.

    For Twilio, copy the Callback URL from the Marketing app and paste it in the numbers' configuration page in the "A MESSAGE COMES IN" field. For TeleSign, you'll need to contact customer support to set this up for you.

    Twilio number config screenshot.

You can view all active provider integrations in the SMS providers tab. You can also edit, update, delete, or add more numbers to an existing integration.

Create text messages

After you add your phone number, you can start authoring text messages by going to Real-time marketing > Channels > Text messages and selecting +New text message in the top ribbon. This will take you to the text messaging editor.

Text editor screenshot.

To create a message:

  1. Select the message sender. The Text message sender dropdown lets you choose from the sender phone numbers (Azure Communication Services preview, Twilio, or TeleSign) you’ve added.
  2. Enter your message content. You can enter text, emojis, and personalized content.
  3. Choose whether your message designation is Commercial or Transactional. A commercial message is one that is sent to recipients who have opted-in to receive messages. An example is a coupon sent to a group of customers who opted-in to receive promotional offers from your company. A transactional message is one that is sent in response to a transaction the recipient previously started with you. An example is a response to an email inquiry.

Important

In the text messaging editor, the message designation is preselected as transactional for numbers that might be prone to carrier filtering if used for promotional or marketing messaging. To make sure your number isn't blocked by carriers, it's highly recommended to use this number for transactional messaging only.

Before sending your message, select the Check content button in the upper right. This will run an error check on the message, much like the error check functionality in the email designer.

Next, test your message by selecting the Test send button in the upper right. If you’re using an Azure Communication Services preview toll-free sender number, you can test send the message to any United States mobile number. If you’re using a Twilio or TeleSign sender number, you can send the message to a mobile device in any supported country. You can also add the message to a journey to see how it can be triggered by events.

Personalize text messages

Personalizing text messages allows you to insert dynamic data that is unique to each message recipient. You might want to dynamically populate a name, an appointment time, a location, or any other unique data.

To personalize a text message:

  1. Select the Personalization The Personalization button. button in the Message field.
  2. Select Select a data field to choose a data source. Your data source can be based on an Audience, a Trigger, or Compliance.
  3. After choosing the data source, you can search for the specific attribute or trigger you want.
  4. Add a Label to quickly identify your token in the message content.

When you send the text message from a journey, it will automatically populate the token according to the attribute you selected.

Add a Customer Voice survey to a text message

Adding a Customer Voice survey link to a text message or push notification allows you to seek feedback from customers on the channels they use the most.

To add a Customer Voice survey to a text message:

  1. Select the Customer Voice survey button The Customer Voice survey button. in the Message field.
  2. Choose a Customer Voice survey in the lookup field.
  3. Select whether you want the survey to be anonymous and whether you want to track the survey link after customers click on it. If you select the Survey is anonymous option, no user data will be saved with the answers.

    Customer Voice survey options screenshot.

  4. Select Save.

When you send the text message from a journey, it will automatically populate the token with the survey and options you selected.

Add SMS keywords to a text message

Adding SMS keywords in your text message allows you to use them in your customer journey to branch it based on your customer’s response to your text messages.

To add a keyword to a text message:

  1. Select the keyword icon.
  2. Type the keyword that you’d like to add.
  3. Select it from the list if it has been used previously in the journey or select the New keyword button to create it.

The following screenshot shows how to add SMS keywords in your text message.

Add SMS keywords screenshot

All keywords created through the SMS editor are also added to the SMS keywords page.

Track your text message metrics from channel insights

You can see how customers react to your text messages by checking the text message analytics in the message itself and within journeys.

Note

Delivery reports for text messages are received from different carriers in every country or region. This might result in false positives or negatives at times, depending on the carrier. Consider this when you check the delivery reports of your text messages.