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December 08, 2016

Expert Interview Series: Gil Shapira of TeleMessage About the Impact of Mass Text Messaging



Gil Shapira is the VP of Business Development at TeleMessage, a leading provider of business mobile messaging offering mass messaging and secure compliant mobile messaging solutions. Gil recently spoke with us about the growth and capabilities of mass text messaging and gave us a glimpse as to what the industry will look like in the future.

Tell us a bit about your background. Why did you decide to co-found TeleMessage?

TeleMessage is an established company which has provided robust messaging services for the last 16 years. It all started when we were backpacking around the world. We were looking for low-cost ways to exchange messages between travelers and families back home, and the idea was to send messages to phones from a web portal.

What are some of the benefits of mass text messaging that aren't necessarily seen when relying solely on emails?

Nowadays, people are looking for a mobile-first solution, and I believe that the tremendous growth of text messaging speaks for itself. Mobile messaging is the fastest growing online trend and behavior (passing social networks). It passed three billion mobile messaging app users worldwide. If you take into account SMS messaging, you can actually reach seven billion mobile users worldwide - which is the single most ubiquitous communication channel in a fragmented chat apps world.

Mobile phones take up the most digital time and attention, and chat and messaging apps are amongst the most-used services on phones. Unlike email, text messages usually receive a response within 90 seconds. Moreover, in most chat apps, you know whether recipients have received and read the message.

Chat apps offer far more services and features than email. They are built for mobile devices because they are faster, instant, and more secure. Plus, they allow voice and text, group chat, file sharing, channels, stickers, media, and video messages. And they are clearly better-suited for a world that is concerned with security and privacy.

If someone were to say to you, "I don't need mass text messaging. I'll just communicate with my clients and customers through social media," how would you respond?

I would not rule out social media as a channel; but for the majority of companies as well as customers, mobile is clearly the preferred channel of communication. It's uncommon to find companies doing social engagement and not doing mobile engagement. Surprisingly, there are still a lot of companies that are not utilizing mobile texting at all. Some companies are still doing only voice or email, and they are missing out on big opportunities in both cost savings, proactive engagement, and improved efficiency and innovation.

In what situations are automated voice broadcasts more practical or effective than simple text messages or emails?

There are still many use cases where voice is a very important channel.

Let's take an example of emergency notifications with time-critical information. If you would send it only via email or text, people might not notice an email or hear a beep of an SMS arriving. But if the phone starts to ring and vibrate, they will surely notice it.

In our platform, we have the ability to track delivery confirmations or send chasing messages that will try to reach people across many channels, including IP push notifications to apps, SMS, MMS, voice calls, faxes, and emails.

Do you have any tips on how to craft a mass text message if time-sensitive responses are critical to the campaign?

Try to make it personal. Schedule the message to be sent at the best time to trigger a response. Don't send too many messages; people are already overloaded with messages and information.

Other things to consider:

    • Try to utilize templates and plan for two-way interaction.

 

    • If you can, try to automate the process by using APIs.

 

  • An email to SMS might be a good solution for some companies using Outlook as their main messaging tool.

When utilizing mass text messaging, what are some important metrics to keep an eye on?

This needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, since different companies and services have different goals and metrics.

For example, some are trying to decrease support calls into their call center and might measure how many hours they saved by sending proactive alerts. Others want the opposite and are trying to generate more responses and calls for ordering goods and services. What is truly important is to choose a messaging solution vendor that can provide tailored reports and statistics.

Tracking message delivery statistics is a must for everyone, since the quality of delivery is of great importance. Though companies are not aware of it, there are different routes and ways to send messages; and there are also regulations about when you can use long codes or short codes, as well as what information needs to be delivered to subscribers and the processes for opting in and out of a messaging service.

Tell us about the future of mass text messaging. Will another method of messaging render it obsolete, or will it remain a viable type of communication for the foreseeable future?

The future for messaging is very bright. It's the preferred communication channel for the younger generation, and social messaging still has a lot of room to grow.

On the enterprise front, since consumer chat apps are overtaking enterprise communication, we foresee companies embracing similar enterprise messaging apps for internal communication. Enterprise apps have far more requirements that encompass the administration of users, compliance and regulatory requirements, greater security and reliability demands, and IT integration needs.

Another concern for companies is the fact that their employees are chatting with customers over these consumer channels even though there is no record of this communication and interaction in the enterprise. Solutions which solve this need driven by compliance and regulation will clearly emerge, and we are already offering text archiving solutions.

On the messaging apps front, Asian messaging apps are far more advanced, and we can assume that the Western chat apps will follow many of the trends that are successful in China. This means far more power will shift towards companies like Facebook (which owns FB Messenger and WhatsApp), as well as far more e-commerce, brand engagement, and paid services done via chat services.

As for chat bots, they will clearly change the way we communicate. Our vision of the new hype is the following:

Today:

  • Smarter bots evolving; bots combined with human engagement
  • Messaging bots will overtake vertical apps; companies and appliances will utilize bots instead of apps
  • Far greater power for companies running these chat services
  • More bots with personality

In ~5 years:

  • Singularity point: natural language processing + AI + semantic search + image and voice recognition + location + connected IoT
  • A blur between messaging bots and intelligent agents - you won't know if you're talking to a human or a machine

In ~10 years:

  • Sensor maturity, advanced machine learning
  • AI systems make automatic recommendations
  • Bots will be the new APIs

To summarize - these are the main trends we see in messaging:
* Messaging chat apps becoming a major channel for customer interactions and communication
* Messaging chat apps becoming a major source for e-commerce transactions and payments
* Chat apps and messaging being used by brands for acquisition and retention phases
* Enterprises embracing chat apps as a main communication channel
* Chat bots with artificial intelligence and personality

Want to see if mass text messaging can help your organization? Contact us today!

December 06, 2016

How Mom and Pop Stores Can Use Group Texting for Success

As a mom and pop store, you constantly have to compete with the large chains that establish a footprint just down the road, as well as all the offers available online. It can be tough, but you provide things that these larger companies cannot, such as above-and-beyond personal service. It is essential to find additional ways to stand out from the competition that are not based solely on price so that customers choose you.

Group texting provides a way to engage with customers and market your business. It is a cost-effective marketing solution that is easy to implement, and it is highly versatile, making it easy to integrate with your existing marketing strategy.

Above-and-Beyond Customer Service


Customers come to you for your service. Provide even better service with texting.

As a mom and pop store, your customer service is one of your most marketable components. You treat your customers like family, and your service far outdoes that of the competition. Take your customer service one step further with texting. It provides a great medium for transactional messages. Plus, it is a two-way communication tool through which customers can contact you about any customer service issues. Many customers prefer dealing with customer service through text. Providing that platform helps you stand out from the crowd and it adds to your above-and-beyond customer service.

Reminders

Another way to use text messaging for your mom and pop store is to send out reminders. This might be appointment reminders if you have a service-based business. It also might be reminders about any events that take place at your store, such as a customer appreciation party or a special sale. Texts are read within a few minutes of receipt, so they make a strong reminder. You can send a message the day before or the day of the event to ensure that people do not forget. This increases your attendance, which in turn boosts your sales.

Personalized Messages

Personalized messages have significant power and texting provides a way to send them. You can easily group your subscribers into categories according to preferences, shopping behavior, and demographics. Then, send targeted messages based on these parameters so that the messages your customers receive are personally relevant to them. You can even create a loyalty club through which you send specialized coupons, rewards, and other offers only to those in that group. Other examples of personalized messages might be birthday rewards or notifications of new merchandise.

Exclusive Coupons and Deals


Send your customers exclusive deals to get them to visit your store.

Coupons and deals are strong motivators for shopping. Your texting subscribers are a great audience for your store. They are already interested enough in your company to receive texts from you. With the right coupon or offer, they will be ready to take the next step and visit you. This can be said for any medium through which you send offers, but texting makes for the ideal one.

Around 98 percent of texts are opened, often within the first minute. This means you can feel confident that your offers are actually seen. Plus, they are easy to redeem, since all customer need to do is show the text. Most people already have their phone on them, so they do not have to worry about forgetting to bring the coupon. That is why mobile coupons have a much higher redemption rate than others.

No matter how you choose to use your SMS marketing campaign, it is important to always provide messages of value to your customers. This ensures that they continue to want to receive your group texting messages, and that they continue to view your company in a positive light.

Ready to see how texting can help your store? Try ClubTexting for free.

December 02, 2016

Using SMS Marketing at Every Point in the Sales Funnel

You probably focus a lot on the sales funnel. You look to find ways to bring more people through it, as well as determine where there might be some hiccups. SMS marketing provides an opportunity to hit potential customers at every aspect of the funnel. It is highly adaptable, so it easily fits into any or all of the efforts you put into creating leads and converting them into customers down the line.

Bringing in Leads


Add texting to all the marketing ideas your team develops.

SMS marketing might be a permission-based marketing tool, but that does not mean it cannot provide assistance at the top of the funnel. It is a highly versatile medium and one of its great potentials is as a powerful call to action. Including a keyword and number to text on existing marketing collateral increases the number of people who act on it. This can help you to reach more people as potential leads to start the journey into your sales funnel.

Nurturing Potential Customers

Once you have people in the funnel, it is time to start nurturing the leads into customers through building a relationship. Having people opt-in to your SMS marketing program provides a way to engage them and keep in touch with them. It is important that you do this wisely.

People are open to receiving texts from brands, but they still expect there to be value in the texts. Take the time to build content of value that speaks to your target audience. This might be in the form of reminders, information about your company, deals, and coupons or helpful information. Be careful not to oversaturate your leads with messages. The best frequency is typically between two and four texts per month, although you might find that your audience prefers more or less frequent texts.

Converting into Action

Once you have built a relationship with your potential customers, it is time to convert them into action. Text marketing programs provide several ways to do this. You can send out offers and deals that inspire customers to act. You can remind customers about exciting events, run contests to increase engagement, or provide other programs that get people interested in your goods or services. Take advantage of the immediacy of texts by sending out timely deals, especially those that quickly expire. This will motivate people to act.

Customer Retention


Texting leads to happy customers that return again and again.

SMS marketing also helps you to retain customers. Not only do you have a way to remain engaged with customers that is more effective than email, since texting has eight times the engagement rate of email, but it also serves as a solid customer service tool. Customer service has become an increasingly important component of sales because people more and more use their emotions to determine where to shop rather than prices. Many customers prefer to deal with customer service issues through text. By offering this, you will create a positive relationship that will translate into customer retention and loyalty.

It is easy to fit SMS marketing into each component of the sales funnel. It provides a versatile and cost-effective way to draw in potential leads, engage with them, convert them, and retain them so that you increase the number of customers and grow your business.

Ready to add this to your sales funnel? Try ClubTexting for free.

November 30, 2016

The Ultimate Guide for Effective Texting Campaigns for Any Holiday

During the winter holiday season, many companies launch strong campaigns to take advantage of the large number of people searching for holiday gifts.

It is also customary to use the excitement about any holiday to advertise a sale or promote goods and services. Think about how Columbus Day has become less about celebrating the discovery of the Americas and more about mattress sales.


Run a texting campaign to take advantage of the holiday shoppers.

Running a texting campaign during this time provides a way to support your overall marketing efforts. The more than $650 billion spent during the winter holidays, including Christmas, makes it the perfect model on which to create holiday promotions throughout the year.

There are several steps to take to create a more effective text marketing campaign that works not just during the winter holiday season but for any of the holidays that take place year round.

What Are Your Goals?

Before you go too far down the rabbit hole of creating a dynamic text marketing campaign for the holidays, it is important to understand your goals. Ask yourself some questions:

    • Do you want to increase profits by a certain percentage or move inventory?

 

    • Is your promotion more about building brand awareness and increasing traffic, whether online or in person?


Having a strong idea of the objective of your efforts helps you to create a stronger plan that will actually meet those goals.

To do this, get your team together for a brainstorming meeting. Ask everyone what they believe the objective and goals of the program are. When going through the different potential goals, make sure to keep SMART in mind:

    • Specific

 

    • Measurable

 

    • Attainable

 

    • Realistic

 

    • Timely


A good example of a goal is to increase holiday sales by 10 percent.

Why Do You Bother With Holiday Marketing?

One place to start is to think about why holiday marketing is important in the first place. People are trained to know that certain holidays are synonymous with deals to buy gifts and personal items:

    • Black Friday

 

    • Cyber Monday

 

    • Labor Day

 

    • Columbus Day


Although this provides an opportunity to promote sales, it also means that you are competing with hundreds of stores in a wide variety of industries.

During the brainstorming session discussed above, ask your team why you are even bothering with holiday marketing. Are you doing it just because it is what is done, or do you have another reason?

Even if your sole reason behind it is because everyone else is doing it does not mean that you will have a lackluster marketing campaign. However, it does mean that you might just be going through the motions if you do not take a moment to focus on creating a dynamite campaign.

When Is the Best Time To Start?

It is not enough to promote your holiday marketing in December. Marketing surveys point out that in October, 26 percent of digital shoppers are already getting an early start on their winter holiday shopping. Almost half start in November. Some people start in September or even earlier!

If you start too late, then you miss out on all of those early shoppers. Therefore, consider running some deals throughout the fall. Or you might simply just start advertising your holiday sales weeks ahead of time so that people can plan accordingly.


Don't be afraid to start your promotion early to catch shoppers.

Early planning is not just about letting your customers know about your sales; it is also ensuring that your company is ready, too. Inform your employees about the sale, making sure that they have all the information necessary to answer questions from customers.

Give yourself plenty of time for creating the marketing material for your promotions so that you can ensure it is perfect. However, finalize the promotion late enough that you can make any last-minute adjustments you need to based on any current events or feedback from customers so that you remain relevant.

For your texting campaign, this early preparation includes the following:
Develop a strong strategy.

    • Determine how often you plan to text customers.

 

    • Consider what types of offers you plan to send out.

 

    • Create a calendar so that the texting offers complement other deals without oversaturating.

 

    • Decide how you plan to promote your text marketing program to increase the number of subscribers.

 

    • You might choose to have a push for subscribers months prior to the big holiday event for greater impact once you launch your holiday texting campaign.

 

    • Choose who will be in charge of reviewing the content and handling any issues that arise.



How Do You Integrate?

Text marketing works a little differently. It is an immediate medium since most messages are opened within just a few minutes of receipt. This makes it a great medium for last-minute deals and reminders about sales. This complements your program, especially if you take the time to integrate your text marketing smartly.

During the initial planning stages for your holiday text marketing program, consider where it fits into the rest of your marketing efforts. A texting campaign complements other channels really well. You can ad it as a call to action on your

    • TV and radio spots,

 

    • print ads,

 

    • digital marketing properties,

 

    • social media accounts

 

    • and more.



This works two-fold: first, you increase the number of subscribers and second, you increase the engagement and success of your other marketing channels.

Taking the time to strategize how you will use your texting program prior to running any of your holiday offers or advertising campaigns helps you to integrate in the best way possible. You can determine where to place your texting campaign in the sales funnel and how to best use it to increase the efficacy of the rest of your marketing efforts, and vice versa.

For example, use texting as a call to action with your print ads that provide early promotion of your holiday deals. Then, text your subscribers reminders about the sales the day before to increase the number of people who participate.

How Do You Promote?

In order to get the most out of your texting campaign -- and your holiday sales -- you need to create increased awareness. To do this, it is necessary to promote your campaigns.

It is even more important that you let people know about your texting campaign early because it is a permission-based medium. This means that you have to have people sign up before you can send them messages.

Many of the traditional forums for promotion also work for your texting campaign:

    • Flyers

 

    • Print ads

 

    • In-store signs

 

    • Digital banners

 

    • Blogs

 

    • Email newsletter mentions

 

    • Social media posts

 

    • Radio and TV spots



Any way that you traditionally announce news to customers will also let them know about your new texting promotion.

However, do not just let them know and expect them to sign up. A common way to do this is exclusive offers and deals, including a special coupon just for signing up. Do this early enough to capitalize on the number of people who sign up when the holidays roll around.

Plus, strategically send messages throughout the year to keep people interested in staying on your list so that you only have to build on it each year, rather than having to rebuild it.

Who Is Your Audience?


Create targeted messages based on your ideal customers.

An effective holiday text marketing campaign always keeps the audience in mind. This is because you want to strive to create content of value each time you send out a text message, especially during the holiday season when people are saturated with marketing messages. Therefore, spend some of your planning stage determining who your audience will be.

To do this, gather as much information as you have about your customers:

    • Shopping data

 

    • Demographics

 

    • Behavior patterns

 

    • Survey results

 

    • Market research


To find this information, it might be necessary to directly ask your subscribers to provide it. Because many people might opt into a text marketing campaign with a simple text, you might not have that much information about them. If that is the case, then you might want to create a persona of your ideal target audience.

You do not have to stick with just one target audience. It is easy to divide your subscribers into lists based on their personal data in order to send personalized, targeted messages. This also enhances the effectiveness of the campaign.

What Offers Should You Use?

Once you have completed the prep work, determining your goals, audience, calendar, integration and other components of the structure of your marketing strategy, you can start focusing on the fun part: the text message content and the offers themselves.

First, consider what type of offer you wish to send, whether a BOGO, a percentage of purchase, dollar amount a price, a free gift with purchase, free shipping or something else. It is most important that you choose something that is attractive while also not hurting your profit margin. For the best impact, create something unique and exclusive, as this further motivates the customer to take advantage of the deal.

The words you use also helps to create the best redemption rate. Choose active verbs and words that impart urgency. For example, Buy Now, Redeem Today, Limited Time Offer, and Click to Activate This Exclusive Deal all motivate customers to take the action you want them to do. Be sure to make it easy for customers to redeem them; otherwise, you will lose out on a lot of sales.

How Do You Stand Out?

Now for the fun part: making your content unique, attractive and fun so that you stand out from the competition. Do not be afraid to include some of the personality of your company in the messages.

One common way to do this is to add some humor into the messages. However, do not become too unprofessional when you do so. Puns and simple, unoffensive jokes are easy ways to get creative without worrying about losing customers.

An example of a Christmas offer with some humor is, "Don't be a Scrooge. Use this 20% off coupon to buy your loved ones gifts. Expires [date]."


Get your team together to brainstorm creative ideas for messages.

One of the reasons to jump onto holidays in terms of marketing is that you can create themed messages. A simple template for dynamic holiday-themed messages that lead to a successful campaign is the following:

    • Character/holiday allusion

 

    • Offer/deal

 

    • Active language

 

    • Urgent/motivating language

 

    • Expiration date

 

    • Company Name

 

    • Stay within the 160 character limit

 

  • The right timing

Use your creativity to decide upon promotions, deals and content that sounds just like your company rather than the same old, boring offers that everyone sends out. This helps you to stand out from hundreds of promotions circulating during the holiday season.

What Is Success?

Before you start sending out your messages, consider how you will measure success. Most texting platforms have analytics that detail the open rate, bounce rate, conversion rate, click-through-rate and other metrics similar to other digital properties.

Look at your starting point and set a realistic finish point that means your program is successful. Reviewing your original goal will help you with this. For example, if you wish to increase profits, then you might focus on the number of conversions your text messages create.

Remember that a strong texting campaign takes some time to build. You might need to do some trial and error, which is why it is best to start your text marketing program long before the holiday season. This gives you time to work out the kinks so that you can take full advantage of the medium when it comes time to promote your sales.

Ready to get started on your holiday texting campaign? Try ClubTexting for free.

November 29, 2016

4 Tips for Creating the Best Objective for Your Texting Campaign

Although the word objective is a synonym for goal, it has its own nuances that make it unique. In business, objectives are more specific than goals and should be used to explain strategic or planning activities. They should be easily measurable and provide a reason for implementing a program like SMS marketing.

It is essential to have a strong, clear and defined objective for your texting campaign. Otherwise, it is difficult to assess whether or not you are succeeding. You might also end up with a lackluster program that does not provide the returns it could.

Unfortunately, many marketers simply launch an SMS marketing campaign with no real objective, or at the least a vague concept. Rather than falling in with the 57 percent of marketers who do this, take the time to create a strong, clearly defined objective for your texting campaign using one or more of the following tips.

Ask the Deep Questions


Before you start texting your customers, ask questions to make sure your campaign has a clear purpose.

Developing an objective starts by asking questions. Begin with a simple why. There is probably some reason behind your decision to launch a texting campaign. Perhaps you have heard about other companies having a strong response or you simply are amazed by the 98 percent open rate. There is no wrong answer. In fact, it is fine to have multiple reasons.

In addition to the why behind your actions, consider how you see it helping your business and fitting with your overall marketing strategy. Although text message marketing works well as a stand-alone campaign, it only reaches its full potential when it is integrated into your overall strategic plan. It should complement key marketing channels, including email, print ads, and social media. Ask yourself and your team what you hope to achieve by running the texting campaign.

Look for Patterns

When you ask these questions, allow room for brainstorming and pursue different avenues of thought, following up questions with more questions. Document all the reasons you come up with. As you discuss these components, see if you notice any patterns emerging. Perhaps you and your team continue to talk about brand awareness or increasing sales. As you start to see the common grounds, make note of it. There might be more than one, so do not limit yourself at this stage.

Take Your Business Goals Into Account

As you are brainstorming the objective behind your texting campaign, take adequate time to think about your overall business goals. See where text messaging might fit to help you achieve those goals. Your objective will most likely relate to or complement those goals.

Think SMART Goals


Have your team keep SMART goals in mind while creating your objective.

During this process, keep in mind SMART goals. This is an acronym for

  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Attainable,
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Your objective should have many of the same concepts in it. You want something specific for which you have the tools to measure that is also a realistic and attainable endeavor. Using the ideas you have brainstormed and the patterns you have discovered, create the main objective for your campaign. Verifying it is SMART.

Building an objective for your texting campaign has many parallels to creating your goals. However, you want to be more specific so that you and your team understand the point of running the campaign. This helps you to build a strong program that will achieve not just the objective but also your business goals. The clearer and more defined your objective, the stronger your program will be.

Got your objective ready to go? Start your campaign bytrying ClubTexting for free.

November 23, 2016

3 Reasons to Use SMS Marketing This Holiday Season

How important are the final months of the year for your business? If you are like most, they make up a solid percentage of your overall sales. In 2015, the total revenue from holiday sales reached $626.1 billion, which was a 3 percent increase over the year before, according to the National Retail Federation. SMS marketing provides an avenue for marketing your business to help you increase holiday sales and take advantage of these peak shopping months, even if your company is not in the retail industry. Not entirely convinced? The following might help.

Stand Out


There is tough competition during the holidays; stand out by texting.

The winter holiday season is an important time for sales, so most companies put in extra marketing efforts advertising sales so that they will attract customers to their business over the competition. This means that the average customer is flooded with ads from a variety of sources, including emails, social media posts and ads, print ads, radio and TV spots, and mailers. This flood of information makes it really easy for anything you send out to simply get lost in the shuffle.

With SMS marketing, you can stand out from the crowd. Although it is an effective marketing channel, not many companies actually use it. There is also no spam filters on messages, although there are rules defining to whom you can send marketing messages. This means that your messages make it past the massive numbers of messages your customers received and are actually read.

Increase Engagement

Not only do the messages in your SMS marketing program stand out, but they also are actually seen. Text messages have an almost 100 percent open rate, compared to just between 20 and 30 percent for emails. More people see and read SMS messages. This increases the potential number of people who actually take action on your messages. In fact, text messages have a 36 percent click-through rate, compared to just 6 to 7 percent for email. Social media marketing also has a much lower hit rate than a texting campaign.

With an increased engagement, you have a better chance of converting customers. They receive your messages and read them, which already improves the chance they will act. With a strong, motivating message, your customers will take the final step and convert, giving you the sale over your competition.

Reach Customers Anywhere


Texting lets you reach customers anywhere, even when they are already shopping.

Cell phones have become an extension of a person. According to one survey, a high number of people would rather give up a number of things, such as sex, a car, a bed, a vacation or a cup of coffee, than their phone. Most people carry their phones with them everywhere they go. Therefore, with SMS marketing, you have the chance to reach customers anywhere. They will read your message even if they are not connected to the internet. Perhaps they are already out and about doing some holiday shopping when they receive your message. They can take action right away, increasing the chance that they will actually do it.

There are many other reasons to take advantage of SMS marketing this holiday season. Once you have started your campaign, you will not want to stop even after the rush of holiday sales are over. The same benefits that accrue to exceed your goals for the final months of the year will continue to help you to grow your business and reach all your goals.

Ready to get started and improve your business this holiday season? Try ClubTexting for FREE.

November 21, 2016

Expert Interview Series: Niraj Ranjan of Hiver About Using Email to Improve Business Collaboration



Niraj Ranjan Rout is the founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool. We recently spoke with Niraj about the prevalence of business collaboration and the current and future of email in the business setting.

What exactly does Hiver do for its customers?

Hiver is built primarily for collaboration around communication in general. It helps you and your team manage shared email accounts like support@mycompany.com, assign emails to each other, and see who is doing what.

To give you a simple illustration of how this might be of use, think about the publications you're pitching to on their email IDs, like tips@techcrunch.com. They would be receiving tons of pitches there, and they'd have a team to pick up articles and work on those. Hiver would help this team manage the tip@ email account efficiently and delegate tasks without confusion - without anything "falling through the cracks."

Is a tool like Hiver effective not just for companies, but also for clubs, civic organizations, and volunteer groups as well?

Yes indeed. Hiver is used by a lot of non-profits, educational institutions, and citizen bodies. In fact, two of the non-profits using Hiver are Pets for Patriots and Amani Children's Home. It fits right in wherever you have a group of people that you are collaborating with over email.

What are some of the main challenges that your customers are trying to grapple with?

Everyone loves to use email (though they do complain about it, sometimes), but using email in a group scenario can be very inefficient and tedious because you end up siloing tasks and information in individual inboxes.

For instance, it's extremely convenient to forward an email from a customer to someone in your team if you need help responding to the customer, but then it's extremely messy to keep track of all your forwards and awaited replies. That's where Hiver comes in. We make it extremely efficient to carry out collaboration and task management over email.

Why did you choose the Gmail platform as the centerpiece of your service offerings?

When we started out, Gmail/Google Apps was the most prominent cloud email offering. Also, most Gmail users use Gmail's web interface, and we as programmers loved the idea of modifying the Gmail interface with a browser extension to add more efficiency to how people use email.

We're now expanding beyond Gmail. Hiver for Exchange/Office-365 is releasing soon, and we're sure it'll do very well.

Has the rise of a virtual world and a telecommuting workforce led to an increase in demand for virtual collaboration tools like Hiver?

Absolutely! We have customers where the team does not see each other in person for weeks, and yet, they continue to work efficiently. This trend is on a strong rise; with communication tools improving so much, everyone is now questioning why they must spend hours daily driving or on a train.

Is Hiver a good tool to use to help manage or complement text message marketing, digital marketing, and/or social media marketing campaigns?

Hiver is great for managing your outreach, as well as handing off or delegating responses that you receive.

Some Internet observers think that email will gradually become obsolete in the future. Do you agree or disagree with that viewpoint?

There are two kinds of email in a business scenario: internal email within a company, and external email that comes in from people outside the company (like customers, vendors, sales leads, etc.). While internal email is under serious threat from tools like Slack, external email is definitely going to be around. Hiver is completely targeted on external email - that is, helping teams manage their customer and sales communication.

So to sum up, Email's personal use and use for internal communication in organizations are already seeing a decline, but email is going to stay strong in inter-organization scenarios - and that is what we're building on.

Need a convenient way to communicate with members of your club, group, or organization? Try ClubTexting for free today!

November 17, 2016

3 Tips for Using Group Texting for Your Dentist Office

As a dentist, you want to grow your practice. There are many different marketing opportunities at your disposal, which at times makes it difficult to determine which one to use. SMS marketing is a valuable addition to any strong marketing strategy. Group texting provides a great way to engage with current clients while also promoting your practice to others in your community. If you plan to implement it, the following tips will help you to start off strong.

Be Smart About Collecting Numbers


Ask your patients to sign up for texts when they visit your office.

One of the things to always keep at the forefront of your program is that group texting for marketing is a permission-based medium. You might be able to send some texts, such as appointment reminders, without written permission. However, if you plan to send regular texts for any reason, it is best to get people to opt in before you start. Therefore, you need to have a strategy for collecting numbers for your texting list. Additionally, it is key to keep accurate records of all opt-ins, active subscribers, and opt-outs. Regularly checking your list for any errors will help you to retain a clean list.

To build your list, have patients sign up when they fill out their initial paperwork when they come into the office for a visit. Ask them to also provide preferences as to what type of messages they would like to receive. Alternatively, reach out to patients in your other channels, such as email and social media, and ask them to sign up for your new texting campaign. You can also add it on all of your marketing collateral, including print ads, TV spots, radio ads and any other promotional material you might have. Simply include a keyword and your shortcode or number and have people text to opt in.

Decide On Your Campaign Strategy

There are numerous ways to use group texting in your dentist office. You might wish to take advantage of high open rates to send appointment reminders and reduce the number of no-shows you experience. It also provides a way to send out thank you messages, dental hygiene tips, and general marketing texts. This might include offers and deals on your services, especially voluntary procedures such as teeth whitening. It is also beneficial to use it to reach out to clients who have not visited in a while.

Some practices might integrate all of these text types into a comprehensive texting campaign, while others might focus on just one. It is important to have an idea of what you wish to do and then create a detailed plan to accomplish it. This reduces the chance that you will end up not seeing the return you want due to an ineffective campaign that tries to do too much at once.

Organize Your Campaign

For the most effective campaign, it is essential that you put as much energy into building a strong foundation as you do in implementing the program. Start with detailing your campaign strategy, including determining the objective of your group texting efforts. You might wish to grow your practice, bring in more new clients or simply engage more with those you already have. This objective informs the rest of your campaign, as it will help you to create goals and analyze data to see whether or not you reach them.


Segment your list so you can send targeted messages to certain subscribers.

Organizing your campaign assists you in building this foundation. Start by segmenting your subscriber list into groups. This helps you to target messages to particular people. For example, send offers to clients who have not visited recently. It is also possible to group subscribers by their potential interests. You might have a group that is interested in teeth whitening and then periodically send them offers for the service. Subscribers can be members of several groups. Therefore, it is important to keep track so that you do not overwhelm particular clients who might be in several groups with texts, especially if they also receive emails from you and/or follow you on social media.

The more time you spend creating an organized plan and subscriber list that includes as many patients and possible patients as possible, the smoother your texting campaign will run. It might still take some time to really hit the marks you want to hit, but it will set you off on a strong path to get there.

Ready to start a strong texting campaign for your dental practice? Try ClubTexting for free.

November 15, 2016

Can Club Texting Help Bring People to Your Amusement Park?

As an amusement park owner, you work hard to build rides, games, shows and other entertainment that attract and thrill your customers. Despite your efforts, you will not see a rise in attendance if you do not find a way to get the word out to potential customers. It is likewise important to engage with visitors so that they want to come back again and again. Club texting provides a way to engage with current and future visitors to increase business at your park. There are several ways that it has the potential to help your visitor numbers grow.

Access More Customers


Text messaging provides you with a wide net of people you can reach.

Running a texting campaign has the potential to help you reach a much wider net of people. Over 90 percent of Americans own an SMS-enabled cell phone. This is more than those who have email or regularly visit social media sites. Additionally, text messages on average have a whopping 99 percent open rate, compared to about 20 to 30 percent of emails.

Together, this means that you have the chance to reach a wider demographic of customers, including those without regular access to the internet. Plus, any messages you do send out will actually be read, making it a much more effective marketing forum.

Reach an Interested Audience

Club texting is a permission-based marketing forum, so you can only send your messages to those who have opted in to receive them. You might think this reduces the number of people affected by the message. However, it actually has a much larger impact. When you run ads that try to bring in a wide variety of numbers, such as a print ad, TV spot, radio ad, billboard or flyers, you have a very low number that respond. Many of the people that see these ads have no interest in your amusement park -- or any others -- so the impact of the ad is quite low.

Alternatively, when you send messages to those on your texting campaign subscriber list, you have a much bigger impact. These people have enough interest in your company to sign up to receive messages. This might be because they have already visited or because they wish to visit one day. You can capitalize on this interest and turn them into customers much easier, and for less money, then it would take to convert someone with little to no interest in your park.

Motivate People to Visit

It is not just about reaching people with your message; however; it is also about actually motivating them to take action. Texting remains a more intimate medium. Most people still mostly use it to communicate with their friends and family members. They reserve any marketing messages for companies from which they really wish to hear. This means that they actually read your message and pay attention to it and that it has the potential to motivate them to act. When you include a strong call to action, it increases the chance that someone will visit your amusement park even more.

Increase Repeat Visitors


Connect with customers so that they come back to your park over and over.

To turn a customer from a one-time visitor into a repeat visitor, it is important to engage them. First, they need to have a good time while at your park and experience great customer service. Regularly engaging with them afterwards through club texting provides a way for them to continue to think about your park and wish to return. Customer engagement has become the key aspect in turning customers into loyal ones, and texting has a better engagement rate than email or social media. Increase this effect by regularly offering incentives for them to return to the park, such as discount entry fees or free gifts.

These are just a few of the lucrative benefits offered by club texting. Integrating it into your marketing strategy will help you take your amusement park to the next level and attract more people to your park.

Contact us to learn more about how to use texting to help your amusement park grow.

November 14, 2016

What Are the Most Important Rules to Follow in Your Texting Campaigns?

There are many different considerations you need to make to create the best foundation for your texting campaigns. In addition to basic etiquette, there are also certain guidelines and rules that you must follow. Although some of the guidelines might be seen more as best practices, there are also laws in place that if you break, you might set yourself up for a lawsuit or worse. Following are some of the most important rules to follow from the get-go when you launch your SMS marketing campaign.

Get Permission


Do not send marketing texts before you have written permission.

SMS marketing is a permission-based medium. The FCC has determined that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act cover text messaging. This targets auto dialing for marketing purposes, so it does not necessarily apply to all text messages, such as appointment reminders, emergency alerts, and transactional messages.

This means that in order to send marketing messages to clients or customers, you must have their written permission. This includes an opt-in text message from the client, an online form submission, a written agreement or any other type of documented evidence that clearly demonstrates that the person has agreed to receive marketing messages from you. If you are simply sending appointment reminders or emergency alerts, it is always a good idea to get permission, but you must do so for marketing texting campaigns.

Make It Easy to Opt Out

Just as you have to get permission to text, you also have to make it easy for those who have changed their mind and decided to no longer receive texts from you to opt out. There must be a free, legitimate and easy way to do so. Typically, it is through the individual texting the word STOP as a reply to a text.

If you regularly text, it is not necessary to always include information about how to opt out, but it should be frequent enough that any follower will know how to do so. If you only occasionally send texts, then you will need to include the opt out message every time. You also have to take action if someone has requested to opt out through another method, such as during a phone, in person or email exchange with an employee.

Full Disclosure


Make it easy for subscribers to find and read the terms and conditions.

It is also important that you are clear to your customers as to what they can expect from the program. This includes the frequency, description of the program and more. For example, in your promotional material about the program, include language that details it is a subscription. If there are any other aspects of the program, such as whether there are premium fees or other components, it must be clearly disclosed upfront. You should also declare that message and data rates may apply.

There should also be a terms and agreement document that is easy to access that states how often you plan to text, as well as the type of messages you plan to send. Along with your terms and conditions, it is also important to fully disclose the privacy policy so that customers know what you plan to do with their contact information if they sign up.

These rules are the most important to follow. They are also relatively easy to do so, and it also ensures that you offer the best customer service possible. It is also beneficial to always include a signature when you send the text so that clients or customers know it is from you, especially if you frequently change the number from which the texts are sent.

Contact us to learn more about the laws and guidelines governing SMS Marketing.