Clearstream is a web-based platform that enables you to communicate with your members, visitors, volunteers, etc. through text messaging. This guide serves as a springboard for getting started with your Clearstream account. If you don’t have an account yet, you can signup here.
Growing your Lists 📈
Phone numbers in Clearstream are classified as Subscribers. Subscribers are all stored in Lists. There are 4 primary ways that you can grow your Lists.
CSV Import - Import numbers using an excel file.
Keywords - People can opt-in to a list by texting in with a Keyword.
Forms - People can sign up through a website form (think email sign up, but for texting)
Creating a Message 💬
Once you have Subscribers in your account, you're ready to send a message. You can send a message to an entire List, multiple Lists, or individual subscribers. Whether you're sending a message to 1 person or to 10,000 people, we make it simple.
Click the messages tab (left menu) > click create message > type your message > select your recipients > select when you want your message to send (now or later) > preview the message > send.
Once you send your message you will see a live chart that shows how many people are receiving the message, opting-out, and replying. From there you can view and reply to any incoming responses. These responses and all other incoming messages can also be seen in your Inbox which contains all of your conversations with individual people.
Keywords (example: "Text ImNew to 970-00") 🔑
A Keyword is a unique word that people can text to your Shortcode to join a List and also receive an automated series of messages. Many churches use Keywords to follow up with 1st time guests. Let’s say I’m a visitor at your church and I don’t want to fill out a connect card and give you my address or my life story, but I do want to know a little more about your church. Keywords gives visitors a way to connect that’s simple and feels less intrusive.
Following up with visitors is the by far the most common way we see churches using Keywords but they can also be used for special events, salvation follow up, or giving information about small groups. With each Keyword you create, you can setup a different series of automated messages.
Shortcodes/Longcodes (970-00 vs. 205-791-5973) 🤓
At Clearstream we use both Shortcodes and Longcodes. Most texting providers use one or the other. So why do we use both?
Your Shortcode is a shared 5-digit number used for Keywords and also for sending messages to your Lists. When you promote your Keyword at church you'll ask people to text your Keyword to a 5-digit number, rather than a 10-digit number. This makes for an easier experience for your guests when texting in.
Your Longcode is unique to your account. Your Longcode, provides an easy way to let people text in a prayer request, comment, or can even be used for a live Q&A panel. Any incoming messages from your Longcode will go straight into your Inbox and you and your team can respond to them from there.
*Using both Shortcodes and Longcodes will also give you the highest delivery rate for your message. For any numbers that can’t receive Shortcode messages we’ll deliver your message through your Longcode to ensure that every person receives your message.
Subaccounts let you create multiple accounts under your main account. Very helpful if you have a few different ministries that want to use Clearstream, but you want some separation between each department (youth, women's ministry, downtown campus). Each Subaccount has their own Inbox, Subscribers, Keywords, Integrations. And you can have different people (Users) managing each Subaccount. Users will only have access to the Subaccounts you invite them to.
Planning Center - With our Planning Center integration you can sync your People Lists directly into Clearstream to text them. Integrate with Planning Center by going to your account settings > Integrations > login to Planning Center > select the lists you want to sync. Your Planning Center lists will automatically sync every night, so they'll always be up-to-date. Additionally you can push new Subscribers, who join via text, into Planning Center to automatically create a new Person in your Planning Center account and even add them to one of your Planning Center Workflows.
Mailchimp - If your church uses Mailchimp for sending emails you can sync the emails you've collected in Clearstream with your Mailchimp list to ensure that people who've connected with your church through texting will also receive your Mailchimp emails
Slack - If your church uses Slack for internal communication, you can manage your Clearstream Inbox from directly within your Slack account. Incoming texts will go straight into Slack and you can view them and respond to them from within your channel.
Metrics and Analytics 📊
Once you start using your account, you'll see helpful metrics in a few different places. Go to Subscribers to see how each of your Lists are performing. The same applies for Keywords, Messages, and Longcodes pages. You can change the date range for any of these metrics as well.
Additionally, you can have a Weekly Report automatically generate and sent to you each week. To enable Weekly Reports, go to Account Settings > Notifications > enable Weekly Reports. These will be sent every Monday morning at 9am. You can then download, print or share these reports.