Google uses SMS technology to grow business in Africa

Technological advancements have spurred a number of new communication methods. This includes everything from social media to video calls. However, a number of organizations such as Google understand the value of text messaging and are using SMS services to reach a large group of people.

According to an article in the Washington Post, the search giant is setting up shop in several African markets and is implementing an innovative new service that uses the simplicity of SMS messaging to conduct more advanced tasks.

In its time in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, Google executives realized that many smart potential business owners lacked the ability to connect to the internet, thus hindering their company's potential. Many individuals couldn't even get email, so Google came up with a solution for people to check email and respond via their SMS application.

Google's Nigeria marketing manager Affiong Osuchukwu told the Post that this is the company's way to build emerging markets and provide aspiring businessmen and women the resources to succeed.

"We don't want to just come in and start looking for how to generate profit," Osuchukwu said. "We consider [sub-Saharan Africa] to be an investment region. We know we have to invest resources and time to develop the market in order for the market to become valuable to us in a way that we can do business."

Google's vision shows just how powerful the SMS application can be. By using carrier services rather than Wi-Fi, individuals that lack smartphone capabilities and the internet to conduct business via a computer can still get text messages on their phone that allows them to operate efficiently. This is a big issue in emerging markets, so it would be a valuable tool to help companies with their global outreach initiatives. Swift SMS Gateway offers the solutions businesses need to make the most out of SMS services.


How to avoid being lumped with SMS spam

Yesterday, this blog warned businesses on the dangers of SMS spam and how the inability to conduct well-read messages could land marketers in the same trap as those trying to scam recipients. If an SMS message isn't carefully crafted, consumers could confuse it with spam or malicious content, especially if they are past victims.

PCMag lists a number of things that consumers should look out for in their efforts to avoid SMS scams. While this list is beneficial for recipients, it can also help those sending SMS messages if their offerings are designed in a way that does not match up with these treacherous text messages.

Fahmida Rashid, the author of the article, tells readers to be wary of any messages that are either unsolicited, include bizarre content or pose the risk of third party charges.

"Remind family members, especially children, that responding to text messages can incur charges that may be difficult to reverse," Rashid writes. "Responding to email or television commercials offering services such as joke-of-the-day texts, horoscopes, love advice and ringtones all have additional fees."

These warnings should not apply to those who implement proper text message marketing procedures because doing so should ensure that companies stay clear of any actions that could be considered malicious or "spammy." However, businesses have to incorporate best practices with every component of an SMS marketing campaign – starting with acquiring consumer numbers and ending with a strong call to action in every message.

Companies that wish to ensure their text messages will be well-received should contact an SMS services provider. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools businesses need to generate quality marketing messages.


Using SMS Services lets your company stand out in front of spam

Back when email was the preferred digital marketing platform, recipients constantly worried about the amount of spam they received in their inboxes. Today, as SMS marketing continues to grow in popularity, individuals are becoming increasingly concerned about fraudulent text messages. For businesses using both of these platforms for their outbound marketing efforts, fighting to stay ahead of spam can be a challenge.

When someone receives spam, whether it be on their phones, through email or from the postal service, their human nature kicks in and they automatically become more cynical. It's harder to trust communication from companies or unknown sources. That can be damaging for marketers, as many have to break through the threshold of familiarity before they seen any success from their efforts.

Recently, cyber criminals in El Paso, Texas set up a scam involving Bank of America. These individuals would send texts claiming to be from the bank and requesting personal information. This issue was quickly recognized and recipients are being more careful in their communication with the bank.

"Check my texts twice," said citizen Jose Simental, when asked by the local ABC affiliate how he would prevent himself from being scammed. "You know, double-check with companies, and make sure everything is okay."

While this is certainly disconcerting for companies that can't afford to be pigeonholed because they send text messages to consumers, there are ways to avoid that distinction. Email marketing is still a difficult medium to crack because spam is more rampant with that medium than ever, but businesses that use proper SMS services can ensure that their messages clearly dictate proper information.

Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools companies need to ensure that their messages stand out, are accepted and that they are not mistaken for any fraudulent activity.


Sixty percent of users would like to text their vote for president

Mobility is changing the way we do everything in our lives. Nearly everything can be done on a mobile applications these days, so that's the way people want to get things done. If something can be accomplished on a mobile phone, we will prefer to use our device to accomplish the task. And, as the SMS application is still the most popular app on every smartphone, users are opting to use texting to conduct various activities such as communication, money transfers and, if respondents of a recent survey have their way, voting.

According to a study conducted by mobile radio application company Stitcher, 60 percent of mobile phone users would prefer to use their device to vote in the upcoming election. Although recent polls indicate that interest in this year's election is not where it was in 2008, mobile adoption is much higher and some have dubbed the 2012 race as "the mobile election."

Users are picking up their phones to follow election coverage and even donate to their favorite candidate, so using these devices to cast a vote seems like the next logical step.

Noah Shanok, the CEO of Sticher, said in a press release that he was shocked by the number of ways Americans are using their phones to connect to the candidates.

"While we expected people would be using mobile devices more this election cycle, the fact that mobile is already eclipsing more traditional outlets as a primary way to follow the candidates and election news is surprising," Shanok said.

If texting is adopted as a way to vote for a candidate, it wouldn't be unprecedented. As trivial as it may be compared to electing the next President, many professional sports leagues and reality shows have provided fans with the option to cast their all-star ballots or select their favorite contestant, all by using SMS services.

As this service grows, businesses may be looking to find new ways to engage themselves with the public, and implementing a voting service may achieve this. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools companies need to launch any SMS-related service.

NonProfits receive a boost by accepting donations via SMS

Last month, this blog talked about the two primary presidential candidates and their programs that allow individuals to donate money to their campaigns via the SMS app. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are not the only ones who can benefit from such a service. Today, many nonprofits are building off of that concept and implementing similar programs to accept donations via text messages.

Many nonprofits rely on telethons, traditionally accepting donations via phone calls. Now, companies are taking the telethon idea and modernizing it. The Bronx Charter school, for example, was able to implement an SMS donation service and raised a significant amount of money.

Eric Bryant, the director of an online public relations firm, developed the text-to-pledge donation service that the Bronx Charter school used. He told the online publication My Central Jersey that the school was grateful to have the service because they were able to accept donations without having to possess a vast technical knowledge.

"Using our service, they were able to generate $7,200 in pledges at a fundraiser, all in about 20 minutes time," Bryant said. "Since our service is highly customizable, we worked with their staff to craft the text message prompts in a way that they desired with made the giving process as seamless as possible for their donors."

The more texting grows as the preferred method of communication, more organizations will be adopting similar services. Companies that either donate to nonprofits or send money to other businesses should consider doing so via SMS because it is a safe and efficient way to transfer funds.

Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools that companies need for all of their texting communication operations. Developing a program to send money will allow businesses to save time and money while donating to good causes and conducting important business.


Apple’s iMessage application crashes

Just days before Apple was set to launch iOS 6, the tech giant experienced a potentially damaging incident regarding its mobile operating system. On Monday, iMessage – Apple's answer to SMS messaging – went down, which prevented users from sending "text" messages via the iMessge system. While the service was eventually up and running later in the day, the event showcased why many answers to SMS messaging are still pretenders and why traditional texting will continue to reign supreme.

Apple release iMessage last October, a service that runs on the SMS application but uses data networking. The advantage of this service is that users can send messages to other iMessage users when they only have Wi-Fi and are unable to connect to their carrier's local tower. However, incidents like Monday's show that any advantages gained can easily be lost.

Michael Harper, a contributor for the online publication RedOrbit, covered the story and mentioned that users had to switch off their iMessage service and revert to standard SMS texting.

"Therefore, iPhone users were still able to text normally with everyone," Harper wrote. "iPad, iPod Touch and Mountain Lion users, on the other hand, were out of luck when it came to iMessage yesterday, and likely had to resort to sending old fashioned email or just pulling their phones from their pockets and sending a text."

Companies should remember this incident when executing mobile marketing campaigns. Using channels such as iMessage or various social networks can hit a decent number of people, but if and when these services go down your marketing efforts will be wasted. SMS marketing relies on carriers to deliver messages. Therefore, not only will this communique hit a greater number of people, it has proven to be more reliable. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools marketers need to launch effective SMS campaigns.

Texas bomb threat exemplifies the importance of timely messaging

The nation held its collective breath and prayed for the safety of the faculty and students at the University of Texas on Friday morning, as reportings of a bomb scare reached news outlets around the country. Thankfully, the incident was a hoax and no one was hurt, but many are saying the University should use the incident as a learning experience and adjust its emergency broadcast policies, particularly those concerning text alerts.

According to an article in the Daily Texan, the school sent out a text alert around 9:50 a.m., roughly 75 minutes after University officials were aware of the threat. The school used a text alert service to send a message to student's phones, telling them to evacuate the campus. Many are now upset, stating that the alert was sent too long after the threat was made and, had there actually been a bomb, the indecisiveness could have put everyone in danger.

"I think 9:50 a.m. was way too late to decide they were going to evacuate," said Daniel Cortte, a freshman at the University.

According to University of Texas Police Department chief Robert Dahlstrom, the threat stated that bombs were going to go off around 10:05 a.m. Had this happened, the students would have been given a window of only 15 minutes to evacuate the campus, even though the threat had been received 90 minutes before the text messages were sent.

This underlines the importance of finding a valuable emergency text service. In these situations, officials must not only relay important information, but they must do so in a timely manner. The school is fortunate that no such incident took place, but next time they may not be so lucky. Organizations looking to improve the efficiency of their emergency broadcasting efforts should look into an SMS services provider. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools to send powerful messages to a large number of people in a short amount of time.

Mobile messaging to double by 2017 and SMS leads the way

As previously mentioned in this blog, global mobile traffic is growing at a rapid rate. This is fueling the growth of messaging services like SMS, which despite its immense popularity, is growing exponentially. According to one study, mobile messaging is projected to be twice as popular in the next five years.

The report was composed by Juniper Research, and indicates that mobile messaging traffic will hit 28.2 trillion messages annually in 2017. This compares to the estimated 14.7 trillion messages sent in 2012.

While this study consider other methods such as Apple's iMessage and social media services, SMS is still the mobile messaging leader and experts suggest that is something that won't change.

Daniel Ashdown, co-author of the report, said that SMS texting will continue to lead mobile messaging because it's a universal application. Social messaging services like Facebook messaging rely on users having an account and iMessage only works on iPhones, but SMS messaging can be sent from virtually any cell phone through any carrier.

"SMS is 30 years old, but it is still going strong because a text message will reach almost anyone," Ashdown said.

This is an important fact to consider for organizations conducting mobile messages and is why SMS services are still the most effective way to reach a large group of people. Businesses marketing to mobile phones experience far greater success by sending promotions through SMS than they do with any other method and text alerts are received at a far greater rate than through any other medium.

For companies looking to enhance their mobile messaging efforts, Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools needed to launch effective texting campaigns.


Promotional text messages leaves liquor stores drunk with success

Running a promotion is a great way to get customers excited, attract new business and increase revenue. The only problem is that it can, at times, be difficult to announce these events. Promotional emails are rarely opened. If customers aren't consistently coming into the store or establishment they may not see the signs posted in the front window. That's why sending promotional text messages is the most effective way to reach a large audience.

Kevin Opray, a new media expert and co-founder of the tech consultancy firm Impact Data, spoke recently at a global liquor summit, and explained that many of his alcohol-related clients – including bars, liquor stores and bottle depositories – are experiencing a wealth of success after marketing promotions via SMS services.

Opray stressed the importance of liquor stores running promotions on discounted beer or special services getting their message to the masses. His strategy is to have his clients ask customers for their mobile numbers, which they can send promotional messages to.

"If you've just bought a case of VB, of course you want to know next time VB is cheaper at the local bottle shop," Opray said.

He went on to give examples of his clients successes, saying that SMS marketing has produced an average unit sales increase of roughly 100 percent. His most successful client was a liquor store that sent mass text messaging to 493 customers for a cost of only $20. According to Opray, the message was a promotional special on Jim Beam, and the result was a nearly 200 percent increase in sales of that product.

Companies wishing to experience similar success should implement a text message strategy into their marketing efforts. Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools needed to launch effective SMS campaigns.


Suicide risks alleviated by SMS messaging

This blog has examined a number of efforts various organizations have made to promote safety by implementing an SMS messaging strategy. By sending out messages in the event of an emergency, recipients can quickly receive the information they need to keep themselves safe. Today, as part of the new national strategy for suicide prevention, those at risk are able to sign up for a service that allows communication via text message.

Like many other national organizations to help people, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is utilizing technological advancements to its advantage. Evolving technology has spawned a number of efficient communication methods, and the alliance is utilizing them to help mitigate the dangers for at risk individuals. Collaborating with the Surgeon General, the alliance released a report summarizing its new direction.

"Technology is changing the way we communicate, and the pace at which tools are introduced continues to accelerate,"  the report says. "These media and applications include interactive educational social networking websites, email outreach, blogs, mobile apps and programs using mobile devices and texting."

As previously mentioned in this blog, while utilizing a number of communication methods is a good idea, none are more effective than text messaging. The SMS application remains the most popular smartphone app and text messages are opened by 98 percent of recipients, by far the best success rate of any method.

This exemplifies how any organization can benefit from an SMS service. As the number of mobile phone users continues to grow, those sending text messages have the ability to reach a large number of people quickly and efficiently.

Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools any company needs to organize effective SMS alert services. In cases such as this one, the ability to use these tools to open up strong communication channels can help save lives.