If you have added MMS messages (media messages) onto your regular texting services, then you are able to send text messages with images, audio, or other media.  This tutorial will walk you through how to navigate the “Send a MMS Message” page.

 add a mms message navigation

Send Message to a Group

send a message- to a group

From the “Send Message to a Group” box you can designate whether or not you want your message to go out to all of your subscribers, or if you want your message to go out a specific group on your account.

If you would like your message to be sent to every single subscriber on your account, you can check the “Send Message to All Subscribers” box.

If you would like your message to go out to members of a specific group that you’ve set up on your account, you can type the group’s name in the text box and then select the group’s name from the drop-down menu that appears.

(You can click the “Manage Groups” link on the right side of the screen to add, edit, or remove groups from your account.)

If you want to specify which individual subscribers receive the message (rather than sending to an entire group or sending to all subscribers), you can skip this box and scroll down to the “Send Message to Individual Subscribers” box.

 

Send Message to Individual Subscribers

Send a message- individual subscribers

The box that says “Send Message to Individual Subscribers” allows you to manually select specific subscribers to send your message to.  Click the “Send Message” checkbox of every subscriber that you want to receive their message.

You can sort the subscribers by clicking any of the column headers at the top of the table.  For example, if you want to sort the list alphabetically by first name, you can click the “First Name” column header and the list will sort automatically.

You can change how many entries from your subscriber list are shown by clicking the arrow (above the table) that says “Show 10 entries.”  Then from the drop-down menu that appears, you can select 25, 50, or 100 entries.

You can also search through your subscriber list by typing a search query in the text box above the table.

 

Upload Content

send a MMS message- upload content

This box allows you to upload a media file from your computer to include in your text message.  Click the “Choose Files” button to find the file on your computer.  Select the desired file to attach it to your MMS message.

 

Message Content

send a message- message content

In the “Message Content” box you can type in the message that you want to send out.  If your message is more than 140 characters, it will split into 2 separate messages.  A message on the right of your screen lets you know how many characters are remaining until your message splits.

When you are doing typing your message, click the “Send Message” button on the bottom of your screen.  Just to the right of that button is a report letting you know how many subscribers are set to receive your message.

 

3 best inexpensive foods to order for the office-3

The key to a person’s heart is through their stomach.  Everyone eats, after all!  What better way to brighten up your co-workers’ (or co-volunteers’) day in the office than by ordering food for all to share?

But ordering food for everyone can be pricey—what are the best (inexpensive) places to order in for the office?

  1. Pizza: Pizza Hut

Everyone loves pizza.  I know it certainly puts a smile on my face when someone surprises me with a free slice or two!  I know your officemates will appreciate it as well.

Pizza Hut is a wonderful option when ordering pizza on a budget because a) Pizza Hut is everywhere and b) it can be pretty darn cheap!  They always have affordable deals available.  And before you order, don’t forget to Google search around for any promo codes.

  1. Sandwiches: Jimmy John’s

Though their claim to “gourmet sandwiches” may be debatable, most people agree that Jimmy John’s sandwiches are tasty!  They have a decent variety and are affordably priced.  And their supposed “freaky fast delivery” make them an ideal food to order for the office.

  1. Donuts and coffee: Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is now expanding its service to include delivery.  Yes, you can order donuts and coffee and have it delivered right to your workplace!  The service is new, so I’m sure there are some kinks they need to work out and it may not be available everywhere, but this is such an awesome way to earn points with all your coworkers—especially if you work at a police station ;).

 

If you invest some time and money into buying food for your co-workers, they are going to love you like none other!  And better relationships with co-workers equals better workplace environment equals happier you.  Now where’s the phone?  I wanna order pizza…

4 Tips for Creating the Most Effective Text Alerts-2

Just sending out text alerts won’t automatically make them successful. To really be effective in accomplishing your goals for sending out text messages, you need to plan. You need to craft each message as skillfully as possible to get the most out of each alert sent. But how do you do that?

Here are 4 tips for creating the most effective text alerts.

  1. Keep it short.

The whole idea behind text messaging is to be short and to-the-point. Before you send your message, evaluate if there is any way you can condense and shorten it. Ideally you should keep it short enough that the message doesn’t need to split into two.

How do you keep it short?  Get straight to the heart of what you are trying to communicate. Don’t beat around the bush or get too wordy—this is a text message, not an essay.

  1. Keep it simple.

Don’t try to include a lot of complicated information in your text alerts. If your texts are too complicated, most likely your audience will get bored or annoyed and will ignore your messages.

How do you keep it simple?  Don’t include more information than is necessary or feasible. For example, if you’re trying to remind about the details of an upcoming event you may consider just putting the address of the venue rather than trying to include detailed directions explaining how to get there.

  1. Keep it relevant.

Don’t send your audience text messages that have nothing to do with them. Make sure that the messages you send pertain to your audience’s circumstances. If your subscribers are continually receiving messages from you that don’t apply to them, they will view your messages as unimportant and may even unsubscribe.

How do you keep it relevant?  Evaluate your list of recipients to make sure your messages pertain to all of them. Consider dividing your list into groups (on your “Manage Groups” page) to help direct your messages to the proper recipients when you are sending out text alerts.

  1. Keep it interesting.

Even if your messages are relevant, do your best to also keep them interesting. Otherwise your audience may get bored with your attempts to communicate and connect with them.

How do you keep it interesting?  Reflect your own personality and voice into your messages as much as possible. Consider not sending out messages too frequently so that your audience doesn’t get tired of receiving messages from you.

 

If you follow these 4 general rules, you will find much more success with your text alerts! What tips have you found helpful for sending out messages to your group?

Another feature regarding sending messages on your Mobile Text Alerts account is the ability to schedule messages to send out later.  This tutorial will walk you through the “Scheduled Messages” page on your Control Panel.

Scheduled messages- navigation bar

 

Correct Time Zone

On the “Scheduled Messages” page, you will see this message:

scheduled messages- correct time zone

Before you schedule any messages, you will need to make sure that your account is set for the correct time zone.  Click the “Settings” link to be taken to the Settings page, from which you can edit your account’s time zone.

 

Scheduled Messages

scheduled messages- scheduled messages

This table shows a report of all your scheduled messages.

  • The “Message” column shows the content of your scheduled message.
  • The “Recipients” column lets you know the number of recipients for your scheduled message.
  • The “Scheduled Date” column specifies the day and time that your scheduled message is set to go out.
  • The “Repeat” column shows you how often your message is set to repeat. If it is not set to repeat, it will say “Don’t Repeat.”
  • The “Edit” column allows you to modify your scheduled messages as needed. If you click the “edit” icon of a message, you will be taken to the “Send a Message” page from which you will be able to edit any of the details of your schedule message.
  • The “Delete” column allows you to delete any of your scheduled messages. Click the “delete” icon on any message’s row to delete that row.

 

Schedule a New Message

Clicking the “Schedule a New Message” button will take you to the “Send a Message” screen.  From that screen you will be able to schedule a different message.

Increase Attendance to these 15 church events with text alerts

I forgot.

I didn’t know.

It just slipped my mind.

I was busy.

How many times have church leaders heard those phrases, and other similar phrases, as reasons why congregation members didn’t show up to an event?  Sometimes all that people need is a simple reminder—a gentle little push can be just the thing they need to convince them to attend a church event.

One of the major advantages of text alerts is the ability to increase attendance to your events by sending these kinds of simple reminders.  Studies show that text message reminders can significantly decrease non-attendance rates in terms of keeping medical appointments, and the same concept may be applied to church events.

Here are 15 events for which you can use text messaging to increase attendance.

  1. Bible Studies

Whether it’s a weekly study, a monthly study, or a one-time event, send text messages to increase the attendance of your church’s Bible studies.

  1. Prayer Meetings

Encourage your congregation to participate in your regular (or irregular) prayer meetings.

  1. Concerts

Is your church hosting a special concert?  Text alerts are a great way to get the word out.

  1. Potlucks

Use text alerts to remind members of dates and times as well as letting them know what kind of food they need to bring.

  1. Picnics

Remind your congregation about the event and send another quick text alert to cancel the event if you get rained out.

  1. Children’s Events

Fill parents in on info regarding children’s camps, AWANA, music programs, or any other children’s event.

  1. Evangelism Meetings

Give members the nudge they need to join in your church’s corporate evangelism.

  1. Retreats

Make sure your congregation is fully aware about the details surrounding upcoming church retreats.

  1. Vacation Bible School

For many churches, VBS is one of the biggest children’s events of the year—use text alerts to make the most out of promoting and informing members about it.

  1. Holiday Services

Let people know about Christmas services, Easter services, Thanksgiving services, or any other holiday events.

  1. Women’s and Men’s Events

Is there a women’s study coming up?  A men’s breakfast?  Get people in the know.

  1. Classes

Encourage congregation members to attend special classes offered by your church.

  1. Service Events

Help ensure that people actually show up to contribute when your church hosts a service event.

  1. Conferences

If your church holds a bi-annual or annual conference of some sort, text alerts are an effective way to get the word out.

  1. Youth Events

Make sure that your teens/pre-teens (and their parents) are aware of camps, hang-out nights, service days, Bible studies, or any other event offered by your youth group.

 

This list just scratches the surface of how text alerts can be used to increase attendance for your church’s events.  So what are you waiting for?  Try it out for yourself!

Contents:

I. Billing

II. Sending Messages

III. Subscribers

IV. Keywords

V. General

 

I. BILLING

Where can I find pricing information?

Pricing information can be found here.

 

Can we pay month-to-month?

Yes, you have the option to pay month-to-month (rather than annually) at a slightly higher monthly fee.  The month-to-month fees are listed here alongside the annual fees.

 

What if we purchase an annual subscription and then need to upgrade to a higher plan at some point during the year?

You can upgrade at any point during your subscription at no extra fee.  You will just pay the prorated difference between the two plans (based on how much time is left in your subscription).

 

We prefer to pay by check.  Can we get set up for invoicing rather than entering our credit card information?

Yes, we accept check payments and can do monthly or annual invoicing.  Send an email to contact@mobile-text-alerts.com and we can get you set up.

 

 

II. SENDING MESSAGES

 

How do we send a message from the Control Panel?

A brief explanation of how to send a message from your Control Panel can be found here.

 

Can we send a message by texting?

Yes, an explanation of how to send messages by texting in to the system can be found here.

 

Can we send messages from a mobile app?

Yes, there is a free mobile app available for iOS and Android.

 

Can we have multiple users with the ability to send a message?

Yes, you can set up administrators from the “Manage Administrators” section of your Control Panel.  Administrators can be assigned to allow access only to specific groups, or they can be set as “Super Administrators” (giving them full access to your Control Panel).

 

Can we send images in our messages?

You are able to add on the ability to send MMS messages (picture messages) to any of our plans for as little as $20/month.

 

What happens when people reply to messages?

Replies to your messages will show up in a “Message Replies Inbox” on your Control Panel.  (This feature is automatically enabled for new customers; if you are an existing customer and want to get this feature enabled, please contact us.)

 

Can we really send unlimited messages?

With all our unlimited plans you are able to send unlimited messages under normal usage.  To prevent spam, various phone carriers define “normal usage” as less than 20 messages per month to any individual phone number.  If you need to send more messages than this, contact us and we can get you set up with a pay-per-text plan to meet your needs.

 

III. SUBSCRIBERS

How do we add subscribers?

Subscribers can be added in one of three ways.  1) They can text your keyword to our 662-200-4303 number.  2) They can sign-up via your sign-up page.  3) You can add them manually from your Control Panel, either one-by-one or by importing a spreadsheet.

A brief tutorial on how to add subscribers can be found here.

 

Can we organize subscribers into groups?

Yes, you can set up as many groups as you need.  Information on groups can be found here.

 

What happens if we go over the subscriber limit for our plan?

If you go over the subscriber limit, you will simply receive an email from a representative letting you know details about upgrading.

 

Can we import a spreadsheet with a large amount of numbers?

Yes!  Be aware that when importing spreadsheets containing hundreds or even thousands of numbers, the process may take a while.  Make sure your spreadsheet is in the correct format (read our tutorial to learn how to correctly set up your spreadsheet).  If you receive an error when uploading with no explanation (it may say “Error code 0”), the error may have been caused by a lapse in your internet connection; check your connection and try again (the system will pick up where it left off).

 

Can we embed our sign-up page into our website so that people can sign up directly from our website?

Yes!  Follow the instructions on the sign-up page tutorial to embed the page into your website.

 

IV. KEYWORDS

What is a keyword?

Your keyword is the word that people can text in to 662-200-4303 in order to add themselves as subscribers for your text alerts.  Your account comes with one free keyword, and additional keywords can be purchased at $3/month each.

 

What is a group keyword?

A group keyword is a keyword that is assigned to a specific group on your account, so that subscribers can text in to join that specific group.  Group keywords can be added for $3/month each.

 

What is a shortcode keyword?

With this feature, people who want to add themselves as subscribers to your messages can text the simpler and easier-to-remember shortcode number 48421 rather than the longcode, 662-200-4303.  Purchasing a shortcode keyword costs $15/month for each keyword.

 

 

V. GENERAL

What is included in the free trial?

The free trial offers full functionality but limits the account to 5 or fewer subscribers.  There is no time limit to the trial.

 

Does the service work outside of the United States?

We have plans listed on the Pricing page for the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  However, we do offer services for international text messages as well.  Prices will vary from country to country.  Please contact us for a quote.

 

Is there a mobile app?

Yes, there is a free mobile app available for iOS and Android.

 

How safe is our information?  Will you share or sell the numbers on our account?

Your information is very safe; we do not share or sell any of your information to a third party.  More information can be found in our Privacy Policy.

 

 

 

 

The most important aspect of your Control Panel is the “Send a Message” page.  This tutorial will walk you through how to navigate this page and send out your messages.

 

Send a message- navigation bar

When Should the Message Be Sent?

send a message- when should message be sent

From this box you select the timing of your message.  You can choose to have your message sent out immediately (“Send the Message Now”), or you can choose to set up a day and time for the message to go out later (“Schedule the Message to be Sent at a Later Date”).

If you choose to “Schedule the Message,” then the following screen will appear:

send a message- scheduled message options

From here you will be able to select a specific date and time for your message to go out.  You can also designate how often you want your message to repeat (if at all).

 

Send Message to a Group

send a message- to a group

From the “Send Message to a Group” box you can designate whether or not you want your message to go out to all of your subscribers, or if you want your message to go out a specific group on your account.

If you would like your message to be sent to every single subscriber on your account, you can check the “Send Message to All Subscribers” box.

If you would like your message to go out to members of a specific group that you’ve set up on your account, you can type the group’s name in the text box and then select the group’s name from the drop-down menu that appears.

(You can click the “Manage Groups” link on the right side of the screen to add, edit, or remove groups from your account.)

If you want to specify which individual subscribers receive the message (rather than sending to an entire group or sending to all subscribers), you can skip this box and scroll down to the “Send Message to Individual Subscribers” box.

 

Send Message to Individual Subscribers

Send a message- individual subscribers

The box that says “Send Message to Individual Subscribers” allows you to manually select specific subscribers to send your message to.  Click the “Send Message” checkbox of every subscriber that you want to receive their message.

You can sort the subscribers by clicking any of the column headers at the top of the table.  For example, if you want to sort the list alphabetically by first name, you can click the “First Name” column header and the list will sort automatically.

You can change how many entries from your subscriber list are shown by clicking the arrow (above the table) that says “Show 10 entries.”  Then from the drop-down menu that appears, you can select 25, 50, or 100 entries.

You can also search through your subscriber list by typing a search query in the text box above the table.

 

Message Content

send a message- message content

In the “Message Content” box you can type in the message that you want to send out.  If your message is more than 140 characters, it will split into 2 separate messages.  A message on the right of your screen lets you know how many characters are remaining until your message splits.

When you are doing typing your message, click the “Send Message” button on the bottom of your screen.  Just to the right of that button is a report letting you know how many subscribers are set to receive your message.

push notifications via text alerts

Text Alerts vs. Push Notifications

When you think about it, the ideas behind both push notifications and SMS text alerts share a lot in common.

  • They both alert you of information relevant to you.
  • They both are conveniently accessible from your personal device (smartphone, tablet, etc.).
  • They are both short and to-the-point.

In fact, the only major difference between them seems to be the means by which the messages are sent—text alerts are sent via conventional text messaging outlets, while push notifications are usually specific to an app on your device.

Kramer

Melody Kramer of Poynter recognizes these similarities and suggests that SMS text messages may actually be a good method for sending push notifications.

Kramer discusses how these kinds of notifications can be used and points out how authors such as Kelly Sue DeConnick and politicians such as Hillary Clinton are already sending similar kinds of text messages.  Kramer presents the following hypothetical ideas:

Imagine the following: the World Cup is taking place and you can sign up for push notifications from the sports columnists in each team’s location….as well as a historian who will put the events in context…or maybe a guide who will explain the ins and outs of soccer, in real time. Or maybe you could send a text message comment to a news organization, who might send out your comment to other followers as a push notification — creating an incentive to leave better comments as well as another platform for audience interactions.

How Could You Use Text Alerts as Push Notifications?

Exploring the possibilities can be fun and exciting.  Could sending “push notifications” by way of text alerts benefit your organization?  In what ways could these kinds of text messages increase interactivity with your target group (your customers, your church congregation, your club members, or whatever audience you are trying to connect with)?

Feel free to try out a free test account of Mobile Text Alerts to see if sending out text alerts is right for you and your organization.

With your Mobile Text Alerts account you can set up and send message templates.

message-templates

Contents:

I. What Are Message Templates?

II. How Can I Use Message Templates?

III. How Do I Create a Message Template?

IV. How Do I Send Message Templates?

V. How Can I Send Message Templates by Texting in from My Phone?

 

I. What Are Message Templates?

With Message Templates, you can save templates for messages that you send out often, so that you don’t have to type in the same message every time you want to send it out.  This feature can save time and hassle for you and can make your overall Mobile Text Alerts experience easier.

 

II. How Can I Use Message Templates?

Message templates are useful for many different situations.  Some examples include:

  • A message template to remind church members of recurring intermittent events.
    • If a Bible study meets irregularly, for example, you could set up a message template and remind people the day before each meeting is scheduled.
  • A message template to make employees aware of shift needs.
    • Creating a message template that says “We need more people on day shift tomorrow” or something similar can save you time on days when you need to send these kinds of alerts.
  • A message template to inform your customers of cancellations due to weather.
    • You can set up a message template letting people know that your facilities will be closed for the day; then all you have to do is log in and send the message on days when you decide to close.
  • A message template to alert employees about an emergency.
    • If you purchase text alerts to use in case of an emergency, message templates may literally be a lifesaver. You could have a template that says “Building-wide emergency; please evacuate immediately,” and the ability to send out that message without needing to type it in could save precious minutes.
  • And countless other situations!

 

III. How Do I Create a Message Template?

Creating your message templates is easy.

  • Step 1: Log in to your account.
  • Step 2: Click on the “Message Templates” link under “Messages” on the left-side navigation bar.message-templates-navigation
  • Step 3: Click the green “Create a Message Template” button.

message-templates-create

  • Step 4: Type a name for your message template and type out the message content into the text box that appears.

message-templates-enter

  • Step 5: Click “Save Template” and you’re done! Your message template will now appear on the “Message Template” page.

message-templates-save

 

IV. How Do I Send a Message Template?

Once you have created a message, all that you need to do to send it is click the “Send Template” icon on the row of whichever template you want to use.

message-templates-send

This will take you to the “Send a Message” page, from which you can select the recipients of the message.

 

Click the “Edit” icon to edit the content of your message template.

message-templates-edit

 

V. How Can I Send a Message Template by Texting in from My Phone?

With your Mobile Text Alerts account you are also able to send out a message template from your phone by conveniently texting in a keyword.

As an example, let’s say you always send out the same text to your employees when the office is closed due to inclement weather. You can now set this up in your Message Templates and assign the message a name (let’s call it “Weather”):

message-template

If an administrator for the account wants to send this message out, all they need to do is follow the guidelines for sending a message via text and put the template name inside < > signs (<Weather>) instead of typing out the message content.

For example, if a Super Administrator sent “All <Weather>” (no quotes) to 229-299-8227, it will send the message template in the screenshot above to everyone on the account.

Now you can quickly send out full messages just by typing a couple words and hitting “Send”!

dashboard

Your dashboard summary is the first thing you see when you log in to your Mobile Text Alerts account.  It shows many details of your entire account at a glance. This tutorial will explain all the features of this useful page.

 

Navigation Bar

dashboard-navigation

On the left side of your screen you will see the navigation bar.  Click any of the links on this bar to navigate through all the different pages of your Control Panel.

 

Messages Sent This Month

dashboar-messages this month

The blue box that says “Messages Sent This Month” gives you a quick overview of how many messages have been sent from your account during the present month.  For example, if it is currently the 27th of December, the number will tell you how many messages you sent out between the 1st and 27th of December.

At the bottom of the blue box is a link that says “Send a Message.”  Clicking this link will take you to the “Send a Message” screen so that you can send out a new message.

 

Total Messages Sent

dashboard-total messages

The green box that says “Total Messages Sent” tells you how many messages have been sent from your account throughout the account’s entire history.  This number will reflect every message ever sent from your account.

At the bottom of the green box is a link that says “View Message Report.”  Clicking this will take you to the “Sent Messages Report” screen, which gives you a detailed report of each of the messages that you have sent.

 

Subscribers This Month

dashboard-subscribers this month

The purple box that says “Subscribers This Month” tells you how many subscribers have been added to your account during the present month.  This would include any subscribers that you have added manually or that you have imported via spreadsheet, and it also would include any subscribers who have texted in to join your account or have signed up through your sign-up page.

Clicking the “Manage Subscribers” link on the bottom of that purple box will take you to the “Manage Subscribers” page on your Control Panel.  From that page you can add, edit, or remove subscribers on your account.

 

Total Subscribers

dashboard-total subscribers

The orange box that says “Total Subscribers” gives you a report of how many total subscribers you have altogether on your account.  This number will reflect every member currently subscribed to receive your text messages.

If you click the “View Sent Messages Report” link at the bottom of the orange box, you will be taken to the “Sent Messages Report” page.  From that page you will be able to see a detailed report of all the messages you have ever sent.

 

Recent Blog Posts

dashboard-blog posts

In the middle of your dashboard summary screen (on the left side) is a list of all the recent posts from the Mobile Text Alerts blog.  Be sure to check these posts out often as they contain information on new features, tutorials, tips, current events, and other interesting content.

Click the “Visit Blog” link to read more posts.

 

Tutorials

dashboard-tutorials

In the middle of your dashboard summary screen (on the right side) is a list of some tutorials.  If you need help figuring out any aspect of your services, these tutorials can point you in the right direction.

 

Recent Sent Messages

dashboard-recent messages

Toward the bottom of your dashboard summary screen (on the left side) you will see a report of your most recently sent messages.  This report will tell you the date and time that each message was sent, the content of each message, and the number of recipients for each message.

Underneath this report is a link that says “View All Sent Messages.”  This link will take you to the Sent Messages Report.  From that page you will be able to see a detailed report of all the messages you have ever sent.

 

Upcoming Scheduled Messages

dashboard-scheduled messages

Toward the bottom of your dashboard summary screen (on the right side) there is an “Upcoming Scheduled Messages” report.  This will show you any messages that you have scheduled to go out at a specific day and time.

The report tells you the date and time your message is set to go out.  It also tells you how often your message is going to repeat, how many subscribers will receive your message, as well as what the content of your scheduled message is going to be.

Clicking on the “View All Scheduled Messages” link will take you to the “Scheduled Messages” page, which gives you a full detailed report of all your scheduled messages.

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