Add SMS Opt-Ins from a Marketing List or External Data Source

  • Updated

If you have SMS Opt-Ins from another data source and you need to add it to Act-On, you can do this by uploading your data to a marketing list and adding your list to the SMS Opt-Ins in Act-On.

Essentials to get started

  • SMS Opt-In data, exported and ready to import to Act-On (.csv or.xls)
  • SMS Credits
    • If you do not have SMS credits, you can begin collecting SMS opt-in data in an Act-On form, or you can upload your opt-ins once you have SMS and are ready to begin sending from Act-On.


Step 1: Import Data and Prepare your Marketing List(s)

First, upload your SMS Opt-In data as a Marketing List. For complete instructions, see Creating a Marketing List.

If your SMS Opt-In data is coming from a separate source (such as a previous SMS provider), you may have it in a .csv format. You can upload this data as a Marketing List - but keep in mind that Email Address is a required field when creating a new Marketing List.

To use a Marketing List for SMS Opt-Ins, the list must have the following fields:


Data Format

Mobile Phone Number

Act-On will accept most phone number formats and then convert the number to the format necessary for SMS.


North America

  • (123) 456-7890
  • +1 123-456-7890
  • 1 (123) 456-7890
  • 11234567890


  • +44 7975 123456

Heads up! SMS subscribers with international phone numbers (outside of US, Canada, and Puerto Rico) will need to provide their country code, starting with +. Learn more about requiring international country codes in your SMS opt-in form here.

Opt-In Source

Plain text

Opt-In Date

Any consistent Date format will be accepted

Note: DateTime formats are not accepted and will show 0 contacts in your Opt-Ins.


Additional notes for your data:

  • The field names don’t have to match - you will identify the columns in the next step.
  • Other fields can also be present in the Marketing List, but these fields will not be used by Act-On in the SMS Opt-In List.

Step 2: Select and Map your Opt-In List

Once your Marketing List is ready, add it to your SMS Opt-Ins:

  1. In Act-On, go to SMS > Opt-Ins and click Add List
  2. Select your Marketing List that contains SMS Opt-Ins and click Map Fields
  3. Use the drop-down menus for each field to select the matching field:
  4. Use the three drop-downs to specify the Date Format for your Opt-In Date field. Use the data preview for the Opt-In Date field to assist with this step.
    In this example, the date format is YYYY-MM-DD:
  5. If you selected multiple lists, scroll and continue to map these fields for each list. When you are finished, click Next.
  6. Decide whether to send a welcome message to the contacts in this list. Choose both, one, or none:
    • Send welcome message to these contacts will immediately send a SMS Welcome Message to all contacts in your list.
    • Send to contacts added from this list in the future will automate the welcome message to send to new contacts added to your list. This can be toggled in the future by an Administrator. mceclip0.png
  7. Click Add Lists to finish adding your Opt-In list(s).

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