Supporters can text donations to presidential candidates

President Obama certainly has a knack for capitalizing on popular social and technological trends.

In the 2008 presidential election, Obama used a combination of technological advancements and an understanding of the benefits of small donations to collect a tremendous amount of money. His prowess in the field of technology allowed him to defeat Senator John McCain in the election and become the 44th president of the United States.

Obama's camp is following a similar strategy this year as the president prepares for the final months of his reelection campaign. According to a report from Reuters, Obama's campaign managers announced late last week that they are finalizing agreements with the major U.S. carriers, which would allow supporters to text dollar amounts as a donation to Obama's campaign.

The article says that Obama's campaign ads will likely start to add a message asking viewers to text the code GIVE to 62262. This number was chosen by the campaign because the numbers spell out "Obama." By following these instructions and making this text, users will donate $10.00 to the campaign.

This is another example of Obama's commitment to utilizing available resources to offer convenience to their contributors and get the most out of their donations, an Obama campaign official told Reuters.

"Every avenue of fundraising that we have costs us money," the official said. "We pay the most competitive rates available in the marketplace to ensure our supporters have the greatest impact with their contribution."

Governor Romney is said to be implementing a similar service into his campaign efforts, and many analysts say this will be the future of fundraising. Businesses looking to set up similar programs to send and receive donations should work with a provider such as Swift SMS Gateway to gain the tools needed to launch a successful text message fundraiser.


The dangers of sending too many texts

Just like every form of communication between businesses and their customers, too much  texting can be a bad thing. When implementing SMS marketing campaigns, it's important for senders to understand the appropriate number of texts to send in a given amount of time. In some cases, this can be just as crucial as the actual content of the message.

Earlier this summer, Fred Weiss, a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, sued the organization because, as he stated, they sent him too many texts. Weiss initially signed up to receive promotional texts as well as alerts regarding trades, game time changes and other bits of breaking news from the team. According to Weiss, the program he signed up for stated that no more than three texts would be sent per week.

However, after he registered, Weiss says that the team repeatedly exceeded the promised limit. He says he received five texts in the first week and four the second. Claiming that the limitations of his carrier's SMS plan was in jeopardy, Weiss filed a lawsuit.

The official complaint reads as follows:

"Defended as caused Plaintiff and the other members of the Class actual harm, not only because they were subjected to the aggravation that necessarily accompanies the invasion of privacy caused by unsolicited text message calls, but also because consumers frequently have to pay their cell phone service providers for the receipts of such wireless calls."

While information similar to what the Penguins relayed to their fans may be valuable, this incident goes to show that sending too much information can be detrimental to any business texting. Companies should be cognizant of the agreements they have with their recipients and ensure that they are not exceeding any agreed upon limits. Working with a provider such as Swift SMS Gateway can give businesses the tools and the acumen they need to launch successful texting programs.

Mobile phone adoption continues to grow

The increasing level of mobile adoption among both consumers and businesses is no secret. While technological advancements have spurred more communication options on mobile devices, text messaging and the SMS app continue to increase in popularity. These numbers are even more stunning considering the astounding growth in the mobile device market in recent years.

Recently, a number of reports came out that revealed some jaw-dropping numbers. According to information from the Cisco Visual Networking Index, global media traffic more than doubled in 2011, much of it made up by SMS text messaging. If that wasn't impressive enough, the research suggests that by the end of 2012, there will be more mobile-connected devices in the world than people!

Most of this growth is fueled by explosive smartphone revolution. In fact, the research firm Flurry suggests that smartphones running the iOS and Android operating systems are being activated at twice the rate of online activations in the 1990s, and that phones are being sold ten times as fast as the personal computer in the 1980s.

"The rate of adoption of devices running Apple's iOS and Google's Android has surpassed that of any consumer technology in history," says a recent article in AppleInsider.

As mobile usage grows and smartphone adoption continues, text messages are becoming a vital portion of every marketing campaign. While studies suggest that both email and social media is slowing, mobile adoption is only accelerating. But to take advantage of this opportunity, marketing professionals must ensure that they are delivering quality, engaging messages to recipients who are apt to respond or follow a call to action.

Working with a text messaging consultant can help companies implement SMS strategies into their marketing efforts. Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools users need to launch effective text marketing campaigns. 


Study: Teens say they can’t live without texting

Teens drive texting. As previously mentioned on this blog, any SMS text marketing campaign must be aware of teen texting behaviors, because as they become professional adults, many of those behaviors will carry over. Companies relying on texting popularity amongst teens are in luck. According to a new study, mobile usage among people aged 13 to 17 are at an all-time high.

The study, conducted by texting app company TextPlus, reveals that 50 percent of teens believe they would not be able to live for a week without their mobile phones. As staggering as that is, 36 percent are even more attached to their devices, saying that they can't go 10 minutes without checking their phones.

This kind of constant connection is what fuels 21st century society. Today's smartphones connect us to a wealth of information and communication opportunities. But, despite the tremendous amount of applications and functions that come standard with today's devices, the need to text message fuels society's reliance on mobile technology.

According to the results, 61 percent of respondents said that they cannot survive without texting, a number far greater than any other mobile activity. Seventy-three percent of teens said they check their phones for texts right before bed and 72 percent said they check for texts first thing in the morning.

"Despite the variety of games and apps now available on smartphones, good ol' fashioned texting still reigns supreme when it comes to teens' preferred mobile activity," writes Mashable contributor Anita Li in a recent article.

With the amount of time consumers spend texting and checking their phones for texts, marketers have a tremendous opportunity to have their messages read if they send them out via SMS. It is quickly becoming the go-to method for marketing and promotional communication. Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools needed to send out impactful messages to a massive audience.


When sending out bulk SMS messages, make sure the information is correct

Sending out bulk SMS messages is beneficial because it allows businesses to communicate with a large number of recipients at once. However, the nature of the service also generates a number of risks, and companies sending out these messages must ensure that the information conveyed is accurate and that it reflects positively on the sender.

An article in the online publication The News International speaks of the dangers of sending out mass text messages filled with inaccurate or inflammatory information. Saanwal Barlaas, the author of the article, tells a story about a time where he received a text message containing a controversial and inaccurate religious opinion.

Barlaas said that he was not offended by the idea that the sender shared a different opinion, it was just that the information used to back up that opinion was wrong.

"People must confirm a particular piece of information before forwarding it to all," Barlaas wrote. "Even quotes attributed to religious personalities ought to be confirmed because misinformation about religious matters can be very dangerous. Mobile-phone users should use their phones as a means of spreading correct and useful information rather than absurd, contemptuous allegations."

Any practice that involves sending a mass text message to a large group of people must be administered with the utmost care. As previously reported on this blog, SMS text alerts have been used to keep residents safe and, in some cases, save lives. Imagine if the information sent in those messages was wrong. Sending out inaccurate warning messages can severely jeopardize safety.

While senders will have to do their due diligence before sending mass messages, Swift SMS Gateway can provide them with the tools needed to send out bulk texts quickly and efficiently.


SMS marketing to become $7 billion industry in five years

The popularity of the SMS application has led to an explosion of text message marketing, and the growing trend is not slowing down anytime soon. According to new research, SMS marketing is going to become a $7 billion industry by 2017.

Tech analysis firm Juniper Research recently conducted a series of tests and determined that advertising revenue generated from SMS messaging tactics will hit $7.14 billion annually within five years. The growth of the industry is fueled by several factors. As previously mentioned in this blog, text messages have a far greater response rate than emails and social media messages, but the nature of sending a message to a recipient's phone number is also beneficial.

Phone numbers are typically more private than email addresses. They are not as accessible online and customers are more apprehensive about giving out a number than an email address. Therefore, anyone who does give out a number is more likely to be interested in whatever service is utilizing that information. This increases the chances of a marketing message's success.

Juniper Research representative Charlotte Miller said in a report that these factors, combined with new features businesses can add to their text messages, make marketing via SMS a more favorable option.

"Sending adverts using mobile messaging gives advertisers a simple, cheap and effective way of reaching consumers," Miller said. "Adding location technologies is an even more powerful proposition, particularly for transactional advertising as marketers can reach consumers who are near a location where they can purchase. Knowing that the recipients of an ad have actively asked to receive it and will in all likelihood open it is also particularly attractive."

For businesses looking to market via SMS messaging, Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools and resources needed to launch a profitable mobile marketing campaign.

SMS messaging promotes student safety

Following the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007, increasing the level of student safety became the number one priority for nearly every school across the country. Thankfully, these efforts were supported by advancements in technology that occurred around the same time. By the end of the 2000s, nearly every student had a mobile phone, most had smartphones and everyone was able to send and receive SMS text messages.

Earlier this month, a shooting at Texas A&M rocked the nation, as it was the latest in a disturbing series of gun-related incidents this summer. However, authorities say many lives were saved due to quick actions made by police officers and officials who sent out bulk SMS emergency texts to people in the area.

According to the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) many schools have implemented a service that allows students and faculty members to register their cell phone numbers so they can receive a text message in the event of an emergency. Texas A&M was one of these schools.

An NCEF spokesperson told Reuters that Texas A&M's service was designed with the understanding that students may use multiple devices, and alerts are intended to reach every one.

"Most school text alert systems, like the one used in the Texas A&M shooting, send simultaneous messages via multiple electronic means. This redundancy is essential in making sure everyone gets the message," the spokesman said.

While reaching out to a multitude of devices is essential, studies show that these warnings will most likely be read via text message on a mobile phone. Implementing SMS into any alert system is essential as it increases the likelihood of messages being read and goes a long way to promote safety. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools needed to launch a similar program.


Smishing exemplifies the importance of proper text message marketing

Like all forms of business, SMS text marketing, when conducted by the wrong people, can be used for malicious activity. Such was the case with a group of online criminals who sent out texts that spammed users under the guise of Walmart and Target gift cards.

The practice, known as "smishing" – a combination of SMS messaging and phishing – allows the recipients to believe that they have received a gift card for a popular retail chain. When users respond, they are asked to enter sensitive personal data, which is then used to steal money or send additional spam.

Walmart and Target are two of the latest victims, although they have been reported to have no connection whatsoever to the messages. In fact, Walmart issued a statement detatching itself from the criminal activity and warned users to be wary of any kind of promotional message from the company.

The issue became so severe that Rhode Island state attorney general Peter Kilmartin released a statement warning all cellphone users.

"Consumers reported that they are being asked to provide credit card information to cover the cost of shipping and handling," Kilmartin said. "Consumers who give this sensitive information may find themselves fulfilling 'sponsor offers' like free trial offers with monthly fees or increased solicitations and junk mail."

Businesses looking to conduct SMS marketing campaigns must be on the lookout for any kind of activity that could smear their reputation. Walmart and Target's future legitimate SMS marketing efforts are now compromised because users may not trust any text message associated with their names.

This illustrates the importance of working with a trusted text messaging service provider. Swift SMS Gateway provides businesses with the tools they need to launch safe, legitimate and successful campaigns that enhance the public image of a company's brand.

Studies show more people are willing to accept offers via text

As previously mentioned in this blog, users are far more likely to open and respond to SMS messages than they are to emails. That's valuable information for marketers, but the question still remains – will recipients actually act upon opportunities sent via text message marketing? A new study suggests that the majority will.

According to UK-based text services provider Text Marketer, 49 percent of  respondents would be likely to opt into a service offered via text message. Additionally, 68 percent of respondents said that they would like to receive special offers via text, and would be willing to accept such a service if offered.

These statistics are growing and are shooting past more traditional methods such as email and phone calls. SMS marketing is a fast-growing business tactic because the SMS application is extremely popular. As previously mentioned in this blog, 98 percent of all text messages are received and recipients are more likely to open and respond to a text quickly than they are any other form of communication.

"Marketing via SMS provides a great way to get people involved in ways that they normally would not," Clark Herman, a contributor for the small business blog Get Busy Media, wrote in a recent article.

However, many businesses are not taking advantage of this opportunity, according to the survey. The results suggest that 61 percent of respondents receive three or fewer marketing messages per month on their phones, and 31 percent haven't received any.

This shows that while marketing via SMS is a successful practice, it is, for the most part, an untapped resource. This is a good time for businesses to take advantage of this service as they prepare their marketing strategies. Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools all businesses need to launch a profitable text marketing campaign.


Problems with calls and data increases value of SMS messaging services

Even as smartphones grow in popularity, users are becoming increasingly frustrated with a number of their standard features. The ability to make and receive calls is why mobile phones were created. Data usage is a staple of all smartphones. However, each have shortcomings that have evoked negative responses from users.

According to a survey from Pew Research, 35 percent of smartphone owners have experienced problems regarding dropped calls and weak voice connections on a weekly basis. Additionally, 49 percent say that they run into issues concerning slow data speeds. These were the two biggest complaints respondents had with their phones, and only further illustrates the value of text messaging services.

Marketers reaching out to prospects or customers via phone calls may find themselves unsuccessful if recipients continue to experience dropped calls. Sending emails or messages through various data-based applications may not be the best method if users are finding it difficult to load the sent information on their phones.

Jan Boyles, the Pew researcher who developed the report, said that users' frustrations have escalated because they have now come to expect instant information without hassle.

"As mobile owners become fond of just-in-time access to others and as their expectations about getting real-time information rise, they depend on the cell phone's technical reliability," Boyles said. "Any problems that snag, stall, or stop users from connecting to the material and people they seek is at least a hassle to them and sometimes is even more disturbing than that in this networked world."

With these issues continuing to crop up among smartphone owners, it's no wonder why SMS remains the most popular application on all mobile phones. Businesses can feel confident launching text message marketing campaigns because there is a far greater chance these messages will be received. Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools marketers need to send messages via SMS.