How do I get started with Textcast?

From Google’s G Suite Marketplace:

  • Find and download Textcast from the G Suite Marketplace.
  • Search for “Textcast” in the top search bar
  • After the Textcast profile page comes up, click on the “Install” button
  • A window will appear asking for your permission to install Textcast — click on the “continue” button

From a spreadsheet:

  • Open up a spreadsheet in Google Sheets
  • Click the “Add-ons” menu (to the left of “Help” menu)
    • Navigate and click “Get add-ons…”
  • A new window will open which lists the available Add-ons
    • In the top right Search box of the window, enter “Textcast”
    • After Textcast comes up, click on the “+ Free” button on the right side of  the listing
  • A new window will then appear, asking for permission to access certain information to run the Textcast service – please click to accept, after which the window will close
  • After accepting, if you return to the “Add-ons” menu in the Google Sheet, Textcast will show up as a menu choice
    • Click on Textcast and navigate to the first option “Send Texts” to get started.

How do I send my first message?

After installing Textcast, go to the “Add-ons” menu in your Google sheet, select “Textcast” and then “Send Texts”.   A sidebar window will appear in the right side of the spreadsheet. Textcast will also create a new tab “Textcast” in the spreadsheet.  

Enter the recipient’s phone number in the first column A, and then the content of the text message in column B.  Click on the “Preview and Send Texts” button in the right side window and you’ll see a preview of the text message(s) will look like.  

If you are sending more than one message, you can click on the arrows to see what each text will look like to each individual recipient.   After you’re done previewing, click “Send Texts Now” button, after which the sidebar will ask you if you want to enter a campaign name for this batch of messages.  We’ll remember this campaign name and associate it with these messages so that you can look back later.

After entering a campaign name, click on the “Send Texts Now” button to send the texts.

After the messages are sent, Textcast creates a “Sent History” tab which shows all the text messages which were sent while in this spreadsheet, including the time sent, campaign name, number of responses, recipient phone number and message content.

How do import contacts work?

Our import contacts function lets you pull into a spreadsheet contacts you already have saved into Google Apps.  Go to the “Add-ons” menu, navigate to “Textcast” and then click on Import Contacts. In the right sidebar, you’ll have the option to select what types of contacts you’d like to import.  After checking which numbers you want to add, they’ll be imported into the open Google sheet.

How do I upgrade to send more messages?

We’re glad you like the service.  To upgrade, in a Google sheet click on the “Add-ons” menu, go to the “Textcast” item and click on “Billing & Plan”.   In the right sidebar, click on the “change plan” button in the sidebar, after which you’ll see 3 options. Check out our main features page [insert link to main marketing page] to see the benefits of each plan.

Choose the plan you want by clicking on the button for that plan, and you’ll be prompted to enter your credit card information.  After that’s successful, for the Pro and Premium plans, you’ll next be prompted to pick your own custom number.

In the dialog box, enter the area code of the phone number you’d like and Textcast will present you with a list of options — choose the one you like.  After selecting a custom number in the Pro and Premium plans, you should be ready to send messages — go back to the Add-ons menu and click “Send Texts” under “Textcast”.

How do polls work?

We built polls to allow you to take the first step in interacting with your friends, teammates or customers.  We built a flexible system where you can create a poll and save it for future use. To create a poll, go to the Add-ons menu, navigate to Textcast and then click on “Send Texts”, which will launch the right sidebar.  Click on the “Manage & Create Polls” button to get started. Polls are a premium feature available when you subscribe to the Premium plan.

For each poll, we’ll need the name of the poll, the poll’s question and a list of answers — enter them in the dialog boxes in the right sidebar.  Please note:

  • Poll names are capped at 20 characters — we save the polls so you can re-use and edit in the future.
  • Poll’s question are limited to 160 characters so that the poll question fits in one text message.   
  • Answers have a limit of 15 characters and you can add up to 8 options

After creating the poll, there will be a preview pane where you can see how the message will appear to the recipients.   If you’re satisfied, click the “create poll” button and you’ll see the poll in the main Poll profile page in the right sidebar.  All the polls you create and save will show up in this list.

To send a poll, in the right sidebar, click on the “insert” button for the poll you want to insert, and Textcast will add it into the column B “Text Body” column.  

If you have multiple phone numbers listed with nothing in the “Text Body” column B, Textcast will by default enter the poll into all of those rows so the poll will be sent to all of those phone numbers.  You’ll see from the additional entries into column B. Not to worry, before the poll is sent, you’ll see in the preview right sidebar.

How are poll results calculated over time?

We maintain a cumulative record of responses for a poll you set up in Textcast.  For example, if you create a poll and send it out once and then send it out again a month later, the results will show responses combined from the two times you sent the poll out over the past month.

If you’d like to separate out results for the same poll question, then please “copy” poll in the main poll management screen to create a different version of the poll and send out polls from the new poll you created.

Which number are messages sent from?

We maintain a pool of numbers from which text messages are sent.  Within the same batch campaign, we may use different numbers. If you subscribe to our Premium or Pro plan, you can select your own number from which your customers will receive texts.

Can I customize my messages?

We’ve built a simple but powerful tool to customize messages to different phone numbers in one batch campaign.  If you want the message to pick up and insert content from other columns in the spreadsheet (for example, first name), in the column B “Text Body”, simply enter square brackets around the column letter from which you want to pull the data.  

For example, if you have a contact list with first name,  last name and team name in other columns, you could insert the first name into the text message — see example below, where Textcast picks up the Name in column C when the Text body in column B uses the [c] function:

How do I know when someone has received my text messages?

Every time you send out a batch of messages, the service creates a “Sent History” tab in the spreadsheet where the activity is recorded, including:

  • time stamp of when each message was sent
  • campaign name of that batch of messages
  • number of responses from that recipient
  • sent message content
  • recipient’s phone number
  • message structure – this is different from message content if you used a poll or formula

How will I know when someone has replied to a text message I’ve sent?

Textcast has an email notification service which will email you each time someone responds to your text messages. Go to the “Billings and Settings” page to turn off these email notifications.

How can I change my custom number?

If you’re a Premium or Pro plan subscriber, email help@textcast.co if you’d like to change your custom number and we’ll help you reset it.

Can I use Textcast out of a normal Excel spreadsheet, or through a website?

We built Textcast specifically for Google Sheets.  Please contact us at help@textcast.co if  you have thoughts on how we can improve or expand the service.

What if I accidentally deleted data from the Sent History tab but still want to view responses or poll results?

If you’ve deleted information from the Sent History tab and still want to view responses in the sidebar, go to the “File” menu –> Version history –> See version history to view former versions of the spreadsheet; restore the version with the data you want.

What if contacts in Google Contacts are not loading into Textcast correctly?

We know of a case where when a contact is auto-created in Google Contacts from someone you email directly (or emails you), it does not always import correctly into Textcast. One workaround is to edit the contact and save it. We have reached out to Google to inform them and will update these FAQs when we learn more.

Why does Textcast need me to approve all these permissions to work?

Several of our features require access to info such as your contact lists in Google and we want to make sure you know we could be accessing that info. Please be aware that we are only asking for these permissions to run the Textcast service you’ve signed up for and not for any other reasons.

What if I have questions not answered in these FAQs?

We are here to help — please reach out to us at help@textcast.co and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.