This is pretty simple to do:
1) Click the "Campaigns" menu, select "Create" and choose the mailing list you want to send your text to (make sure you've already imported your contacts' mobile numbers into it).
2) On the channel selection page, hit “SMS”, click “From scratch” and enter a title for your campaign (don't worry, it won't be shown to your contacts).
3) You'll be taken to the SMS editor. Start by choosing your sender (ie, the number or name that your contacts will see on their mobile screen letting them know who texted them). Click the "+" button to add a sender in case you've got none yet.
4) Type in your SMS text. If you need some extra length, you can increase the number of SMS parts under "Fit into how many SMS?". If your text requires accents and special chars, toggle "Non-English characters".
To view your SMS on a real mobile device, click "Test delivery" (upper right corner of the SMS preview), enter the number you want to use for testing (you can add more than one) and hit "Deliver test".
That's all there is to it! If you're happy with the tests, just send it out to your contacts using the "Deploy/send" button :)
will auto-replace !fname with your contacts' first name. This means, say, John will get an SMS with "Hi John" - his text won't be longer than 160 chars as he's got a short name. However, Veronica will see "Hi Veronica" on her SMS but the text will be pushed past the char limit and become truncated at the end :(
To prevent this, leave some wiggle room in your SMS copy. For the above example, bringing the char count down to 145 chars would ensure virtually any first name would fit into the SMS. If you can't reduce it, use the "Fit into how many SMS?" option to increase the number of SMS parts in your message.
So be sure to test your Unicode-based SMS on all networks you're going to send your campaign to! If you find issues, consider going for a Smart SMS (use a small intro leading to a webpage with the full text, including pics and videos!) or a push notification (which supports all chars of any language).