Getting Started Guide: Messaging

Quickly set up everything you need to succeed in the Messaging tab

Updated over a week ago

Welcome to your Messaging tab! This part of your account is focused on connecting you with people through texting. Here you can add your congregants to the system, gather prayer requests, broadcast out announcements, connect with Explorers in your community, and so much more.

There are over a dozen features packed into this little tab, and for the sake of keeping things simple, we aren't going to cover them all here. The goal of this article is just to walk you through getting things set up quickly so that your account is as helpful and efficient as possible.

If you haven't already, make sure to check out our Full Account Setup Guide for a few necessary setup steps every account must take. Once you've completed those, come back here to go through a few steps that are highly recommended to get started with the Messaging tab.

We're going to separate this article into two categories- Messaging Connections and Messaging Explorers.

Messaging Connections

Many features under the Messaging tab are focused on texting with your current audience, who we'll call Connections. Connections are the people who are already connected with your church or ministry that you want to stay in touch with and encourage to growth and more engagement.

You can use the Messaging tab to interact individually with people, but there are also many features you can configure to help automate your interactions to get people the information they need.

  1. As people text commonly asked questions and categories (services times and locations, how to give, statements of belief, etc) to your Gloo phone number, you can set up Quick Responses that will automatically be sent back and relieve the administrative burden of answering these common questions. Under your Messaging tab, navigate to Settings -> Automations -> Quick Responses to set up and turn on your responses.

  2. Gloo automatically acknowledges when someone sends in a text so people receive immediate feedback. Customizations give you the ability to make sure every text sent automatically by the account fits your unique culture. Edit each response - or simply do nothing and the default will be sent! Under your Messaging tab, navigate to Settings -> Automations -> Customizations to edit them.

  3. Our next step will walk through adding people to your system. But anyone can text your Gloo phone number at any time to opt themselves into your communications. Under your User Onboarding Settings you can customize that experience to make sure you are capturing the information you want from those opting in, as well as give them the appropriate next steps to move forward. Under your Messaging tab, navigate to Settings-> Automations -> Onboarding to customize these responses.

  4. At this point you might be thinking, "this is all great, but who exactly am I even texting!?" Well, like we said in step 3, one option is to publicize your number at church, in your community, or online, and allow anyone to text in. But another option is to add people yourself, whether that's manually, through a csv upload, or through an integration with your existing database. Check out the article linked above for a walk-through of each option.

  5. As you're setting things up, always feel free to use the Texting Simulator to text things out. Just click on the Texting Simulator on the left hand side, type out some messages, and watch how the system responds to you! This way you can get a feel for what it would be like for one of your church congregants to start messaging with your system.

  6. Due to new federal regulations, the messaging industry is making changes to the message volumes that can be sent over an unverified Toll-Free number, like the one you've just claimed. With text messaging being such a personal and effective form of communication, it makes it susceptible to spamming and ill-intended usage. This means that carriers are cracking down in order to protect consumers, and there are certain limits in place until your number is verified.

    As a service to you, every new account phone number that is claimed will be initiated into our Toll-Free Number Verification process. Make sure to check out the article above to learn more about what this means.

Messaging Explorers

The second group of people your Messaging tab can connect you with is people outside of your current church or ministry or audience. Explorers are people in your area who are looking for someone to help them process life’s big questions through meaningful conversation. Our ad partners do all the work of gathering Explorers and Gloo sends them into your Explorer Inbox, so all you have to do is to use our easy texting features to reach out and start a conversation!

This feature is only available for premium accounts. If you have a free account and would like to upgrade to a premium account, just go to your Messaging tab and click Explorers to get started!

  1. Update your church’s full address

    When signing up for a premium account, you should be prompted to enter in your church address. However, since we send Explorers to the church with the closest zip code to them, it's always a good idea to make sure your information is up to date. To check, just go to the Profile picture icon in the bottom left of your screen, then click on Account Settings on the left side.

  2. Configure your notifications

    If you hop on over to our best practices for interacting with Explorers, you'll notice that responding quickly is incredibly important. Explorers are automatically sent to your account, and each one of your team members can configure their notifications individually to make sure the correct people are notified. Click on your Profile picture icon and go to My User Profile -> Notifications to make changes.

    Note: All new accounts are set to receive all 3 types of notifications by email and push notification by default.

  3. Review your Explorer Settings

    Your Explorer Settings are where you can configure when to receive Explorers, and to some extent, what type and how many. Every new account begins with a Paused status for 3 days to give you time to get oriented to your account. After that your status switches back to Active and you'll begin receiving Explorers. You can come back to these settings any time to Pause receiving Explorers, or adjust the number and type of Explorers you receive.

  4. Learn to respond to Explorers

    Three days after signing up, your account automatically goes Active and you'll start receiving Explorers. Congratulations! But how can you respond to them? It's easy with the Gloo platform. Just head over to our Quick Start Guide to learn how to respond to your first Explorer. You'll find instructions here on how to respond, how to assign Explorers to the appropriate team member, and where to go for more resources.

    It's important to know that at this time, any church or organization with a premium Gloo account needs to be prepared to respond to any type of Explorer. We cannot send specific types of Explorers to specific churches. For instance, if you run a women's ministry, you will still receive both male and female Explorers. Or if your church is focused specifically on ministry to people dealing with drug and alcohol addiction, you will still receive Explorers dealing with issues outside of those specific areas.

Next Steps

Once you've completed these steps, you'll be ready to go to use your Messaging tab to connect with people through text. There are over a dozen features available to you, but to keep things simple we're going to recommend a few features to familiarize yourself with to get started.

  1. The Messages tab of your Inbox is a catch-all for every message sent to and from your Gloo phone number. Familiarize yourself with this tab to make sure no message slips through the cracks.

  2. Broadcasts are text blasts you can send out to everyone in your account, or just specific groups or people. They're a great way to quickly send out information, announcements and updates.

  3. Easily gather and respond to prayer requests using our Prayer feature. Anytime someone texts in something around the idea of prayer, the system will recognize the request, record it for you, and allow you to come in, pray for people, and respond to their requests.

  4. Create as many custom Keywords as you'd like for people to use. Anyone who texts in the Keyword will receive an automated response. These are great for sending out targeted information, gathering signups, and so much more.

  5. People can subscribe to text Series to receive training materials, devotional content, first time visitor followup, and more! Instead of just sending one response like a Keyword, Series send back a whole series of responses that you've created on the front end to shepherd people beyond just Sunday mornings.

  6. We have plenty of resources to guide you in creating meaningful connection with your Explorers. Head on over to the Explorer Connections Best Practices section of our Help center for plenty of how-to guides, sample conversations, and helpful articles!

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