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.



As AT&T and Verizon battle for carrier supremacy, SMS reaches everyone

The Apple store wasn't the only retailer that experienced long lines during the iPhone 5 launch last week. In addition to other electronic retailers like Best Buy and department stores like Walmart and Target, carrier retailers also saw an influx of foot traffic. In the United States, AT&T and Verizon are the top two iPhone carriers, and each offers its own unique services with the device.

The carrier war between Verizon and AT&T has raged for years. While some suggest Verizon has better coverage, AT&T has been able to stay in front of its fiercest competitor due to its ability to exclusively carry popular devices. The first RAZR flip phone was only on AT&T, as was the first iPhone. While Verizon has supported Apple's revolutionary device for a couple of years now, it is still playing catchup.

According to a report from Nasdaq, AT&T took an early lead with the iPhone 5, representing 68 percent of preorders. However, some analysts suggest that Verizon will be coming back and things should even out by the time all sales are final. Either way, this poses a challenge for companies that reach out to customers via their mobile devices, because some methods cannot be supported by some carriers.

That is not the case with Swift SMS Gateway. Businesses can reach out to customers on any network via SMS marketing. This broadens a marketer's reach because they don't have to rely on a certain carrier supporting their actions.

As technology advances, competition will be even more intense. Verizon will face off with AT&T, Apple will go against Google, but the one constant will be the ever-present SMS application. Businesses that wish to implement SMS communication into their marketing strategies should contact Swift SMS Gateway to acquire the tools needed for their efforts.



Canadian regions use SMS services to remind recipients to vote

In the United States, both major presidential candidates are utilizing SMS technology to receive donations for their campaigns. Canada is also using SMS services to complement various elections, but rather than accept donations the country focused on encouraging voter turnout.

Earlier this month, registered users received a message reminding them to head to the polls and elect their officials. On September 6, the provincial electoral district of Kitchener-Waterloo held a byelection and, as is the case in many lesser elections, the voter turnout was feared to be minimal. To spur turnout, Waterloo implemented a service that reminded individuals to vote.

Nathan Vexler, an IT specialist at the University of Waterloo, developed an online registration form that requested the registrant's mobile phone number. Those who entered the information received a text on election day telling them to vote and the hope was that this would increase turnout from demographics that typically refrain from voting.

"We're looking at a demographic that doesn't get the vote out," Vexler told the online publication The Record.

With the presidential election only a few weeks away, many organizations such as Rock the Vote are increasing their efforts to spur turnout. Typically, major elections such as this aren't starving for voters, but the numbers could always be higher. This is a tremendously valuable use of text alert services as it relays a valuable message to a large number of people in a short amount of time.

Organizations looking to deliver information such as reminders to a large volume of recipients would benefit from a service such as this. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools companies need to launch effective text message campaigns.


Siri offer new opportunities for SMS marketers

The iPhone 5 has been out for a little under a week and its corresponding operating system iOS 6 has been available for free upgrade since last Wednesday, and many users are enjoying the new features presented in both the software and hardware. One of the improvements  – an improved Siri – spurs more efficient communication and may result in more productive SMS marketing campaigns. 

Siri works as a virtual assistant on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 – allowing users to speak into their device and conduct tasks such as playing a new song on the iPod application or conducting a Google search. Released last year, the service was relatively mundane, but recent improvements added to the upgraded operating system has made Siri a more valuable asset for iPhone owners.

One enhanced feature is the ability to hear and respond to text messages without having to open the SMS application and read them. This was a feature of the initial launch of Siri, but it has been smoothed out along the edges and the new iPhone processing speeds has made the overall experience faster and crisper.

If a company were to send a promotional message via SMS, the recipient could simply say "Siri, read me my last text" and would be able to hear Siri's digital voice read the content.

Today there are a number of forceful initiatives calling for the prevention of texting while driving, and for good reason. However, Siri offers a quality hands-free texting solution that allows users to receive messages without taking their eyes from the road.

For companies, this is service enhances the value of text message marketing. As users will now have more opportunities to read or hear messages, SMS marketing initiatives should be even more effective. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools businesses need to launch their mobile marketing campaigns.



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.