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Text Request Intro to Messages: Everything You Need to Know

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You're ready to start sending messages, but need to learn the basics. This guide breaks down everything you need to know about the Messages menu, including these popular questions:

We’ll cover a lot, but if you know what you’re looking for, use the table of contents below to jump down to that question.


Table of Contents

1. Messages Menu Overview

a. How long can my messages be?

2. Conversations Sub-menu

a. What is a conversation block?

b. How do I send an individual message?

c. How do I resolve my messages?

d. How do I know if my message was delivered?

3. Group Messages Sub-menu

a. What is a group message?

b. How do I send a group message?

c. How do I manage responses to group messages?

d. What is a group merge message and how do you send one?

e. How do I format a csv file for a group merge message?


1. Messages Overview

The Messages menu is where all your messages live. It has two tabs:

1. Conversations: The home of your individual messages.

2. Group Messages: The home of your group and merge messages.

a. How long can my messages be?

You can send and receive messages that are over 160 characters, even though an SMS message has a 160 standard character limit. 

How does that work?

We use a process called “truncating,” which displays multiple SMS messages - let’s call them segments of 160 characters - into one continuous message. For instance, if you send a message that has 200 characters, it will send as two segments, but display as one message.

We do this for continuity. Most people think one long message looks better than splicing up the message into multiple segments. And most (though not all) mobile carriers follow this same process of truncating messages.

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2. Conversations Sub-menu

The conversations sub-menu is the home of your individual messages.

It has a toolbar in the top left corner that lets you:

Reload messages — Clicking it refreshes the page so you can see any new messages.

Change message view — You can choose between Classic (a large view with 12 conversation blocks per page), Condensed (a slim view that shows conversation in a continuous scroll), and Combined (a list of all conversations on the left and message history of selected contacts on the right)

Sort and filter messages — You can choose between listing all unresolved messages first, all newest messages first, only displaying unresolved messages, or by message tags

Search messages — Search through messages by user, contact name, keywords, and date.

See scheduled messages — Displays any scheduled messages

a. What is a conversation block?

A conversation block contains a permanent record of an entire conversation with a specific contact. Conversation blocks are used to view entire message conversations and to respond to incoming messages.

Selecting a conversation block will show the entire conversation with that contact.

Selecting the contact name at the top of a conversation block will:

  • Display the contact's display name, first name, last name, status, as well as any custom fields, groups, contact tags, or notes associated with the contact
  • Give you the option to review the contact's message history, send the contact a message, or delete the contact
  • Review and change the contact's status

Each message is time stamped with the date and time each message was sent/received, and will display the Text Request user who responds to the message.

b. How do you send an individual message?

There are two options for an existing contact.

1) Select the quick reply button on their conversation block, or 2) select the conversation block to open the message and send from there.

Before you hit send, you’ll have the option to:

  • Add a pre-saved signature to your message.
  • Attach an image by selecting the paperclip icon. (Images count as a separate message.)
  • Choose from existing message templates by selecting the folder icon.
  • Schedule the message for a later date by selecting the clock icon.

A final way you can send a message is by selecting the Compose Message button in the top right corner of your dashboard.

After you enter the name or number of the contact you want to message, you will have the same options to:

  • Add a pre-saved signature to your message.
  • Attach an image by selecting the paperclip icon.
  • Choose from existing message templates by selecting the folder icon.
  • Schedule the message for a later date by selecting the clock icon.

c. How do I resolve my messages?

All unresolved messages will appear at the top of the Conversations sub-menu, so you can quickly see which messages need attention. Messages are automatically resolved whenever you reply to or forward a message. You can resolve or unresolve a message at any time by checking or unchecking its resolved box.

Unresolved messages will always be white, while resolved messages will be grey.  You can filter your conversations view based on resolved/unresolved messages.

A pen will appear when other users are responding to messages, so your team can avoid sending multiple responses to the same message.

d. How do I know if my message was delivered?

Message status icons tell you whether or not your message made it to the contact. These icons appear in the bottom right corner of all sent messages.

Messages go from Text Request through a receiving carrier to your contact. We can't track what happens between the receiving carrier and the contact, but the carrier almost always gives us a status update. Our message status icons tell you what the carrier told us.

Here are all the message status icons you might encounter, and what they mean:

1. Sent — The message was sent, but the mobile carrier hasn't given us a status update. It's possible "sent" messages have been delivered and the carrier just hasn't updated us.

2. Delivered — The carrier has delivered your message to your contact. It does not mean the contact has seen or read your message. (That can only be tracked with app-to-app messaging, like within WhatsApp or iMessage, not with SMS.)

3. Undelivered — The carrier could not deliver your message to the contact. You can hover over a message’s Undelivered icon to see the reason, which could be:

Unreachable: The carrier could not reach the number you tried to text, most likely because that number is inactive. Basically, the carrier took your message to the front door, but no one was home to receive it. Confirm that you sent your message to the right number, and if you get the same error, try calling the number to see if it is indeed inactive.

Blocked: Your text number has either been blocked by the contact, or “blacklisted” by the carrier. “Blacklisted” means your number raised too many red flags (such as by sending spam messages), and has been blocked. If your number is blacklisted by a mobile carrier (e.g. Verizon, AT&T, etc.) you will not be able to send messages to any number in their network. At this point, it’s time to get a new number for texting. Click here for a guide on what can get your texts marked as spam by carriers.

404: This means either we could not find the right carrier to send your message to or the carrier on record could not find the recipient. Sometimes old numbers get trashed, so it’s best to confirm you’re texting an up-to-date number. Other times a number will fall into limbo for a few days when switching between carriers (e.g. if your recipient is moving their number from Verizon to AT&T). In this case, you might need to wait a day or two before texting them again.

Landline: You texted a landline number that cannot receive texts.

Filtered: Your message was filtered as spam. (Read more about avoiding spam filters here.)

Opt Out: Your message could not be delivered to this contact, because they have previously opted out of receiving messages from you. I.e. they've replied STOP to one of your messages. Contacts can opt back into receiving messages from you by texting in START.

Unknown: The carrier could not deliver your message, but won’t tell us why. Usually, this means your message was filtered, but sometimes even the carrier isn’t sure what happened.

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3. Group Messages Sub-menu

The group messages sub-menu is the home of your group messages. It has two main sections, one where you can view and compose group messages, and one where you can view any scheduled group messages.

a. What is a group message?

Similar to an individual conversation block, a group message contains a permanent record of a group message and its recipients.

Selecting the body of a group message will open its stats, including:

Message progress — The number of sent and delivered messages vs. the total amount of recipients.

Message analytics — The number of messages sent, messages delivered, errors (contacts your message was not delivered to, such as those who had previously opted out), responses, and opt-outs.

Recipients — A list of every recipient’s display name, phone number, the time the group message was sent, and delivery status. 

A response is defined as an inbound message from a contact when the last message they received was the group message, and their response came within 24 hours of the group message being sent.

An opt-out is credited to your group message when the group message was the last message received by the contact before opting out (texting STOP), and the contact opts-out within 24 hours of the group message being sent.

b. How do I send a group message?

There are many ways to send a group message to your contacts.

 

By selecting the Compose a New Group Message button:

1. Go to the Group Message section under your Messages menu.

2. Select New Group Message.

3. Pick the contacts or group you wish to send to.

4. Check the boxes confirming that a) you have permission to send messages to these contacts and b) that you understand they will receive the option to opt-out of messages. 

5. Compose the message you want to send.

6. (Optional) Select any signatures, scheduled sending times, pre-made templates, or attachments you'd like to add. 

7. Review any suggestions our Spam Scanner recommends to help keep your message from being marked as spam.

8. Confirm you're ready to send the group message. 

By creating a new group of contacts:

1. Go to the View Groups section under your Contacts menu.

2. Select View Groups

3. Select Add Group.

4. Enter your desired name for the group.

5. Manually input or import the spreadsheet of contacts you'd like to be in the group. 

6. Select the Chat Bubble next to your group once it's created.

7. Pick the contacts or group you wish to send to.

8. Check the boxes confirming that a) you have permission to send messages to these contacts and b) that you understand they will receive the option to opt-out of messages. 

9. Compose the message you want to send.

10. (Optional) Select any signatures, scheduled sending times, pre-made templates, or attachments you'd like to add. 

11. Review any suggestions our Spam Scanner recommends to help keep your message from being marked as spam.

12. Confirm you're ready to send the group message. 

Once you send your group message, it will send batches of 50 messages every five minutes, or about 500 messages an hour. This is to keep your text number on good terms with mobile phone carriers and ensure that your messages are delivered properly.

Every time you send a group message, we scan your message for carrier spam filter indicators, and alert you of our findings. This should help you improve delivery rates by avoiding spam filters, and increase engagement with your messages.

The SPAM Scanner in particular looks for:

  • The use of ALL CAPS
  • Ending a message with a URL/link
  • Including a long link instead of a short link (https://www.textrequest.com instead of bit.ly/1Sw1JKH)
  • The use of dollar signs
  • Email addresses

There are other factors that carriers pay attention to, such as the length of your message and how many contacts you're sending it to, but if you pass the SPAM scanner, you should be good to go.

c. How do I manage responses to group messages?

Because group messages send as individual messages to multiple people, all replies start one-on-one conversations. And because they start one-on-one conversations, replies to group messages appear in your Conversations tab on the Messages menu. From there, you can handle them just like you would any other incoming message.

d. What is a group Text Merge message and how do you send one?

A Text Merge message is a group message with customizable fields that allow you to personalize each message to the individual receiving it. For instance, you could have a merge field for the contact's first name and the date of their appointment. It would look like this:

Hi [First Name]! Quick reminder about your cleaning appointment on [Date]. Please confirm, or let us know if you need to reschedule.

But it would send like this:

Hi Katherine! Quick reminder about your cleaning appointment on Dec. 4. Please confirm, or let us know if you need to reschedule.

These group messages can make your life way easier (you can even schedule these messages to send later), and personalization like this is proven to increase sales and customer loyalty. So how do you send a Text Request Text Merge message?

To send a merge message:

1. Under group messages, select the New Merge Message button.

2. Upload the .csv or .xlsx file of contacts you want to message.

3. Confirm you have permission to message the contacts and hit send.

4. Compose the message you want to send (including any pre-saved signatures, templates, images, or scheduled time you want to add).

5. Click on a merge field to insert that column's information into your message.

Note the character counter below your message. Whenever you add a merge field, the average character count for that column is added to your character count. The final, actual number of characters and texts sent may be different than stated.

e. How do I format a csv file for a group Text Merge message?

Column headers need to be in the first row. Phone numbers need to be in the first column. You can upload either a .csv or .xlsx file. If you have blank fields in your list, you'll receive an error message while uploading.

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