03/19/2017

E-Commerce & SMS Marketing

 

Shutterstock_576487951

Email isn’t the only way for e commerce businesses to get in touch with customers. Mobile technology is growing, with consumers increasingly shopping online via their tablets and smartphones. It means you need to get mobile too, and developing a strong SMS marketing strategy is part of your future success.

Here are a few straightforward tips to help your e commerce business get all it can from the SMS marketing medium.

Make Shopping With You Easy

With consumers growing increasingly used to web browsing and shopping on their smartphones, you want to make the process as easy as possible for them so that they associate your e commerce site with a simple, satisfying shopping experience.

 

Mobile commerce now makes up 30% of e commerce business in the U.S. You can use SMS marketing to direct customers directly to your site and make it a cinch for them to redeem digital coupons and special offers. Just include a link to your mobile shopping site within your texts so they can shop for products right away.

 

Integrate With Other Marketing Channels


Create a bigger impact with your SMS marketing by integrating it with all of your other marketing channels. Radio and TV ads, billboards and posters, flyers and print ads - they can all direct people to opt in to your SMS marketing, and all it takes is the inclusion of a simple keyword and number. Make sure you add your SMS keyword details to your digital ads, websites, blogs, emails and social media to really spread the word.

 

Make Your Words Count

 

With SMS you’re limited to 160 characters, so you want your messages to be succinct and impactful. Don’t just let your customers know about your special offer or sale, but use a call to action to entice people to redeem your offer or visit your mobile web store. Use motivational verbs, strong and dramatic language, and consider a time-limited offer to up the urgency.

 

Make the Most of Mobile Immediacy


With over 90% of Americans owning a mobile phone, and most of us keeping our phones in our pockets all day long, it’s no surprise to find that the open and read rates for SMS are remarkably high - around 98%. Most messages are read immediately, making SMS marketing perfect for last-minute updates, flash sales and 24-hour time-limited offers.


Customer Updates


E commerce businesses can use SMS for more than just special offers and promotions. Because we’re all not so well connected via mobile these days, it’s a great, convenient way to keep in touch with your customers about their orders too, safe in the knowledge that they’ll actually read your updates. YOu can send receipts, delivery updates, and surveys or feedback polls to encourage customers to rate your services and products and suggest improvements.

03/01/2017

Making a Drip Campaign Work for You

 

Shutterstock_584492299

A well-timed text marketing drip campaign can help you engage with your audience and keep them interested in what’s going on with your business.

Drip campaigns are a great way to reach more customers ahead of a special event or sale, and are a great alternative to traditional limited time offer campaigns.

Want to get to know more about drip campaigns and they can work for you? Here’s all you need to know about this more engaging form of text marketing.

 

How Does A Drip Campaign Work?

 

A drip campaign means sending multiple messages to customers or subscribers over a period of time.

The timing of these messages is crucial in order to have the most impact and the achieve the best possible response from subscribers. Typically, a business:

 

  • Creates a keyword in the early stages of the campaign and customers opt-in to a group that's based on this keyword
  • Then sends related text messages to this target group for the duration of the campaign
  • Will use a drip campaign in the lead up to an event, sale or launch to keep interested customers up to date and to ramp up the excitement too

 

Why Use A Drip Campaign?

The primary reason that major brands choose drip text marketing is to make more of an impact on customers. With the latest figures revealing that mobile subscribers between that ages of 25 and 34 receive over 1,000 texts a month, it’s all too easy for one-off marketing messages to get lost in the crowd. Drip text marketing helps prevent your message getting lost in your customer’s inbox by sending multiple messages that act as reminders to your subscribers, who are therefore more likely to notice and remember your offer, sale or event.

 

How Do I Start A Drip Campaign?

As with most forms of text marketing, the drip technique is really simple to implement.

Make it specific - don’t mistake a drip campaign for general news and updates. A drip campaign should have a very specific goal, like alerting subscribers to an upcoming sale, event or one-off offer. You’re seeking to ramp up the anticipation of the event or offer, while also reminding recipients about it.

Think about your call to action - short and direct is the way to go. Texts offer you limited characters to work with, so you want your drip campaign calls to action to be punchy. You want your audience to know exactly what the next step is as send out your messages.
Get the timing right - get your team together and decide on timing. How much lead time do you want to give your subscribers? How often do you want your messages sent to their smartphones? Whether it’s every day for the next seven days or every hour in the next 12 hours, once you’ve decided get in touch with a mobile developer so they can get you started.

02/21/2017

5 Reasons to Use Bulk Texting

 

Shutterstock_190767434

Whenever you embark on a new marketing strategy there are some doubts - how effective will this really be? Will it provide return on investment? It’s why it’s vital that businesses of all sizes take steps to measure the effectiveness of every marketing campaign. Statistical analysis lets us identify when a campaign is working, when it isn’t, and which elements might just need some fine tuning.

The statistics for bulk texting campaigns speak for themselves. In terms of efficacy and return on investment, this relatively new marketing channel is proving itself time and again.

Here are 5 reasons why this marketing tool’s popularity is growing, and fast.

    1. Rapid Response

Bulk texting boasts a rapid response time. Because people always have their phones handy, they tend to respond and take action more immediately when contact is made by phone. Whether you’re having a flash sale or looking to attract more diners to your restaurant on a quiet weekday, SMS is the quickest way to get the word out and increase footfall.

  • Most people open an SMS message within a few minutes
  • The average American responds to a text in 90 seconds
  • Email response takes an average of 90 minutes




    2.Superior Open Rate

    Compared to email and social media, the open and read rates for texts are much higher.

 

  • SMS has a 98 percent open rate
  • Email marketing has a 22 percent open rate

 

Social media has a relatively low rate too. This puts SMS marketing firmly at the top of the marketing food chain.

 

  1. Increased Conversion

    When people receive an SMS marketing message they’re not just more likely to read it, they’re also more likely to convert.

 

  • Texting has eight times the response rate of email
  • SMS has has a much higher conversion rate - around 32 percent of users take
  • Bulk texting outperforms email and social media marketing for conversion rates, click through rates and redemption rates

 

  1. It’s How Customers Want to Hear From You

 

Bulk texting gives you an easy way to give more of your customers what they want.

The majority of consumers actually want businesses to contact them more via text. It’s convenient for them and for you and allows them to access offers more quickly.

 

  • 70 percent of consumers thing SMS marketing is a good way for businesses to engage with them
  • 64 percent of consumers think they should receive more texts from businesses

 

  1. You Won’t End Up in A Spam Folder

 

People are overloaded with spam emails and use spam filters to try to try and avoid having to see them. The result is that it’s easy for your marketing emails to end up in a spam folder. But:

 

  • Only one percent of texts are considered spam


Customers might associate email with spam, but they don’t associate SMS with spam. It means people are happier to receive texts, and value them more than email.

02/19/2017

5 Ways to Reduce Churn Rates for Mass Texting Programs

Shutterstock_130285502


Every mass texting campaign experiences some level of churn rate - some subscribers will opt out by choice, others might change their numbers without updating you, so your messages bounce. But there are things every business can do to keep that churn rate as low as possible.

No one wants to lose subscribers, so here are 5 tips to help you avoid that with your next mass texting program.

 

Listen to your Subscribers

Get in touch with subscribers regularly and get their feedback on what they want from you and your mobile communications with them. Implement the changes they’re asking for and you’ll have happier subscribers who will want to keep on receiving your texts. Whether you use customer surveys or texting polls, all feedback is valuable.

 

Listen to your Non-subscribers

When people opt out it’s easy to get a bit of text feedback to find out why they’re unhappy. Finding out why people are leaving your service lets you know where you need to make changes to make future mass texting programs more successful.

 

Keep in touch regularly

It’s no use having a mass texting program in place if you don’t keep in touch with your subscribers regularly. If they never hear from you, what’s the point in subscribing to you? Regular texts reminds customers you’re there, keeps them engaged with your brand and service, and it makes it more likely that they’ll let you know if they change numbers too. Customers are even more likely to opt out when they get a stray text from you months or years of radio silence. Always get in touch with customers soon after they opt in, and keep in touch.


Don’t overdo it

While you want to keep in regular contact with subscribers, you definitely don’t want to become a nuisance - nothing will have them opting out faster than an over-zealous campaign. Try to keep your SMS send-outs to two to four per month, and make them targeted. Create a selection of subscriber groups so you can text different groups with different offers that are better suited to them. And bear in mind users’ other subscription methods - if they’re also signed up to your email list, direct mailing list and social media channels, they might not want to hear from you as often via mobile too.


Send Content that Matters

You want the texts you send out as part of your mass texting program to be genuinely useful or informative for your subscribers. Provide value with the messages you send, and keep the content exclusive. Switch up your messages between a mixture of offers, discounts, event or appointment reminders, tips and information. Try and target your texts to specific subscribers you know are going to appreciate them.

 

Interact with Customers

Engaging with customers via SMS can help to build brand loyalty. Don’t forget to look after the subscribers you already have, as it’s cheaper to market to customers who already patronize your business than to attract new customers. Interact with your customers regularly and use the simple two-way nature of SMS to encourage them to get in touch with you via mobile too. Offer them services that are of real value to them and in turn ask for their input. Keep the doors of communication open to make your customers feel really valued.

02/14/2017

4 Ways Mobile Technology Can Increase Productivity

 

Shutterstock_578087896

Apps aren’t just here to help us shop, find the quickest route home - or catch Pokemon. Businesses are waking up to the very real benefits that apps can bring to their workforce too; a recent UK study revealed that providing mobile apps to workers can boost their productivity by 34%.

Mobile technology is now boosting productivity in a range of ways, including via app use. Here are three ways you can utilize the latest mobile tech to rev up your own business productivity right now.



Mobile Marketing Boost

Mobile tech gives today’s customers round the clock access to their favorite brands and services. Major brands have grasped the importance and added value of marketing to consumers on the move, reaching out in innovative ways via SMS text messaging, QR codes, mobile apps, banner ads, mobile websites and more.

As smartphone capabilities grow, these campaigns become ever more inventive, attention-grabbing and interactive. With software now able to ‘read’ the websites and products that people are viewing and searching for on their mobiles and tablets, these campaigns can also be more easily customized to target specific audiences, wherever they are in the world.



Say Hello to The Cloud

The Cloud enables companies to store applications and data on a remote server. Authorized employees are then free to view, share and edit this info instantly, wherever they’re at, via their mobile devices. Virtual meetings, file sharing, banking - it can all fit in every employee’s pocket. Even when staff are on leave, on vacation or commuting, it’s fast and easy for them to access the data they need to work anywhere.

 

Stay in Touch

Communication is crucial to the business success, whatever the size of the organization. The easier it is for employees and departments to collaborate and communicate the better. By integrating mobile devices, like tablets, smartphones and laptops, it becomes faster and for staff, vendors and consumers to connect with businesses.

Customers appreciate fast service, and mobile tech delivers the real-time communication that really satisfies. Profits and customer feedback benefit when businesses are able to respond to consumers quickly, with a greater range of products and services, improve turnaround time and offer 24-7 access to product information.

And staff reap the rewards too. Mobile technology means the lines of communication within a business never need to close. So whether it’s interacting on a project with colleagues while you’re out of the office, or attending a virtual meeting when you’re out of the country, you’re always there to help the ship sail smoothly.


Cost Savings

Mobile tech gives staff access to the equipment, data, software, training materials and company info they need, wherever they are, without the need for added costs for accommodation, instructors, rented office space and more. With no need to physically ship or equip people with printers, fax machines, servers and desktops, there’s serious cost advantages to the mobile way of working too.

Make mobile technology work for your business with a mobile marketing campaign. Sign up for mobile marketing today.

02/03/2017

The Mobile Wallet is Superior to Chip & PIN. Here's Why.

 

Shutterstock_570621619

While mobile wallet technology presents one of the safest ways to spend, it’s still not being embraced as fully as chip and PIN. But is that set to change?

Banks have recently changed their stance on credit card fraud by protection. They’re increasingly leaving merchants to handle the fallout of fraudulent charges. So merchants have been upping their game in terms of card equipment, upgrading to chip and PIN readers to deliver more secure checkouts for customers.


But there’s a major drawback to chip-enabled credit cards - speed - or the lack of it. Chip and PIN payments are slow to process. For food service providers and retailers everywhere, being able to deliver lightning-fast, convenient service for customers really counts.

That’s where mobile wallet tech is really superior to Chip and PIN.


Why are Chip-Enabled Cards So Slow?


Slide a chip & PIN credit card into the card reader and the chip generates a one-time code that is sent to the bank over a secure network. Once the bank has confirmed this code it sends verification back to the card reader at the point of sale. The customer’s purchase then completes and they’re free to go with their goods or services.

Chip-enabled cards may be speedier than older payment alternatives, but they’re slower than mobile wallet payments. Taking up to 10 extra seconds to process, chip & PIN credit cards can cause delays at checkouts. Employees and customers become frustrated by slow processing, when it seems to take forever for that receipt to print, and fewer customers can check out in a day.

While the enhanced protection of chip and PIN is great, there are better solutions out there.

Speedy Mobile Wallet Solutions: Apple Pay and Samsung Pay

Customers paying with their smartphones can beat that 10 second chip & PIN delay with mobile wallet apps. While Android Pay still takes around seven seconds to process, with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay we’re talking only three seconds to process a transaction. Mobile wallet processing times of only 2.4 seconds have also been recorded.

The lengthier chip & PIN payment process is mainly taken up by the time it takes to insert your card, wait until the transaction is approved before signing, and then remove your card again. The processing itself is fast. With mobile wallet apps, all you need to do is tap and scan. It’s a faster, more streamlined payment process. Although not every merchant accepts Android Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay yet, so customers need to look out for logos on cash registers or do some research ahead of time to see where these payments are accepted.

At the moment, the most readily available mobile wallet option is Samsung Pay, because it utilises magnetic secure transmission. This technology produces a magnetic signal that works like the magnetic strip that we’re used to on cards. The bonus for merchants and consumers here is that it means most credit card machines can read it. Right now more banks accept Apple Pay than Samsung Pay or Android Pay. The advantage of Android Pay is its flexibility - as well as operating on Android devices, it can also operate on Samsung phones, iPhones and Apple Watch.

01/23/2017

5 Ways to Grow Your Driving School Business with SMS Marketing

 

Shutterstock_174504611

Driving school success relies on attracting new customers and building trust and rapport with existing students. A solid SMS marketing strategy will easily achieve both, as well as helping your business stand out from the competition.

A low cost, high impact outreach tool, text message marketing is also really simple to set up, so it’s ideal for new and small businesses too.

Now sure where to start? Here are 5 SMS marketing for driving school tips to rev up your business performance.

 

Run a more efficient business

Texts and instant messages are short, fast and convenient. That’s why teens and tweens love them. Getting in touch with your students via the method they use most means more effective communication, and more convenience for them too. Use SMS for a range of communications to help cut costs and boost efficiency.

 

  • Send class reminders
  • Receive confirmations and cancellations to avoid time wasted by no-shows
  • Request student feedback
  • Send personalized driving tips and study reminders 

 

Impressive open rates

SMS has a much more impressive open rate than email:

 

  • 99% of text messages are opened and read

 

  • Just 28-33% of emails are opened and read

 

When you’re a small business you want to spend time on marketing that rewards your efforts. Setting up text message marketing is quicker than emailing, with no need to spend time and money on graphics. SMS marketing for driving schools is also more likely to be read than email and social media posts, so target your efforts where it counts.

 

Spread your special offers and promotions

SMS is a great way to spread the word about upcoming special offers or promotions, as well as targeted offers for existing students. You can:

 

  • Text a code or link that entitles the receiver to a discount off their next class
  • Offer a free or discounted first class to those who sign up for your SMS alerts
  • Let students know about any upcoming events you’ll be attending so they can find out more about your service in person

 

Make an instant connection with potential students

Add a keyword and short code to your existing advertising to make it easy for anyone that’s interested to get in touch and sign up for more info. As soon as they see your flyer, poster, business card or print ad they’ll have an instant point of contact, and a call to action that enables them to make contact right there and then.

 

Reach a wider audience

While local advertising is great, its scope is limited. How many people in the tri-state area will see your newspaper ad or posters? Compare that to the possible reach of SMS in the same area, when 90% of Americans own an SMS-enable phone. Your text info and offers can be easily shared by recipients forwarding texts to friends and relatives they think might be interested in your services. It means your customers are actually doing some of the marketing leg work for you.

01/20/2017

5 SMS Marketing Tips for Veterinarians

 

 

Shutterstock_268601354

Helping animals in your community means making as many pet owners in your area as possible know about the services you provide. SMS marketing is one of the most versatile and cost-effective tools that businesses can use to reach out to communities.

Text message marketing makes it easy to get the message out to prospective patients, as well as providing a great way to communicate with your current clients.

Here are five ways SMS marketing for veterinarians can help your practice grow. 

Add a text call to action – and Increase the power of existing advertising

With people carrying phones in their pockets 24/7, by including a keyword and short code to your advertising, potential customers have an easy and instant way to get in touch with you to learn more as soon as they see your ads. Texting has been found to be a more powerful call to action than providing an email, web address or voice call contact.

 

Appointment Reminders

One of the most useful ways SMS marketing for veterinarians can enhance efficiency and reduce costs is through appointment reminders. A simple way to improve your customer communication, useful appointment reminders reduce the number of missed appointments. With a 98% final read rate, your reminders are always likely to be seen, and they give your patients that chance to let you know of any possible scheduling conflicts, so you can manage your appointment scheduling better.

 

Promotions and tips

Text messaging is also a great way to let your subscribers know about any new products or services you have to offer. Whatever you’re adding to your practice, from pet food to grooming services, you can encourage more footfall and an interest in the wider range of services that you provide. Sending out tailored pet care tips also helps you build a relationship with your patients, adding a personal touch, and ensuring they have all the info they need to care for their pets properly. 

 

Discounts

Vet’s bills can be expensive. It’s one of the reasons pet owners can put off those routine check-ups or vaccinations, saving trips to the vet for emergencies only. But offering special rates to text subscribers can motivate them to come in and see you.

Whether you’d like to offer exclusive discounts to first-time or existing patients, text message marketing allows you to get in touch with those who could benefit and let them know about your latest offers.

 

Patient Questions

The beauty of SMS marketing is that it isn’t just a one-way street. You can get in touch with patients, but they can get in touch with you too. Allowing pet owners to get in touch with you via text with their pet care queries is a valuable service that patients really appreciate, and helps to build trust and loyalty with your practice. Cheaper than manning the phones all day, all questions can be sent to a dedicated number to be reviewed by yourself or other staff members. You can then provide advice or ask the client to come in to see you in person if necessary.

 

10/31/2016

The App That Teaches CPR in Emergency Situations

 

Shutterstock_115683136

There are apps for business, there are apps for entertainment, there are apps for the weather, and there are apps that help save lives. One app that falls into the life-saving category is PulsePoint, a nonprofit application endorsed by the Red Cross and the American Heart Association, among others. The app provides updated CPR guidelines and otherwise encourages citizens to be active during emergency situations, rather than standing and watching them unfold. 

 

Using The Training

Nearly 60 percent of adults in the United States have undergone training to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or use an automated external defibrillator (AED). These people have acknowledged their willingness to help during times of emergency, yet only about 11 percent do. Those behind PulsePoint have used mobile technology to streamline CPR guidelines while simultaneously finding ways to appeal to this trained segment of the population. 

Think of the time it takes for paramedics or an EMS team to arrive at the scene when someone’s having a heart attack. Beginning the CPR process quickly doubles if not triples the individual’s survival rate; therefore, a mobilized, trained population could provide life-saving assistance during said window. 

 

How PulsePoint Works

So, how does PulsePoint work? Those trained in CPR or AED use register with the app and receive notifications whenever they’re near someone suffering from cardiac arrest. The app also lets these people know where the nearest public AEDs are located. 

EMS workers take over the emergency situation once they arrive; however, having a trained individual provide assistance until that time could easily be the difference between life and death. The app alerts anyone nearby who has PulsePoint the moment 911 is called. 

 

Crossover Potential

PulsePoint is currently working in small and large cities, including Fargo, North Dakota and Cleveland, Ohio. The app also offers extensive crossover potential in areas of public health, security, and education. This naturally depends on PulsePoint’s level of success; however, variations of the innovative software could provide assistance to assorted civil service functions. 

 

Creating Citizen Superheroes

The official PulsePoint website stresses that the app is a way to create superheroes out of regular citizens with CPR training who are interested in putting their skills to excellent use. The site notes that SCA can happen any time, at any location, and the more citizens are aware of the health of their community members, the more they become helpful partners to paramedics and similar service agents. 

PulsePoint is challenging those trained in CPR and AED to be proactive instead of looking the other way when they see an ambulance go by or hear those familiar sirens. The website notes this is even more imperative when an ambulance or fire truck is stuck in horrendous traffic. Rather than depriving cardiac arrest victims of the help they need, PulsePoint is encouraging the average person with CPR training to help his or her fellow citizen when it’s direst. 

Will the app become the new standard in cardiac arrest cases? 

 

10/26/2016

Mobile Wallets Are Faster, So Why Wait for Chip and PIN?

 

Shutterstock_111032852

Have you used a chip reader yet? First, you dig out your credit card, stick it in the machine, wait a few seconds, remove the card, sign the dotted line, and then you get your receipt. 

It’s a simple process, but it’s more time consuming than the previous swipe method, and the public, as well as merchants, are taking note of the extra time it takes at checkout. In fact, chip-enabled credit cards can take as long as 10 seconds to complete a transaction; add those seconds up over an 8-hour work day, and you might find that customers are starting to tap their feet. 

Chip technology was, and still is, a huge victory for financial institutions and retail stores; reducing fraud with this technology has been successful by most accounts. However, businesses were slow to adopt chip readers, and banks launched a defense wherein retailers would take on the burden of fraudulent charges. 

Merchants responded in kind, but were likely unaware of the excess wait times they’d be facing as a result. According to a new report by Iovation and the research firm Aite Group, by the end of this year, 80 percent of all credit cards in the U.S. will include chip technology

 

Alternatives for Chip Technology 

Chip technology wasn’t the only solution to the original problem, nor is it the only viable alternative today. Mobile wallets have been around for years, including Google Wallet, which was first introduced back in 2011 and released to the public late the same year. Tim Cook announced Apple Pay back in 2014, yet very little awareness of mobile wallet technology exists in the public.

This is partly because many retail stores don’t yet support mobile payment technology, but it’s also a result of slow adoption from consumers, many of whom are dubious of the new payment system. 

However, they might also feel compelled to get familiar with mobile wallet technology when they grow tired of waiting in line at the grocery store, restaurants, or the local coffee shop. Some mobile wallet processing takes as little as 2.4 seconds, and you don’t even have to bring your wallet to the store—just your smartphone.

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay are all working to streamline their systems and overcome the greatest challenge of all: getting the average consumer to ditch plastic cards altogether. 

 

Chip Vs. Mobile Wallet Safety 

There’s a lot of debate over which method of payment is more secure: chip or mobile. But where one has seen more adoption (chip technology), the other (mobile wallets) is looking to springboard off the chip.

According to a paper by officials from the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Boston, the “…contactless mobile solution provides the framework for the enhanced security present in the EMV chip+PIN card environment, while also introducing new security layers unique to the mobile phone, including password protection to operate the mobile phone and access applications securely embedded in the phone.”

And that’s exactly what mobile wallets plan to do moving forward, assuming they can get consumers on board with the idea of paying for everyday items with their phones.

At the end of the day, mobile wallets will be faster and safer than cards (with or without chip technology), so it’s odd to see so much retail commitment when it’s possible that mobile wallets could make chip technology obsolete.