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SMS and MMS Marketing Notifications with Java and Servlets

Ready to implement SMS and MMS marketing notifications with Java and Servlets?

Here's how it'll work at a high level:

  1. A possible customer sends an SMS to a Twilio phone number you advertise somewhere.
  2. Your application confirms that the user wants to receive SMS and MMS notifications from your company.
  3. An administrator or marketing campaign manager uses a web form to craft a message to push to all subscribers via SMS/MMS message.

Building Blocks

To get this done, you'll be working with the following tools:

  • TwiML and the <Message> verb: We'll use TwiML to manage interactions initiated by the user via SMS.
  • Messages Resource: We will use the REST API to broadcast messages out to all subscribers.

Let's get started! Click the button below to move on to the next step of the tutorial.


The Subscriber Model

Before send out marketing notifications to a subscriber, we need to start with the perfect model:

  • phoneNumber stores where to send the notifications.
  • subscribed stores if a subscriber is active (only an active subscriber will receive notifications).
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        Subscriber Model

        The Subscriber model

        Subscriber Model

        Let's see how to handle incoming messages.

        See Message Handling

        Handle Incoming Messages

        This is the endpoint that will be called every time our application receives a message.

        We begin by getting the user's phone number from the incoming Twilio request. Next, we try to find a Subscriber model with that phone number.

        If there's no subscriber with this phone number, we create one, save it, and respond with a friendly message asking our newest user to send an SMS with "add" as a command. This is done to confirm that they want to receive messages from us.

        Twilio can send your web application an HTTP request when certain events happen, such as an incoming text message to one of your Twilio phone numbers. These requests are called webhooks, or status callbacks. For more, check out our guide to Getting Started with Twilio Webhooks. Find other webhook pages, such as a security guide and an FAQ in the Webhooks section of the docs.

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              Register a new subscriber in the database or apply a user command


              We've created a Subscriber model to keep track of the people that want our messages. Now, let's look at the options we provide our users for opting in or out.


              Managing User Subscriptions

              We want to provide the user with two SMS commands to manage their subscription status: add and remove.

              These commands will toggle a boolean flag for their Subscriber record in the database and will determine whether they get our marketing messages. Because we want to respect our user's preferences, we don't opt them in automatically - rather, we have them confirm that they want to receive SMSes or MMSes from us.

              To make this happen, we will need to update the controller logic which handles the incoming text message to do a couple things:

              • If it is a add or remove command, create/update a Subscription with the right status in the database.
              • If it is a command we don't recognize, send a message explaining the two available commands.
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                    Validate and execute a subscriber's command


                    Let's now take a look at how to send notifications.

                    Send Out Some Notifications

                    Send Notifications Out

                    When a form is submitted, we first grab the message text and/or image URL. Second, we loop through all Subscribers and call the method send on our Sender domain object.

                    When the messages are on their way, render the index page with a success message and delight the marketing team.

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                          Send a message to all active subscribers


                          Let's take a closer look at how to send SMS or MMS notifications.


                          Sending SMS or MMS Notifications

                          When the model object is loaded, it creates a Twilio REST API client that can be used to send SMS and MMS messages. The client requires your Twilio account credentials (an account SID and auth token), which can be found in the console:

                          Account Credentials

                          Next, all we need to do is create a message using the MessageCreator class. The Twilio Message API call creator requires To, From and Body parameters. MediaUrl is an optional parameter.

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                                Use Twilio Java client to send a message


                                That's it! We've just implemented a an opt-in process and an administrative interface to run an SMS and MMS marketing campaign. Now all you need is killer content to share with your users via text or MMS.


                                Where to Next?

                                Love Java? So do we at Twilio! Here are two other excellent tutorials you should check out:

                                SMS and MMS Notifications

                                SMS notifications are a great way to alert humans quickly when important events happen. In this example, we'll show you how to send SMS notifications to a list of people when an error happens in a web application.

                                Automated Surveys

                                Don't let valuable insights slip away - survey your customers with Voice and SMS.

                                Did this help?

                                Thanks for checking out this tutorial... tweet @twilio to let us know how you did and what you're building!

                                Kevin Whinnery Kat King Mica Swyers Carly Vanderwert Andrew Baker Paul Kamp Stephanie Marchante
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                                Need some help?

                                We all do sometimes; code is hard. Get help now from our support team, or lean on the wisdom of the crowd by visiting Twilio's Stack Overflow Collective or browsing the Twilio tag on Stack Overflow.

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