Best Practices: Custom Keywords

Learn to unlock the full potential of Custom Keywords.

Brian Knollman avatar
Written by Brian Knollman
Updated over a week ago

Want to step up your game when it comes to using Keywords in Gloo? Here are five tried and tested tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way that will help you boost your effectiveness and take advantage of the full functionality that Keywords offer.

Tip #1 – Set up your keywords well to make sure people find what they need

We all know and appreciate the natural language processing that Gloo uses to handle our Automations and Prayer Requests. But unlike Automations, Keywords need to be texted in exactly as you set them up in order for Gloo to respond. Here are a few tricks we’ve found for setting them up well.

  • Use multiple spellings and versions of your keyword to help prevent user error. For example, if you’re having people text in “mission trip” for more info on your church’s summer missions opportunity, set up options of “mission trip,” “missions trip,” “mission,” etc. Consider using some misspellings as well like “mision trip” and “misions trips” to make sure everyone who tries to text in the keyword will get the response you’ve set up, even if they misspell it or don’t type in in quite like you asked them to.

  • Make things even simpler by using an SMS QR code when advertising. People can simply scan the code to send a text to Gloo that is already filled in for them, so you can make sure they’re texting exactly what they need to!

  • Finally, remember that you can set up entire phrases as Keywords. You can use this trick to almost create your own custom Automations. Let’s say you want people to be able to find out about your childcare options. You could set up keyword options of “childcare,” “childcare info,” “what kind of childcare do you have,” “do you have childcare,” etc.

Tip #2 – Provide immediate value to drive engagement

Make sure that people are excited to be using Gloo! Sure, you could set up a Keyword of “announcements” and have everyone’s first interaction with Gloo be using that keyword to read your weekly announcements. It’s a legitimate use of Gloo, but it’s probably not going to get people very excited. Instead, you could have them text in “Christmas video” to get a link to that hilarious video your drama team put together, or “Advent devo” to get added to your churchwide Advent devotional, or “potluck dinner” to get them signed up for an event instead of having to go fill out some signup sheet somewhere.

The more value people see in Gloo, the more likely they are to make using it a more normal part of their lives, and that will drive the engagement you’re hoping for.

Tip #3 – Use Effects to automate your administrative work

When used correctly, Effects can drastically simplify your life. Let’s say you want to spend the next few weeks running a campaign to get people interested in your summer missions trip opportunity. Here is a real-life example of how to use each effect to do some of the work for you:

  • Add a person to a group

    • If Sally texts in “missions trip” with this effect set up and turned on, she’ll be automatically added to your “Missions Trip Interest” group. Later on, you’ll easily be able to Broadcast out to that whole group to share more information.

  • Remove a person from a group if they are in it

    • What if Sally opts in, but later decides she can’t go or isn’t interested? Sally could text in “missions out” in order to opt out of the group so that she’ll no longer receive those Broadcasts.

  • Remove a person from a series

    • Maybe in order to get people interested, you’re running a series on the importance of missions. Scott can opt in using the keyword “missions devo,” but maybe a week later he decides he isn’t interested anymore. Scott can text in “missions devo opt-out” in order to stop receiving those messages.

  • Email team members

    • Heather has just texted in the “missions trip” keyword and been added to the “Missions Trip Interest Group.” This effect will make sure one of your team members (the trip leader, for example) gets an email letting him know that Heather has signed up, and he can start personally communicating with her right away.

So to sum up Effects- work smarter, not harder! Using Effects well can automate parts of your campaign so that you can focus on more important things.

Tip #4 – Use data tools to understand the impact of your keywords

There are certain statistics Gloo tracks that can help you understand how many people are engaging with your Keywords. You can use these tools to learn what is and isn’t effective, and then adjust and refine things for future efforts.

  • Check how many people have used a specific keyword in a specific timeframe by clicking the “# Interactions” button.

    Understanding how many people and who is interacting with each keyword can help you see which keywords are useful and which aren’t. It can also show you how engaged people are- if you tell 100 people at your Sunday service to text in “Christmas video” but then see only 10 interactions, then you can refine your messaging to make sure people are actually engaging.

  • Keep an eye on your unresolved messages coming through. Do you have a “missions trip” keyword set up, but you’re getting unresolved messages because people are texting in “missions trips?” Go in and add that spelling as another option for the “missions trip” keyword so that people will get the info they need.

Tip #5 - Use Templates for inspiration

If you want to use your Keywords more effectively but need to get the creative juices flowing, hop on over to the Template library for inspiration! Our Templates are constantly growing and providing strategies for devotionals, new guest follow-up strategies, new believer follow-up strategies, ideas for prayer campaigns, and more. Keywords are an essential part of each of these strategies, and in the Templates section you'll find everything has already been set up for you!

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