Increasing Into SMS (for These Who Don’t Code Like Me)


We know email is essential. With 84% of consumers telling us that they would like to receive corporate communications in their inbox, this is at the heart of customer communications and shows no signs of diminishing in importance.

However, we also know that customers expect to interact with companies through more than just email.

As a marketer who understands this, but whose work has largely stayed in the email channel, I wanted to look for a way to expand outside of the inbox. Oh yeah, I don’t write any code outside of HTML (in terms of email experience) either.

I thought SMS was the best next step as there are tons of use cases for SMS notifications that go pretty well with email and are very simple.

SMS allows real-time updates, notifications and alerts to be sent on a channel that we know recipients are constantly monitoring. Add SMS to an e-mail program allows recipients to choose their preferred channel for any type of communication.

In this article I outline how to get you set up with SMS in five minutes without a code. If I can do it, so can you. Here is how.

How to start with SMS

Enter Twilio’s Quick Deploy apps, Impressive.

Twilio Quick Deploy apps are sample code samples for common use cases that are included in only one click. Basically, Twilio has written all of the code needed for any use case, you just have to share it.

There are a few steps before and maybe after (like Create a Twilio Account B.), but essentially, Quick Deploy creates and deploys your app in Twilio with one click.

When reviewing SMS Quick Deploy apps, there was an SMS auto-reply app available. This would send an automatic SMS reply back to every number that sent it. Some use cases for this could be:

  • Send a text message to a number to receive a specific promotional code
  • Text a business number for opening hours
  • Sending an SMS to a number for event-specific information

Set up the SMS Quick Deploy app

Since it was easy to see how this could be used the first time, it seemed like the best option. Follow me when I send my first 6 step SMS notification.

  1. Create your free Twilio trial account.

Signing up to Twilio only takes a minute and does not require a credit card. Create your username and password and confirm your e-mail and a mobile phone number (you know the exercise). Finally, you will be asked a few questions so that we can better assist you during your first steps.

2. Get a test number

On your console home page, click Get a Test Number. We recommend adding a free number to your account to start testing. If you select “Dial this number”, the number is yours.

3. Go to CodeExchange

On your console home page, click “View App Samples” again in the banner that says, “Hello, would you like to run an app with no code?” If you can’t find it, go to it CodeExchange Make sure you are still signed in to your console.

4. Find the app example “SMS Auto-Response”

On the second page, find the “Automatic SMS reply” Example and click inside. Scroll down, do you see your project name in step 1? Do you see your test phone number that you just selected in your account in step 2?

5. Deploy your app

On the sample code page, click Deploy my application. Send an SMS with your Twilio test number. You should see the reply, “Sending from your Twilio trial account – Hello world!”

You managed! You have deployed your first Twilio app!

6. (Bonus) Customize your message

Twilio uses a tool called Functions to deploy your application. In your account you can click on Features -> Services in the navigation on the left and then click on the “Hello Messaging” tab at the top.

Update the message within twiml.message (‘Hello World’); to whatever you want and click “Save” then “Deploy All” in the lower left corner. Your auto reply will now return your custom message when the number is sent via SMS.

We made it!

As a reference, your message will have a copy of “Sent from your Twilio trial account -” before your message. This can be removed simply by updating your account in your console.

Ready to send SMS?

To prove my own use case, Text our toll free number 1 (855) 634-0100 to receive a coupon code for $ 10 in Twilio credit when you sign up for a new Twilio account and upgrade.

Would you like to set up an automatic voice response? Repeat this process, but with Programmable automatic voice response.

If you’re looking for more ways to combine SMS with your email, check out ours Email to SMS: Strategies and Tactics for Optimal Performance Article ther, Discover more use cases with one click to get started with Twilio SMS.

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