You are ready and excited to send out text alerts – you have a plan and great ideas for how you and your organization can take advantage of text messaging and you want to get started!  But you need people who are willing to receive them.  How can you go about getting people to sign up for your text alerts?

Getting People to Sign Up for Your Text Alerts

  1. Put in a request during a presentation.

Whether you’re a pastor delivering a sermon, or a supervisor holding a staff meeting, one way to get people to sign up for your text alerts is to include a request during your presentation.  If you insert a simple request at the beginning or end of your sermon/presentation asking people to text your keyword to our 662 number or shortcode, many people will pull out their phones and join your subscriber list right then and there.

  1. Include your sign-up page on your website.

Putting a link to your sign-up page (or directly embedding your sign-up page) on your website is an easy way for people navigating through your website to quickly sign themselves up.  The link for your sign-up page will be mobile-text-alerts.com/keyword (where “keyword” is the actual keyword for your account).  If you want to embed the sign-up page directly on your website, you can find the HTML code by going to your sign up page, right-clicking on an open space on the page, and clicking “View Page Source” from the drop-down menu.

  1. Pass a sign-up sheet.

Another way that some people have found effective (although it is a little more work for you) is to generate a sign-up sheet and pass it around for people to fill out during a meeting or presentation.  Have spaces on the sheet for people to fill out their name and phone number, and then later on you can input the information into a spreadsheet and import the numbers yourself from your Control Panel.

  1. Post a request on your social media page(s).

Use your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social media page to request that your members, customers, followers, or employees sign up for your text alerts.  Ask them to text your keyword to join, or put a link to your sign-up page.  Seeing that request pop up on their news feed just might be the prompting people need to sign themselves up to receive your messages.

  1. Insert a request into your newsletter/bulletin.

Insert a brief but noticeable request in your organization’s newsletter or bulletin asking people to text your keyword to join.  Even if they neglect to join right away, you can keep posting the request in every newsletter so that people will see it often and eventually subscribe!

  1. Make a special offer.

If you are unsure about whether or not people will be willing to give their numbers to receive your text alerts, you may consider making some kind of offer to get people to join.  For example, you may offer people who join 10% off their next haircut at your salon or a free book from your church’s bookstore.  You might be surprised at how willing people are to receive texts from you if you offer them something in return!

 

These are just a few tips for getting people to sign up for your text alerts.  What ways have you found useful for your organization?

The role that women play in any church or non-profit organization is vital.  Without you, ladies, we men would be lost and our churches would surely crumble.  The support and gifts and uniqueness that you bring to the table allow for the church’s smooth functioning, and this is why women’s ministry is so important!  But how can church leaders get women plugged in and engaged in women’s ministry?

improve women's ministry

One way to increase women’s ministry engagement is through text alerts.  It’s a well-known fact that most women love to text!  (Yes, men love to text as well, but we’ll save that topic for another blog post.)  Understanding this, it only makes sense to include text messaging as an important way to get people engaged in women’s ministry.  Here are 7 ways that text alerts can improve women’s ministry.

  1. Bible Study Reminders

Many churches hold regular women’s Bible studies but struggle with getting people to actually show up!  Sending a text alert with a simple reminder about an upcoming study can significantly increase the number of women who attend.  You can include the day, time, a short note about the topic that will be studied, and any other information about the study: “Please join us Tuesday the 14th at 10 a.m. as we continue our study on the book of Romans.  Bring a dessert to share!”

  1. Women’s Retreats

If your church has periodic women’s retreats, sending out text alerts is an effective way to let women know about costs, dates, and details so that they can plan ahead: “Mark Feb. 20-21 on your calendars to attend our annual winter women’s retreat!  Tina Johnson will be teaching on loving your neighbor.  Cost is $100 including meals and lodging.”  Then you can follow up with reminders as the date approaches: “Don’t forget to bring a pen so you can take notes on all the wonderful things you will be learning at the women’s retreat Feb. 20th!”

  1. Other Women’s Events

Women’s fellowship nights, get-togethers with moms in the church, events for single women—any kind of event going on in women’s ministry can benefit from text alerts.  Use text alerts to let women know details about any upcoming special event: “Come play Bunco Friday at 7 p.m.!”

  1. Prayer Requests

Another way you can help the women in your church feel connected is by using text alerts as a means of sharing prayer requests.  Women can submit prayer requests to be sent out as a text alert to the other ladies in the church (or to a specified prayer team): “Please pray for Sharon Lake, who goes in for her first chemo treatment on Monday.”  The prayer team can then be sure to pray for the request and can offer support and encouragement to the woman who made the request.

  1. Devotionals

Day-to-day support and encouragement is important, so one way you can bless the women in your church is by sending daily or weekly devotionals.  You will want to keep them brief and simple, as text messages only allow a limited amount of space, but sometimes the briefest messages can be the most challenging or encouraging: “Titus 2:3 – ‘Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips…’  Are you a ‘malicious gossip’?  Be careful what you say about people today!”

  1. Daily “Family Challenges”

For married women with children, often one of the greatest challenges is having patience with their family on a daily basis.  To offer practical help, you can send a daily message with a “challenge” for women to demonstrate love to their husbands and kids.  The challenges can be simple, such as, “Make sure to tell each of your kids ‘I love you’ at least 3 times today” or, “Write your husband an encouraging note today and leave it in his dresser or his lunchbox.”

  1. Ministry Needs

There are so many ways that women can contribute in the church!  Ministry needs pop up all the time, and many women would be happy to help.  They just might need the gentle nudge of a text alert to help them know when, where, and how to help: “Is anyone able to make a meal or two for the Reed family after Lisa Reed’s surgery next week?  Please contact Sherry if you are able to help or need more details.”

 

Women’s ministry is important and is worth investing in!  Text alerts might be just the tool you need to improve women’s ministry in your church.

Text marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses to increase profits.  Most people own cell phones and most people check their text messages often, so text marketing has huge potential to reach people in a way that other means of marketing (such as email or social media) can’t.  But how can a business use text marketing?

Here are 4 ways (with examples) that businesses can use text marketing as a part of their marketing strategy.  (Many of these ideas are borrowed from SmallBusinessComputing.com.)

Small business text marketing

  1. Ask recent customers for reviews and referrals.

Examples:

  • A restaurant could send out a text asking customers to tell their friends and family about their recent dining experience.
  • A clothes retailer could send out a text asking customers to post a review online about their recent purchase.
  1. Send reminders to inactive customers.

Examples:

  • An auto shop could send out a text reminding customers who haven’t been in for several months that they need to get an oil change.
  • A dog groomer could send out a text reminding customers about where they had their dog groomed 8 months ago.
  1. Send exclusive coupons and deals.

Examples:

  • A hair salon could send out a text telling customers to “show this text to get 15% off your next haircut.”
  • A bakery could send out a text with a coupon code that customers can enter online to get a free pastry with their next order.
  1. Send brief ads about new products or services customers might be interested in.

Examples:

  • A video game store could send out a text to interested customers with details about a new video game soon to be released.
  • A dental office could send out a text letting patients know about the addition of an orthodontist as a partner in the office.

 

These are just a few examples of the possibilities of text marketing.  In what ways do you think text marketing might work for your business or organization?  (Sign up for a free trial account to test it out for yourself!)

What if receiving text messages could actually help people live longer?  Following up on our previous blog post about how the medical field is learning to use text messages, I decided to do a little more research on the subject.  What I found about the power of text reminders was quite intriguing!

Text Reminders

The Study

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study on the effectiveness of texting to help prevent cardiovascular disease.  The study involved two groups of coronary heart disease patients.  One group of patients received just the normal medical care, while the second group received the normal care in addition to 4 text messages sent to them each week for 6 months.  The text messages they received contained words of advice or reminders on making healthy decisions.  But what kind of impact could a simple text message have on someone’s health?

The Results

Commenting on the study, Dr. Aaron Carroll was shocked at the results.  He mentions how the group who received the text messages experienced a significant reduction in cholesterol level, blood pressure, and BMI, as well as a huge increase in physical activity and in the number of people who quit smoking.  Dr. Carroll also points out the minimal costs for sending out these kinds of texts.

The Response

While there certainly were other factors that influenced the positive results of the study, the potential for texting is clear.  The question then presents itself: “What do I do with this information?”  Whether your organization is medically-related or not, these kinds of results are something that should not be ignored.

The power of texting, and specifically of text reminders, is something that should be investigated for whatever organization you belong to.  All of us are part of some group—whether it’s a church, a business, a club, or any other kind of organization.  And all of us need reminders!

View a video version of this tutorial here:

Did you know that you can import a list of subscribers to receive your text messages?  All you need is a spreadsheet in the correct format and you can import dozens (or hundreds) of subscribers at once!  Here are 6 simple instructions on how to add subscribers in this way.

 

Step 1: Contact Us to Get Enabled.

In order to import subscribers, we will first have to get your account enabled for this feature.  Contact us and request to be enabled for imports, and we will be happy to get the feature enabled for you! (Although the feature is free, we may ask you some simple verification questions.)

 

Step 2: Create and Populate a “Number” Field.

To import a list of subscribers from a spreadsheet, the only column heading that you need in your spreadsheet is a “Number” heading.  Under this heading you should input a list of all the phone numbers that you want to upload:

Number

At this point you could save and upload the spreadsheet as is, but if you want to include other information (such as your subscribers’ names, emails, etc.) you can follow step 3.

 

Optional Step 3: Create and Populate “FirstName,” “LastName,” “Email,” and “Group” Fields.

You have the option to include subscribers’ first names, last names, and email addresses in your spreadsheet to upload to your account.  You can also include a “Group” column, if you want to add subscribers to a particular group on your account. (Note: the group must already exist on your account).  You can put subscribers in more than one group by adding more than one “Group” column.

It does not matter what order your column headings are in.

import subscribers spreadsheet

 

Step 4: Save Your Spreadsheet in the Correct Format.

After you have inputted all the information that you want to include, you need to save your spreadsheet.  Make sure that it is saved in an XLS, XLSX, ODS, or CSV format.

 

Step 5: Go to the “Import Subscribers” Page on Your Control Panel.

Log in to your account with your username and password.  Then click the “Subscribers” link on the navigation bar on the left side of your screen.  Click “Import Subscribers.”

import subscribers

 

Step 6: Drag or Click to Upload Your Spreadsheet.

The final step is just to drag and drop your spreadsheet file into the given box, or you can click the box to find the file on your computer.

import subscribers3

Your subscribers will then all be uploaded, and you will be able to start sending messages right away!

It seems our busy lives just get busier and busier every day.  We have appointments, deadlines, meetings, events—every hour of every day is filled with one activity or another.  In the midst of all this craziness, it is easy to lose track of dates, times, and other important details.  Sometimes we forget important appointments or deadlines altogether.  Recognizing the need for order, many organizations are taking advantage of text messaging as a means of sending out reminders.

text reminders

Increasing Vaccination Rates

One area of study in which people are really starting to realize the potential of text reminders is the medical field.  A study published in Pediatrics concluded that text reminders “increased teen vaccination rates 30%.”  This article draws the conclusion that “text messaging … may represent the future of remind/recall.”

Remembering to Take Medicine

A study done in London by Queen Mary University indicated that text reminders “improved the uptake of medicines by 64 percent, consequently reducing the risks of heart attacks and stroke for the patients.”  Patients who received text reminders to take their medications were much more likely to remember to take them.

Increasing Healthy Behaviors

Yet another study linked text reminders to an increase in healthy behaviors for patients (for instance, more exercise) and therefore resulting in a decrease of risk for heart problems.  The study resulted in lowered cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index for participants receiving text reminders.

Showing Up to Appointments

In addition to these findings, many physicians’ offices, dentists’ offices, and other medical facilities have found it useful to send out text reminders to patients to help eliminate “no-shows.”  These offices have discovered that patients are much more likely to actually come to their appointments if they receive reminders on their phones.

 

Although all these examples are medically related, the concept of the power of text reminders applies to many different circumstances and organizations.  Whether you’re reminding customers about a sale ending soon, reminding congregation members of the upcoming church picnic, or simply reminding staff of the next meeting—how can text reminders benefit your organization?

So you’ve signed up for an account with Mobile Text Alerts.  Now what?  You know you want to send texts for your organization; you understand the potential.  But there are so many possibilities!  Where do you start?

Or maybe you have been sending out text alerts for years and it has been working well, but you are wondering if you could be even more effective.  What can you do?

Here are 3 steps you can follow to help you get the most out of text alerts for your organization.

Getting the most out of sending text alerts

  1. Establish goals

First, figure out some goals for your organization.  What are you trying to accomplish by using text alerts?  Perhaps you want to improve communication with your church congregation.  Perhaps you want to engage the employees in your office.  Or perhaps you want to help eliminate no-shows for appointments at your business.

Whatever your goals and purposes for sending out text alerts, make sure they are clear in your mind and the minds of everyone else involved in sending out the messages.  Write your goals down if you have to.  Having a specific, clear-cut purpose (or purposes) for utilizing text alerts will help you make the most of the service.

  1. Make a plan

After you have clearly determined what exactly you want to accomplish with text alerts, the next step is to lay out a specific plan detailing how you will accomplish your goal(s).  Make your plan realistic—you most likely won’t be able to send out a text every hour of the day.  But make a reasonable, doable plan, and then make sure you follow through.

Here are some of examples of what a “realistic plan” may look like:

  • A restaurant owner makes a plan to send out a marketing text every Monday listing the daily specials for the week, to help draw in more business from customers.
  • A town government official makes a plan to text citizens a summary of the progress report for a local renovation project at the end of every month, when reports are due.
  • A pastor makes a plan to send a daily text to congregation members with daily reading instructions to help them read through the Bible in a year.
  1. Be consistent

Once you have established your goals and laid out a realistic plan, make sure you keep up with it!  If you fall behind schedule and aren’t consistent, you may find it difficult to pick it up again and your texts certainly won’t be as effective as they could be.

You may find that you need to modify your original plan from time to time as you go along, and that’s OK—you don’t want to be stuck following a plan that isn’t working.  But if you want to make the most of text alerts, you need to be as consistent as possible.

 

So don’t get overwhelmed!  You can be successful in your endeavor to implement text alerts for your organization.  Feel free to contact us if you need any help or advice!

Text lingo

Aamoi I’m sete and rofl (or maybe just loti aamof) about this current topic.  Don’t understand what I’m saying?  I don’t blame you.  Texting lingo has become so elaborate that now at times it’s like reading a whole different language.  At first it was only the young people, but now older people are beginning to catch on as well and it’s almost as if we have created our own unique dialect of English.  It’s quite fascinating really!

Webopedia is one of the many websites to offer a “dictionary” of sorts to help people decipher this cultural phenomenon.  There are over 1,400 “entries” explaining the meaning of certain abbreviations.  Some are common ones that everybody seems to know, such as “lol” (“laugh out loud”), “bff” (“best friends forever”), and “idk” (“I don’t know”).

Some are not-so-common—or at least I’ve never heard of them, but that’s not to say people don’t use them—such as “simyc” (“sorry I missed your call”), “cmiiw” (“correct me if I’m wrong”), and “dityid” (“did I tell you I’m distressed?”).

Is the growing use of “text speak” contributing to a decline in the intelligent use of language in our society?  Maybe so, maybe not—who knows?  (Although admittedly I do use this texting language from time to time, I try to keep such abbreviations to a minimum.  I don’t want to lose my ability to communicate in full sentences!)  But it is good to be aware of these things, especially if you are a parent, so that you can know and understand how people communicate with each other.

So don’t fret if you feel as if you’ve walked into a different country and culture!  There are resources that can help. 🙂

What are your opinions of “text speak”?  Do you use it?  Are you against it?

G2g ttfn l8ter!