How text messages can help you quit smoking

Quitting smoking isn't easy. There are plenty of methods to help people with their efforts – ranging from chewing gum to hypnotism – but none of them are fool-proof. Ultimately, individuals trying to quit need strong will-power and support. That may come in the form of SMS reminders.

As previously mentioned in this blog, this service has proven to be valuable to those needing assistance with taking their medication, but it can also be used to provide inspirational messages to those trying to get over a bad habit. A text message stating "One month smoke free! Way to go!" on the one-month anniversary of the last puff can really help recipients who may be seeking extra motivation with their quitting efforts.

The healthcare research firm Cochrane recently conducted a study of users receiving text messages to help them quit smoking versus those using traditional methods and found the results to be extremely positive. According to the research, the quit rate of those using text messages doubled.

An article in the online publication examines the effects of using text messages to help those in need of assistance and argues that convenience and simplicity push SMS in the forefront.

"The benefits of a text-based approach are clear," Raby writes. "Of course, people take their mobile phones everywhere. Having a website with a lot of information on how to quit smoking is great, but when you're having a craving that website is pretty useless. If a text message popped up when you were stepping outside though, it could be the difference between lighting up or making it through another day."

This is yet another way organizations can benefit themselves and the public by using SMS services. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools businesses need to ensure a successful text messaging program.


Mall of America sends text reminders to shoppers about where they parked

We've all been in this situation. You park your car outside the mall, go inside to shop and get lunch and by the time you come back out to the parking lot, you have no idea where your car is. It's frustrating, can cause people to waste a lot of time looking for their vehicle and, depending on how busy the lot is, could be dangerous.

As the holiday shopping season approaches, it is becoming increasingly important for people to spend as little time as possible looking for their car because the crowds and traffic are just going to get more congested. Any service that can help people find their cars would be incredibly beneficial this time of year.

The Mall of America in Minnesota is hoping to solve this issue. A group affiliated with the mall is implementing a service that sends shoppers a text message reminder to let them where they are parked once they return to the MOA's expansive lot.

"Have you ever made the trek back to you car after a long day of shopping at the Mall of America and realized you have no idea where you parked?" writes Kaitlin Stevens, a reporter with the St. Paul/Minneapolis ABC affiliate. "The MOA has a plan for that."

Once parked, shoppers will be able to send a text to the mall's service number including the section and space number where they have left their cars. When they are done shopping, that number will respond with the same information, so users can simply head to the designated section and quickly find their car.

This is one of many innovative services companies are adding by using text messaging. As more people buy mobile phones, the more effective these type of programs will be. Swift SMS Gateway offers tools businesses need to initiate all kinds of SMS services.


As Black Friday approaches, text message marketing keeps readers in the know

Black Friday is only a week away and retailers are amping up their promotional efforts to advertise their respective sales. As always, competition is fierce during this time of year because every store wants to start the holiday shopping season on the right foot. As the day gets closer, it's important for companies to connect with their customers by sending engaging, informative content.

Text message marketing doesn't necessarily have to be restricted to information about new products. Businesses can keep recipients up to date on upcoming events, and Black Friday is an ideal situation to apply this practice. Every year, the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season gets bigger and bigger and, once November starts, shoppers start looking into their favorite retailers and formulating their shopping strategies. Companies need to capitalize on this fact by reaching out to their potential customers.

An article in Business 2 Community lists the best strategies retailers should implement to maximize their profits on Black Friday. Joshua Malin, the author of the article, suggests text message marketing due to its many advantages.

"Don't limit this to just time and date," Malin writes. "Include some insider insights, photos and advice to give each message unique value. Text message marketing – because of its short, sweet nature – is perfect for something like a countdown."

A countdown is certainly effective, but there is a lot of pertinent information about the event that can be communicated via SMS messaging. Retailers can use text messages to tell customers what time the doors open. If a new item is being added to the list of Black Friday specials, send a text to let people know about it. There are so many ways businesses can interact with consumers as they gear up for the biggest shopping day of the year.

To ensure that these messages are cogent and evoke a high level of readership, companies should work with an SMS services provider. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools needed to launch effective text message campaigns.


Papa John’s faces class action lawsuit for inappropriate text message marketing

The potential of promotional text messages can only be realized if SMS campaigns are conducted properly while following best practices. Sending text messages to the public without considering specific rules and regulations will negate any possible success of a campaign.

Papa John's recently got hit with a $250 million class action lawsuit due to what the suit calls "spammy text messages." According to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday, the pizza chain sent an excessive number of text messages to those who didn't ask for the service. In total, roughly 500,000 unwanted text messages were sent.

"After I ordered from Papa John's, my telephone started beeping with text messages advertising pizza specials," said one of the plaintiffs in a statement. "Papa John's never asked permission to send me text message advertisements."

When initiating such services, it is crucial that the sender confirms with the recipient before sending messages. Despite the plethora of unlimited messaging plans supported by the major mobile carriers, many individuals still pay for each text message or have a limit as to how many they can receive in one month. Sending unwanted messages is not only an annoyance, it could cost the recipient money or hurt the possibility of receiving important messages later in the month.

Conducting such activities can be damaging to a company's reputation . Any subsequent text – regardless of their validity – will be compromised if one unwanted message makes its way to a customer's mobile phone. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools businesses need to formulate smart messaging strategies and construct effective text message marketing campaigns.

Oakland University implements emergency text message service

In an effort to boost school safety measures, the Oakland University Police Department is implementing a text alert service designed to reach students, faculty and staff across campus.

According to a report from The Oakland Post, this service will alert recipients when there is a major threat and the police determines that safety could be compromised without instant action. As campus safety continues to become a problem in some colleges and universities across the country, there is hope that this program will go a long way in protecting everyone who entrusts school officials to keep them safe.
Samuel Lucido, chief of the Oakland University Police Department, sent an email to students describing the service and announced that a test would be conducted on Tuesday. Lucido asked students and staff to respond to signify a connection was made, as well as encourage others to sign up for the service.

"In the event of any crisis situation, information will reach you automatically though most of our communication methods," Lucido said. "To fully utilize our most efficient method, however, we need your help."
This service is valuable because it reaches a large number of people in a short amount of time. Emailing emergency warnings is not as effective because not every phone has email capabilities and, typically, students won't all be at their desks and on their computers when an emergency alert comes through. SMS alerts can relay pertinent information right away without distracting the recipient with any necessary components to the message.

Organizations looking to bolster their security efforts would benefit from implementing this service and sending emergency texts, but it must operate correctly in order to be effective. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools needed to initiate a strong emergency text alert program.

Michigan implements emergency text service

The nature of mobile devices increase the effectiveness of cell phones while making emergency calls. Instead of relying on traditional dispatchers to determine a general location and send out local help, emergency calls made from a cell phone can pinpoint the specific location. While many states are embracing mobile integration into their emergency services Michigan may be leading the nation by capitalizing on today's evolving smartphone technology.

This blog has spoken at great lengths about the effectiveness of SMS emergency messages. Earlier this year, we reported on Marlyand's efforts to implement SMS services to bolster its 911 program. Michigan is taking that to the next level by allowing users to send pictures, videos and any other relevant media to the dispatcher, all through the SMS application.

Harriet Miller-Brown, Michigan's 911 administrator, spoke with The Detroit News about the state's initiative – dubbed Next Gen 911 – and its advantages over traditional calls.

"Basically, Next Gen 911 is the ability to receive 911 calls from any device," Miller-Brown said. "Our network was originally built on the current landline system, which works great. But, we've gone to cellular phones and all kinds of technology. Next Generation 911 is about bringing our 911 system in pace with that."

Ultimately, emergencies don't occur just at home. The need to reach emergency professionals can arise anywhere and at anytime. The ability to call or text a 911 service from a mobile device goes a long way in improving response efforts and mitigating the effects of an emergency.

Texting offers even greater assistance because many people, regardless of whether or not they own a mobile device or not, might not be in a position to make a phone call. If texting proves to be a more efficient communication practice, the ability to respond to emergency SMS messages will offer greater assistance to those who need it.

Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools emergency responders need to communicate with those in need via text message. 

Twenty years of texting: Why it’s still tops among mobile communication

It's incredible to see how far text messaging has come over the years. While its popularity exploded shortly after the turn of the century, the technology has actually been around since 1992. In 20 years, adoption has grown exponentially and today every new phone contains the SMS application.

As this blog has mentioned in the past, mobile messaging has continued to evolve but, despite the plethora of new options presented to users, text messaging is still the preferred method. Today, 98 percent of all SMS messages are opened, more than any other form of communication.

An article in examines the 20 years of SMS messaging and desribes why, after all this time, it still regins supreme as the best way for individuals to communicate with eachother.

"Even with the rise of over-the-top and instant messaging services, industry experts believe SMS revenues will continue to increase globally, estimating that mobile networks will earn $726 billion from SMS over the next five years," the article says. "Interestingly however, the service has remained fundamentally unchanged since its inception and the ubiquitous nature of SMS amongst other factors have contributed to its success: reach, reliability, speed, easy of use and its open rate." 

Ultimately, SMS has survived all this time because of its universal nature. Every phone today can send text messages. Not every phone can Tweet or access Facebook, so sending text messages remains the best way to reach someone. Businesses are finding increased success with their mobile marketing efforts because of this fact.

The text message has been around for 20 years and figures to keep going strong well into the future and companies that construct the best messages are most successful in their texting efforts. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools businesses need to launch effective SMS campaigns.


NASA launches text alert service to tell people when the ISS is flying overhead

NASA is launching a service that will notify people as soon as the International Space Station (ISS) passes over their house, and they will do so by sending them a text message.

Many individuals are fascinated by space and the technology we use for exploration. People are constantly going outside to check out the latest eclipse or shot of Mars, but oftentimes these events are missed by people who are unaware of specific occurrences. However, by implementing a text alert service, NASA will keep people informed of when they can catch a good view of the ISS.

"This service will not only notify you of 'good sighting opportunities," said a NASA representative. "Sightings that are high enough in the sky [40 degrees or more] and last long enough to give you the best view of the orbiting laboratory."

According to NASA, these sightings will come at varying frequencies – ranging from once or twice a week to only once or twice a month. That's why having this service is important because it gives users the opportunity to always be prepared.

There is an immense value in being able to communicate with others in unscheduled increments. Individuals typically require as much notice as they can get when something is about to happen, so unpredictable events such as an ISS sighting must be announced as quickly as possible. Sending information via text message is the best way to do this because it is the fastest way to reach a large group of people.

Businesses can implement this strategy as well, especially retailers announcing new special promotions. These special events can occur at any time, so using promotional texting to get the word out as soon as possible is the most effective method of communication.

Swift SMS Gateway provides companies with the tools needed to launch successful text message campaigns that can send messages at any given time.



How text messaging can improve the restaurant business

The restaurant industry has been through a difficult couple of years. While the establishments themselves have continued to provide delicious food, proper service and a customer experience that leaves all patrons satisfied at the end of their meal, the nature of the economy has prevented many people from eating out as often as they'd like.

The truth is, when money becomes tight and budgets must be examined with a fine-toothed comb, going out for dinner tends to be left behind. To combat this, it's up to restaurants to come up with innovative ways to engage customers and increase business. This can be done via text message marketing and SMS couponing.

Daily specials and promotional deals are one way many restaurants are combating the slowing economy and encouraging customers to come out to eat. The only problem is, spreading the word about deals can be costly and time consuming without proper tools.

According to an article in the online publication Cyprus Mail, several restaurants are battling the recession by offering dining specials and many are seeing increased inbound communication traffic. Peter Larkin, manager of the Casa Vieja Spanish restaurant, told the news source that he has been extra busy keeping up with the inquiries about the latest meal deal.

"The promotional deals really do make a difference," Larkin said. "Lately I've had customers calling up to see what deal is offered on what night to see when they are going to come."

Taking an abundance of incoming calls may not be the most practical way to spread the word about restaurant promotions. By signing users up to a text message service and using SMS to announce the latest special, restaurants can reach a greater number of people in an even shorter amount of time.

Businesses should take advantage of their technology to ensure that their revenue-building strategies are successful. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools needed to construct effective promotional text messages.

SMS messaging reaching more consumers in Canada each day

Savvy business owners are constantly on the lookout for better ways to connect with their core audience, and evidence is mounting that SMS text message marketing is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal. That's because the sheer audience for marketing text messages is large – and it appears to be growing each day.

A recent report from the Canadian Wireless Technologies Association (CWTA) speaks to this reality. According to the study, Canadian consumers sent 42.7 billion person-to-person text messages during the first six months of the year, a significant increase from the number of texts sent during the same time period one year earlier.

In fact, Canadian consumers have already sent enough text messages to represent 60 percent of the total volume from all of 2011. CWTA data shows 72 billion texts were sent between Canadian consumers last year.

"In June of this year alone, text messages totaled 8 billion, or approximately 268 million messages per day," said the report.

What do the numbers mean for businesses? Opportunity.

Ultimately, the main takeaway for business owners is that text message marketing is an expanding market ripe with opportunity. Over the past several years, it has become clear that SMS messaging is not an emerging technology – it's a form of communication that is a necessity in today's culture, and one that can be leveraged by savvy business owners.

An effective SMS message marketing campaign starts with a partnership with a premier provider of SMS services and technology. At Swift SMS, we offer the tools business owners need to implement a wide range of SMS strategies, including text alerts, reminders, and bulk SMS sending.