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Text Request SMS Chat User Guide

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You spend a lot of time and effort drawing people to your website, but then what happens? We created SMS Chat to help you grab viewers’ attention and increase your inbound conversations.

Whether you use SMS Chat for lead generation, customer service, hiring, or some other purpose, this quick guide is going to teach you how to set up and get the most out of Text Request’s SMS chat feature.

Click a link to jump to that section, or scroll to keep reading.

Note: SMS Chat was updated on 3-28-2019. The old version will still function properly, but this guide only addresses the updated version. You can swap the old for the new at any time.

How does SMS Chat work?

SMS Chat is a widget that goes on your website (just look in the bottom right corner of your screen for an example). All you do to get started is copy and paste a small piece of code into your website.

Viewers click the chat icon and enter their information to send you a message. All messages come into your Text Request account, where you and other users can handle them like you do any other text. Your responses go to that person’s cell phone as a text.

Step-by-step instructions, recommendations, and FAQs are below, but watch this short video first to see SMS Chat in action.

 

How do I add SMS Chat to my website?

The steps to start using SMS Chat are simple. They’re a little different, though, if you use a Wordpress or Squarespace site. If you use one of those two, keep scrolling for specific instructions. For everyone else, here you go:

1. Login to your Text Request account from a computer or tablet.

2. Click on Integrations in the left side menu. Note: only account Administrators and Managers can view Integrations. View User Permissions for full details.

3. Click “Customize now” on the SMS Chat tile.

Integrations Page

4. Double check which line you’re viewing. This is the line that all messages will come to.

SMS Chat Screen

5. Configure your settings and preferences (more on these in the Recommendations section).

6. Click “Publish Settings” to save your changes.

7. Copy the code snippet at the top of the screen.

Text Request SMS Chat

8. Paste the code directly into your site’s HTML, in the Footer just before the closing </body> tag.

9. Under Master Controls, turn SMS Chat On to see it live on your site.

You can change your settings at any time without having to touch the code again. Just make your changes and click “Publish Settings” anytime you want to make an update.

Add SMS Chat to Wordpress

To add SMS Chat to your Wordpress site, you still need to follow steps 1-7 listed above. But most Wordpress sites will not let you paste new code directly into the HTML, so here’s what you need to do:

8. Login to your Wordpress account.

9. Go to Plugins.

10. Search for and install a plugin that allows you to add Javascript to your site. We normally recommend “Insert Headers and Footers” or “Simple Custom CSS and JS.” You may need to upgrade your Wordpress account to install plugins.

WordPress Plugins Dashboard

11. Open the plugin.

12. Paste your SMS Chat code into the plugin.

13. Click Save.

14. Inside the SMS Chat screen in Text Request, under Master Controls, turn SMS Chat On. You’ll see it live on your site!

Add SMS Chat to Squarespace

To add SMS Chat to your Squarespace site, you still need to follow steps 1-7 listed above, but then you need to:

8. Log into your Squarespace account.

9. Navigate to your Home Menu Settings.

10. Click “Advanced” and then click “Code Injector.”

11. Select Footer, and paste your SMS Chat code.

12. Click Save.

13. Inside the SMS Chat screen in Text Request, under Master Controls, turn SMS Chat On. You’ll see it live on your site!

How to Inject Code in Squarespace

5 Recommendations for Using SMS Chat

1. Use your own branding.

By default, you’ll see Text Request’s colors on your SMS Chat widget. We think they’re great, but SMS Chat will look better on your site if the colors match. To change colors of your button, text, and header, click on the corresponding “Edit” button in the Appearance section of your SMS Chat screen.

You can choose any color under the sun using hex values (here’s a quick reference for those). Once you’ve added a color, click “Apply.” You’ll see a preview on the right of whichever colors you choose. Click “Publish Settings” to make the changes live on your site.

SMS Chat Appearance

2. Add a prompt (and ask a question).

Chat widgets that use prompts start more conversations than those that do not use prompts. Why?

Because you’ve already started the conversation. All the viewers has to do is respond - and that’s why we recommend asking a question that has a simple answer.

For instance, Text Request’s prompt is “Welcome! What can we help you find?” People come to our site looking for something specific, and this gives them a fast track to finding it.

If you’re a staffing agency, you might ask “What kind of job are you looking for?” A home service business might say, “What can we help you fix?” or “clean” or “build.”

SMS Chat Prompt

Your prompt is a powerful and flexible option. To customize it:

1. Go to the Prompt section of your SMS Chat page.

2. Click “Edit” beneath “Display Text.”

3. Type your prompt and click “Save.”

4. Add an image or icon to your prompt. We recommend either a representative’s head shot or your company logo. Click “Edit” next to the Photo label, and upload your image from either a link or your computer. Crop your image to suit. Click Save.

5. Choose your Delay - how long viewers spend on the page before your prompt is shown. We recommend a shorter delay, like 5 seconds, so you can engage viewers more quickly.

6. Make sure to toggle your prompt On inside the Prompt section.

7. Click “Publish Settings” to see changes live on your site.

SMS Chat Prompt

3. Include a prefilled message.

The less someone has to work to engage with you, the better your results are going to be. That’s why we recommend adding a prefilled message to your SMS Chat form.

That way, viewers can just enter their personal info and click send. They don’t have to worry about articulating their needs.

For reference, our prefilled message at the time of this writing is just “I’d like to learn more about Text Request.”

SMS Chat Prefill Message

To add a prefilled message:

1. Go to the Form section of your SMS Chat page and click “Edit” under Message Prefill.

2. Add your message and Click “Save.”

3. Make sure to toggle the message prefill On.

4. Click “Publish Settings” to see changes live on your site.

4. Customize your form fields.

You’ll get more engagement by using fewer form fields. That’s why we only require viewers to enter their name, number, and message. But you can add and customize additional fields to suit your needs.

You might want to add a field for Email, Customer ID, Type of Conversation (sales, service, etc.), property size, or some other variable that will help your conversation - and perhaps your marketing. To add custom fields:

1. Click “Add Field” under the Custom Fields header of the Form section.

2. Enter the Field Name. This is what will appear inside the SMS Chat form field.

3. If you want people to have to complete this field to send you a message, click the Required checkbox.

4. Click “Add.”

5. Click “Publish Settings” to see changes live on your site.

You can uncheck the Required box at any time, click the Field Name to edit your form field, or click the X next to it to delete it. Note: You can only add two custom fields to SMS Chat.

SMS Chat Form

5. Change Display Options as needed.

SMS Chat will by default show up on all pages of your site for all device types. You probably won’t need to change this, but the option can be helpful. For instance, you might spin up a landing page with a free offer, and want to remove your SMS Chat so viewers stay focused on the free offer.

Here’s how you’d do that:

1. In the Display Options section of your SMS Chat page, click “Add Page” under the Exclusion List.

2. Paste the URL on which you do not want the SMS Chat displayed. Click “Save.”

3. Click “Publish Settings” to see your changes live on the site.

4. Repeat as necessary.

SMS Chat Display

In the same section, you’ll also see the option to display your SMS Chat on desktop devices, mobile devices, or both. By default, it will show on all devices, but you can change this as needed.

Turn SMS Chat into an embedded button.

This is not something we recommend to everyone, but it’s valuable in the right situations. We can give you a piece of code to add to an existing button on your website. Instead of the SMS Chat widget floating in the bottom corner of your site, it would only show up when the button is clicked.

SMS Chat Click-to-Text Button

So you might have a button that says “Text us for an estimate!” You can add SMS Chat code to that button so that a form opens when the button is clicked. Viewers fill out the form and click send to text you, just like with SMS Chat.

These messages will still go into your Text Request account like always, but you’ll also be able to track button clicks in your website’s analytics. To get your custom code and instructions for adding it to your site, please contact us.

FAQs

1. How do I add SMS Chat to my site?

Just copy and paste the small bit of code from the top of your SMS Chat screen and you’re good to go! See the “How do I add SMS Chat to my website?” section above for more details.

2. Do I have to re-add the code every time I change settings?

Nope! Just add it once, and any changes you make later will automatically update as soon as you click “Publish Settings.”

3. We have multiple lines under our account. Where will SMS Chat messages go?

Messages will go to whichever line (dashboard) you used when setting up your SMS Chat. See the “How do I add SMS Chat to my website?” section above for details.

If you aren’t sure which line is fielding messages, toggle through your numbers until you see either your custom SMS Chat settings on your SMS Chat page, or inbound texts with the “SMS Chat from …” label in your Queue.

If you still have trouble, please contact us. We’re happy to help!

4. Can I add multiple SMS Chat widgets to the same site?

We do not recommend this, but we understand that you might want sales conversations going to one place and customer service conversations going to another, for instance. Or maybe your website has landing pages for all your locations, and you want to make sure messages are routed properly.

You’ve got two options. Either (a) you only add one line’s SMS Chat code to the footer of the specific page you want that SMS Chat to appear, or (b) you add multiple line's SMS Chats to your website, and use the Exclusion list to filter out which pages each shows up on.

If you have questions about this, you can refer to your webmaster or contact us.