SMS API integration checklist

Table of Contents

Here’s your definitive task list before and after the SMS messaging platform integration. Check how to connect SMS API with your system, service, app or digital product.

SMS API integration checklist: first steps

If you are thinking about integrating SMS messaging with a system of your choice, you will need an account at SMSAPI. No other way around it. Go and register a free test account. A few first test messages are on the house. Get in touch with the SMSAPI support team – they will gladly help you with everything technical.

1. Get yourself access to SMS API gateway

The SMSAPI Do it yourself guide is an excellent source of knowledge on how to start with SMS messages. Watch the video on YouTube or read tutorials here on the SMSAPI blog. Either way, create a test account. Then, validate and configure it, so we can verify your company details and unlock all functions for you.

You will probably want to set your SMS sender name or register a 2-Way SMS number. Find all of the above and more explained in the DIY guides. One more thing, if you plan to send larger batches of messages, please get in touch with your consultant. We might have a better deal for you.

SMSAPI is a global SMS provider

SMSAPI covers the entire world. Well, almost, with a few exceptions like North Korea, Belarus and Russia. It means that you can reach almost every mobile phone holder worldwide from a single account. Pretty impressive, right? Read more and test our global SMS gateway.

2. Check system and software requirements

SMSAPI exposes its potent API for everyone, and the API itself does not have many requirements – the only one is to use TLS version 1.2 or higher. Older versions have numerous security issues and are now obsolete, so if you work with an extremely old environment with no support, TLS 1.2 SMS API will not work for you. If you would need just one more reason to upgrade, here it is!

3. Decide between a direct API connection or a library

We will be pleased if you decide to use one of our libraries. They will probably save you heaps of time during development. Remember, each library has its requirements, which get updated between versions. We always recommend using the most recent library version and following its requirements if you can upgrade the environment or an up-to-date one. Of course, you can use an older version, but it may cause some issues – we are upgrading them for a good reason.

The SMSAPI Documentation should be your first place to go in case of any problems with the API. It’s continuously updated and improved, so you can always refer to it and get first-hand information, code example and other essential bits of knowledge for developers. 

Account setup – start here

Let’s go a bit further with the account setup!

1. Generate API token

Generate and paste the API key token right away into your application. Once created and hidden, it will remain hidden due to security reasons. So keep it safe! You can also confirm credentials using the OAuth Webflow.

The OAuth2 token is a string that enables a connection to our platform’s API. For an IT system that wants to use our services in an automated way (without using the Customer Panel), the token acts as a user and password, which you enter when accessing the Customer Panel. To generate access token (API key) click API Settings on the left column and click API tokes (OAuth).

Read more about SMS API tokens

2. Secure your account

Read all about why it matters and how to secure your account (password, dev accounts, accesses and permissions). Always use unique, long and strong passwords. Do not reuse passwords. Important note: SMSAPI employees will never ask you for credentials. Keep your password secure and secret.

2FA SMS login validation

And just to be safe, set the two-factor authentication based on SMS. Each time you log in to SMSAPI, you’ll be asked to provide a one-time password. You can always add your machine to the trusted list.

3. IP whitelisting and blacklisting

These two separate features allow you to either set a list of IP addresses that are permitted to connect to your account (whitelisting) or are prohibited from using the services (blacklisting).

4. Format numbers and data for API integration

We strongly suggest using CSV files exclusively. Simply because fewer things can go awry with them, as opposed to XLSX or other data format files. If you insist on using sheets, just keep the data on the first sheet. The SMS gateway will ignore everything else.

5. Test your code

We can’t stress it enough: test your code and do send yourself a test message. Successful SMS testing API integration is crucial for delivering a smooth and error-free messaging experience. But if you run into any problems, check the delivery and error codes in the documentation. As usual, write to us if you need additional help with your software integration. A thought: set a low balance notification and make sure the messaging won’t be interrupted or switch to monthly fees

SMSAPI is a business SMS messaging gateway

Create a free testing account and give SMSAPI a try! The first few text messages are on the house.

Quick checklist: after integration

The following part focuses on key aspects of SMS content and database performance. It’s just a quick roundup – find more appropriate resources linked below. If this is your first SMS campaign, read on. You are more than welcome to brush up on your knowledge in any other case.

SMS communication and marketing are GDPR-compliant

There’s a big WHEN with that statement. You can send sales-related messages when you have consent to do so. And the consent must be precise and conscious. There’s more to it, so read about GDPR and SMS marketing.

To make things easier, always double-check if you have proper consent for SMS marketing from your customers. Otherwise, you risk substantial financial fines, image losses and other unpleasantries. That’s why we always encourage building contact databases organically. There’s too much to lose with 3rd-party customer data.

How to SMS content

You are ready for your SMS campaign. Well, almost. There are still a couple of things to do before hitting the button. Let’s go through some important yet often forgotten steps.

Register SMS sender name

SMS sender ID is a name that will replace the number – the feature is free and dramatically enhances brand awareness. Go to the Customer Portal and register yours. You can use up to 11 alphanumeric characters. The SMS sender name might not work in every region, so contact your consultant to confirm availability. Generic names like Parcel, Police or Banking are prohibited. We’ll approve each request during our working hours.

Mind the text coding or replace special characters

Beware of Word-processed text. It might contain special characters not included in UTF-8. But there’s a quick fix: replacing special characters.

It’s a nice feature that will help you save precious characters and eliminate those, as mentioned above. The system will automatically replace the uncommon letters and other symbols with common versions. For example, polish diacritics like ą or ę will be transformed into a or e, respectively, when you turn this option on. You can choose to replace them by default in every message.

Track traffic with UTM parameter

An SMS message is mere 160 characters, plain text, with no buttons or images that you can hide links beneath. There’s no reason not to make URL addresses shorter. Not only it saves you precious characters, but also you get a chance to use the UTM tracking code.

And it’s stupidly simple: go to the Google Campaign URL Builder. It’s completely free. Paste your link, fill out all necessary fields (source, medium, and name are enough) and copy generated URL. Take the link to your desired shortener, we recommend the SMSAPI built-in, but you can use any other. Paste it and make it shorter! Here you go! You got yourself a short URL address with a UTM tracking code. Once your customers click it, you can filter the traffic by the information you provided in the URL tool.

Read more about analyzing traffic

SMS integrations: important definitions

Feeing a bit overwhelmed by new terms? The SMS API tutorial can’t go without some fundamental definitions!

Integration definition

Integration means bringing smaller pieces together to form a large, complete structure. In this case, it would be a system capable of delivering text messages to customers, an app with bulk SMS functionality or a simple connection between a marketing automation plugin and an SMS provider, like SMSAPI.

API definition

Application programming interface (API) is a standard by which systems and programs communicate, exchange data and cooperate.

P2P and A2P SMS definitions

P2P and A2P are two sides of SMS messaging. The first, person-to-person (P2P), describes everyday communication between individuals, regular texting back and forth between friends, family members, etc.

The second, application-to-person (A2P), is all business-related messages sent online by companies. SMSAPI is a global A2P messaging provider.

SMS gateway definition

Professional SMS gateway is a service for companies, the public sector, startups and other kinds of businesses that want to communicate with their clients and audiences using bulk SMS messages.

More resources for developers?

Here are some SMS API basics plus code snippets on the most popular programming languages:

Final thought

Since you put so much effort into making your links short and trackable, put a verb that entices action before it and guide your customer like a thread through a needle. Some examples of call-to-actions for SMS campaigns are: buy now, register for free, browse, and claim your offer.

Send messages that are precise and personal

You have up to 160 characters, so make each count and communicate why, what and how. Furthermore, put the data to work and fill your SMS templates with information from the database or integrated system, e.g., last order date and favourite products category. The closer you hit home, the better chance for conversion. Compose messages you’d like to receive, and certainly do not send the same message more the once.

Are you unable to squeeze everything into 160 characters? There’s a way to send longer messages, but each batch of extra characters counts as a separate message.

Cover photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash.