Read time: 3-5 minutes.

Clearstream is a web-based platform that enables you to communicate with your subscribers (members, visitors, staff, volunteers) via text message. You can also use our iOS or Android app to manage your account from your phone. If you don’t yet have an account, you can signup here.

This guide serves as a springboard for getting started with your Clearstream account. It won't cover more in depth features or functionalities such as using a Longcode (Dedicated Number) or the Clearstream API. Rather, we’ll cover the basics:

  • create and grow your Lists
  • send messages to your subscribers
  • respond to incoming messages or replies
  • track your performance

Creating Your Lists

In order to start texting subscribers, you’ll first need to create a List (unless you integrate with your ChMS, like Planning Center. In this case, Lists will be auto-created). All subscribers are stored in Lists. You can also have multiple Lists for different subscriber types (keyword opt-ins, imported, website signups, etc). Each account can have an unlimited number of Lists.

To create a new List:

  1. Go to Subscribers and click “Create List”. 
  2. Name your List, then click “Create List”.

Three ways to grow your List:

  • Integration - If you use Planning Center as your ChMS, you can directly integrate your PCO People app with your Clearstream account.
  • Keyword opt-in – a Keyword is a word or combination of characters (letters and numbers) a subscriber texts to your shortcode (970-00 or 554-98) to join your List. Steps to creating a new keyword.
  • Imported List – If you have an already existing List of subscribers which have given permission to be contacted via text, you can import it as an Excel/CSV file. List importing guidelines.
  • Website Form – A Website Form enables your website visitors to join your texting List right from your website or social media pages. Creating a Website Form walkthrough.
  • Zapier integration - If you use a 3rd party application for gathering new member registration, you can likely sync that app with Clearstream through Zapier, as long as that app also has a Zapier integration. Read more here.

Once you’ve created your keyword and/or website plugin, you’ll want to promote it so people can join your List. When a subscriber opts-in through your keyword or website plugin, they will receive an auto-response message. This is a message that is immediately sent back to the subscriber after they opt-in. You'll create your auto-response message when you create your Keyword, Website Form, or Longcode. And it can be changed at any time.

Sending a Message 

[Link to Creating New Message guide]
Now that you have a growing List of subscribers, it’s time to send them a message. You can send a message to an entire List, multiple Lists, or individual subscribers. Steps to creating a new message:

  1. Go to Messages (or Create Message from the Dashboard)
  2. Write your message content. Click Update Header to change your message header. Click Shorten URL to create a trackable bit.ly URL.
  3. Select the List(s) you'll send your message to. If you need to send a message to only a few subscribers, click the right dropdown, select Recipients, and select your specific recipients.
  4. Choose whether to send your message now or schedule for a later date.
  5. Click Preview Message. Double check everything, and click Send Message.

You can also have your message posted to your Facebook and Twitter pages. To integrate your social media accounts with Clearstream, go to Account Settings > Social Media.

After your message is sent, you’ll be taken to the Message View page where you can view metrics in real-time, on a second-by-second basis.

Incoming Messages and Replies

All incoming messages are stored in your SMS Inbox. Incoming messages can be replies to one of your message blasts, a reply to a Keyword/Website Form auto-response, or a message sent to your Longcode.

Notifications for New Incoming Messages

  • Email - you can choose to receive email notifications for incoming messages. Enable email notifications from your Account Settings.
  • App Push - if you are using the Clearstream iOS or Android app, you can enable push notifications for new incoming messages. You can also reply to incoming messages from within the app.

Responding to Incoming Messages

When you receive a new incoming message or reply (found on your Dashboard or Inbox page), you can respond by clicking on the message. This will take you to the Inbox where you can send a reply to the subscriber. You can also quickly edit the subscriber’s data (first name, last name, email) from this page.

Note: when a subscriber replies to a message you sent to an entire List, their reply will only be sent to you, not other subscribers in the List.

Track Your Performance

After you send a message, you can track it’s performance in real-time on the Message View page. You’ll also be able to track link clicks, replies, opt-outs, and failures.

Message performance isn’t the only metric you can track in your account. From the Dashboard, you will get a snapshot of your top performing Lists, keywords and opt-in sources. You can also quickly see overall account metrics like total opt-ins, opt-outs, and messages sent.

Let us know if you need any help. We're always here to help.

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