6 Killer Ideas for Using Your Text Alert System

Ever get stuck and need some ideas for using your text alert system?  Sometimes the possibilities are so vast that you can get paralyzed trying to think of what to do next!  Ever wonder how other people use their text alert system?

Here are some ideas to help you get “un-stuck”:

  1. Remind subscribers of contribution dues

No one likes to nag others about collecting overdue money.  For non-profit organizations, an easy and painless way to try to remind members to pay their dues is via text alerts.  It is less awkward and potentially far more effective than hassling everyone all the time!

  1. Notify subscribers of upcoming special events

Every business, church, or other non-profit organization has special events from time to time.  What better way to notify people than on their own personal phones?  It’s ideal because then subscribers have all the info easily accessible on their phones.

  1. Communicate prayer requests to subscribers

Text alerts offer a convenient way for churches and other religious groups to inform members about any prayer needs.  You don’t have to worry about people forgetting to read their email (since text messaging has a much higher open rate) and you can almost instantly have dozens or hundreds of people praying at once.

  1. Announce webinar sessions to subscribers

Tired of going to all the work preparing webinars only to have a poor turnout?  You can use text alerts to help increase participation.

  1. Remind subscribers of special training times

Whether you’re a business manager needing to train employees on the job or a youth group leader wanting to train teenagers how to study their Bibles, text alerts can help remind people to show up for their training.  No more “I forgot” excuses!

  1. Reinforce rehearsal times for subscribers

Musicians and actors are notorious for being late (or for forgetting dates altogether)!  Use text alerts to help keep rehearsal dates and times ingrained in the minds of those involved in your church choir, high school orchestra, university band, community theater, or any other organization that has rehearsals.

 

Ultimately, you just have to tailor your text alert system to meet your needs and the needs of your group.  What other ways of using your text alert system can you come up with that fit your organization?

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People think texting is to die for

I keep seeing it over and over again: strange stories and reports of people texting while walking.  From falling into manholes to getting your leg stuck in a street drain to walking into a bear, there have been all sorts of humorous accidents due to “wexting” (walking and texting).

But the pitfalls of texting while walking apparently go beyond the occasional funny accident.  A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association suggests that the number of pedestrians being killed by drivers has increased by 10% in 2015 alone and has increased a total of 19% over the past 5 years.

The culprit for this significant increase?  While it’s difficult to say for certain, one of the suggestions made in the report includes the following statement: “A more recent factor contributing to pedestrian fatalities may be the growing use of cellphones while walking, which can be a significant source of distraction for both drivers and pedestrians.”

In other words, people love texting on their cellphones so much that they accidentally cause fatal harm to themselves and possible injury to others.

While the initial notion of walking while texting may seem silly, in all seriousness it might be wise to take this report as a wake-up call.  Smartphones are wonderful tools, but it is easy to fall into the trap of letting them distract us from the environment around us.  From personal experience I understand how addicting it can be to have my eyes glued to my device and oblivious to the world around me.

So, friends, here are my words of suggestion to you: look up!  At least long enough to dodge that manhole, step away from that street drain, run away from that bear, and watch for incoming traffic.  Don’t become a statistic.

And never underestimate the power of people’s love for texting!

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The ability to organize your subscribers into groups is a useful feature of Mobile Text Alerts, enabling you to send out messages to different groups (such as “choir,” “staff,” or other relevant groups) rather than having to individually select recipients every time you want to send a message.

This tutorial will walk you through how to navigate the “Manage Groups” page.

manage groups- navigation

manage groups2

Add a Group

To add a group, click the green “Add a Group” button towards the top of your screen.  A new row will be added to the table:

add a group

  • Name – type in the group’s name. (This is the only information that is necessary to enter; the rest is optional.)
  • Hide Group – check this box if you don’t want your group to show up on your sign-in page.
  • Group Keyword – if you pay for extra keywords, you can type in a keyword for your group here. Then, when subscribers text in to be added to your text alerts system, they can use this keyword to be automatically added to this specific group. Each extra keyword is $3/month.
  • Welcome Message – type in a welcome message for your subscribers. This message will be texted to anyone who is added to your group.

Be sure to click “Save” when you are done to save your new group.

View Members

You can see a list of all the subscribers that belong to a specific group by clicking “View Members” on that group’s row.

view members-2Clicking “View Members” will cause this screen to come up, showing a report of all the members’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses:

view members-3

Edit

To edit a group, click on the pencil-and-paper icon under the “Edit” column of the group that you would like to edit:

editing groups

You can then enter in new information regarding your group.  Click “Save” when you are done editing to save your changes.

Remove Groups

To delete a group from your account, click the trash can icon on the group you would like to remove.  Or click on the row of the group that you would like to remove to highlight that row and then click the red “Remove Groups” button (hold shift when clicking on the group rows to select multiple rows at once).

remove groups

Note: this will not delete any of the subscribers in the deleted group(s).

Organizing Your Groups

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.

Copy and Export

Clicking the “Copy to Clipboard” button will copy the information from your subscribers.  You can then paste the information into another document.

Clicking the “Export” button allows you to export your subscribers’ information as a CSV, Excel, or PDF file.  The “Export” button also gives you the option to view a printer-friendly version of the page so that you can print it out from your computer or device.

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pexels-photo (6)

Every Mobile Text Alerts account comes with free API access for developers to send out messages.  Here are instructions for using the API (contact us to receive your unique API key).

 

Format:

  • https://mobile-text-alerts.com/rest?key=yourAPIKey&request=yourRequest
  • All requests can be sent as either GET or POST requests.

 

Requests:

  • Send Message
    •  https://mobile-text-alerts.com/rest?number=1234567890&key=yourAPIKey&request=send_message&message=This+is+your+message
    • Parameters
      • number – The number to send to
      • message – The message to send
      • key – Your API key
    • To send to groups, curl https://mobile-text-alerts.com/rest?request=list_groups&key=yourAPIkey and it will give you a list of your groups with their IDs. Then send group_id to the send_message call.
  • Add Member
    •  https://mobile-text-alerts.com/rest?number=1234567890&key=yourAPIKey&request=add_member&first_name=John&last_name=Smith
    • Parameters:
      • number – The number you would like to add
      • first_name – The first name of the member you would like to add
      • last_name – The last name of the member you would like to add
      • key – Your API key
  • Delete Member
    •  https://mobile-text-alerts.com/rest?number=1234567890&key=yourAPIKey&request=delete_member
    • Parameters:
      • number – The number you would like to delete
      • key – Your API key

 

Pricing:

  • Or contact us to get set up on a plan at a rate of $.007/message.
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Perspectives on Easter

If you asked a random person on the street, “What does Easter mean to you?” – you might get a lot of different kinds of answers!

“Easter is a time for family.”

“Easter is the one day a year I go to church.”

“Easter is about eggs and candy!”

These and dozens of other perspectives about Easter abound.  (Ask a 5-year-old what they think of Easter and you’ll really get their honest answer!)

But why do we celebrate Easter?  Why do we go through the rituals, the church services, the egg hunts, the Easter Bunny façade?  What is the point?

While different families have different reasons behind their traditions, at the heart of the holiday for me is resurrection, hope, and new life!  In fact, many Christians even call it “Resurrection Sunday.”  The explanation of a Christian’s perspective of Easter begins with an explanation of what we call Good Friday.

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death”

There had to be sorrow before there could be joy.  Good Friday marks the day when Jesus Christ, God in flesh, suffered the most humiliating, painful death imaginable.  He was mocked, beaten, whipped, bruised, bloodied, and abandoned by His closest friends—and even separated from God the Father Himself!  Ultimately He was executed through means of crucifixion by His own people, even though He was completely innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever.

Romans 3:23 – “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”

How in the world could that terrible story of persecution, torture, and death be called “good”?  The amazing fact is that through this gruesome death, Jesus Christ was able to take on all of our sins and bear the wrath for them.  Every wrong thing we think, do, and say must be brought to justice before a holy God.  We deserve eternal death in Hell, but since Jesus was holy God Himself in the flesh, His sacrifice held the power to pay for all of our sins.

Romans 10:9 – “… if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”

His death wasn’t the end.  The tragedy turned into triumph as the stone that sealed Christ’s tomb was rolled away and He stepped out—lungs breathing, heart beating, alive!  His is still alive today and He calls all men and women to change their mind about their sin and turn to Him.  We can be free from bondage to our sin and free from condemnation for all the things that we do wrong!

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Good Friday and Easter Sunday commemorate the most important events in human history.  Your perspective on what Easter means will affect your entire life—both your life here on Earth and your eternal state after death.  So while it is good to enjoy yourself this holiday with your friends and family and beloved traditions, do not miss the opportunity to consider your position before a holy God.  There is nothing you can do to make yourself right before Him.  His salvation is a free gift.  Have you accepted it?

Are you trusting in the holy Savior?

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If you have a list of subscribers you want to import into your account, you can do so from the “Import Subscribers” page.

import subscribers navigation bar

Format and Template

This message will appear at the top of the page, explaining what format your spreadsheet needs to be in:

format and template box

You can also click on the “template spreadsheet” link to download a spreadsheet in the right format.  Downloading that template will give you a spreadsheet in the following format:

import subscribers template

The only required field is the “PhoneNumber” field; the rest of the information is optional.  You can also add an “Email” column and multiple “GroupName” columns if you want to add a subscriber to multiple groups (note: your groups must have already been created on your account).import subscribers spreadsheet

Uploading Your Spreadsheet

After you fill out the information on your spreadsheet, you can upload it here:import subscribers3

You can either click to find the file on your computer, or you can drag and drop it to upload.

Your subscribers will then be uploaded!

 

 

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5 Ways to Improve Music Ministry with Text Alerts

Music is a key component for churches across the nation.  Whether the style of a church service is contemporary, traditional, or a mixture, music leaders are always looking for new ways to improve organization and efficiency.

Here are 5 ways to improve music ministry with text alerts.

  1. Organize musicians into relevant groups.

With a text alert system, you can improve organization by sorting subscribers into groups so that you can send messages relevant to them.  This will allow you to send messages specifically meant for the “Praise Band,” “Choir,” “Orchestra,” or any other facet of your music ministry.

  1. Send reminders of when people are scheduled in the rotation.

Even in smaller churches, scheduling musicians can be complicated.  In an unorganized environment, music leaders are often bombarded with questions from musicians who can’t remember when or if they are singing/playing.  Text message reminders can be an easy way to help eliminate the confusion.

  1. Encourage musicians to practice at home.

Church musicians are often criticized for not taking the time to practice at home.  You can help encourage your church’s musicians in this by sending out reminders to practice.  You can even include a link (such as a YouTube video of a professional recording) so that they can listen to the songs right from their phones to help them practice.

  1. Explain details for special events.

When there is a special event, such as a Christmas service or Good Friday service, you can send out text alerts to help people remember details.  You can remind them of special rehearsal times, dress codes, or any other relevant information.

  1. Help musicians communicate availability.

Text alerts allow for responses.  This feature offers an avenue for musicians to communicate their availability.  For example, you could send a text saying, “You are scheduled for praise band for the month of April.  Please reply ‘yes’ if available or ‘no’ if unavailable.”  The musician can then easily let you know whether or not they are available.

 

Don’t be afraid to try new things and take steps to improve music ministry in your church!

 

Have you tried a text alert system for your group?  Get set up with a free trial now!

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Teens constantly texting can be positive

With all the negative feedback we seem to hear about teens and texting, you may be surprised to hear that the teen texting craze may actually be a positive thing.

Psychologist Marion Underwood conducted a longitudinal study over the span of many years in which she scrutinized the text messages and emails of a sample of teenagers.  As a result of her study, she came to some surprising conclusions: “We saw some of the most wonderful examples of adolescents using text messaging to engage in intimate, supportive behavior.”

Out of all the teens studied, 70% of the messages analyzed were found to consist of positive or neutral messages, while only 6% included sexual language and only 7% included profanity.

These findings seem to contradict what we tend to hear about the dangers of texting and the detrimental effects of teen texting on society.  But according to the study, “teen texting isn’t nearly as negative as many parents fear.”

This revelation may help parents to breathe a sigh of relief.  Though it is just one study, it’s nice to know that there is at least one sample of teenagers that uses texting for positive use.

Really, the key for families is to be in tune with your own kids and be monitoring how they are using texting and other forms of digital communication such as social media.  In fact, Underwood seems to suggest that parents have more to worry about with their kids’ Facebook and Twitter accounts than their text messaging behavior.

Underwood also suggests that communication with your kids about what they do on social media is highly important.  She says, “Our best hope of influencing their online conduct and online experience is to use our relationships to discuss with them.”

The takeaway?  You don’t necessarily need to freak out over your kids’ obsession with texting.  But neither should you be ignorant and allow them unmonitored digital communication access.  Be an involved, caring parent.

Have you tried a text alert system for your group?  Get set up with a free trial now!

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The “Manage Subscribers” page allows you to view, add, edit, and remove subscribers from your account.  This tutorial will walk you through how to navigate that page.
subscribers

Viewing Your Subscribers

 

This table shows you all the subscribers on your account.  At a glance you can view subscribers’ first names, last names, phone numbers, email addresses, the dates that each subscriber joined your account, and the method by which they joined.

You can click the “View Groups” link on each subscriber to view any groups that subscriber is a part of.

Click the “Edit” icon on a subscriber’s row to edit the information for that subscriber (be sure to click “Save” when you are finished editing).

Click the “Delete” icon on a subscriber’s row to remove that subscriber from your account.

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.

 

Add a Subscriber

The green “Add a Subscriber” button will add a new row to your list of subscribers.

manage subscribers- Add a subscriber

Fill in the new subscriber’s first name (optional), last name (optional), phone number (required), and email address (optional), and then click “Save” and your new subscriber will be added.

 

Remove Subscribers

To remove subscribers from your account, first click the row of a subscriber to highlight that row. In the below example, I want to remove “Jane Doe,” so I clicked on the row with that name:

 

After you have highlighted the subscriber that you want to remove, click the red “Remove Subscribers” button toward the top of the screen and the subscriber will be removed from your account.  Hold shift when highlighting subscribers to select multiple subscribers to remove at once.

You can also delete your entire list by clicking the “Clear Subscriber List” button toward the bottom.

 

Add Subscribers to Groups

This button allows you to add subscribers to a group on your account.  First, click the row of a subscriber to highlight that row (as above).  Hold shift when highlighting subscribers to select multiple subscribers to remove at once.

After you have highlighted the subscriber that you want to add to a group, click the “Add Subscribers to Group” button and your subscriber(s) will be added to that group.

 

Remove Subscribers from Groups

This button allows you to remove subscribers from a group on your account.  First, click the row of a subscriber to highlight that row (as above).  Hold shift when highlighting subscribers to select multiple subscribers to remove at once.

After you have highlighted the subscriber that you want to add to a group, click the “Remove Subscribers from Groups” button and your subscriber(s) will be removed from that group.

 

Copy and Export

Clicking the “Copy to Clipboard” button will copy the information from your subscribers.  You can then paste the information into another document.

Clicking the “Export” button allows you to export your subscribers’ information as a CSV, Excel, or PDF file.  The “Export” button also gives you the option to view a printer-friendly version of the page so that you can print it out from your computer or device.

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Texting results in 40 percent higher conversion rate

Years ago, texting your customers or sales leads would have been unheard of.  Texting was once reserved for family and friends, but this is no longer the case.  More and more businesses are using texting to connect with customers and bring in a higher conversion rate.

Statistics

In an article called “Texting Your Customers is No Longer Optional” Cody Green, founder and co-CEO of Canada Drives, cites some scientific findings: “… sales prospects who are sent text messages convert at a rate 40 percent higher than those who are not sent any text messages.”

40% higher conversion rate!  That’s quite the statistic.

Other statistics cited in favor of texting include:

  • A 98% open rate (in contrast to a mere 20% open rate for emails)
  • A 45% response rate (in contrast to a measly 6% response rate for emails)

In light of these statistics, Green praises texting as a tool to help bring in more sales and bemoans the fact that more companies in his industry do not take advantage of it.  He concludes, “When properly integrated into the entire sales process, while at the same time deployed with discretion and in accordance with anti-spam legislation consumers are open to receiving texts from businesses; in fact, they have even come to expect it.”

How can businesses use texting?

Here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm.  (Or check here if you need more ideas to get started.)

There are so many ways that texting could be effective for you.

Be creative!  Experiment and test to see what works for you and your organization.  Something that works for one individual or for one company may not work for another.

The potential is obviously there.  Go take advantage of it!

 

Sign up for a free, no-risk trial at https://mobile-text-alerts.com/signup to see if text alerts are right for your organization!

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