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Prepare your sender strategy

Welcome to the "Prepare your sender strategy" milestone of the Programmable Messaging API Onboarding Guide. In this section, you will create and configure your parent account, make informed decisions about what senders to use for your business, and begin the process of provisioning them. It is not uncommon for businesses to choose the wrong sender type and doing so can lead to costly problems down the road. We strongly advise you to follow the recommendations summarized here.

Who are your stakeholders at this stage?

  • Business Team : Ensure that your initial decisions on sender types are in line with your organization's long term goals for marketing and growth.
  • Finance Team : Proactively agree on the expected upfront and monthly costs associated with your chosen sender types so that you don't run into billing related setbacks down the line.

This guide will cover how to:

  • Create and configure a parent account.
  • Choose a sender.
  • Review and start the relevant regulatory requirements for your sender(s).


The actions featured in this milestone are presented in a sequence but they are not strictly linear.

The action(s) associated with each step below are marked as required, recommended, or optional to help you navigate this guide efficiently while providing all the information needed to develop a solid messaging program.

Step 1: Create and configure your account

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Before we can start provisioning senders for your account, we need to ensure that you have a well-configured parent account. This process is straightforward, but there are a few easy configurations you can do now to ensure that you have the strongest foundation possible as you advance through onboarding.

Read about the actions below and navigate to the relevant documentation to complete your account creation and configuration.

  1. Create an account(link takes you to an external page) (required)
  2. Enable two factor authentication(link takes you to an external page) (2FA - required for paid accounts): we recommend erring on the side of caution and requiring 2FA on every login but you also have the option to require this every 30 days. Discuss these options internally with your security and administrative team and decide on what works best for you.
  3. Add Users to your Account(link takes you to an external page) (optional): on this page you can add teammates and provide them with a given role(link takes you to an external page) to fit their Twilio account access needs. We advise keeping administrative access at a minimum. Once teammates have roles in the account, you can set up notification preferences(link takes you to an external page) for them so that they can get critical information in a timely manner.
  4. Create API Keys for your Account (recommended): within the Twilio Console, you can authenticate your API usage using account credentials, account SID , or through an API Key. We highly recommend utilizing API keys as it's the most secure.

Well done! You now have a working, configured account built for scale.

Step 2: Choose and begin to provision your sender

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One of the benefits of a message is the ability to reach a consumers' handset and land on their lockscreen. To get there, you'll need to select a sender or phone number that meets your use case, geographic, and feature needs.

We recommend considering these three basic questions as you choose your sender type:

  • What is your use case?(link takes you to an external page) This will indicate the type of throughput and features you'll require.
  • Where are your recipients? This will dictate the regulatory requirements you'll need to complete.
  • What is the expected behavior? This will indicate the features (such as a one-way or two-way communications) you'll need your sender type to be able to perform.

Your sender choices and the process of provisioning them will look different depending on whether or not you are sending to North America. Choose the path below that best describes your sending location.

For sending to North America

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Navigate to the relevant documentation to choose and start the process of provisioning your sender.

  1. Set your Geo Permissions(link takes you to an external page) (required)
  2. Choose the sender that will meet the needs of your use case(s)(link takes you to an external page) (required)
  3. Provision the sender you need(link takes you to an external page) (required)
  4. Port existing numbers(link takes you to an external page) (optional)

It's worth noting that all senders in North America will require some form of verification or registration to protect consumers from bad actors, ensure the high deliverability of messages, and preserve the value of the channel for all senders. Here's a summary of what to expect.

For sending to countries outside of North America

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With Twilio's Messaging APIs and more than 65-thousand phone number prefixes, you can reach consumers in over 180 countries. However, some countries have restrictions on the sender type used to reach consumers, including registration requirements. If SMS is not a viable option for your sending locations, WhatsApp can often offer a great alternative.

Navigate to the relevant documentation to determine the right sender(s) for you and begin the regulatory process.

  1. Review country-specific SMS guidelines(link takes you to an external page) (required)
  2. Learn about international phone number capabilities(link takes you to an external page) (recommended)
  3. Learn about an alphanumeric Sender ID(link takes you to an external page) (recommended)
  4. Set your Geo Permissions(link takes you to an external page) (required)
  5. Identify the required regulatory documentation for the countries on your list(link takes you to an external page) (required)
  6. Submit your regulatory bundles (required)

At this point, you should be ready to provision the type of sender you need. You can also consider porting an international phone number(link takes you to an external page) if appropriate for your business.

Next, Build your Account

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