Emergency texts can help those in Hurricane Sandy’s path

As Hurricane Sandy pounds the eastern seaboard, many organizations are opting to send emergency texts in order to keep citizens out of harm's way.

Sending text messages can be the best method of communication during natural disasters for a number of reasons. First, as this blog has mentioned in the past, texting is an effective way to reach a large number of people in a short amount of time. Text messages can transcend device and carrier because every phone these days contains the SMS application.

Moreover, texting becomes increasingly valuable during events where there is a high likelihood of a power failure. Traditional communication methods – landline phone calls and emails to name a few – are typically reliant on electricity. If the power goes out, connecting via a desktop computer is no longer an option. Even laptops will be of little help if the internet goes out. Phone lines traditionally fail early on in massive storms, making phone calls an imperfect option.

In fact, all forms of voice communication – even calls made via mobile phones – aren't practical if the receiving party is in an emergency situation. However, receiving a text is quick, easy and provides valuable information designed to help people in need.

The Federal Communications Commission is on board with emergency texting and instructs relief organizations to use SMS messaging to reach individuals in danger zones.

"Authorized national, state or local government officials send alerts regarding public safety emergencies, such as a tornado or a terrorist threat to CMAS," the FCC site says.

Disaster crews would be wise to invest in SMS services so they can reach anyone in danger in a short amount of time. Texting during these events can keep people out of harm's way and save lives. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools any organization needs to launch effective text alert programs.

Doctors use text messages to communicate with diabetes patients

As this blog has previously mentioned, a number of medical professionals are using text message alerts to communicate with patients and remind them to take their medication. This type of service is especially useful for those with diabetes, due to their strict medication schedules and regimens. 

According to an article from the local Chicago CBS affiliate, doctors at the University of Chicago Medical Center are texting diabetes patients to keep them on track and remind them to take their medicine. Dr. Shantanu Nundy told the news source that his work doesn't stop there however, and that he is using texting to communicate all kinds of valuable information with his patients.

"Some of them are simple reminders, like 'It's 8 o'clock, time to take your medication,'" Nundy said. "Other ones are sort of weekly messages about, 'Here are the types of foods to eat, or not to eat,' and then some of them are questions."

Texting is a valuable communication method because it can reach a large group of people in such a short amount of time. Texts don't have to be long to relay crucial information, so recipients can read them, process what they are being told and go about their day, all in a matter of seconds.

Those tasked with servicing large groups of people such as doctors and social workers typically share the same problem – they only have so many hours in the day to help everyone. Using SMS services to communicate with a large group at once can go a long way in mitigating those challenges.

Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools organizations need to conduct effective text messages and launch successful SMS campaigns.


New service keeps entrepreneurs motivated via text messages

One of the more troubling effects of today's uncertain economy is the lack of resources small business owners and entrepreneurs have to succeed in their business ventures. The inability to save and spend on necessary expenditures is hurting today's budding executive, but one individual is trying to change this and is using SMS messaging to help her cause.

Dina Pomeranz, an Entrepreneurial Management professor at Harvard Business School, has launched a program to help young professionals trying to start their own business set up a savings program. In a difficult economy, this is designed to give entrepreneurs a crutch to lean on should we experience another downturn, thus alleviating the dangers of losing the business.

The program was run to research the effects of peer pressure and outside influencers on saving. When participants met their savings goals for a month, they would receive a text congratulating them on doing so. If they failed to meet their goals, they would receive a message scolding them.

Pomeranz told the Harvard Business School's online publication Working Knowledge that the results found more people receiving constant notifications regarding their savings were successful in their efforts.

"It could be that text feedback or getting a message that cheers you on saying 'Yeah, I did it and I can do it again!' is enough to encourage people to make a deposit," she said.

Pomeranz's system was simple, but extremely effective. By sending information to a group of people to update them on their respective goal-reaching statuses, she inspired hard work and discipline. This showcases the power of text messages and why organizations that implement SMS services can make a significant impact in their industry or community.

Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools companies need to launch effective text messaging campaigns.


Texting parents is a smart communication strategy for school system

Traditionally, text alert programs have been designed to reach teens and young adults because, quite frankly, they use mobile devices the most. However, as we reported in this blog, mobile usage is growing among older demographics, so now organizations are launching SMS services catered towards a more diverse range of age groups.

According to an article from the local ABC affiliate, the Lincoln Public School system in Lincoln, Nebraska, is implementing a service that will text students' parents in the event of an emergency or important news announcement. This stems from a shooting that took place last week across the street from a local school. Parents who picked their kids up at the end of the day were shocked to discover that an event of that magnitude had taken place so close to the school and many were outraged that no one had bothered to inform them.

That's why the school is launching a service that sends text messages to parents instead of an email or a phone call. When interviewed by the news source, parent Amanda Brick expressed satisfaction in the decision because texting reaches the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time.

"There are people out there that don't have voicemails of answering machines and a lot of times, it's easier if you're at work to check a text message than it is to answer your phone," Brick said. "So I think it's a good thing for a lot of parents."

The school had originally made phone calls to parents, but as adults increasingly adopt texting as their preferred communication method, SMS messages make the most sense. Organizations should consider the fact that texts can be received by anyone at any time when orchestrating alert services. Swift SMS Gateway can offer the tools needed to launch successful text alerts campaigns.


The power of carefully crafted text messages: Less is more

All business processes must be conducted while adhering to best practices. Text message marketing is no different. As we have mentioned in this blog, sending inaccurate information or setting inconvenient messaging schedules can hinder the effectiveness of an SMS marketing campaign. These are important things to remember, but there are other factors to consider as well.

An article in the online publication Business 2 Community lists three do's and three don'ts of text message marketing. While this blog has discussed many of them, there is one that sticks out that is an essential component of all marketing strategies – don't try to say too much.

"Sometimes marketers try to squeeze in way too much information in those 160 text characters," writes Liga Bizune, the author of the article. "Often it results in skipped letters, grammar failures and a lack of logic. In SMS marketing, less is more."

One of the primary advantages of marketing via text messaging is the minimalist nature of SMS. It's important to send quick, focused messages that contain important information while leaving the recipient wanting to know more. If a reader absorbs all relevant info from one text message, there isn't much incentive to follow up. A small tease for a product, service or event, followed by a strong call to action, will be much more effective in enticing customers to either respond to the text or contact the client in any other way that's convenient for them.

Businesses that follow this important step will go a long way in improving their engagement strategies. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools companies need to launch effective SMS campaigns and craft powerful, enticing messages.

Texting gives voters the information they need on election day

We are only a few short weeks from election day and various voters groups are pooling their resources to generate strategies to increase turnout. Regardless of political affiliation, it's important that people get out and vote, so many voting organizations are turning to SMS services to bolster their efforts.

This blog has already covered the tremendous effect texting has had on political elections. Presidential candidates are receiving donations via text and earlier this year Canadian groups sent messages to remind citizens to vote. But, as November 6 gets closer, it's important for citizens to be well-informed about where to go, what time to vote and any other people need to know about the day.

"Text messaging is used by everyone, regardless of income, race or political party, so it's the perfect tool to reach voters of all stripes this election season," said Jed Alpert, a mobile development professional who is partnering with groups such as the Voting Information Project and New Organizing Institute. "In 2012 there's no reason anyone who wants to vote should be excluded due to lack of information."

This exemplifies the value of sending SMS messages to broadcast information. For example, any voter registered with a group implementing a text alerts service can receive important information such as the closest voting station with one simple text message. This valuable data can be sent to a large group of people instantly, which builds efficiency into their own operations.

Any company looking to reach a large collection of recipients in a short amount of time can benefit from SMS messaging. This goes for organizations providing a service as well as companies sending mobile marketing messages. Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools businesses need to launch effective text messaging campaigns.



For text messages to be effective, they must be accurate

Sending text messages to reach a large group of customers, prospects or any other group of individuals that may need help is certainly beneficial, but it is practice that must be conducted properly.

Tulane University implemented a text alerts program to reach students in the event of an emergency. As this blog has mentioned in the past, this service has proven to be helpful in a number of instances, but benefits are only realized if the messages conveyed are accurate.

In the case of Tulane, school officials recently sent out an alert to students and faculty members informing them of a shooting on campus. However, according to a report in the New Orleans Times Picayune, there was a problem with the message – there was no shooting.

Mike Strecker, a spokesman for the University, told the campus publication The Tulane Hullabaloo that an accident had occurred and that students should not pay attention to the message.

"There is no validity to that text," Strecker said. "There is not a shooting. It was a mistake."

The incident occurred because Tulane was testing its emergency text message service and accidentally sent the message to every student. While this was a simple mistake that will likely be fixed, it illustrates the importance of ensuring that all communication sent to a mass group of people is accurate.

If wrong information is sent, it automatically compromises the legitimacy of the sender. In some cases, the damage could be irreparable. This goes beyond alerts as well. If a company were to send inaccurate information regarding a special offer, the business would take a significant hit.

By taking time to carefully craft messages, companies can ensure that their communication will be well-received and return a benefit to the organization. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools businesses need to orchestrate, effective text messages for all purposes.


The benefits of SMS couponing

Everybody loves saving money, especially at the checkout counter. Couponing is so popular that it even has its own television show. But, as society continues its aggressive shift from paper to digital, traditional coupons may soon be phased out. The proliferation of mobile functionality has, however, given coupons a new home.

Consumers are constantly attached to their mobile devices, especially when they are on the go. The next time you enter a grocery store or a mall, take a look at how many people are on their phones as they casually wander through hallways and aisles. Virtually every shopper pulls out his or her phone at least once while they are out. That's why professionals such as Alison Paul, retail sector leader at financial consultancy firm Deloitte, stress the value of mobile couponing.

"Everybody is walking around stores, using their smartphones," Paul told the online publication SmartMoney.

There are a number of ways for users to get coupons onto their devices. Some retailers and product distributors have mobile application that allow for downloads, but it's typically up to the user to launch the app, find new coupons and download them. That can be a long process. SMS couponing may be a more effective method because consumers can receive them instantly on their home screens whenever new ones are available.

Companies that text coupon offers can increase customer engagement because recipients will at least consider the offers they receive once they see them. Formulating an effective SMS couponing strategy can go a long way in building brand awareness and improving sales figures. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools needed to generate text message coupons.

Text messages prove to be therapeutic

Sometimes, people just need someone to talk to. That's why communication devices are such a vital part of our society. When we're in trouble and there is no one to speak with in person, we turn to our phones to reach out. However, there are times when making a phone call is too inconvenient or, at times, just isn't possible. That's why we rely on text messages today more than ever.

As this blog recently reported, the United Way is launching a service that allows those in need to text their zip code and receive a local specialist to help them with their issue. Today, there is talk of new organizations launching a similar campaign – a service that sends words of encouragement to those recovering from alcohol or drug addiction via SMS text messaging.

According to a report in the online publication Good Therapy, texting is becoming an increasingly effective way to help those recovering from substance abuse. Frederick Muench, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University, recently surveyed 50 individuals who were recovering from addiction and asked if they would be receptive to text messages as part of their continuing care. The group was overwhelmingly supportive of the idea.

Muench told the news source that as technology continues to advance, it's important for organizations to improve traditional practices.

"Overall, results highlight the promise of using mobile interventions for addiction care and underscore the need for empirically tested models for this new medium," Muench said.

The global proliferation of mobile devices means that today, people of all walks of life are capable of sending and receiving text messages. This means that organizations tasked with caring for a large number of people – such as addiction treatment centers – can benefit with SMS services.

Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools needed to launch effective text message campaigns that be used for a variety of services.

Study shows texting increasing among older generation

The old adage about senior citizens and technology may be going away. We all once assumed that the two didn't mix, and you can't really blame us. But, in an increasingly digital world where everyone is connected and technology is such a big part of our lives, more seniors are adopting mobile devices. As a result, many are turning to SMS messaging as a form of communication.

Last year, a report revealed that an increasing number of middle-aged individuals are using SMS technology. According to a study conducted by a global research firm, 69 percent of individuals between the ages of 35 to 54 are using SMS and at least 50 percent are engaging in standard text message speech. For example, the survey indicated that LOL is the most commonly written text among that demographic, with 54 percent saying they use that line the most.

This is one component of an overall seismic shift in society. "Hip" consumer technology is no longer just for teens and twenty-somethings. Today, virtually everybody owns a cell phone. Companies such as Apple and Google are designing user-friendly mobile software that individuals of all ages can manage. Therefore, receiving and sending text messages are not as scary to the elder generation.

As the aforementioned age bracket moves into the senior citizen demographic, more people past retirement age will be using their mobile devices to communicate. This is a trend that marketing professionals should take advantage of. By adjusting SMS marketing strategies to reach prospects of all ages, companies can increase their customer base.

However, the diverse age range means that marketers will encounter more challenges in their customer engagement efforts. Businesses should not be sending the same message to 18-year-olds and 80-year-olds. Working with a text message software provider can help orchestrate effective plans to reach all ages. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools businesses need to initiate effective campaigns.