How to send an SMS in Airship

Want to target your database with an SMS campaign? Here’s how.

Written by Anthony Green
Updated over a week ago

Select your target audience

First of all, select your target audience by navigating to SMS Campaigns > Broadcast > Create New. From here you can then select your desired audience to send the SMS to and then click next:

Compose your campaign

Add the text to your SMS campaign in the text field. Remember, the character limit for SMS sends is 133 characters or 112 characters if you’re including a link.

If you want to include a trackable link, use the Add Tracker URL button, more information below on how to track links. Once you click next you will then be prompted to add the URL, an error message will appear to ensure the link is correct, if it is correct, just click next again.

If the Add Tracker URL button isn't showing for you, it may be because your user role permissions aren't set up to allow you to add links to SMS messages, contact the support team if you're having this issue.

Saving/recalling messages

You can optionally recall a previously saved message from the dropdown. 

Or set a name and save a message to come back to it later.


The Originator field defines the display name that a recipient will receive the text message from, this can be up to 11 characters long. 

Unsubscribe Text

To allow your customers to unsubscribe via SMS you will need to add an unsubscribe link to your SMS. Contact the support team to provide you with your relevant account link. It should look something like this:

Once received you can place this in your SMS which will allow customers to unsubscribe from text messaging.

Top tip - you can use a URL shortening tool to reduce the characters of the link.

Tracking URL's

Responders (optional)

Optionally, you can also configure a ‘responder’ based on the URL which has been added to the SMS. You will be prompted on this screen if you would like to set one. Just click Next if you don’t want to do this.

You can select none, one, two or all three:

Reply SMS (optional)

If you select ‘Reply SMS’ this will send an extra SMS to the person that clicks the URL in your SMS broadcast. So for example, your message could say ‘click here for an offer’ and the reply message could say ‘show this text to claim the offer'. You will need to type in an originator (short, all one word) to say who the text is from. Leave the ‘expire in’ option as 24 hours unless you want it to expire sooner (after 24 hours, replying to the SMS won’t work). Type in your message (in 160 characters or less).

Press ‘attach’ when finished.

Email Contact Details (optional)

If you select ‘Email Contact Details’ this will send an email to an email address of your choice whenever someone clicks the URL in your SMS broadcast. Your text message could say ‘click here’ and someone will call you back. In that case your email responder message could say:

"Hi Guys,

A customer has clicked the link in your SMS broadcast, please contact them as soon as possible using the details below.

First name: {firstname}
Last name: {lastname}
Mobile: {mobilenumber}
Email: {email}
Dob: {dob}

Address1: {buildingnumstreet}
Address2: {locality}
Address3: {city}
Address4: {county}
Post code: {postcode}


The code above will pull through the contact’s details so that they can be called back. 

In the ‘from’ box write in an email address you want the message to come from. You could just use

Write an eye catching subject line in the subject box, e.g. ‘SMS Request for Call Back ALERT’ or something relevant.

For email recipients you can enter one or multiple email addresses for the people you want to get the alert. If you want more than one email address separate these with a comma and no space.

Press ‘attach’ when finished.

Group Redirect (optional)

If you choose ‘Group Redirect’ you can add people to a group on the database of your choosing when they click the URL in the SMS.  Choose the group from the list and click ‘attach’. You could create a new group before you start this process so you can choose it from the list. You could call your group something like ‘SMS Clickers (date)’. You may want to add clickers to a group so you have a record of who has clicked to get the offer.

Send a test SMS to yourself first using these responders so you can test the process and see how it works.

Final checks before sending

The final page before sending the SMS will confirm how many recipients will receive this, along with the main details of the SMS including the saved name of the SMS, the Originator, when the message will expire and the contents of the message.

Here you can also schedule when you would like the SMS to send if you do not wish for this to send immediately.

For Tag Content, this is for internal reporting which you can group by tag word to group SMS campaign statistics together, once you've entered the Tag Content, click Add Tag Word.

Finally, tick the warning box to make sure you're happy with sending and then click send.


“Message can not have newline characters”

If you get this message, it’s because you have some carriage returns in your message. 

Not enough credit?

If you get prompted that you do not have enough credit, follow the link to add additional funds. You can also contact the Airship support team to have credit moved from one unit to another.

Non-standard ascii character alert

If you receive this alert when composing your message - "Message contains a non standard ascii char" - then check your message for things like special characters or smart-quotes, particularly if you have pasted your message in. Try retyping it in the message interface itself.

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