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93 posts categorized "Mobile Commerce"

August 31, 2014

5 Surprising Beneficiaries of Text Message Marketing

Did you know that 99% of all text messages are opened? In comparison, less than 20% of emails in every industry are opened, and cold calls hover around a measly 6% success rate. Text messaging has been around over twenty years, yet it continues to be a form of communication that is personal and trusted by mobile users.

Mass text messaging delivers valuable information to your customers in real-time, whether you want to promote your upcoming fashion sale or send out a last-minute coupon for a popular dish in your restaurant. There are countless businesses that can benefit from mass text messaging, some of them may even surprise you!



From a simple text message you can increase sales, get your message shared across social media, and create an effective campaign to reach customers.

Entertainment Businesses

Bars, clubs, concert venues, businesses that promote entertainment have been leading the way in mass text messaging since the beginning. Entertainment businesses are perfectly set-up to interact with their clients and customers through text whether to promote upcoming shows, drink specials, or even announce last-minute VIPs. 2-for-1 coupons and discounted entry fees are an easy way to get customers through the door, and all they need to do is show the message on their phone.

Professional Businesses

Mass text messaging may not be as common in professional businesses, but there is a giant market just waiting to be tapped into. Businesses such as hair salons and gyms can easily send coupons or daily specials to their clients, reminding them that they are overdue for a cut or workout. Businesses such as doctors or dental practices may go about their promotions in a different way, but there are plentiful opportunities to reach clients through texting. Appointment reminders, whether scheduled or recommended, are a great way to get-in-touch and keep clients coming in.

Retail Businesses

Retail businesses already know that they need to keep with the trends to stay alive, so if your retail business isn't already compiling text subscribers it is time to join the party. Sending out texts inviting customers to special events, in-store fashion shows, and invite-only sales is a great way to make them feel like they are part of an exclusive club. Discount coupons and new stock announcements are also effective strategies for getting those shoes and dresses off the shelves.

Online Businesses

Online businesses are prime candidates for text messaging promotion, enabling current and prospective customers to click over from their text and land straight on a website. Sending out last-minute deals and one-day only discounts is the easiest way to expand sales through simply messaging your customer base. Get people on the website = more sales.


Mass text messaging makes it easy for online businesses to bring customers directly to their website and increase sales.

Food Industry Businesses

The food industry is perfectly poised for mass text messaging services. With good timing, you can have text messages promoting your lunch special on the phones of loyal patrons, right when their stomachs start growling. Texts announcing weekly specials, new menu additions, and even specially priced happy hours are a great way to remind customers that they need a night out with friends and a good bite to eat.

Mass text messaging gets your business's message straight into the hands of those you most want to reach. You are almost guaranteed that they will not only open your promotional message, but read it. You can't get effective advertising that is this personal in any other format.

Jessica Galbraith is a full-time writer and author of the travel blog The Fly Away American. She is an avid texter and always open up a new message.

August 28, 2014

6 Ways a Restaurant Can Use Text Marketing

Text marketing is an affordable and highly effective marketing solution for restaurants of all sizes. Whether you own a corner cafe or are a Michelin starred restaurant, text marketing can connect you with your customers quickly, in a more personal way than e-mail marketing can offer. There are a multitude of ways that text marketing can be used to your business's advantage- but these six are among the most popular.

1. Run Giveaways for Subscribers

One of the easiest ways to bulk up your subscriber list is to offer a giveaway via text messaging. Customers text in to win the advertised prize and a winner is randomly selected once the giveaway is over. Mobile contests are a proven way to get customers excited while creating a useful database for future text promotions.


Text marketing is an affordable way to reach customers 24/7 and expand your business.

2. Accept Orders for Pick-Up or Delivery

Looking to expand your restaurant's pick-up and/or delivery services? Texting is an easy way for customers to order food, anywhere at anytime. Simply advertising the number on your website or in your restaurant can spread the word. A customer profile can be made by number which allows you to create orders instantly when a text comes in. Customers can then text what they want, when they want it, and payment can be automatically taken from the card registered with that particular person.

3. Announce Daily/Weekly/Monthly Specials

Have a new dish on the menu you want to promote? You can text customers an hour before lunch service with specials or promote a new season over the month. Reach all your loyal patrons instantaneously and update them with all the latest news and happenings in your restaurant.


Reach your customers when and where you want to.

4. Offer Special Coupons and Discounts

Coupons and discounts are always well-received. 2-for1 drink specials, free appetizers with dinner purchase, or even a 10% discount off the bill can be automatically sent to every person in your database. There is no printing or fuss required, they can simply show the mobile coupon at the table. Text marketing makes filling up those tables easy work.

5. Promote Your Online Presence

Domino's Pizza ran a highly successful text marketing campaign to promote their Facebook page and increase their likes. Text messages are ideal for connecting mobile users to a webpage, whether you want to reach more people on Twitter or simple expand exposure on your website.


Text marketing automatically connects your customers to your website or social media platforms.

6. Create Customer Loyalty Programs

Everyone wants to feel special and your customers will appreciate feeling like they are part of an exclusive club. Text marketing is ideal for getting in touch with a particular demographic and offering special incentives such as invites to events or member-only discounts. You can add a sign-up widget onto your website, and interested customers can enter their information and be contacted right away.

As you can see, restaurants are prime candidates to take advantage of text marketing and connect with their customers in new and innovative ways.

August 26, 2014

Text Messaging: 22 Years Old and Going Strong

On December 3rd of this year, text messaging will turn 22 years old. It seems impossible to imagine a world where friends and family weren't at our fingertips and where conversations were solely had in person or over a land-line telephone. As our world continues to globalize, it is no longer uncommon to catch up with grandparents over video screens, text clients to set-up meetings, or have decade long friendships with people we have never actually spoken with on the phone.


On December 3rd, 1992 the first text message was sent.

Texting has revolutionized the way we interact with each other, and with the insurgence of text messaging apps such as Whats App, it doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. As we approach the 22nd anniversary of text messaging this year, we can look back and see the changes that two decades of OMGs and LOLs have made on our lives and how the evolution of text messaging may change the way we communicate in the future.

The Humble Beginnings of Text Messaging

On December 3, 1992, a UK based software architect by the name of Neil Papworth sent a festive message to his boss Richard Jarvis of Vodafone. He typed out "Merry Christmas" on his desktop keyboard and sent it to the Jarvis's phone who was at a holiday party. It didn't make any news headlines or change the face of communication as we knew it, but Papworth's simple message would eventually transform into a new way of getting messages from one person to another.

Seven years later, mobile companies began to offer SMS technology to their customers and it took off more than anyone could have anticipated. By 2000, over 14 billion text messages were being sent every month in the United States and by 2010 that number had reached an astounding 188 billion. Text messaging was here to stay.

Text Messaging Today

According to Forrester Research, over 6 billion SMS messages are sent out everyday in the U.S. alone, but interestingly enough that number is expected to decline. New text messaging apps such as Whats App, are taking over the text messaging market and fast. Whats App now has over 430 million users, with 50 billion messages being sent through the free service everyday- more than all SMS providers combined.

Text messaging has already overtaken phone and face-to-face conversation, but only time can tell where the evolution of messaging services will take us next. With more people using services such as Face Time, where users can see who they are talking to through video conferencing, we may be going back to our roots in a more virtual environment.


Today's generation is glued to their phones all hours of the day. What will this mean for the future?

The Future of Text Messaging: A New Model for the Modern Business?

Even with all the new apps and services being added to the mobile marketplace everyday, the general consensus is that text messaging is here to stay. While what the future for text messaging entails remains uncertain, it is a wise decision for businesses to begin utilizing the channel for marketing and sales purposes. Through mass texting small businesses and large corporations alike can reach their prospective customers in a place they already exist 24/7.

Text messaging has evolved from a simple holiday greeting to a multi-billion dollar industry that has completely changed the way we connect with one another. With over twenty years of history behind it, the only thing for certain is that text messaging will continue to grow in one form or another. Will you be ready?

August 22, 2014

Best Practices for Mass SMS Campaigns

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Text message marketing can be amazingly effective due to the personal nature of texts, and the close proximity most people keep to their phones. But you have to adhere to smart practices when you market via mass SMS, because it's easy enough for people to block your texts if you annoy them. Stick with the following best practices for mass SMS marketing to maximize your chances for success.

Get Permission and Explain How to Opt Out

You can't just add numbers to your list and start sending out messages. If you don't get permission first, you're acting illegally, and can damage your organization's reputation. One popular way to gain permission for mass SMS marketing is to have people text a keyword to a number to opt in. 

When you manually add numbers to your database, ensure that you have verbal or written permission to do so to avoid running afoul of the law. You should also make it clear how to opt out of mass SMS messages. Usually this involves texting "STOP" to a certain number. Customers are more likely to opt in if they know they have an out.

Text Once a Week or Less

More messages do not translate into more business. In fact, people get annoyed if they get more than about one mass SMS per week from an organization they've opted in to receive texts from. Ideally, you should keep your mass SMS pitches to two to four times per month. At this rate, recipients will neither forget about you nor become annoyed and block you.

Time Your Texts Courteously

If you are a nightclub running a mass SMS campaign, you are more likely to send messages later at night, because that's when your customers are out and about. If you run a restaurant that's a popular dinner destination, it's acceptable to send out offers close to dinner time. Other types of businesses, however, should strive to send messages during or close to normal business hours. 

Know Your Customers

Knowing your customers can help you time your mass SMS campaigns more accurately. People who like having dinner out often decide where to go less than an hour beforehand. Therefore it makes sense to send promotions just before mealtime. Know when your customers are most likely to stop by, and you can time your messages for maximum effectiveness.

Keep Messages Fresh and Make Sure They Provide Value

Running the same mass SMS repeatedly makes people blind to them. Change up your messages each time if possible, and make sure they offer something of value to recipients, such as an easy contest entry, a two-for-one offer, or notice of an unadvertised sale.

Contests Are Great for Building Your Database

Holding a contest is a terrific way to get customers to opt in to your company's promotional text messages. Offer something special for the winner, and perhaps offer an easy way for participants to enter a second time (perhaps by liking a specific post on Facebook). The money you spend on the prize is small compared to the ease with which you can build your database for your mass SMS campaigns.

In summary, getting the most from your mass SMS campaign is easier when you follow a few best practices, including:

• Getting permission and making opt-out instructions clear
• Sending messages once a week or less
• Timing messages appropriately
• Knowing your customers' shopping habits
• Keeping messages fresh and adding value to each one
• Holding contests to build your customer database

 

August 18, 2014

Three Unusual Uses for Text Messages

 

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Texting is now a well-trodden path for marketing strategists, but its uses range far beyond advertising. With more than nine out of ten text messages opened and read within minutes of receipt, there simply isn’t a better way to transmit information to large groups of people simultaneously. Schools are using SMS to remind students about deadlines, or inform them of last-minute closures. Churches are sending inspirational words to their congregation. Charities and non-profits are accepting donations via text. Emergency services are even using SMS to negotiate with criminals in a hostage situation.

The applications of this simple technology, now in its 22nd year, are many and varied. We’ve whittled down some of the more unusual uses of text messaging to our three favorites:

Sending Emergency Alerts

When Hurricane Sandy devastated the Eastern Seaboard in 2012, the cost to local businesses was huge. Infrastructures were temporarily rattled, with web servers and power lines down, and SMS messages were the only form of communication available to emergency services and commercial enterprise alike. Local residents were kept informed of crucial information, and it was all thanks to cloud-based mobile technology. 

Locating Lost Pets

Companies like MobiPet are helping people find lost animals by notifying registered veterinarians, shelters and pet owners within a 30 mile radius. Unlike microchip implants, it’s a completely non-invasive way of tracking pets. All that’s required is a cell phone with a camera and SMS capabilities – technology that’s available to nearly 95% of the US mobile marketplace.

Domestic Chores

‘Smart appliances’ allow people to program a series of commands, which are triggered by text message when needed. Dishwashers, fridges, robot vacuum cleaners – almost anything can be integrated with intelligent SMS systems that let users activate them from afar. For example, if you are going away for a few days, you can tell your fridge to go into power-save mode, your washer to start cycling the day before you return, or your Roomba to clean house at regular pre-ordained intervals.

The future is here, and SMS messaging is a major player. If you can think of any other interesting applications for text message technology, let us know in the comments section!

 

August 14, 2014

7 Clear Advantages of Text Marketing



Many smart marketers make the (giant) mistake of underestimating the promotional impact of text messages. Others commit the twin sin of failing to use them to their full advantage. Understand the seven core benefits of text marketing, however, and you're on your way to properly harnessing this tool's impressive influence.

How weighty is that influence? An estimated 8.3 trillion text messages are expected to be sent in 2015, and in 2013 North American users averaged 6.5 billion SMS messages per day. Texting's transition from novelty to integral part of everyday life is complete. And, with that change, text marketing's potential advantages have expanded. The vast majority of people who enroll in SMS loyalty programs believe they gain value from it, and SMS coupons are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than paper or email coupons. If you're not considering text marketing, you should be. Here are seven clear advantages of this marketing method.

1. Higher Open Rates Than email and Direct Mail

With text marketing, you're reaching people who have opted in and want to receive offers from you. Marketing to an existing customer base has a high return on investment. Furthermore, since these people want to receive information from you, they deliver very high read rates for your messages.

2. Text Marketing Allows Detailed, Up-to-the-Minute Analytics

With many types of marketing it's hard to get decent analytics and deduce what you're doing right and what could use improvement. With text marketing, by contrast, you should expect timely analytics on open rates and your redemption rate data can be be added to at the point of sale, as the transaction happens.

3. People Like the Simplicity of Text Marketing

If you send a coupon or offer by text message, there's no coupon to cut out or lose, and redeeming the offer is simple. People's lives are complex enough, and text marketing lets consumers take advantage of fun offers, contests, and polls with minimal hassle.

4. People Have Phones With Them Practically 24/7

People generally check their traditional postal mail once a day. Email accounts may be checked several times a day. But phones are in view with near constancy. When you use text marketing, you can be confident that your message will be received and probably read within seconds of arrival.

5. Opt-In Lets You Target Marketing Without Wasting Time or Money

When people opt in to your text marketing program, you can know you're sending your messages and special offers to a targeted, receptive audience. You won't waste time or money messaging people who are poor leads.

6. Text Marketing Is Environmentally Friendly

In 2012, there were $1,535 available in coupon savings for every person in the US, yet on average people only took advantage of $10.75 in coupon savings. That same year, coupon redemption volume dropped by 14.3%. That represents a lot of paper going to waste. When offers are sent by text, there's no clipping, and no searching through pockets or purses to locate coupons at the point of sale. Text marketing is much friendlier to the environment than printed offers.

7. Text Marketing Reaches Coveted Young Consumers

Close to one-third of adults prefer communicating by text message over phone calls, and the percentage is higher among younger adults. Texting is a way of life for Millennials, the up-and-coming consumer generation, so it's only natural that text marketing is a good fit with this demographic.

Text marketing makes sense across a range of industries. It's quick, simple, environmentally friendly, and you can collect analytics with the ease and accuracy needed to make the data useful. Whether you want to run a contest, send out a coupon code, or announce a sale, text marketing is a cost-effective, powerful way to reach consumers on a device that most have within arm's reach at all times.

August 12, 2014

How to Market to Millennials with Mass Text Messaging



Millennials, the generation of consumers born between 1982 and 2004, are always connected, and prefer texting over talking for interpersonal communication.

Forty-three percent of Millennials believe texting is as meaningful as a voice conversation over the phone. This demographic takes texting seriously, and their message volume reflects that. From 2000 to 2010, the number of text messages sent every month in the US went from 14 billion to 188 billion, and the trend isn't subsiding. A 2010 Nielsen study found that 42% of teens say the main reason they even have a phone is for texting. Marketers should expect Millennials to love text messages as a medium, and have high expectations for its content. Want to make traction when text marketing to Millennials? Here are our top dos and don'ts.

DO: Understand Why They Text

Millennials love texting because it offers control. According to Neil Howe and William Strauss--the authors credited with coining the name for this generation--these are the babies welcomed into the world with Lamaze and attachment-parenting obsessiveness. As adults they welcome order. Texting allows them to participate when they want to, and not when they don't. That control more than makes up for the bit of extra time that responding to a text requires. It's asynchronous, and far less intrusive than a call that demands to be dealt with immediately. Texting is also preferred due to an element of privacy, because texts can't be overheard, and due to their relative permanence, since they are stored until archived or deleted.

DO: Enable (Instant) Interactivity

Mass text messaging makes inherent sense when dealing with Millennials, but you can't just start blasting out texts one after the other and expect positive results. Millennials' relationships with brands are far more interactive than their parents'. That two-way communication can take many forms. They may comment on a brand's social media posts, or interact with brands via mass text messaging campaigns. But they are used to having a two-way relationship with the brands they love.

They're also impatient. If they respond to a mass text message, they won't wait long for a response. They want their coupon code or contest entry right then. So when engaging with Millennials by mass text messaging, it pays to be interactive and quick. Don't set this demographic up for a wait; they won't like it...and they won't be quiet about that displeasure!

DON'T: Water Down the Message

Millennials are used to byte-sized messages and getting news through a Twitter feed, but that doesn't mean you have to water down your message. Millennials are expected to become the most educated American generation. Older adults may be puzzled as to why their carefully composed text messages to their kids only get "k" as a response. It's not because the younger folks aren't taking it in, they've simply perfected their personal ROI on response length. Their expectations for you will be similarly high: be brief, but don't dumb it down.

DON'T: Send a Constant Stream of Texts

It may take a bit of benchmarking and statistic collecting, but most brands eventually find a sweet spot in terms of frequency of mass text messaging and response rate for Millennials. Much depends on the immediacy of the topic (a club contest that starts tomorrow vs. a sale that starts next week), but there must also be a clear purpose to the message. A steady drumbeat of irrelevant texts designed to keep a brand in the Millennial's mind will be ignored.

DO: Remind Millennials Via Text

With Millennials, mass text messaging works. Today's young adults are used to sending and receiving texts, and are used to text reminders and promotions. A study of 800 community college students by the University of Virginia and the University of Pittsburgh found that students who were sent text message reminders to reapply for student aid were more likely to reapply than those who were not sent text reminders. A survey by Millennial advocacy group Generation Opportunity found that 58% of respondents said they would be more likely to vote if they were sent a text reminder to do so. So if Millennials are your target demographic, mass text messaging could be the key to effectively engaging them as customers.

August 09, 2014

Scottish Healthcare Gets a Boost from SMS

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Glasgow's Western Infirmary

Healthcare providers across the world are using SMS to stay engaged with consumers. Blood banks in India are increasing donor numbers. Discharge times in U.S. hospitals are being reduced by up to an hour. And in Scotland – where healthcare is managed largely under the auspices of the public sector – investment in SMS systems is helping patients stay on top of appointments, and even encouraging them to quit smoking.

The latest development in the Scottish Government’s fledgling relationship with SMS technology has seen mobile marketing company Incentivated develop a ‘Find My Nearest’ service specifically aimed at helping women get to breast screening centers. A public advertising campaign is currently promoting the service. By texting their postcode along with the keyword SCREEN to 61611, Scottish women will receive a reply giving details of their nearest screening center, and ask that they call for a screening appointment if they have not had one in the last three years.

Headed by the Scottish Breast Screening Programme, the scheme divides the country into six regions. Postcodes sent into the service are cross-checked against the government’s database of mobile users. The reply message differs according to region, and is sent as soon as the person’s location has been determined.

Gail Lyall, Senior Marketing Manager for the government, says:

"Creating awareness of the importance of the role of breast screening is hugely important to ensure we keep increasing the numbers of women that detect breast cancer at the earliest stage. The audience we are targeting are hard to engage, so when we have their attention to act, it is imperative we make things as easy as possible for them. SMS allows us to provide a quicker customer journey from call to action to making that important appointment."

It’s no surprise that Holyrood has opted to use Incentivated. The tech firm has a well-established relationship with the government, and already provides a wide range of SMS services, including a program for the Scottish Children’s Panel that allows citizens to text in for information on taking part in public hearings designed to improve child safety in the home. The service was an enormous success, prompting 1700 SMS requests in the first week alone.

Scotland also provides a text service for people trying to give up smoking. Users text in the date they would like to quit, and a daily reply helps them count down to the big day, as well as sending tips on staying off the cigarettes for good.

August 03, 2014

Scented Text Message Startup Still Smells Victory After a Taste of Failure

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Vapor Communications, a company that transmits aromas via text message, has failed to meet its $150,000 crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo – but is promising to press on with the money it did raise. 

The technology was partly invented by Harvard University professor David Edwards. It has thus far raised close to 30% of its goal, with 176 backers pledging $47,000 to the project. Despite falling well short of their target, Vapor Communications will continue to work towards a viable commercial version of the technology. Plans are afoot to move their office from Paris to Cambridge later this year, and a company statement said:

“We expect that the evolution of the product over the coming months will increasingly attract the interest of consumers.”

Vapor Communications was founded last September as a way to bring Edwards’ oPhone hardware to market. The oPhone comes with small ‘scent cartridges’ that communicate with an app on the iPhone. Pre-sales were strong, with the $149 retail price seeming just right to enthusiastic food bloggers and others with an interest in sharing scents.

But critics suggest that this need to buy extra hardware is an impediment to success. In a world governed by cloud-based data and in-built apps, the less physical stuff you need to accumulate, the better. The vast majority of smartphone experiences require nothing more than a download, which makes apps like oPhone and oSnap a hard sell.

Nevertheless, the developers’ aims are laudable. It’s true that a huge part of our eating experiences are influenced by aroma, and that there is plenty of interest in communicating smells in the same way audiovisual content is shared. Whether that interest extends beyond those in the food industry to the consumers they serve remains to be seen. If and when then happens, the oPhone will be well placed to meet the demand. For now, lovers of madcap tech concepts can only hope Vapor Communications continues to grow in it’s new UK home. 

July 18, 2014

Taco Bell Text Message Lawsuit Dismissed

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A federal appellate court has ruled in favor of Taco Bell after a lawsuit accused the restaurant chain of violating commercial text message legislation.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2012 ruling that said Taco Bell was not responsible for SMS messages sent to consumers by a marketing agency in 2005.

The promotion at the center of the legal drama allegedly saw twelve franchisees in the Chicago area send text messages to local residents asking them to vote on two varieties of the Nacho Bell Grande item. Ad agency ESW outsourced the mobile strand of the campaign to a company called Ipsh (now the Marketing Arm).

A woman from Georgia sued Taco Bell in the wake of the campaign, claiming she had received two unsolicited text messages – a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which prohibits companies from using automated dialing systems to send cell phone communications without the recipients' consent. After the judge dismissed her case, the plaintiff decried the ruling as a “blueprint for retailers to evade liability for transmitting spam text messages en masse to the public.”

During the case, Taco Bell denied involvement in the text message campaign, which was put together by a group of local franchise owners and Ipsh, without the knowledge or consent of the parent company. According to court papers, Taco Bell successfully argued that it played “no role in the decision to distribute the message by way of a blast text or that it ever reviewed any proposed text message, or even knew about the outgoing text message component of the local promotion.”

The TCPA was recently updated to reflect the shift towards mobile. Historically, advertisers could depend on pre-existing business relationships (such as a prior purchase). Now, mobile marketing campaigns must obtain express written consent in order to contact consumers.

The court’s decision has probably made it harder for consumers to sue advertisers for campaigns that potentially violate the law. It could prove to be a landmark ruling. It’s certainly dealt a blow to opponents of aggressive marketing strategies. Whether or not it sets a precedent remains to be seen.