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.

AT&T tests text message translations

Different companies experience different challenges, but there is one roadblock that every businesses encounters when trying to reach customers – the language barrier. Regardless of the quality of a marketing campaign or sales pitch, they are virtually useless if the recipient can't understand the language he or she is reading or hearing.

Reaching out to prospects via text message marketing is an effective practice, but what good does it do if that prospect can't read the message? While many companies have adjusted their hiring practices to look for multi-lingual employees, AT&T is launching a service that can break the language barrier regardless of the sender and recipient.

The telecom giant is in the process of testing a new technology that translates text messages and displays them in the recipient's native language. Mazin Gilbert, vice president for intelligent systems research at AT&T Labs, spoke to the online publication Technology Review about the service and how it will help keep more people connected.

"If my friend sends me a message in Spanish, then AT&T recognizes the language and translates it to English," Gilbert said. "Then I can send back in English, and it is translated into Spanish for her. We can go back and forth and have a conversation – we're trying to break down language barriers between people."

This is big news for mobile marketers because it opens up new channels and allows companies to reach a greater number of people. Instead of keeping messaging local, this service can allow businesses to globalize their reach and diversify their customer base.

However, doing so will only be effective if mobile marketers have the right tools. Swift SMS offers the solutions marketing professionals need to launch powerful text messaging campaigns. As this service grows and more carriers pick it up, Swift has the ability to reach across carrier lines and hit a greater number of recipients.


SMS services growing in the healthcare industry

Doctors have a responsibility to prescribe the right medication to their patients, but until recently, there wasn't much they could do to ensure consumption. "Take two and call me in the morning" may seem like a sound order, but was never any guarantee that it would be followed. However, by using SMS services, many doctors are alleviating those troubles.

Ultimately, patients aren't deliberately violating doctors orders. Any failure to take prescribed medicine typically falls under the category of forgetfulness, not disobedience. Today, with the increasingly high number of mobile devices in this society, many healthcare providers are implementing a service that sends text messages to patients reminding them to take their medicine.

This is part of a growing trend in the industry in which healthcare professionals are using modern technology to streamline daily processes. In addition to following up with patients and sending reminders to take medication, doctors are texting each other for a number of professional reasons.

"Increasingly, referrals are being done now by text messaging and personal cell phones," said Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in a recent interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

By communicating with patients and colleagues via text message, doctors are able to spend less time on the phone and more time caring for individuals that require medical attention. For patients, receiving medical advice and reminders to take medication on their mobile phones is an effective way to spur recovery.

As healthcare organizations continue to adopt modern technology, SMS messaging will continue to be a prevalent practice. For hospitals that wish to implement a similar service, Swift SMS Gateway offers a variety of tools that organizations can use to effectively build communication efficiency.



United Way responds to text messages from those in need

In an effort to capitalize on emerging technologies while providing better assistance to those in need, the United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties in central Florida is implementing SMS services.

Instead of having to call for help and wait on hold for support, those in need of assistance can simply text their zip code to the United Way and they will shortly receive a response from a localized professional. This is beneficial because it ensures that individuals will be serviced by someone local who is specialized to handle their specific issue and it limits the amount of time wasted on hold while the United Way searches for an appropriate professional.

United Way CEO Sue Cordova spoke with the Orlando Sentinel about the organization's efforts. She indicated that while some individuals may not always be in position to make a call or contact an organization via the internet, most people are able to send a quick text message.

"Oftentimes, residents find it difficult to place a call or access a system online, so sending a text message allows them to communicate in another way," Cordova said.

In emergency situations, the convenience gained by communicating via text message rather than traditional voice connection can make all the difference in the world. At the United Way, by allowing SMS messaging, the company can take the energy it would have spent conducting voice conversations and concentrate it on fixing actual problems.

Companies looking for an easier way to communicate with customers, prospects or just the general public would be wise to implement an SMS strategy. Doing so capitalizes on the immense growth of mobile technology while establishing more effective communication channels. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools organizations need to orchestrate effective text messaging strategies.


Why SMS marketing requires best practices

Over the years, text message marketing has proven to be an effective strategy for reaching out to prospects. The accelerated growth of mobile phone usage and the sustained popularity of the SMS application have made text messaging an essential tactic used by marketing agencies. However, it is only productive if best practices are administered.

A recent article in the online publication Marketingweek suggests that the rise of the practice may be leading to an influx of rogue mobile marketers. Russell Parsons, the author of the article, suggests that unless companies take proper steps in acquiring the contact info of their current and potential customers, their messages may be considered spam. If a number of businesses act that way, the legitimacy of proper texts could be compromised.

"The problem, unless the powers that be get a handle on it, is that the avalanche of rogue texters is in danger of flattening perfectly legitimate use of the channel," Parsons writes. "The mobile is such a personal item that any brand encroaching into customers' space needs to make sure they have a reason to be there. If those that do not continue to outweigh those that do, then SMS cannot survive as a legitimate marketing tool."

That's why companies need to ensure that all proper measures are taken in every step of their text messaging efforts. This includes everything from obtaining customer information to message scheduling strategies to the content of every text message.

It's important for every business to understand the correct way to implement texting into their marketing efforts. Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools and the knowledge companies need to ensure that their messages are well received and support the positive reputation of their business.

Why broadcasters can benefit from SMS marketing

Those in the broadcasting industry should be well versed in the benefits of SMS services. After all, broadcasting is the act of reaching a large audience at once, something that can be accomplished via text message marketing or alerts. Today, as traditional mediums such as radio and even live television struggle to maintain adequate ratings, it makes sense for broadcasting executives to use SMS to reach their audience, advertise programming and engage viewers.

An article in the broadcasting website lists a number of reasons why broadcasters should be reaching out to customers via SMS messaging. The article suggests that due to the nature of the industry, sending out advertising messages to the mobile devices of viewers and listeners is a no-brainer.

"Mobile phones are not going away, so the faster station managers can build a mobile database, the faster they will start activating core fans and generate advertising revenues," the article says. "The conversational tone and ease of use of text message marketing makes it a perfect medium for fans to interact with their favorite TV/radio stations and personalities."

The advancing functionality on today's mobile devices also offer an advantage. Most smartphones can play video and audio and broadcasters can implement that into their text message strategies. For example, a television station sending out SMS messages to advertise that night's prime time lineup could link video clips previewing the shows. Radio stations can add bumps as audio files.

These are just some of the many ways media companies can benefit from marketing via texting. Mobile phone usage continues to grow and SMS remains the most popular application on every cellular device, so mobile marketing will continue to be an strong tactic. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools businesses need to generate effective text messages.

Texting in politics works, but it must be done properly

The first Presidential debate kicks off tonight, and as candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama prepare themselves to go at it on a number of issues, their campaign staffers are working diligently to increase votership. In 2012, more than any other election, campaign managers are using modern technology and new media to assist their own efforts.

Previously, this blog talked about how Romney and Obama are using SMS services to accept campaign donations. In Canada, organizations used text messaging alerts to remind voters to head to the polls on election day. Now, campaign offices are sending text messages to provide users with valuable information about the candidates and relevant election news.

For example, registered users could receive a text tonight reminding them to watch the debate. Tomorrow, links to videos and reactions could be sent via SMS messaging. These services keep the voting public in the know and spur interest in the election, but they must be conducted carefully.

In Virginia, voters have complained about receiving negative attack ads in the form of a text message, a service they did not sign up for. The Senate race between Tim Kaine and George Allen is heating up as we head towards November, but many recipients within the state – regardless of their political affiliation – have expressed dissatisfaction with the content of their texts.

One attack text stated "Tim Kaine calls for radical new tax on all Americans," a statement is both untrue and was deemed inappropriate for campaign texting.

This illustrates the importance of a well-managed SMS campaign. Swift SMS Gateway can offer organizations the tools they need to orchestrate effective SMS alerts and text message marketing campaigns.


Library uses SMS messaging to answer customer questions

In today's information age, people want answers and they want them now. The foundation of Google's success is based on that fact. However, despite Google's impressive advancements in recent years, no machine can beat one-on-one communication between two individuals. That's why some companies have implemented SMS Services so they can answer professional questions and relay information via texting.

According to an article in the Basking Ridge Patch, the Bernards Township Library in Basking Ridge, New Jersey is offering a service to customers that allows them to text inquiries and receive information quickly and from a human respondent. Users can text questions such as "what time does the library close?" or "Do you have Game of Thrones in stock?" and receive accurate, human-generated answers.

The library is also using this service to send text alerts such as upcoming events or important news.Ruth Lufkin, the library's director, told the news source that the decision to implement this service was fueled by the increasing popularity of texting.

"Recognizing the increased use of text messaging by patrons of all ages, we felt it important to offer a way to communicate with the library via text messaging," Lufkin said. "The new service provides an easy-to-use interface for our librarians and maintains the privacy of our patrons' information."

Companies that implement services such as this can further their customer engagement by delivering valuable information. It provides another channel for consumers to communicate with their vendors. By keeping the lines of communication open, companies have the opportunity to answer any questions and alleviate any concerns, thus increasing the likelihood of future business.

Swift SMS Gateway provides companies with the tools they need to execute a number of effective text messaging services.