SMS From Me

Automatically Start One on One SMS Conversations

Make a Zap to react on SMS From Me events

Summary

Preface
PART I -- Trigger (SMS From Me)
PART II -- Action
Preface

Introduction

The SMS From Me service offers a way for Zapier to listen to events. When an even happens, it can be used to trigger an action.

SMS From Me offers several events and you can listen to any one of them:

  • Create -- a new message was added to your account.
  • Sent -- a message was successfully sent to its destination.
  • Failed -- the system tried to send a message five times and it failed each time. Now the system will not try again.
  • Blocked -- a new message was added but the destination phone number is blacklisted (See our Do Not Text List page). In this case the message is added and immediately marked as Blocked.

Your Zapier Dashboard

When on your Zapier dashboard you can see a Make a Zap button at the top of the screen. Click on it to start the process of creating your SMS From Me trigger zap.

Clicking on the Make a Zap loads the environment allowing you to create a connection between two completely different systems. All the data from one system will come through to Zapier which then sends it to the next system. How it really works internally? You do not have to worry about that too much!

PART I -- Trigger (SMS From Me)

Step 1. Choose the Trigger Application

The very first step is for you to choose the source of the data. This is called a trigger: when something happens then the Zap starts reacting accordingly.

In the sample image to the right (which you can click to see a full resolution version you can zoom in on a smart phone, click again to get out of it,) you can see two sections: Your Apps and Built-in Apps. By default the Your Apps section is empty, until you start using some applications from the Built-In Apps. It is assumed that you are more likely to reuse the same applications as times passes and more triggers and actions are available in your applications.

The top bar allows you to search for the application you want to use. In this case, I want to search for the SMS From Me application, all I have to do is click on it. In your case, you probably first need to search for SMS From Me.

If you cannot find our SMS From Me application, you probably need to get our invitation.

Step 2. Select One of the Triggers

The SMS From Me application offers four different triggers. You have to select one of them to move forward. Just click on one of those and then Continue.

The available triggers are:

SMS Message Failed

This trigger happens whenever sending an SMS message fails five times in a row. The message is considered void at that point.

Note that the field named Message Status Date represents the date and time when the message was considered as a failed message. You can use it that way in this case.

SMS Message Blocked

When a new message arrives at SMS From Me and it is defined in our Do Not Text List then that message is immediately marked as Blocked. This trigger lets you know about such phone numbers.

The Message Created On date is when the message was created and blocked.

SMS Message Sent

By default, after 5 to 10 minutes, the SMS From Me application on your phone checks for new messages in your Internet account. When it finds such a message, it attempts to send it. On success, it tells the server that it worked. In turn, the server sends an event to Zapier which can then react and process an action.

Note that the field named Message Status Date represents the date and time when the message was sent. You can use it that way in this case.

SMS Message Created

Whenever a new message is created, this event is triggered on Zapier. It lets you react on new messages. Note that at this time a message is not yet processed in any way, however, you do not get this message when the phone number is blocked. Instead, you get an SMS Message Blocked trigger.

The Message Created On field can be used to know when the message was created.

Step 3. Connect to Trigger Source

The SMS From Me trigger is now going to ask you to Connect an Account. If you already have done so before, then you will see an entry and can just click on it and move on.

The connection process opens a popup window and expects you to click on the Authorize button. Step 4. happens if you are not currently logged in in your SMS From Me account in this browser. Step 5. happens if you are already logged in and only an authorization is required.

Step 4. Login Authorization

Step 4. happens when you click the Connect an Account as shown in Step 3. and you are not currently logged in your SMS From Me in your current browser.

If you are currently logged in, then you will instead go to Step 5..

As you can see, the Zapier server opens a new popup window, which look exactly like SMS From Me because it is!

In this case, you are asked for your login credentials: Your Login Name and your Password.

If you did not force the use of the Login Name to log in your account (see Making Your Account Safer,) your email address will work too.

To verify that this is really a page from SMS From Me, you can use the right mouse button to open the inline menu, and select View Page Info or something like that (each browser has its own menu label...) That should open a window and one of the parameters should show you this popup window address (URL). It should start with:

https://smsfromme.com/...

Note that at times hackers create a subdomain replacing the slash (/) after the ".com" with a period. For example, the following uses the example.com domain, NOT ours which is smsfromme.com:

https://smsfromme.com.example.com/...

Assuming all goes well in Step 4. you will be sent back to Step 3. to click the Save + Continue button. Then you are sent to Step 6.

Step 5. Authorize Your Account

Step 5. happens when you click the Connect an Account as shown in Step 3. and you are currently logged in your SMS From Me in your current browser.

If you are not currently logged in, then you will instead go to Step 4..

As you can see, this window offers to either Authorize or Cancel the authorization process. If you click the Authorize button, SMS From Me creates a secret token and gives it to Zapier to use to do the work it needs to do. Clicking on Cancel closes the window and no authorization is given to Zapier.

Contrary to Step 4., this step is safe since you do not need to enter your credentials. In other words, if a hacker was able to show you a screen like that one in this step, they would not hack anything from your real SMS From Me account.

Assuming all goes well in Step 5. you will be sent back to Step 3. to click the Save + Continue button. Then you are sent to Step 6.

Step 6. Test the Trigger

At the moment our SMS From Me triggers do not have parameters so you directly get to the page where you get to test the trigger.

The Trigger being in place, Zapier offers you to test it immediately, to make sure it works and does what it is expected to do. The actual data is shown in a separate page if you want to go that far. By default the test is just to see whether the entire process works as far as the code is concerned. Not whether the resulting data is what you would consider as being correct.

Note that for the test to work, you need to generate a trigger. For the SMS From Me application, the following should do it for you:

SMS Message Failed

To generate a failed message is not easy with a regular setup. There is a way, though: removing your SIM card. Yeah... I do not recommend that solution unless you know what you are doing.

Instead, you should use the special phone numbers that ends with 555-1213. All of these numbers always get an error each time the phone tries to send that message (it does not actually send any message, it just returns an error immediately.)

Note that it takes time for a message to go from New to Failed. In between it goes to Error and it requires five errors before the status becomes Failed. So you will have to be quite patient on this one.

You can watch the status from your Internet account. It will go from New to Error. Then the "# Fail" column will increase from 0 to 5. At 5 it will be changing the status to Failed.

SMS Message Blocked

Blocked messages are generated at the time you add a new message with a phone number of someone who added their phone number to our Do Not Call List.

We have a special phone number which is always considered blocked. So if you send a message to that phone number you can immediately test this trigger. The number is any destination number that end with 555-1214.

SMS Message Sent

This trigger is certainly nearly the simplest to generate. Just send yourselve an SMS message.

Remember that it takes some five to ten minutes for your phone to detect the message and send it. So it may take a little time. Once you see that you received your own message on your phone, you can test the trigger on Zapier. It will be triggered.

SMS Message Created

Now this trigger is the simplest. Whenever you send a new message to a valid phone number, it immediately generates a trigger. Well, as long as the phone number is not a blocked phone number. So use your phone number and the whole process should not more than a minute.

Note that you can use your Internet Account to create a message using the Send a Message button on your Dashboard (under the list of messages,)

Note that to send a message you can use the following steps: Step 7., Step 8., and Step 9..

Step 7. Find the Send a Message button

To send test messages, you can use the Send a Message on your Dashboard. Log in your Internet Account and scroll down under the list of messages. There is the button. Click on it.

Clicking the button opens a popup, then check out the next step.

Step 8. Enter a Test Message

The form includes three fields, the third one is optional.

Enter a valid Destination phone number, for example, your phone number, a number that ends with:

  • 555-1212 -- The message will always succeed
  • 555-1213 -- The message will always fail
  • 555-1214 -- The message will immediately be marked as blacklisted

See Step 6. for details on why you would use one of these special numbers.

Step 9. New Message

Now you can come back to your list of messages and the first in the list should be your new message. (It may not be first if you created other messages with a Send On date which is further in the future than the Send On date of your newest message.)

Although rather unlikely, you may not see your new message because it was already sent (it could go that fast, even though it is rather unlikely.) Clicking the "All" link under the table should resolve the problem and let you see the message if it was already sent.

Step 10. Verify Trigger Worked

Once you see the correct status for your test message in your SMS From Me Internet Account, you can click the button "Fetch & Continue" as shown in Step 6..

Zapier will show you a new screen as shown on the right (click image to enlarge, click again to get back.) If the test did not work the first time, you may wait a little longer and click the Re-test SMS From Me (1.0.1) to get another message sent.

If you are still not able to get the message to go through, don't hesitate to contact us, send us a support request, or contact Zapier.

Keep in mind that the Failed status takes a long time to appear. So be patient with that one.

PART II -- Action

Step 11. Choose Action App

Finally, we are done with the SMS From Me trigger, now we can setup the Action part. Here I show an example with an email. For example, you may be interested in knowing when a message could not be sent (i.e. returned status "Failed") and receive an email when that happens.

So here I choose the Built-In App named Email. Just click on that application and you are sent to the next page.

If you do not see your application on the screen, try the Search bar at the top. Enter the name and it should appear in the dropdown.

Step 12. Select Action

An application may offer more than one action. Here you have to select the action you want to use for your Zap.

In case of the Email action, it only offers one action: Send Outbound Email. Click on it and then click Save + Continue.

Step 13. Setup Email Fields

This step is where the magic happens, pretty much. This is where you setup where each Message field goes.

The screenshot on the side (click to enlarge, click again to come back out,) shows you a list of the Message fields. The Message Status can be of interest especially if you want to filter your messages. The following are the various statuses available:

  • [N]ew -- the message was just created and so far no attempts to send it were made
  • [S]ent -- the message was sent successfully; note that the Message Failure Count may not be zero if your phone tried to send that message and failed
  • [E]rror -- one or more attempts to send the message all returned an error, the number of errors so far are defined in the Message Failure Count field
  • [F]ailed -- the message could not be sent after five attempts, the message is now abandonned
  • [D]eleted -- the message was deleted (at this time this can only happen if you do so in the Internet dashboard
  • [L]ocked -- the message is currently locked, this prevents the phone from sending it, giving you some time to go and edit the message first; when you duplicate a message, the status of that new message is Locked
  • [B]lacklisted ([B]locked) -- the phone number was marked as a Do Not Text number and thus it cannot receive messages; when a new message is created with the blacklisted number, it immediately gets blocked

The Message Status Date can also be useful. Whenever the Message Status changes, that date is updated to the date of day at the time the status changes. This means you know when the message received a Status that cannot change any more (i.e. [S]ent, [F]ailed, [D]eleted, [B]lacklisted.) For example, you can know when a message was finally viewed as [F]ailed by checking that date. The amount of time it took between the creation and the failure can be calculated as Message Status Date minus Message Created On (i.e. what is generally called an Interval.)

Speaking of filtering messages, the Message Source is also a good way to filter messages. The source is one of: website, api, url, email. It tells you how the message was added to SMS From Me.

Step 14. Verify Results

Once the email fields were setup, you probably want to see how the final email message looks like. This is this step. Here the Zapier system shows you the generated message as it would appear in the destination mailbox. If you are sending an email to yourself, it is probably not too much of a problem, you can come back later and make changes. If you are sending the email to someone else, though, you're not going to see whether all the necessary fields are present and whether the formatting looks okay... This page is the best way to see that part!

If some fields look incorrect, you may click on the Edit Template step on the left side. It will take you back to the place where you can edit your fields. For example you may have missed adding a space. It is not always easy to see whether a space was added when you write something before or after a field.

If you are satisfied with the resulting email, click on the Create & Continue button.

Step 15. Final Test Step

Zapier runs a test, which in case of the Email application means that it is going to send an email to the email address specified in the template.

In case of the Email application, it is more than likely to always tell you that it succeeded unless it cannot find your mail server (i.e. where to send the email.) You should check your mailbox for that Zapier email. Once received, you can verify that the format looks good and move forward to the final step by clicking the Finish button.

Note that the Add a Step button can be used to add another filter or action that you want to perform on that trigger. Although it is possible to create one trigger/action pair for each action you want to perform on a trigger, it is much more effective (read fast) to have one Zap per trigger and as many actions as you need for that one trigger. The main problem here will be the filters. After a filter, you do not get all the messages through.

Step 16. Name and Activation

The final step, finally! Here you give a name to your Zap. Make sure to give a descriptive name so you can remember what your Zap is about when you look at it in your Zapier Dashboard.

Once given a name, click on the OFF button to turn ON your Zap. After that your zap is considered active and it is ready to go.

Once active, I strongly suggest that you test your Zap. Create a message as required (see Step 6.) and make sure that the action happens. If you used an email like here, you should automatically receive an email.

Enjoy!

 

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