Monday, October 14, 2013

How to Import contacts to SendTree

If you have a large number of contacts to send messages to, you will likely want to upload a list rather than type in each contact manually.

First, choose which SendTree you want to upload your contacts to by using the "My account" menu at the top of the page. In this example we have a SendTree named "VIP Customers".





On the Recipients tab, you will find an "Upload recipients" button in the panel on the right:




Clicking this button will show the upload panel:


Click "Choose File" to choose your CSV data file, then click the "Upload" button to upload the data to SendTree. But first let's have a look at the CSV file format used for uploading the data.

Suppose you want to use SendTree's text messaging service to reach a list of 15 text contacts. If you edited your contact list in a spreadsheet, it would have three columns of data, and might look something like this:



The first column is the name of your contact, the second column is their mobile number, and the third column tells SendTree that you want to send TEXT messages that phone number.


A note about contact types

You can specify either TEXT, VOICE, or EMAIL for the message type. You would supply an email address instead of a phone number is the latter case. Here's an example having three different people, showing each message type.



Keep in mind that if you have one person who wants to receive a TEXT and an EMAIL, then you simply include that person for each type of communications that want. For example, this person "J. Smith" will receive a TEXT, a VOICE message, and an EMAIL.




When you save your speadsheet, you can save it as a "comma separated value" file, or CSV file. If you opened your CSV file in a text editor (like Notepad, or Textedit), you would find your 15 contacts data separated by commas, something like this:



With this CSV file, you can now click the "Choose File" button, choose this file, and then click "Upload". The recipients page should reflect the newly imported contacts.



Knowing how to upload your contacts will make it practical when you already have contact information in another form. You might have to use a spreadsheet to isolate the three columns of data. Just copy/paste and organize your data in a new sheet and save-as a CSV file.

Happy uploading!



One more thing about CSV files



Note that you do not have to use a spreadsheet to create a valid CSV file. You could create or edit your data with a text editor, like Notepad or Textedit. But pay careful attention to your use of commas and quotations.

For example, consider a name with a suffix, which is usually presented with a comma. What happens if you use that as a name in your CSV file? Here's some example data:



When this is turned into a proper CSV file, those names will be quoted, to keep the comma intact. I.e., the CSV for this file would look like:



If you build your own CSV file, take a close look at where the double quotes and the commas are placed.

Friday, October 11, 2013

How to use SendTree, in a nutshell

SendTree makes it very easy to reach your mobile audience.

Here's how it works, in a nutshell:

1. We give you a phone number. This number is yours exclusively. You can share it publicly with everyone you want to send messages to.



You can use the phone numbers page to create or manage your phone numbers.

2. You create messages. You have things to tell your audience, right? If you are a business, people really like deals and free stuff, or they like to hear what's new. Or you might just need to communicate any kind of quick, timely information.



Visit the send messages page to compose and send messages.

3. You need an audience. You might already have contact information for your audience. In that case type it in, or upload a file. Publicize your new number and let people know they can simply text the word JOIN to your new phone number to be added to the list! They can manage themselves and you can know that they've opted in.



Need more ideas on how to use SendTree?
Download our SendTree 101 guide to explore more ways SendTree can be used.




SendTree makes a great text messaging service. If you are wondering if SendTree can do this or that, please contact us at help@sendtree.com. We'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to send a test message

If you're just getting started with SendTree, you might like a quick tutorial on how to send a message. We'll use SendTree's text messaging service to demonstrate this.

First, sign in with your SendTree account, or create an account if you don't have one yet.

After you have signed in, go to the recipients tab for your SendTree. A quick way to get there is from the "My account" menu at the top of the page. In my example I have a SendTree named "VIP Customers".





Your Recipients

Your recipients tab contains a list of all the people on your SendTree. Your very first visit to this screen will have zero recipients, and look like this:




For this tutorial, add just one recipient, yourself. Supply your name, your mobile number (a number that can receive a text message), and check the box that indicates this contact wants to get text messages.



Then click the Save recipient button.

You'll see the new contact added in the list of recipients, like this:



So we have exactly one recipient in our list. Note that we could manually add more recipients this way, or we could even upload a list of contacts.

Now we're ready to send a message. Click the blue "Send a new message" button in the upper right.


Send a Message

The screen for sending a message is very simple, and consists mostly of a space to compose your message, and a send button. Let's take a closer look at what is on this screen:


From top to bottom the arrows indicate the following areas on the screen:

  • a link to get back to the recipient list (and it tells you how many recipients there are)
  • a space to compose your message
  • a counter that shows how many more characters you could fit in the message (max 140)
  • the send button, which will send out the message to everyone on the list immediately.

For the tutorial, compose your own message, then click "Send Message". Once you send the message, you will see the deliveries screen:



If you have a long list of recipients, you can watch the deliveries as they happen. The status on the right that says "DELIVERED" will change for each recipient as they are delivered.

The deliveries screen also gives a summary of the message in the panel on the right. At the bottom of this panel are buttons that allow you to view previously sent messages and see the recipients of each message.


One sentence summary:

Add recipients on the recipients tab, then compose and send your message from the Send Message page, then watch the deliveries from the deliveries tab.

If you have questions, feel free to leave comments below, or email us at help@sendtree.com.