Make a Zap to send an SMS message
- Step 1. Choose the Trigger Application
- Step 2. Select One of the Triggers
- Step 3. Connect to Trigger Source
- Step 4. Setup Trigger Parameters
- Step 5. Test Your Trigger
- Step 6. Trigger Test Results
- Step 7. Select SMS From Me
- Step 8. Select Action
- Step 9. Connect an Account
- Step 10. Login Authorization
- Step 11. Authorize your Account
- Step 12. Setup Fields
- Step 13. Check Resulting Field Content
- Step 14. Name and Activate Zap
The SMS From Me service has a REST API that can be used with Zapier to create SMS messages automatically from your Lead generation tool (like InstaPage) or your CRM.
The following shows you how to Make a Zap from an email to an SMS From Me SMS Message.
Your Zapier Dashboard
When on your 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 message creation 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!
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 my case, I want to use the Email Parser, all I have to do is click on it. In your case, you probably first need to search for the application you want to use.
If you cannot find your application, you may want to ask Zapier's staff about whether they have that in stock. It could be that the application is only available on invitation (as SMS From Me is at this point.)
Step 2. Select One of the Triggers
One application may support multiple triggers. Even if the application has a single trigger, you will go through this step.
In case of an email, you have one trigger: the email arrived.
In case of SMS From Me, we currently offer four different triggers: when a message gets created, sent, blocked, or fails being sent (failed.) We talk about these in more details in the next section about Zapier, the section where we learn how to setup a Zap on the SMS From Me Triggers.
The little circle on the left side is Radio Button. One of them needs to be selected (it's rather hard to read these buttons if you ask me...) then click the Continue button.
Step 3. Connect to Trigger Source
The trigger is now going to ask you to connect. The way you connect to a trigger varies, but in all cases it is the equivalent of a login that generates a code that Zapier saves securely and reuse as required to make your Zap actually work.
In many cases, applications will have an OAuth2 interface for you to connect. This means you are sent to that application website and asked to log in as if you were going to access your account. The URL when that happens will look like the application website URL and not Zapier. (i.e. in other words, Zapier will not be getting a hold of your credentials: login name and password.)
In other cases, no OAuth2 is available and you have to enter some form of credentials in the Zapier interface.
When using SMS From Me, the OAut2 mechanism is used. It is generally more secure. We have a couple of screenshots of that interface later on in this tutorial.
Step 4. Setup Trigger Parameters
Finally, the trigger is not unlikely to include parameters. For example, the email system I used as the example here requires you to define the Email address to use. That email address represents your account.
Applications that do not offer parameters do not include that step at all. SMS From Me has no trigger parameters.
Once the trigger parameters are properly entered, click the Continue button and the Zapier system will be ready to test the trigger to make sure it works as expected.
Depending on the setup and the type of trigger you are using, the test may actually be more than that and end up being a real object in the real world. So make sure to as least be courteous in the various messages that you test with.
Step 5. Test Your Trigger
Now the Trigger is in place. Zapier offers you to test the Trigger 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 that application you just setup. In my case it is to send an email to the Zapier Robot. Without incoming data, the Zap will be marked as failed.
Since this is the test period of creating your Trigger, you have as many tries as it takes. Zapier will not limit the Zap for that. However, once the Zap is turned on and running in production, too many errors in a row are likely to shut off that Zap. You can always turn it back on later, only you will have to determine why so many errors occurred and fix those problems if required (i.e. it may just have been that a server was down for hours...)
Step 6. Trigger Test Results
The previous step asked to get some data that would generate the trigger. Once the data was expected to be available to Zapier, you could click the button and Zapier then tells you whether it worked or not.
In this screenshot that's where you see the results. If positive (as in the screenshot on the right or above), then there will be a large green bar at the top. If negative, there will be a large red bar at the top. When negative, you can go back, attempt the trigger again, and then check whether it worked.
Step 7. Select SMS From Me
Now we are in the second part of the Zap setup. We defined a source that somehow sends an event to Zapier. Now we want to defined how the Zap should act on that event's data.
Here we see that I have SMS From Me appearing in my Your Apps section. In your case, you most certainly will have to search for it the first time. Once you used it once, it should appear in that Your Apps section too. To do that search, click on the bar at the top and write SMS From Me.
Once you see the SMS From Me icon, click on it to add it as the Action Application. Next you will be asked to select which action to take (one application may offer multiple actions.)
Step 8. Select Action
SMS From Me offers one action: to Create an SMS Message. The effect of creating a message will make your phone send it to your lead unless that phone number is currently blocked.
In Zapier, you want to click on the Create SMS Message radio button to make sure it is selected and then click the Save + Continue button.
In future versions of our Zapier Application we may offer other actions, but at this point nearly only this one makes sense. (i.e. we are thinking that the action Delete SMS Message could be useful in case your user can unsubscribe within your website, for example, and you want to make sure messages do not get sent to that person anymore.)
Step 9. Connect an Account
Now you should see an empty list and a button that says: Connect an Account. If it is not your first Zap with SMS From Me, then the list will not be empty and you probably can just click on that one entry.
Zapier let you choose between multiple accounts. In most cases, though, you have just one. This is why this page may look a little bit confusing.
You want to click on the Connect an Account button once to add one connection. When you click on that button, one of the login screen (Step 10.) or authorization screen (Step 11.) from SMS From Me will appear in a popup window.
Note that Step 11. is considered safer. If you want to end up in Step 11. instead of Step 10., remember to log in your SMS From Me account before you click the Connect an Account button (although you can Cancel Step 10., log in your SMS From Me account as usual, and then click the Connect an Account again and you will see the Step 11. screenshot appear.)
Assuming it all goes well, you will be back to the Zapier page with an entry that looks like what's shown on the screenshot to the top right of Step 9.
The Test button can be used to make sure that the connection is still working. When you just connected, that test als already performed in an automated way by Zapier so it is not useful on creation.
Note: the little gray thing to the left of each connection is a Radio Button. One of them needs to be selected for you to be able to click the Save + Continue button.
Step 10. Login Authorization
Step 10. happens when you click the Connect an Account as shown in Step 9. 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 11..
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:
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:
Step 11. Authorize your Account
Step 11. happens when you click the Connect an Account as shown in Step 9. 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 10..
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 10., 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.
Step 12. Setup Fields
After going through Step 9. and either Step 10. or Step 11. you end up on this screen which let you setup the SMS From Me fields from your Trigger application.
To my point of view, this is where the magic happens. It may also be one of the most challenging step to setup while making a Zap.
The input fields coming from your Trigger can be used to fill out the fields of the data to be sent to SMS From Me. We currently accept the following fields:
- Message (required) -- the actual SMS message you are to sent your user. If you have a user name, you can use that field as in "Hey John, ..."
- Destination (required) -- the cell phone number of your lead where the SMS message will be sent.
- Send On (optional) -- This field is a date. The SMS message will not be sent before that date and time. Note that the exact format must be used, which is "YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS".
The Message and Destination fields are required. The Message can be a static message without the need to use any kind of fields offered by your Trigger application. The Destination must be dynamically defined with a fields from your Trigger application. You could add a few digits at the start or the end of the phone number to force SMS messages to a specific region, but you cannot just enter a phone number here or else all the messages would be texted to that one specific phone number.
Note: At this time the Zapier interface to SMS From Me does not allow you to send a static message.
If you have difficulties in finding the right field, this is a good time to contact the Zapier support team. They are there to help you and in this case, it is not a problem in the SMS From Me interface, but rather in the Trigger application. It is likely that you will be able to resolve the problem in Step 5..
Step 13. Check Resulting Field Content
This step is a verification step. As you added text and references to fields in the previous step, here you see the results as the end user will see them.
The Message in my sample here includes my name as I used a dynamic field to do that.
The destination phone number looks correct, as in the email I sent for my test purpose. Note that SMS From Me automatically cleans up phone numbers.
The Send On field, I ignore at this point and Zapier clearly tells me that it is empty (without a value) which is fine.
If everything is in order, you can click the Create & Continue button. Yes! Here you actually create your Zap and make it official... well... one more step!
Step 14. Name and Activate Zap
The last step!
Here Zapier asks you to name your Zap. This is the name you will see appear in your dashboard. It is best to make it descriptive (i.e. using too many abbreviations is not unlikely to get you in trouble later: what the heck does VAPMZ mean?!)
Under that box appears a "Your Zap Is OFF" line. Clicking on the OFF button will change it to green and it will say ON. Now your Zap is live!
One last step, at least I always suggest people to do so: test your Zap one last time. A live Zap should work as well as the tests you ran within the Zap while creating it, but the code used is somewhat different and thus you cannot be so sure as to run a real test once ready.
Note that you can use your own phone number as the destination, or a number that ends with 5551212 (success) or 5551213 (error) to test that it all works as expected. With your number, the SMS will actually be test. The 555XXXX phone numbers prevent the actual sending of the message. Please check out the page Safely testing Sending SMS messages for additional information about testing the SMS From Me application.
If you already registered with your email address and needed to re-validate (i.e. the first validation somehow failed) then go to the Validate Page where you can request for a new validation code to be emailed to you.
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