Programmable SMS: Info, Platform & Documentation [2024]

May 7, 2024 | By Sam Pelton
Cartoon representation of a programmer implementing some code that translates into a text message sent to someone

SMS has invaded the world.

It’s successfully woven itself into the fabric of our daily lives.

It’s become our go-to standard for quick, efficient communication.

So why not employ this powerful medium to your business in automated ways that allow you to really reach people - without a lot of micromanagement?

What would happen if your processes could all seamlessly automate with your SMS, so that getting right in front of people via text message was as easy as programming an integration?

Enter programmable SMS…

What Is Programmable SMS?

Programmable SMS refers to the ability to automate your SMS efforts in programmatic ways.

This automation is accomplished via SMS API offered by an SMS gateway provider service such as Mobile Text Alerts.

This means that developers can build out SMS processes that function however your business would like them to function, within the parameters that the API offered by your designated platform allows.

The designated parameters are spelled out via the SMS gateway’s API documentation.

Additionally, programmatic SMS can be offered via direct integrations or through third-party integration sites such as Zapier.

Why Use Programmable SMS?

By some reports, marketing automation can bring about a 14.5% increase in sales productivity.

And SMS can have read rates of up to 55% and “view rates” of up to 100%.

Therefore, programmable SMS gives you several benefits…

Get Your Messages Right in Front of People’s Eyeballs

SMS in general is one of the best ways to get your messages right in front of people’s eyeballs.

Because when you send a message and people hear that ping, odds are they’re going to check their phone and see what you have to say.

Even if they don’t open it, they’ll still see it.

Smooth as Silk Processes

Using programmable SMS solutions allows you to incorporate SMS in your workflow in a way that works for you.

Want changes in your HubSpot database to automatically reflect in your SMS database? Check.

Want users to be added to an SMS drip campaign reminding them of an upcoming webinar? Check.

Programmable SMS helps you combine the effectiveness of texting with the efficiency of automation.

Scale as You Grow from Small Business, to “Bigger” Small Business, to Big Business

Managing SMS efforts manually may work OK when you’re small and only have a few hundred or thousand subscribers for your texts.

But what about when you reach into the 10,000s? 100,000’s? 1,000,000s??

Manual text messaging obviously isn’t sustainable as you grow—but programmable SMS can scale as you need it to.

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How Does Programmable SMS Work?


The primary way programmable SMS works is through SMS API set up via SMS gateways.

These programmable services are offered by SMS platforms/API services.

The SMS platform will provide you with an API key that you can use to connect to the SMS gateway.

API documentation details how to use your API key to set up your programmable SMS.


Sending a message…

curl --location '' \

--data '{"subscribers": [1112223333],"message": "test1234!"}'

Example response…


"data": {

"messageId": "uuid",

"totalSent": 1,

"totalFailedInternationalRecipients": 0*


"message": "Message Sent to 1 Recipient."


Adding contacts to your text message list…

curl --location '' \

--data-raw '{

"firstName": "FirstName",

"lastName": "LastName",

"number": 1234567890,

"email": "",

"groupIds": [100, 101, 102],

"subscriberFieldIds": {

"2000": "January 1st, 2000",

"2001": "Custom Field Data"



Example response…


"data": {

"id": 100,

"firstName": "firstName",

"lastName": "lastName",

"email": "",

"number": 1234567890,

"date": "2021-01-01T00:00:00.000Z",

"countryId": 0,

"groups": [


"id": 100,

"name": "Group A"



"id": 101,

"name": "Group B"



"id": 102,

"name": "Group C"



"subscriberFieldData": [


"id": 1000,

"subscriberFieldId": 2000,

"data": "January 1st, 2000"



"id": 1001,

"subscriberFieldId": 2001,

"data": "Custom Field Value"



"signupMethod": 3,

"longNumber": 1234567890



Other Integration Options

You can also set up “programmable SMS” via other means that don’t require coding.

SMS platforms offer direct integrations with some services, so you can directly connect to those in order to program your SMS processes.

Using a third-party integration software such as Zapier also allows you to program your SMS efforts.

For example…

  • You can have your SMS list updated automatically whenever you add a new contact in HubSpot
  • You can trigger a text message confirmation for new Shopify orders
  • You can send an SMS message when new contacts are added to ActiveCampaign

Built-In SMS Features

Aside from programming SMS efforts via coding or integrating with other services, you can also program your SMS efforts using the built-in scheduling and automation features within your SMS platform account.

Some examples of what these features alow you to do include…

  • Schedule messages ahead of time
  • Send your recipients automated drip campaigns
  • Set up auto-responses to be triggered under certain conditions
  • Other similar programmatic features

How Do I Access Programmable SMS Documentation?

Programmable SMS documentation is readily available for people who have an account with an SMS service that offers API.

This documentation will tell developers exactly how to create their SMS workflows.

Remember that you’ll need to get your API key, which you can then plug into the instructions in the documentation in order to program your SMS.

For Mobile Text Alerts you’ll just need to get a free account and then you’ll be able to get started (see “How to Get Started with Programmable SMS” below).

How Can Businesses Use Programmable SMS?

There’s almost an infinite number of ways that businesses could use programmable SMS to help their communication processes flow.

Here are just a few ideas…

Appointment Reminders

Hi [Customer Name], this is a friendly reminder of your upcoming appointment with [Business Name] on [Date] at [Time]. Please reply 'CONFIRM' to confirm your attendance or call us at [Phone Number] to reschedule. Thank you!

Hi [Customer Name], we missed you at your appointment today. If you'd like to reschedule, please reply 'RESCHEDULE' and we'll be happy to find another suitable time for you. Thank you for your understanding.

Order Status Updates / Follow-Ups

Thank you for shopping with FashionFusion! Your order #123456 has been successfully placed. We'll notify you once your order is shipped. For order inquiries, visit [Order Status Link] or call us at 555-123-4567.

Your order #789012 from TechMart has been shipped! Track your package here: [Tracking Link]. Estimated delivery date: [Date]. Any questions? Feel free to reach out to us at 888-555-6789.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Your verification code for [Business Name] is: 537492. Enter this code on the login page to access your account securely. If you didn't request this code, please contact us immediately at 123-456-7890.

Customer Support and Feedback

Hi there! How can we assist you today? Reply with your question or concern, and our support team will be happy to help! Alternatively, you can call us at 123-456-7890.

Thank you for your recent purchase! We'd love to hear about your shopping experience. Please take a moment to share your feedback by replying to this message. Your input is valuable to us!

Marketing Campaigns

Exclusive offer for our VIP customers! Show this text in-store to receive 20% off your next purchase. Hurry, offer ends [Date]. Visit us at [Store Address] today!

Employee Communication

Hi team! Friendly reminder of your upcoming shift tomorrow at [Time]. Please confirm your availability by replying 'YES' or 'NO'. If you have any questions, reach out to your manager. Thank you!

URGENT: Emergency response team activation required. Please report to the designated assembly area immediately. Safety protocols are in effect. Reply 'ACKNOWLEDGED' upon arrival.

How to Get Started with Programmable SMS

If you want to just try out programmable SMS, the process to get started at Mobile Text Alerts is just a few steps.

  • Step 1: Get a free trial account. There’s no credit card required, and the only personal information you may need to provide is your email address and phone number.
  • Step 2: Contact support and ask them to validate your account. Due to the potential for using SMS services to spam and scam people, all users must be verified before sending messages—basically they just need to make sure you’re legitimate (which, of course—you are!)
  • Step 3: Locate your API key. This is found under your Settings tab within your online dashboard.
  • Step 4: Review the API documentation. The link for this is also found under your Settings tab within your online dashboard.
  • Step 5: Program your SMS initiative according to the instructions within the API documentation.

And that’s it! You’re ready to test out the programmable API and see how it works for you.

You can also test programming your SMS via the dashboard automation features within your online account.

If you’d like to test supported integrations in your free trial, you can contact support and they can help get your integration set up for you. Or you can use to access thousands of integration options.

FAQs About Programmable SMS

Here are some answers to questions you may have about programmable SMS…

What Is API?

API is a way for developers to connect different pieces of software together and to program interactions and responses between them.

API’s allow developers to program processes and activities in a way that’s customizable.

How Much Will Programmable SMS Cost?

The costs for programmable SMS can vary greatly.

For Mobile Text Alerts, plans start at as little as $20/month (billed annually, or $25/month billed monthly).

And if you’re sending a large volume of messages, you can get custom discounted pricing.

You can check out pricing information here.

What Are SMS Short Codes?

One topic that’s related to the concept of programmable SMS is the topic of short codes and other sending phone numbers.

  • Short codes are short phone numbers that are more expensive to lease than other sending number options but offer the best deliverability.
  • Toll-free phone numbers are 10-digit phone numbers that have an 8xx area code—they are inexpensive and are sometimes a better option than “10DLCs” in regards to deliverability
  • 10-digit longcodes (“10DLCs”) are “regular” phone numbers with 10 digits and a local area code—like toll-free phone numbers, these numbers are inexpensive, and depending on the situation, may be a better option than toll-free phone numbers in regards to deliverability

Try Programmable SMS Today

You can try a programmable SMS service today to get a feel for how it works.

Get your free account here and see for yourself!

Get a Free 14-Day Trial Account

Start sending mass text messages to your entire list today!