An SMS Merge allows you to mail merge a CSV file in any field order to send out personalised SMS to a bulk list. The list may come from an existing database, a CRM or just put together from a contact list. The example below will show how to send an SMS Merge, based on test results from a university. However, please note that this is just one way that SMS Merge can be used, and really there are many ways that you can do it.
To do an SMS Merge, you will need to get all the required data into a CSV file. A comma-separated values (CSV) file is a simple text format for a database table. Each record in the table is one line of the text file. Each field value of a record is separated from the next with a comma. A CSV file can easily be created or edited within Excel. However it must be noted that formatting is not allowed, and there should be empty rows within the CSV. For the SMS Merge, the bare minimum is the phone number, however, if you wish to make each message personalised, you will need to include more details.
- Creating CSV File
- Saving CSV File (Part 1)
- Saving CSV File (Part 2)
- Saving CSV File (Part 3)
- Starting SMS Merge Process
- Selecting CSV File
- Creating SMS Merge Message
- Confirming Messages
- Comfirmation Page
A sample CSV file for importing can be found here.
To create the sample, follow the instructions below.
Create a new file in Excel or important your contacts into Excel. Since there are many different address book applications, please consult the manual for your application or speak to your IT Support.
You will notice there are four headings below. Headings are required to make it easier for our system to import your contacts. As mentioned before, the only required field for the SMS Merge is the phone number, however, as you will see further on, we wish to personalise each message, therefore we need to include the headings that we wish to include in the message.
If Excel removes the leading 0's, there is a trick to get around this. Select the field without a zero. Right click on the cell and select "Format Cells...".
Select "Custom" from the left menu and then in "Type" enter in "0000000000". Then push "OK".
Once your CSV file is finished, click on "Save As" from the file menu and then select "Other Formats".
From the dropdown, select "CSV (Comma delimited) (*.csv)".
On the next two alert boxes click "Ok" and then "Yes".
Your CSV file is now ready to be imported into your phonebook.
To start the SMS Merge process, log into your account and go to Send SMS Merge on the left menu. You will come to a screen as shown below. Click "Import CSV File".
Click "Choose File". A file selection box will pop up. Find your CSV and select that.
Once you have selected your file, the name of the file should appear. If this is correct, click on "Import".
The next screen should be familiar to you. It is just the regular send SMS screen. However you will notice the Merge Field buttons below the message box. These will relate to the field headings in your CSV. As you can see, we are sending a message using the first name and last name, as well as the result. We are also scheduling the message for 6:00pm on Friday 6th August, 2010.
Two more things of note. We have select the column with the mobile number in it. This is very important, as this decides who gets your message.
Important - Due to not knowing the length of the values to be replace, the character count below the text box is only an estimate. Once the merge is used messages will not be the same length as the character count, and in some cases, a two-part message may be sent instead of one.
Once you are ready to send, click Preview SMS Merge.
The next screen will show you a preview of the messages being sent. If you have less than 20 messages in your merge, all messages will be shown. However if you have more than 20, the first 20 messages will be shown. If they are correct, click "Send SMS Merge".
If everything went well, you will see the follow screen telling you how many messages were sent. You will be able to look in your Outgoing SMS Report to check that all messages went through.