Add contacts to your list via a text-in option, QR code, or spreadsheet import.
Write short and important text messages to your contacts.
Send or schedule texts from either your desktop or your mobile device.
If you're considering SMS as a communication solution for your city or even your internal communications amongst city employees, then you've likely already run into the familiar litany of problems that cause people to consider text messaging:
So suppose you sign up for a trial with Mobile Text Alerts today to try and fix this problem that's plaguing your community. What happens next? Here's how you can get started.
The first thing you'll need to do after signing up is add contacts to your list and send a test message. Once you're logged into your account, the dashboard will walk you through how to do both of these things. For municipalities, which are likely to have larger lists of contacts, the best way of adding people to your list is likely going to be the spreadsheet upload feature, though when you do that you must make sure that everyone on the list has consented to receive SMS messages from your government.
Do you have a city council meeting coming up? You can send schedule a text message to go out the day before reminding people of the meeting and including a brief summary of what will be discussed. You can also create SMS auto-responses so that when someone texts in to your number, they receive a set reply from you. Finally, you can also set up texting amongst your city's employees. This makes it easier to send out meeting reminders, project updates, and to share city news.
If the campaign uses scheduled messaging, then you simply need to schedule your messages and then monitor the response once they go out. If the messages are promoting a public event, compare attendance at the events promoted via SMS with those that didn't receive support from an SMS campaign. If the campaign is an emergency alert campaign, create the templates in advance and then when severe weather hits your area, quickly enter in the relevant information and deploy it.
For example, your emergency alert could read,
FLASH FLOOD WARNING: Flooding possible north of downtown and west of 84th St near East High School. Evacuate area immediately.
Then a day or two after, you can set up a scheduled message to go out offering whatever help may be needed with the damage caused by the storm. For example, if heavy winds blew through the area and knocked down a lot of tree branches, your message could read,
If you need help clearing large tree branches from your yard after the storm, reply 'HELP' to this message and we will help you arrange to have the debris removed.
In still other cases, you might want to use SMS to remind people of major construction projects. In that case, simply schedule a message to go out the evening before work begins:
Construction Alert: N 27th St between O St and Adams St will be closed this week. Take 33rd or 40th St to avoid delays.
For every campaign, it's important to remember that SMS campaigns work best when messages are short and to-the-point. With event reminders, all people need to know is what the event is, when it is, and why they might want to attend. For emergency alerts, all you need to communicate is what the danger is, who is affected, and what affected people should do in order to stay safe.
Like all things, it will take a little time to perfect your SMS strategy. But that's OK because there simply isn't anything else that can help your city the way SMS can. Improving your SMS campaigns simply means getting better at doing work that wasn't being done before you had SMS.
So observe how people interact with your messages, note what types of messages get the best response, and as you observe, keep making changes and improvements to your campaigns. The simplest way of doing this is to use a couple other features offered by Mobile Text Alerts. You can set up tracking links in your messages and then monitor the number of clicks your link receives. This will help you determine how many people are reading and engaging with your messages. You can also respond to replies in your inbox. This will help you determine whether or not your SMS alerts are effective.
Ultimately you work in city government because you want to help your neighbors feel more connected to each other and to their city. SMS can be a simple, routine way of pursuing that goal. It can help keep citizens safe during emergencies and also help them become more plugged in to city life by reminding them of public events.
Schedule messages ahead of time so they go out automatically when the time is right.
Provide prompt help to individual people via 2-way text messaging.
Use QR codes to make it easy for people to join your SMS list.
Save time by creating a template once and then using it over and over.
Upload a spreadsheet and quickly import all your contacts at once.
Receive a free phone number for sending and receiving text messages.