How to send a Mass Text (SMS)

 

Did You Know...

  • 90% of text messages are read in just 3 minutes!
  • 98% of text messages are read on average - compared to just 20% for email.
  • We include 1000 free text messages each month as part of your service!

Take advantage of texting to better connect & engage with your community!

PRO-TIP: Ensure your members feel cared for!  Use Workflows to automatically send a text message when forms are submitted.

For example, send a text immediately after a First Time Visitor or Prayer Request form is submitted.

 

Sending a Mass Text Message (SMS)

In the left sidebar click Mass Contact. Then select the New Message button.

A modal screen will appear giving you the option to choose between an Email, Text Message (SMS), or Voice Message. Click on Text Message (SMS).

Note: If you don't see "Text Message (SMS)" as an option, you need to set up our Text and Voice Message service.  It's simple and can be completed in about 2 minutes :)

PRO-TIP: All Text Messages (SMS) will come from our short-code: 22383  

We recommend your members save this number as a contact on their phone (Ex: "My Ministry Name").

 

Choose Group(s) and/or Add Recipients

  • Start typing a name to activate the search against your Group list. Relevant results will show below the search bar.
  • Click the Group name to select it.
  • If more Groups are needed, keep starting the search again to add additional ones.

  • Remove a Group by clicking the Gray "X"  next to the group name.

  • A Group is a collection of names. Use the 'Add Recipients' or 'Edit Recipients' options to manually edit the list of names.
  • The 'Add Recipients' option allows for a stand-alone way to manually create a list of contacts from the database instead of using a Group. This way you can send to a single person or a few people quickly.
  • By clicking on 'Edit Recipients', the populated list allows for unchecking anyone you do not wish to include in the Contact.

To Text Message (SMS) an individual, they must be a contact in your Database. The member will also need a number in the Cell Phone field.

 

Include

The three options are

  • Group Members - Anyone noted as active in the Group(s) selected.
  • Include Inactive - Optionally include anyone that is marked as inactive in the Group(s) selected.
  • Parents of Group Members - Particularly useful for youth staff! Choose a group(s) with children in it. Then, based on the family relationship statuses in the linked family (Family positions of Primary, Spouse [husband or wife], and Partner), anyone with a parent position will get the Text Message (SMS).
  • Send To Yourself - Add yourself as a recipient of the message, especially if you are not one of the people in the group or contact list. A copy of the message will be sent to your primary cell phone.

Pro-Tip: When choosing options in "Include"

  • To send to Group Members within the group AND their Parents, both "Group Members" and "Parents of Group Members" boxes MUST be checked. 
  • To send ONLY to the parents, the "Parents of Group Members" box must be checked while the "Group Members" box is UNCHECKED.

 

~ Errors

If members in the Contact list do not have valid contact information, a notification appears and lets you know this along with a count of how many people may potentially not have a valid number (Troubleshooting FAQ). Member phone numbers can be updated in the modal after clicking the link or find the member profile and resolve it under the Edit tab.

 

Text Title

To give your text message (SMS), series of texts, or texting campaign a name, make sure to enter it into the appropriate field. It can be found at the top of the page, simply click on the pencil icon to edit. Unlike the subject, recipients will not see this title. Instead, it can be used for reference and organization within your email history.

Body

Craft a simple Text Message (SMS) to your contacts and aim to keep it under 140 characters. There is a counter showing the total count to give an idea of what is left. Having under this amount of characters allows for the message to all be delivered under one message. Over that limit will split the Text Message (SMS) into multiple texts for the recipient. 

Should a good bit of information need to be conveyed (more than 140 characters), use the "Shorten Links" button to add a link to your website. Type or paste your link into the text field and select "Shorten Links," the system will find the link and provide a shortened version of it to maintain as many characters as possible for the message.

That webpage can then show all the information needing to be conveyed along with having features like a web form. Using the Shorten Links feature will also give access to features like click counts to show how many times that link was used. A helpful tool if you are trying to measure this! 

As a best practice, it is important to not copy and paste content directly from email editors/software or word processors like Microsoft Word. Pasting into the message body directly from these sources introduces hidden formatting which will change the look of your message. When copying and pasting are needed, we advise using a text editor like Notepad or Text Edit as a middle ground. Paste your message content into the text editor of your choice to remove this hidden formatting. Then copy all of your now cleanly formatted text into the message editor.

Optional placeholders to auto-fill in the name of the member receiving the message for a personalized feel are also available. Use either the @NAME for just the First Name of the member or @FULLNAME for the First Name and Last Name. If a Preferred Name is in the member's profile, this will be used instead of the First Name. Also, make sure the placeholder is in full caps. Lower case lettering will not trigger the placeholder. Other placeholders in the software are not supported at this time.

It is also important to consider that the person's name will count toward the total Text Message (SMS) character count in the body. Take this into consideration as you craft your message.

 

Log Contact as Interaction

Logging a contact as an interaction is a great way to keep track of the contact(s) made to a member right on their profile. Your Text Message (SMS) will be logged under your interaction type with the message body for later reference.

Schedule Sending for Later

When a scheduled message is created, it is saved to the logged-in user profile. This is important to know if you need to adjust the scheduled message content, settings, or time. Admins can log in as the user to edit this or the sender can adjust this also.

Check to schedule the message for later. Add the correct date and time you want the message to send. This time setting references the preference set for the time zone under General Settings  → General.

Should the scheduled message need to be edited/changed, you can load it again. Select the message from the "Mass Contact" home screen, which will resemble the one found below. 

 

 

 Once your Text Message (SMS) is selected, a message preview screen will appear. To edit your scheduled Text Message (SMS), use the "Edit" button that can be found in the top-right corner of the screen. This will load the settings and the message body to update with new information. Use the blue "Schedule" button to save your updated email or the red 'Delete' button at the bottom to fully delete the email if it is not needed anymore

 

Complete the message by clicking "Send."

 


 

FAQ's

• What happens if someone replies to a Text Message (SMS)?

If someone responds to your mass text (SMS) message, their response will come to the primary email of the person who sent the message. This allows you to easily ask for feedback if/when needed.

• Are there Text Message (SMS) subscription control words?

The texting system allows members to use the following keywords to manage their Text Message (SMS) notifications

  • "Start" → subscribe | resubscribe
  • "Stop" → unsubscribes the recipient and sends an email to the mass text sender. This is also not reflected in the account but is visible to the cell number holder via control word codes. It is recommended to place these members in a group for tracking when the notification is received via email.
  • "Cancel" → will stop the subscription
  • "StopAll" → stop any organization from using this number
  • "Block" → mark this number as blocked
  • "Help" → find the status of the subscription

• What happens if we exceed our 1000 free text messages?

We'll simply provide another block of 1000 text messages for $15. You'll be billed the following month.

For example, If you send 3,250 text messages in one month, you'll be billed for the additional 2,250 messages. This equals 3 'blocks' of 1000 text messages at $15 each, for $45 total.

*Effective July 1st 2021, the price for blocks of 1000 text messages will change to $15.*

 

SMS Services

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