How to Use Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s MobileConnect

By Chester Bullock, Mark Pollard

MobileConnect is a Slaesforce Marketing Cloud app that offers the traditional back-and-forth SMS/MMS communication with customers that probably comes to mind when you think of mobile marketing.

Typical kinds of mobile-originated campaigns that you might send with MobileConnect include the following:

  • Email opt-in: Subscribers can join your email list by sending a keyword and their email address to your short code. This is usually a one-time text-message interaction: After you have the subscriber’s email address, you send him or her email messages rather than SMS/MMS messages.
  • Info capture: This kind of campaign is similar to an email opt-in campaign, but you can use it to capture any piece of data, not just email addresses. For example, you use this kind of campaign for “progressive profiling,” where, once you have the subscriber’s email address, you ask for the person’s name. Once you have the name, you ask for the ZIP code. Once you have that, you ask for the birthday, and so on.
  • Text/media response: A subscriber triggers an automated response using a keyword — for example, replying with MORE to receive another message with more information. You can use media to get subscribers involved with something fun. We’ve seen a brand encourage subscribers in a stadium to reply with selfies holding its product. The brand gave a prize to the best image and meanwhile received a wealth of action shots with its product.
  • Vote/survey: This kind of campaign uses a specific message template to send an invitation to the subscriber to answer true/false, yes/no, or multiple-choice questions.

Setting up keywords

A keyword is the word that a subscriber texts to your short code to, for example, sign up for your program, get help, and opt-out. You have to set up keywords in Marketing Cloud so that the system knows how to respond when it receives a message from a subscriber that contains this word.

You set up your keywords in the Admin section of MobileConnect. To be compliant with industry regulations, you must set up a keyword that your subscribers can use to opt-out of the program and a keyword to get help.

Use the following steps to set up a keyword:

  1. From the MobileConnect app, click Administration in the gray toolbar at the top of the screen.

    The Administration screen appears with an overview of the mobile-related settings in your account. The Short/Long Code section of the screen contains a list of all your short codes, and each is a hyperlink.

  2. Click the short code for which you want to create the keyword.

    A screen appears with a list of all the keywords associated with that short code.

  3. Enter your keyword in the Create Keyword field that appears in the toolbar of the Keyword Management section on this screen.
  4. Click the Create button.
MobileConnect keyworkd
The field where you define your keywords is tucked into the middle of this screen.

After you complete this procedure to define a keyword, you instruct the system on how to respond to the keyword as part of your message setup.

Setting your blackout window

The Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) limits the hours of the day during which you can send text messages to your subscribers, and you might want to limit the sending window even further. After you’ve decided when you will not send text messages, you can set up a blackout window in the MobileConnect to prevent any sends.

Use the following steps to set up your blackout window:

  1. From the MobileConnect app, click Administration in the top toolbar.

    The Administration screen appears.

  2. In the Send Blackout box on the right side of the screen, click the Set Blackout Window link.

    The Set Blackout Window screen appears.

  3. Click the Enabled status to instruct the system to prevent the sending of text messages during this blackout window.
  4. Select the start and end times of the blackout window, and then click Save.

Creating a message

The steps to create an outbound (mobile-terminated) mobile message depend on the type of message you send and the way you send it. The following steps are for an outbound message sent by an automation.

For inbound (mobile-originated) messages, choose a keyword that you defined previously and then indicate the text of the message to send in response to a keyword.

Use the following steps to create an outbound mobile message in MobileConnect:

  1. From the MobileConnect Overview screen, click the Create Message button (on the right side of the toolbar).

    The Create New Message Wizard appears, open to the Select Template step.

  2. Choose the template you want to use for your mobile message.

    You can choose from the following options:

    • Outbound: A simple SMS message from your business to your mobile subscribers. For this example, we’re choosing this template.
    • Text Response: An SMS message that the system is ready to send in response when a subscriber sends a keyword.
    • Vote/Survey: A message to invite your mobile subscribers to participate in a poll that you create as part of the message.
    • Mobile Opt-In: A message to invite people to become subscribers to your mobile messages.
    • Info Capture: A message to ask your subscriber for information, such as his or her name or email address. You can store the response you receive as a contact attribute.
    • Outbound Media: Similar to the outbound message, except this message uses MMS technology so it can include more rich media.
    • Media Response: Similar to the text response, except with MMS.
    • Media Share: A message to invite mobile subscribers to send you media, for example, photos of themselves using your product. You set up this type of message also to store the media so you can find it later.
    • Email Opt-In: Invite mobile subscribers to subscribe to your email messages.
    • Send Email: A message to invite subscribers to receive an automated email from your business.
  3. Click Next.

    The Define Content step of the wizard appears. The files in this step may vary, depending on the message type you chose in Step 2.

  4. In the Message Name field, enter a name for the message.

    You use this name to identify the message in tracking or when you want to edit the message definition later.

  5. In the Short/Long Code drop-down menu, choose the short or long code from which you want to send the message.
  6. Choose the Send Method:
    • Schedule: Choose a date and time when you want to send the message. This is the most common option.
    • API Trigger: API code that you write triggers the send of the message.
    • Automation: An automation in Automation Studio sends the message.
  7. When you start typing in this field, a preview appears to help you visualize what your message will look like on a mobile device.

    Tools also appear in this field to help you insert personalization strings, shorten URLs, and convert commonly abbreviated words to their abbreviations.

  8. (Optional) If you want to associate the message with a campaign in the Campaigns tools, click Add Campaign and choose the campaign.

    If the campaign doesn’t exist yet, click the Create Campaign button to create one.

  9. Click the Activate button to make the message available for the automation to send.