Sending Text Messages
- About Us
If you didn't have 20 minutes spare to join our February Webinar 'How Messenger can help your business communicate efficiently' don't worry, you can watch it here absolutely free, in your own time.
Hi everyone, my name is Andy Cook, key account manager at Textlocal and I'll be hosting today's webinar. The basic's we're going to be covering is how to use the online platforms, so uploading contacts, sending out campaigns and then viewing your reports. In addition we're going to be looking at some of the key functionality to enrich the content such as adding attachments, embedding short URL trackable links and maybe also including a mobile optimised survey form.
So before we begin, what I would like everybody to do is grab their mobile phones just to participate in the webinar, we'll be asking you to text in to our short code keyword and this will get you involved and you can experience some of the services we have to offer.
Okay, so what we can see here in front of me is our home screen for the messenger platform it's basically a 30 day overview of all your activity, so you can see all inbound and outbound activity, how many page hits you've got and any links that you do include. In addition you will see daily updates from Textlocal so news, tips and tricks as well as other kinds of products and services that we have available. You can click on any of these to find out more or you can download any reports. One of the things that is quite useful and we advise everybody to download is our mobile app; it's available on the app store if you have an iPhone or on Google Play if you've got an android.
So let's begin, I'll go to the contacts page, this is where you're basically going to create groups and upload all of your contacts before you send out a campaign. I've already set one on here today called 'webinar', what I'll do is show you how to create a new one and how to upload contacts. So we click on new group and we'll simply call that 'test'.
Okay so now the group has been created, you have three options in order to upload contacts. Simply click on 'add', 'paste' or 'upload' and it'll give you your three options. The first one is to add a contact in singularly so that can be quite time consuming, probably not the best way to do it, the other two ways are much better which is 'paste list' which allows you to take a list of contact numbers from an excel spreadsheet for example and just copy and paste them directly into the group. This is quite useful if you're just sending a simple text out without any inserted merge fields like their first name or anything else referenceable. Our system will also detect the contact number and its format for example if the 0 is missing off of the front or if there were any gaps or brackets or spaces it will wipe all of that out and put it into the right format which is +447.
The third option is to upload, and this is the most commonly used one, this allows you to upload contacts from an excel spreadsheet. So if you can imagine you've got columns A, B, C, for example in column A you may have the customer's mobile number, in A you may have their first name and then in B you may have some sort of reference number or an ID. So if you click on your excel spreadsheet by clicking on upload file and then browsing through your folders, select the right file you want and then simply upload it straight in. Now one thing you would of seen on the add single is these custom fields. To have the option to merge the text message as you would an email so you can personalise each individual, so for example if I were to put my mobile number, my first name and perhaps a reference number in 'custom 1', I could say 'hi first name, please be aware that your car is due for a MOT on custom 1' which may be the date in which it's due and then it would simply personalise that message to go out.
So what I'll do, if I could kindly ask you to open up a brand new message on your handset and type in the number '60777', that's one of our shortcodes and then in the content of the message type 'webinar'. So open up a brand new message, the number you're sending to is '60777' and the word you're texting, the keyword is 'webinar'. Okay so 'webinar' on '60777'. When you text in you will get an autoreply back, this will have links and attachments in there which showcase our services, we'll look at that shortly, but in addition, what it'll do, is it'll add you to the group ready to send our messages. So if we go to 'contacts' we can see there's a few people who have text in, I've got ten registers for the webinar and there they all are, perfect.
Okay, great so if we go to the 'send' page this is where we're going to compose our message. You'll see on the left hand side we've got some of the groups that we've already created, such as 'test' group and 'webinar' and on the right hand side we've got our message details, this is where we're going to select our sender name and the content for the message. Now each sender name has its characters limited to 11 in total, this can be words or numbers, so if you wanted to retain replies it would have to be numbers IE a virtual mobile number or using our simple reply service, but a majority would send from a word like your business name for example here, I've put Textlocal, you can click on that and add any additional new senders that you'd like. Textlocal also saves a historic view of every message that you send to templates and history or if it's easier if you click on send, click on templates and drafts you can actually generate templates that you can re-use over and over again.
The purpose of today's webinar, what I'll do is just pre-type a message. What I'm going to do now is show you is the ability to insert merge fields, now taking into account that everybody has texted in to 'webinar' on '60777' wouldn't have included your first name or surname so this wouldn't necessarily be used for today's webinar but if you did want to include them you'd simply click on any of these fields and it'll drop them in for example you need to just type 'first name' and it'll be personalised to that individual.
Now what I'm going to do is show you a couple of the additional functionalities like attachments and short links. So simply click on 'add attachments and links' and the first one I'm going to do is attach a copy of our PDF brochure. So click on attachments, we give you the ability to upload a file to our cloud server, it's held securely so don't worry about any information being shared with third parties or anything like that. It'll give you a full list of supported files so you can attach video files, word documents, PDF documents and sound files as well. So today I've attached our Textlocal brochure and simply just click on 'insert file'. Okay so that takes up around 26 to 32 characters of your message content, so it's completely free to add an attachment, but just be conscious that you only have 160 characters per SMS text or per credit. If you go over 160 characters it simply uses two credits per message.
Now you'll see there's an addition to the end of our link which is 'link track'. What this allows you to do is generate a unique code per individual person within that group so you can actually track through who has clicked that link, what their contact number is, what phone they're using and even what screen resolution and browser, so you can really get some intelligent data from it. Okay so that's our attachment tool, you've got up to ten megabytes that you can download. The only downfall with this service is that depending on the type of file you're attaching, some customers may not have smart phones so you just need to bare that in mind and also because it's downloaded from our server they would have to be internet enabled to download the attachment.
Okay, the second feature I'm going to show you now is the short link tool. What this does it takes a standard URL and makes a shortened version and this is basically a nice way to shorten down the amount of characters you're using within your SMS text. If you have a landing page that may be a hundred characters in length that you use for your own internal tracking, that's going to take up a lot of your characters so why not use a shortened down version and you can also enable phone tracking on this as well, so that's a nice way to view response rate or click throughs on that. Okay so we'll insert link that's going to push you to our Textlocal website.
Okay so you can see that it's pushed us over our 160 character, you will get a warning to advise, you also have to option to schedule messages so I appreciate you may be quite busy this afternoon so you might want to get it out of the way this morning and save you the hassle to send it out there and then. So simply click on schedule, click on the relevant date and time for your campaign to go out. Obviously we won't be doing this today so we'll tick that off and send it straight out.
With every marketing campaign it is imperative that you include an opt out path. This gives your customers the option to text in to remove themselves from your marketing list. So they won't receive any type of SMS communications from you again in the future. We give every single Textlocal account a free opt out path, for example the free one on this account JK7GHSTOP, we also have a web option as well so you can insert this link and if they clicked on the link it would then take them through to a page where they could enter a short code to opt out for free. For today's webinar we're going to include WEBINARSTOP and now our text is ready to go out.
There are a couple of advanced options, not every customer would use this. The first one is segmentation, and what this allows you to do, if you've got a large set of data e.g. if you're sending to 10,000 customers at once, you may have an inbound sales team who are going to be picking up these calls and you wouldn't want them all getting bombarded with calls at once. So you can actually spread how often you want the messages to be sent out over a course of time, so from 9 until 1 o'clock this afternoon I would like them to go out at 15 minute intervals and it would be spread out over that course of time.
The second option is validity so some campaigns may be time-sensitive; potentially it expires at midnight for example, you wouldn't want somebody picking up the phone the next day and receiving that message and it's no longer valid so you can put a validity date on that to say at this date and time if the customer hasn't received it then the network simply won't deliver it but you would still be charged for that message so please bare that in mind.
So what we'll do is select the group 'webinar', our message has been created, we've got the right sender name so we'll just click 'send'. What it'll do is pop up with a preview of what the message looks like, so it gives you a chance to check it and make sure everything is right, in the right format, it'll tell you where it's been sent from in this case it's 'Textlocal' which is a text sender name so it states here in bold at the top that you will not be able to receive replies from this text. As mentioned earlier if you need to retain replies it does have to be sent from a number.
Okay so I'll send that through, Textlocal use tier one connections so that's direct to UK operators with an average SLA of three seconds so hopefully if you've all got a good signal you should have that message through any second now. So if you want to click through and click on those links that I've included so you've got the attachment tool on the first one that'll download our corporate brochure and the second one will navigate you through to our main website.
And what I'll do now is go through to the reports and show you how you can view them and what the different delivery statuses mean and how you can export that and manipulate that data. The first report that I'm going to show you is a group message report so simply hover over reports and click on SMS group message. So you can see we've got a report from today sent out at 10:13 to the group webinar from the sender 'Textlocal', it used 26 credits and this was the message content. We do have the option to back-date any campaigns from the date that the account opened so you simply click on the date range tool and select on how many days you want to go back to a specific date or between specific dates, you've got full flexibility there to pull all of your reports.
So if we click on 'check' it will open up the particular report and as you can see we've got a few delivery statuses here. 12 of the messages have been delivered which means you've received them on your phone, you've opened them and you've also got a pending so someone is still waiting for that to be delivered through the network operators. It will also show some of the links that were clicked and how many unique clicks there were. Now if you click 'export as CSV' it'll drop all of that information into an excel spreadsheet and it'll include information such as customers, mobile number, the date and time that it was delivered, the delivery status and you can then use that to cleanse the data if for example you had a high amount of invalid contacts you may want to remove them from the groups that they're stored in and place them in the opt out group or cleanse the data at your end.
What I'll do is show you the short links report it's basically looking at the links that we've included and see how many people have clicked them and what the click through rate was. So if you hover over reports and click on short links you can see that we've got a few in here at the moment. This is the one that I used for our corporate brochure using the attachment tool so you simply click on stats and what you'll see is obviously we've been using this quite a lot for particular webinars over the course of about six months but you can see today for example we've got about three unique clicks on that brochure which people have downloaded. It will also give you the screen resolution and also the devices that we use.
So this can be used quite intelligently by your marketing teams to showcase which customers are using particular phones so say for instance you were designing an app for your customer base you could target that and tailor that app to suit your current market. In addition you've got the option to export all of this information, again into an excel spreadsheet. I won't do it because it'll show all the numbers of previous people who have been registered into the webinars but that option is available.
One of the things that we haven't discussed is reply services. I did go through it quite briefly when we were sending out the text. So the first option is the simple reply service. Now this allows you to send a standard text out, it takes a virtual mobile number like any normal mobile starting with 07 or whatever the number will be and it allows you to enable replies. How it charges you is that it charges you 1.5 credits per outgoing message, so say you were sending to a group of one hundred, it'll charge you 150 credits but when a customer replies it'll go directly into this inbox here and you'll be able to see all of the messages.
Another option that we do have available is something called the dedicated long number, again it's a virtual mobile number dedicated to you as a business. You get to choose the number and once you've purchased it, it's live on your account. Rather than charging 1.5 credits per message, we charge one credit per message but there's a monthly rental fee of £25. Alternatively you can purchase it for six months with a 20% discount or 12 months with a 40% discount, so those are your options available.
Now what's interesting is the settings on these inbound services, so you can see here you've got a response function so if for example somebody did text in and replied to one of your outbound messages you have the option to tailor an auto reply that you can send back to them. It can something like 'thank you for your response and we will be in contact shortly, in the meantime if you have any questions please call this number' and then you just click save settings at the bottom.
We also have the option to forward any incoming messages to an email address of your choice. So for example if you have a sales team you may want to send them a notification every time a new message comes in. We also have the option, if you're quite technically minded, to forward incoming messages to a URL so that's basically using our API gateway; any inbound messages can be posted to your CRM or data management system but I'll go into detail about our API shortly.
So that's our reply services, one of the main things that I wanted to show you today was a survey tool. This is a relatively new service in the market, it came out about three or four months ago. Used as a way of obtaining feedback from existing customers, it can also be used to capture data say if you were registering people for an event or maybe even if you've got a list of customers and you haven't got their email address you may want to send them a text saying please fill out this short survey form, fill out their name, email address and any other information that you need and then it's all captured within your Textlocal account.
How the survey tool works is that it's built on a mobile web page and you basically send out an SMS text with an embedded short URL link and when someone clicks on that link it navigates them through to the survey form that you've built. The types of questions that you can ask can be a drop down list, multiple choice, check box, yes/no answers, star rating and you can even ask them for their date of birth or a particular time or anything you want really. You can create it in a way so that it's staggered so you can have your logo in there and corporate branding on there, using titles and what I'll do now is show you an example, I've basically built an eight page guide of the survey tool, built on a survey form.
So it's built across eight pages and this is what each page will look like so you basically add an item to page, click on the edit feature to select your image for example, and then just click save item. For each title, you just drop it onto the page, click on edit, you can rename the title and then click save and for example for a welcome message again, you get the ability to name an item and then its content. So it's pretty straight forward and easy to do and then if you click on the preview page you can preview it as you go along making amends to ensure that it looks right. So I think the best thing for me to do, instead of going on into too much detail, if I send a copy of this to the webinar group. So you can see when you click send survey it creates the unique link that you need and it drops it into the message content.
So I'll select the webinar group and then send that through. So you can see that this has charged two credits per message, this has not been upgraded to our main tool as there are two pricing options for the survey tool. The first one is a Pay As You Go, we charge the double amount of credits so if you go back to the reply service, for the simple reply we charge 1.5 credits per message, a Pay As You Go option for the survey tool is two credits per message. So if you wanted to send this to, say, one hundred people, it would charge you two hundred credits.
So if I send that through, again fingers crossed that should be with you in a few minutes. If you want to click on the link, each page has a little bit about the survey tool and what it's capable of, so it'll give you a little bit about the titles and about text entry boxes, the types of questions that you can ask and all of the different features that are available on it. Have a look at that now or in your own time, you can click on the link later, it's entirely up to you. The other pricing option for the survey tool is a monthly contracted option, so again it works out the same as a dedicated number for replies, the survey tool you can rent it on a monthly basis, for £25 or with your 20 or 40% discounts for six and 12 months. So if you were to use this tool and you were sending it to five hundred people on a monthly basis it definitely works out much cheaper to rent it for £25.
So that basically covers most of the features on here, there is one that was missed which is mobile pages, we'll go through this quite quickly as it's quite an easy one to use. It's basically a free creator tool so you can build a mobile page if you're sending out a text you've only got 160 characters to use, you might want to get more information out there. You can basically create a mobile page including your logo and any other content and format it as if you would in word with left align and right align with different colours and fonts including hyperlinks and images and then all you would do once it's been created it will create a short URL link which you can then embed into your SMS text. So pretty straight forward and an easy tool to use.
Okay so that basically summarises everything that we have on offer to our messenger platform, hope you found it useful. Following the webinar today, either myself or a colleague will be in the office, you can contact us on 01244 573240 or you can send in an email to our sales address which is email@example.com. Thanks for your time.
The Messenger platform was created to assist you in sending bulk SMS. The whole point behind it is to make mobile messaging for businesses as easy and simple as possible, without wasting hours of your time. The platform has also been developed into a mobile app, so you can now send your messages from your own mobile phone as well.
Our Messenger platform is designed to help your business communicate effectively and we ran a webinar to show you the best way to do this. If you didn't get chance to watch it then, fear not. We have uploaded the webinar here so that you can watch it whenever you want, absolutely free.
The webinar can be paused and replayed as much as you like, so if you miss something or need to go over a bit of it again, you can easily do this. It allows you to understand exactly how Messenger works and the benefits it can bring to you as a business owner.
The webinar will talk you through sending a text message, using templates and managing your files. It makes the management of your mobile marketing contacts easy and you can quickly send out multiple messages to various contacts. You'll also learn how to add attachments to messages and generally keep on top of your whole business SMS campaign.
Being able to access the webinar whenever you want means that if you decide to try something new in the future, you can always come back to it and find out how it's done. Now all you need to do is sit back, watch the webinar and learn all about the Messenger platform.