How It Works: Help Centre

Videos, PDFs, FAQ & info about SMS Express text messaging service.

Need urgent help? Call 1300 668 287.

VIDEO HOW TO SEND A BULK SMS

This video walks you through how to create your Groups and import your contacts into SMS Express, then send a bulk SMS broadcast. Also covers personalising your messages.

How to send a bulk SMS

VIDEO 90 SECOND OVERVIEW OF ALL FEATURES

Quick overview of the main features of SMS Express platform.

How to send a bulk SMS

PDF BIRTHDAY & ANNUAL SMS USER GUIDE

Download the PDF for instructions on how to setup Birthday or Annual SMS:

send automatic text messages to customers on their birthday

VIDEOREPLY RULES - Set RULES based on Replies

Reply Rules is a little more complex than your standard Replies, but don't let that scare you.

Reply Rules allows you to setup RULES telling the system what to do when replies are received back from your SMS. If you use a Reply Rule in an SMS broadcast, this overrides any default email forwarding in your Account Settings REPLY FORWARDING.

reply rules to handle incoming messages to your account on sms express

Say you want to send out an event invite and want the YES and the NO replies to go to different mobile numbers and/or email addresses of people in your business… you can even add a custom reply to the replies (eg 'thanks for your reply').

You could run a survey or poll, or have a product to sell. People who respond RED get forwarded to Jack, and the BLUE responses go to Jill, etc.

Or you send out SMS on behalf of your salespeople or account managers, and you want replies to go back to that individual manager, rather than the default email you setup in Account Settings > Reply Forwarding.

Remember that forwarding to a mobile number from SMS Express system will cost a credit, but emails are free.

However if you want to get fancy, Reply Rules can also allow you to customise Optouts received and forward these to another mobile or email. Maybe people who reply REMOVE can be automatically emailed to your Sales Manager, and they can call the customer to see if there's an issue or perhaps they have moved and you need to update their details. Or they are unhappy with your company.

An optout request is also technically a reply, but the SMS Express platform handles optouts automatically, so when it "sees" the words: STOP, REMOVE, UNSUBSCRIBE, these people will also be automatically added to the Opt-Outs Blacklist.

Once you have setup your Rule, the next step is to go to Bulk Message to setup your broadcast. In the Reply Rule section below your Message box, your Rules will be there. Select the Rule, then Preview, then send.

IMPORTANT: make sure you DO NOT use a Custom Sender ID. The Options Sender ID must be set to Repliable or the replies will not work

VIDEO EXCEL ADD IN - USER GUIDE - Send SMS From Excel

Click image below to view YouTube video on how to use the add-in within Excel for Windows:



send text messages from excel

PDF EXCEL ADD IN - USER GUIDE - Send SMS From Excel

Download the PDF Excel Add-in User Guide to your PC:

send text messages from excel PDF user guide

VIDEO HOW TO CHANGE 04 NUMBERS INTO 61 FORMAT IN EXCEL

Huge time saver! You'll find a short video here on how to transform a column of 04 mobile numbers into a 61 format:

change mobile numbers to 61 format in Excel

Q ACCOUNT TIME - How to change the CURRENT TIME in Account Settings.

Our platform uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Your Account Current Time defaults to Eastern STANDARD Time (QLD time) and does not auto-adjust for Daylight Saving or for other States' time zones or New Zealand local times, so you may need to change this in your Account Settings.

The Current Time is also shown at the top of your control panel when you are logged in to the platform, so check before your broadcast to ensure the time is correct for your time zone.

The default Account Time is normally set to Server Time + 8 hours (480 minutes. Eastern Aus time).

If you are in Western Australia change your Time Difference to server time 360 minutes.

If you are in South Australia change your Time Difference to 450 minutes. (510 in Daylight Saving time)

For Daylight Saving time for VIC, NSW, TAS, change Time Difference to 540.

Don't forget to click the UPDATE SETTINGS BUTTON.

As an example, here's my account's default time (I'm in Melbourne, not Daylight Saving):

If you need us to do this for you please call 1300 668 287 or email kerryn@smsexpress.com.au

Q HOW DO I CANCEL A SCHEDULED SMS BROADCAST

NOTE THAT IF YOU SCHEDULE VIA THE EXCEL ADD-IN, YOU CANNOT CANCEL A BROADCAST.

  1. In REPORTING go to Sent/Queued page .Select Date Range (if it's scheduled for tomorrow then include tomorrow's date)
  2. In the box below Select Date Range, find your broadcast and click on View to open the Viewing Send box.
  3. Click Pause button.
  4. A box will open asking you to confirm the Pause. Click YES to pause.
  5. Final step: fully CANCEL. Click CANCEL button (do not click Release unless you change your mind and do NOT want to cancel the broadcast). After you CANCEL, the credits will be returned to your account.
  6. Click Cancel to stop the scheduled broadcast and refund the credits back to your account (If you change your mind, clicking Release will ‘unpause’ and allow the broadcast to go ahead).

Cancelled messages will still be visible in Sent / Queued history, even though they have been successfully cancelled, but the total messages scheduled or sent will show zero.

Download the PDF 1 page guide on how to cancel your scheduled SMS broadcast:

how to cancel scheduled broadcast on sms express

Need urgent help? Call 1300 668 287

Q OPTOUTS - How to add an OPTOUT / STOP in your SMS (2 options available)

To stay compliant with the Spam Act, first you must have CONSENT to send people a commercial text message (ads, promotions).

The commercial texts must contain WHO you are (eg your business name), an opt-out or unsubscribe facility so recipients can stop getting your messages.

The Bulk Message function in the SMS Express platform keeps you compliant with the Spam Act by automatically adding any received optouts automatically to your Opt-Outs (Blacklist), located in the REPORTING screen.

Most people are savvy enough now to simply reply STOP to any SMS they want to opt out of. But that won't work if you use a custom SenderID (ie not repliable), or if a person sends you back a vague torrent of rude words!

So we make it easy for your people to opt themselves out via these 2 options:

1. OptOut placeholder button which inserts a link in your message (uses 20 characters), and recipients can tap the link in the message to easily opt-out. This is the best option to use if you have customised a SenderID so people can still optout automatically even if they cannot reply to your SMS;

2. Manually typing in optout instructions for your recipients like STOP or REMOVE (TIP: store this in a template)
...see screen shot of the optout button in Bulk Message screen:

You can also add a number directly into the Reporting > Optouts-Blacklistanytime, and that number will be suppressed from receiving any bulk messages from you.

The SMS Express system has standard optout "keywords" that it will auto-Blacklist if it detects them in replies (eg: STOP, UNSUBSCRIBE, REMOVE), but it's not perfect.

The OptOut placeholder with the link should be used at all times if you send a commercial text using a custom SENDER ID.

Q PERSONALISED SMS - How to personalise with Value Placeholders

The Bulk Message screen has VALUE buttons which are Placeholders (also called merge fields or dynamic fields). You have up to 6 VALUE fields to insert personalised data into each SMS.

You'll see these in the Bulk Message screen as Placeholders Value 1~6 buttons.

A common way to personalise is simply with a Firstname using the Value 1 button, which inserts some code that the system will replace with the relevant first name. For example:

'Hi Chris, your bill is overdue. Please pay asap. Thank you. Acme Power'

Or use more Placeholder fields to include more info for the recipient (I have used 5 Placeholder fields):

'Hi Chris, your gas bill for $100 is overdue. Please pay by 5pm Monday. Thank you. Acme Power

To get started, you'll need to prepare your spreadsheet with your fields, and Import to the Group you've created.

This video takes you through how to send a Bulk SMS with personalisation:

How to send a bulk SMSHow to send a personalised bulk SMS

Q REPLIES: How to view replies on the platform

You can view replies in the Replies inbox section by logging in to your SMS Express account.

view replies to your text message in sms express account

On the Replies screen you can also: Reply to the reply, blacklist the number (optouts), and download replies into a spreadsheet. You can also have replies forwarded to your email address..the next section below shows you how.

Please note the Sender ID must be on REPLIABLE for replies to work. If you change the Sender ID, replies will NOT come back into your online account. There is more info on Sender IDs here

Q REPLIES: How to forward replies to your email

You can have any Replies received in your online account forwarded to an email address free.

You'll need to set this up in Account Settings and in REPLY FORWARDING screen. It's simple to do...see the below screenshot:

view replies to your text message in sms express account

You can also tweak the layout of these forwarded emails in Email Format below the Reply To Email box to only display the info you need in the email. Please ask us to help you do this as it's a little tricky.

If you want to have certain replies forwarded to different emails, or apply rules for handling replies, check out Sending > Reply Rules in your online account, or see next section below for a video.

Please note the Sender ID must be on REPLIABLE for replies to work. If you change the Sender ID, replies will NOT come back into your online account. There is more info on Sender IDs here

QREPORTING: What reports can I see in my Account?

When you sign up for an account with us, by default the system will email your Sent reports Daily and/or Weekly. You can change this frequency in your Account Settings.

Also you can login to your cloud account and view numerous reports at any time.

The quickest and easiest report is Sent/Queued which covers broadcasts JUST SENT, plus over the past 6 months.

NOTE if you search a future date it will show any queued/scheduled broadcasts and you can cancel any future broadcasts from here(it won't show BDay..to view BDay see Bday Maintain Numbers for broadcast dates)

Note: The Sent/Queued reports are online for 6 months, so we advise checking these regularly. Our server simply cannot hold everyone's' reports forever..we'd need a server the size of the moon to do this!

So what does it all mean?....

  • DELIVERED – was successfully sent out.

  • UNDELIVERED or NO NETWORK - Usually a wrong number

  • EXPIRED – Phones can be out of range or switched off. This error means the system has tried to send a few times but has given up.

  • SUBMITTED – means the message has been sent to that person’s telco (Voda, Optus, Telstra, Virgin) and SMS Express system is waiting for delivery confirmation from that telco. It's like sending a parcel to Australia Post and you're waiting for them to say "yes we sent it to the customer". If you check back in a little while, this may update to DELIVERED or (hopefully not) EXPIRED.

You also have access to other reports such as:

  • DATE RANGE – this is a downloaded or emailed report that goes back 30 days. It is fairly detailed and includes the network of the mobile number it was sent to (in the ZIP file this is the Line Item report).

  • NUMBER SEARCH - this will generate a report based on 1 number, and is handy to view the history of a mobile number. The report will show Group Summary and Sent Items for the last 6 months. You could use this report if you suspect a mobile number may not be getting texts. A history of UNDELIVERED would indicate the number is disconnected and needs investigating.

  • SUMMARY REPORT This will generate a zipped Excel report that's very detailed and can include messages, number of replies and optouts, the cost etc for the and you can get a detailed report of the messages, number of replies and optouts, the cost etc for the last 6 months.

  • REPLIES - Unlike the other Reports Replies are kept for many years (unless you have a custom Sender ID).

  • OPT-OUTS (BLACKLIST) - Here you can find all numbers who have been opted out automatically. You can also manually add numbers to the Blacklist if someone calls you and asks you to stop sending SMS to them. Like Replies, blacklisted numbers are stored for many years.

QSENDER ID: Sending from your company name or number

The SMS Express platform has 4 "shared numbers" which allows you to send texts out and get replies back into your account.

The number that your SMS' come from is called the Sender ID (similar to a Caller ID), and this shows on your recipient's phone. You've probably received a text from a company with no number, but instead the name of the company.

You have the option to also do this by creating custom SENDER IDs in your account. This allows 11 characters including spaces.

For example you can have the SENDER ID as ACME CO, and this will show up on the recipient’s phone as ACME CO instead of our system’s mobile number. Here's a screen shot of some example Sender IDs I have created..you can set 1 as the default, but you can also change this on the fly in the Single or Bulk Message screens.

Beware though..if you change your Sender ID to a word, people CANNOT REPLY to you.

However, if you change the Sender ID to be your OWN phone number, all replies go back to your phone and bypass the SMS Express Platform.

send sms from my own name or number

If you are sending commercial SMS messages (eg advertising), you will need to include an opt-out to be compliant with the Spam Act and of course not annoy customers if they choose to stop getting your messages.

This is easy to do by inserting an OptOut Link in your message (the Opt-Out button is located next to the VALUES buttons in the Sending > Bulk Message screen).

REPLIABLE is the default setting for all SMS Express accounts and means you're using our shared numbers, so all replies come back into your online SMS Express account where you can view in your Replies inbox.

But as we discussed earlier, if you set your own Sender ID as the Default (see example in the first image) this overrides the system's Repliable default and you cannot get replies.

Important Notes To Consider:

A Sender ID allows for 11 characters including spaces. This will easily accommodate a number, but you may have to abbreviate a company name or word so it doesn't get chopped off on the recipient's phone. The platform will probably not allow SMS if your Sender ID is too long so check this.

By using a Custom Sender ID NUMBER (eg 0411111111) to send SMS, people will reply directly to that number and bypass the SMS Express platform.

Call us if you need any clarification or help: 1300 668 287

QSUB ACCOUNTS: How to create

Any SMS Express account holder can create Sub Accounts where others can have their own SMS accounts with their password and username under a Master (Primary) Account.

Sub Accounts are free of charge and you can create as many as you need.

A Sub Account has all its own functions, including its own Server Time (important if scheduling messages). The only thing a Sub Account holder cannot do is buy and allocate credits..that has to be done by the Master account (presumably you).

1. Click Sub Accounts > List and click +CREATE SUB ACCOUNT button and follow the screen.

From this screen you can also add or remove credits from each Sub Account (these come from the Master account. Removed credits go back into Master).

2.To EDIT the Sub Account click EDIT button on the relevant account.

Sub Account Settings

The Master has a lot of control options over Subs:

  • AUTHORISATION: Apply this function to ensure messages composed by a Sub Account holder are authorised/approved by the Master account before being released. These messages can be viewed in Sub-Accounts HELD MESSAGES on the menu, and action taken to “Release” or “Decline” SMS’s.
  • AUTO CREDIT TOP-UP: AYou can enable the Auto Top Up function so a Sub Account doesn’t run short. Note auto-topup for sub-accounts must be minimum 100 credits.
  • OPT-OUT SETTINGS:You can control how the Sub Account handles optouts with respect to other Subs and the Master. These Settings are enabled by default, but untick the ones you don't need actioned.
  • ALLOCATION HISTORY:Simply a summary of what credits have been added to the Sub Account

set up a sub account in sms express

Q EXCEL TIPS: Excel keeps chopping off the 0 when I'm creating a list of numbers to import. Grrr!

You'll be relieved to know it does not matter. Zero begone!

As long as the mobile number is there in Column A, it does not matter if the 0 is chopped off. Once your list is imported, the system automatically converts the numbers to an international 61 anyway, so the zeros are superfluous.

So the numbers can be, for example 61444444444 or 0444444444 or 444444444.

If you're having issues with excel, Save As as CSV and reimport...or send it to us and we'll do it for you: info@smsexpress.com.au or call 1300 668 287

VIDEOEXCEL TIPS: How to separate firstname & lastname in Excel

Excel has many little tricks up its sleeve, and this is a handy tip if you want to split out First Names and Last Names into separate columns. Let's see how easy it is (video has nice, low key background music for your viewing pleasure):

VIDEOEXCEL TIPS: Change FIRSTNAME lastNAME to Proper Case

If you want to send a personalised SMS but your customer names are a mess in your spreadsheet..some are in CAPITALS, some in lower case... you need to tidy them up.

This video will show you how to change from UPPER CASE or lower case or mIXED CAse to Proper Case which is the appropriate case for any personalised communication (video has nice quiet piano background music):

VIDEOEXCEL TIPS: How to get rid of 00:00:00 time stamps in excel data

Occasionally Excel has a mind of its own. If you use dates in your SMS messages (eg a birth date or subscription date), you may have seen something like this while Previewing your SMS before broadcast:

Example: Hi Geoff don't forget our meeting on 12 Jan 2016 00:00:00

...these weird zeros have appeared in your message after the date. It's called a Time Stamp and is an annoying quirk of Excel.

If you have a Date column in your Excel spreadsheet, Excel may add this Time Stamp to each cell next to the date, but you cannot see it on the spreadsheet...but if you IMPORT your spreadsheet into a group, these 00:00:00 may be imported too...and you want to get rid of them.

Here's a short video on how to get rid of the Time Stamp. You will need to open your Excel file with the Dates, and open up a Notepad file (usually found in Accessories in Windows).

After you have cleaned out the 00:00:00 you will need to re-upload your spreadsheet...(call us on 1300 668 287 if you need help as it can be fiddly)...

QDoes my mobile number get used for anything?
No. We only ask for your mobile number in case we need to call you about your account. But it does not appear on any SMS unless you specifically want it to.
QAre there any other fees I should know about?
Nope. No hidden tricks or surprises. Just pay as you go. Get as little or as many SMS credits as you need for your broadcast. Everything else is free
QCan my business name or mobile number appear as the sender?
Yes...and it's FREE! In your SMS Express account you can setup what's called a SENDER ID which allows 11 characters including spaces. For example you can have the SENDER ID as a number, eg 0418384394. Or a company name like ACME CO, and this will show up on the recipient's phone as ACME CO instead of one of our shared numbers. Beware though..if you change your Sender ID to a word people cannot reply to you. We have a page which explains this to you: Click here
QWhy is SMS charged in "credits"?
Credits are kind of a currency in SMS-land. In Ye Olde Days, the length of a text message was limited to a 160 character 'standard SMS', which equals 1 credit. But with smartphones, we can now send longer text messages which are joined together by the phone (called multipart). Even though it arrives as 1 message on your recipient's phone, the telcos charge us/you more for sending SMS longer than 160 characters. On SMS Express platform you can send a maximum of 459 characters, which equals 3 Messages/Parts = 3 credits.

Here's a proper pricing breakdown for you:

  • 1 message up to 160 characters in length (1 standard SMS) costs 1 credit.
  • 1 message up to 306 characters in length (2 standard SMS / 2 joined messages) costs 2 credits.
  • 1 message up to 459 characters in length (3 standard SMS / 3 joined messages) costs 3 credits.

Price example:

Send 1 standard SMS (160 characters) to:

  • 1 person = 8.5c inc gst
  • 10 people = 85c. inc gst
  • 100 people = $8.50 inc gst
  • 1000 people = $85 inc gst...etc

QCan I send images via your platform?
No. This is called MMS and is expensive to send. A much better way is to include a link in your message to a website or Facebook page or Instagram page etc. Most phones will pull in the images from the website to the recipient anyway at no charge to you! Phones are smart!
QWhat payment options do you offer me?
We mostly operate as a pre-paid service, and we're a verified PayPal merchant, which means you can use one of the world's most trusted platforms to buy credits. PayPal also allows you to use MasterCard or VISA. But if you don't like PayPal, you can request a tax invoice and pay via EFT or credit card over the phone. Or feel free to Apply For A Corporate Account which is a post-paid service (30 day billing).
QI'm not quite ready to sign up. Do have a PDF flyer I can download and keep on file?
We wouldn't want you to leave empty handed. Our PDF INFO PACK contains pricing and basic info on our bulk SMS text messaging services for you to print or forward to colleagues for their viewing.