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Text to Subscribe

The services and resources your organization provides are only as effective as your reach. Reaching the broadest audience possible with information that's critical and relevant to their needs is the fastest way to improve your digital strategy, customer service, and overall public perception. But to reach and engage the broadest audience, your organization must give the public multiple ways to sign up and receive your updates. Creating diverse signup methods gives your organization flexibility and helps people interact with you in a way that is convenient and comfortable for them.

Because more than 90 percent of the public owns a mobile device, organizations should provide the ability to subscribe for information via text message. For people who may not be near a computer or have limited access to the Internet, the traditional online methods of signing up for information might be inconvenient. Giving your audience the ability to sign up for information updates with text messages provides a better level of service for your citizens.

 

Communications Cloud's text-to-subscribe tools are an advanced feature. If you are interested in using these tools, submit a request to Customer Support or contact your dedicated Client Success Consultant.

How it Works for Citizens

From your audience's point of view, the text-to-subscribe process is simple. The subscriber texts a keyword (like MN TRAVEL) to a short code (like GOV311) and then begins receiving updates about the information they're interested in. The public can subscribe with either an email address or phone number.

An example of text-to-subscribe in action is how the city of St. Paul, Minnesota, communicates with residents about "snow emergencies."

After a heavy snowfall, the city declares a "snow emergency," which enacts a plan for snow removal from the city's streets. During a snow emergency, cars aren't allowed to park on certain streets so that snowplows can work unimpeded. Because snow emergencies affect where parking is allowed in St. Paul, it's important for people to know when these snow emergencies are declared.

To help sign up citizens to a topic that alerts them when a snow emergency occurs, the city of St. Paul uses text-to-subscribe. The following is a screenshot of the city's website:

StPaul Snow emergencies T2S.png

When subscribers text either "STPAUL SNOW" or "STPAUL SNOW subscriber@example.com" to the assigned shortcode, 468311, they're added to the topic associated with St. Paul's snow emergencies. They'll also receive a standard welcome message, which instructs them on how to get help with, and how to unsubscribe from, the topic. And whenever St. Paul sends a bulletin notifying citizens of its declaration of a snow emergency, they'll receive either a text message if they didn't include an email address, or an email alert if they did.

How it Works for Public Sector Organizations

Through a simple process in partnership with our implementation team, you select a keyword prefix for your account ("STPAUL" for the above example, referring to the city of St. Paul), and a keyword, which you link to a topic. Your keyword should refer to the program you're setting up. (In the above example, "SNOW," is the keyword, which is linked to St. Paul's snow emergency topic.) For the text message shortcode, you can use Communications Cloud's shared shortcode – GOV311, or 468311. If your organization is interested in using a custom or branded shortcode, there is an additional cost involved.

When subscribers text to the number using your keyword prefix and keyword, their contact information is added to the topic associated with your program's keyword. If they don't include an email, only their phone number is added.

You can set up multiple text-to-subscribe campaigns, too. Each campaign needs its own keyword and associated topic.

In another example, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services used text-to-subscribe to gain subscribers for a topic that sends information about its foster care program. The agency used MDHHS as its agency prefix, and assigned "FOSTER" to its foster care topic. When a subscriber texts the agency prefix and program name, their information is added to the topic associated with the foster care program.

Welcome Message

When subscribers sign up for alerts using text-to-subscribe, they'll receive a standard welcome messaging after subscribing:

You'll now receive alerts from [agency name]. Reply [prefix] STOP to cancel. Reply [prefix] HELP for help. Go to http://bit.ly/2jVjbcq Data rates may apply. 5msgs/wk.

("[Agency name]" refers to your agency's name. It's recommend you use your agency's full name if it fits. "[prefix]" refers to the keyword prefix that links the subscriber's SMS message to your account.)

This is the standard welcome message. You're required to use one for text-to-subscribe, and there are only a few elements of this message you can change:

  • "You'll now receive alerts from [agency name]." You can edit this, but you must still identify your agency.
  • The web address for the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions link in the default welcome message takes the subscriber to a page on Granicus's website. You can use that page if you like, but you can also create a link to a terms and conditions page on your site. You are still required to have terms and conditions with certain information, however. See the section below for more information.
  • 5msg/wk. You are required to give an estimate of how many messages a week you'll send so the subscriber will know any impact to their data plan. You can, however, edit the number of messages a week your subscriber is likely to receive. "5" is the default.

The rest of the message is required and can't be changed.

Terms and Conditions

For welcome, help, and stop messages, a link to a terms and conditions page must be included. Our standard messages include a link to our Granicus terms and conditions page, but you can also create your own and link to that page in your messages.

If you do create your own terms and conditions page, it must contain the following information:

  • Information about using "[prefix] STOP" to unsubscribe, where "[prefix]" refers to the keyword prefix that links the message to your account.
  • The following language: "Messaging and data rates may apply. Refer to your wireless plan for more details."
  • A contact email address and phone number, in case the subscriber would like to contact someone.

Help

When your subscribers text "[prefix] HELP," where [prefix] refers to the keyword prefix that links the message to your account, they'll receive a standard message:

[Agency name] SMS alerts. Msg&data rates may apply. Reply [Prefix] STOP to cancel. Go to http://bit.ly/2jVjbcq for more help. 5 msg/wk.

Again, much of this message is required and can't be changed. Here's what you can change:

  • "[Agency name]." You can edit this, but you must still identify your agency.
  • The web address for the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions link in the default welcome message takes the subscriber to a page on Granicus's website. You can use that page if you like, but you can also create a link to a terms and conditions page on your site. You are still required to have terms and conditions with certain information, however.
  • 5msg/wk. You are required to give an estimate of how many messages a week you'll send so the subscriber will know any impact to their data plan. You can, however, edit the number of messages a week your subscriber is likely to receive. "5" is the default.

Stop

When your subscribers text "[prefix] STOP" to unsubscribe, where [prefix] refers to the keyword prefix that links the message to your account, they'll receive a standard message:

You have unsubscribed from [agency name] alerts. No more messages will be sent. Reply [prefix] HELP for help. Call 1-800-439-1420 or visit http://bit.ly/2jVjbcq.

Like the other messages, most of it is required and can't be changed.

  • "[Agency name]." You can edit this, but you must still identify your agency.
  • The phone number. You must have a phone number listed that a subscriber can call for help, but you can change the number to one at your agency.
  • The web address for the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions link in the default welcome message takes the subscriber to a page on Granicus's website. You can use that page if you like, but you can also create a link to a terms and conditions page on your site. You are still required to have terms and conditions with certain information, however.

Reports

Communications Cloud offers many reports to provide insight into your audience growth, as well as the outbound text messages sent by your organization.

The Wireless Messages Report allows you to see details about bulletins you've sent to your wireless subscribers. You can use this report to see the growth of your wireless subscribers.

Bulletin reports are also useful. The Bulletin Analytics report allows you to see a summary of the bulletins you've sent, including those aimed at topics built through text-to-subscribe. You can track the growth of recipients, delivery rates, click-throughs, and other information. And the Bulletin Detail report lets you see these details about a specific bulletin.

Text-to-subscribe campaigns incur an additional cost. Please contact Granicus Customer Support or your Client Success Consultant for more information.

 

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