Welcome to Respond Flow! My name is Peter, Head of Sales and Co-Founder at Respond Flow. I’m so happy you decided to choose Respond Flow on your texting journey! In this guide, I’ll be going over how to get your Respond Flow account set up for text success. Let’s get started!

Step 1) Get Your Contacts Together

The first step to getting started on Respond Flow is to get your already opted-in contacts added to Respond Flow. If you’re not sure if your contacts meet the TCPA opt-in requirements, take a look at this guide to staying compliant with the TCPA.

Once you’re sure that your current contact list meets those requirements, it’s time to get your list uploaded! 

To make sure the upload goes through, we have to make sure your file upload is formatted correctly. Here’s the 3 things you need to make sure of:

1) Correct Ordering of Headers:

  • When you view your file in Excel, Google Sheets, or Pages, the columns should be in this order and contain their respective headers in the first row.
  • First Name | Last Name | Phone Number | Comma Separated Tags

2) Phone Number Format:

  • All phone numbers should be formatted without a country code or any special characters like parenthesis, dashes, periods, plus sign, ect. 
  • Example: 4052665924

3) CSV File Format: 

  • Make sure that you download your file as a CSV. The name of the file should look something like: FILENAME.CSV

*Note: If you are planning to upload more than 2,500 contacts at once, contact me at peter.daggett@respondflow.com or through our in-app chat (The floating message button at the bottom right of your screen).*

Here’s an example of what the spreadsheet should look like. 

When this CSV gets uploaded to Respond Flow, it will add both Martin and me as contacts with the tags Sales, Example, and Test.

To upload your contacts, click Contacts -> Add Contacts on the sidebar menu, and scroll down to where you see Upload CSV. Then, you can choose your file by clicking Choose File or Drag to Upload, or just simply drag and drop your file right on that button. 

You should then see your file name appear below the Choose File or Drag to upload button. Once you see your file there, click the blue Upload button and your file will get uploaded!

*Note: Don’t worry if you don’t immediately see all of your contacts in the My Contacts section. Contacts are uploaded line by line, so if you don’t see them immediately just wait for 2-3 minutes and then refresh the page.*

2) Sending your First Mass Message

It’s time to send your first text! Let’s get started by crafting your message.

On the sidebar menu, click on Conversations -> Create Templates -> Add Template.

Once you click Add Template, you should see this window pop up on your screen. 

Now, let’s give your template a name. This name won’t be seen by anyone receiving the texts, it is just to help you know which template you’ve selected. We recommend naming it something like Initial Message Blast.

Now that you’ve got your name, it’s time to write your message body. Here’s a broad template that you can use:

Hey {first_name}, this is (Your Name) from (Your Business Name)! We just started using a new texting service called Respond Flow to send you (Special Deals/Important updates/whatever you’re sharing), so make sure to save this number in your phone as (Your first name from your business name)! If you ever want to stop receiving texts from us, just reply STOP to opt-out.

*Note: Make sure you replace the bolded text in parenthesis with your information, as this will not automatically populate. The only fields that will automatically populate are the {first_name} and {last_name} fields.*

Awesome! Now that we’ve crafted your message, it’s time to send it out!

On the sidebar menu, click Campaigns -> Message Blasts -> Schedule a Message

Once you click Schedule a Message, you should see this window pop up on your screen.

The first thing you should do is choose your tags. If you want to send the message to all the contacts in your system, click the Choose Tags field, and type in ALL. If you want to send the message to just a specific segment, just type  or click the tags of the segment you want to send the message to. 

*Note: If you were to use the tags SALES and EXAMPLE, your text will go out to only the contacts that are tagged with both SALES and EXAMPLE, not to contacts that are tagged just as SALES or just as EXAMPLE.

Once you’ve chosen your segment, click on the time field to schedule your message. You’ll see a date picker show up like the one below. If you want to schedule your message for the future, choose the day you want to schedule your message. If you want to schedule your message to go out immediately, click today’s date, and then click Select Time. 

Once you’ve clicked select time, you will see a time picker pop up like the one below. If you want to send your message out as soon as possible, select a time about 3 minutes ahead of the current time. If you click Now instead, the message will not send.

Remember, we use a 24-hour clock in your current time zone. Make sure that you choose the correct time for your message, as 1:45 is not 1:45 PM, it is 1:45 AM.

Once you’ve selected your time, click Use A Template. Then, you can choose the template we created in the previous step for your message. If you do not want to use the first name attribute, you can just type up your message body in the field titled Body.

Once you’ve chosen your tags, time, and message, just click the blue OK button to schedule your message! You should see the message pop up below the Schedule a Message button, with the number of messages scheduled to be sent, the total number delivered, the body of the message you are sending, and a red Delete button. Don’t worry if the time passes and it still says 0 are delivered, just refresh the page and you will see the delete button go away, and the number of messages that were sent. 

*Note: If the time has passed and you have followed the instructions above, but you still see Amount Sent: 0, contact me at peter.daggett@respondflow.com or through our in-app chat (The floating message button at the bottom right of your screen).*

Great! Now that you’ve sent your first blast, let’s go over how to add contacts to Respond Flow using our built-in form and how to send automatic welcome messages. 

3) Adding Contacts and Auto-Welcome Messages

The first thing you’ll want to do is get your online form link. You can use this form to collect contact information on your website through an embedded link, on a tablet at your Physical Location, or through an email campaign.

*Note: If you want to automatically add contact information through a 3rd party form software like Typeform, SurveyMonkey, Mailchimp, or Google Forms, check out our guide on How to Connect Respond Flow to Zapier.*

To locate your form link, on the sidebar menu click Contacts -> Add Contacts,  then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, until you see a link that looks like this: 

Simply copy that link and add it to your website, open it on your iPad, or share it with your friends to add them as contacts!

Once you’ve located your form, you can set up your automatic welcome message to greet new contacts when they join your list. 

Click Campaigns -> Auto-Texts -> New Auto-Text

Once you click New Auto-Text, you should see this window pop up on your screen.

The first thing you’ll need do is choose your Trigger Event. Click on the field called Trigger Event, and choose When a New Contact is Added. 

If you're using an external from connected through Zapier, the next thing you should do is choose which tags should receive the message. If you use a tag like EXAMPLE, only contacts that are added with the tag EXAMPLE will receive this welcome message. 

By default, all contacts are added with the tag ALL, so if you want to send this message to every contact that joins, just leave that field unchecked. 

*Note: If you want to have different welcome messages based on which tag a customer has, you’ll need to use a 3rd party form software and connect it through Zapier.

Now it’s time to choose your message. If you haven’t yet created the template for the welcome message, click on Conversations -> Templates and write your welcome message. 

If you already created your message, you will be able to select the template that you'll use by clicking on the Choose Message field.

Lastly, you’ll need to choose your wait time. This indicates how long our system should wait after the contact is added to send the message. The minimum amount of time you can wait is 1 minute, as these messages are designed to be conversational and feel like they were sent by a human.

Once you’ve completed all the fields, click the blue OK button and you’re done! If you want to test it out and see how it works, enter your own information into your built-in form and you should get a text after the wait time is complete! 

*Note: If a contact is already in the system, the automation will not work, as it applies to only new contacts.*

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