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How to Leverage Mass Texting to Capture Email Addresses

Text messaging has become one of the fastest growing marketing channels, but many companies still rely on email marketing as a way to communicate with customers. Although mass texting works well as a standalone marketing tool, it can also complement your email marketing efforts. With the right plan in place, it is simple to leverage your texting program to capture email address and grow your subscriber list.

A Texting Call to Action


Get creative with your CTA to increase engagement.

Asking potential customers to sign up for a email list or send an email message does not necessarily make the best call to action. People may not be in front of a computer or have their email handy when they walk by a poster or billboard, see a TV ad, or read a print ad in a magazine or newspaper. However, they will have their cell phone on them and can instantly text to join your mass texting program. You will capture many more subscribers using an SMS-based call to action as opposed to an email CTA, helping you to grow your list of potential customers with whom to communicate.

Ask Your Subscribers to Text Their Email

Once you have your mass texting program underway, it is time to send a text that asks subscribers to opt-in to your email marketing campaign. You can create an auto-response as part of the initial sign up that also asks for their email address, or you can send out a text at a later time. Your subscribers can text in their emails, which are then automatically included in your customer data so that they receive your marketing emails too. Many text message platforms integrate with the popular email marketing platforms, making it even easier to integrate the two.

Promote Your Email Campaign to Your Mass Texting List

Instead of asking your mobile subscribers to text in their email address, it is possible to simply promote your email campaign via mass texting. Although you do not want to overwhelm your followers with cross-promotional texts, it is beneficial to occasionally let them know of other ways to stay in touch with your company and receive discounts. In a text, you can provide information on how to sign up for your email campaign, as well as why it is beneficial to do so.

Provide Value

In order to get people to sign up for not one but two different campaigns, it is important that you illustrate their value for potential subscribers. Even if you only use your mass texting as a way to capture email, you need to first offer some type of value. The most common way to do this is to simply provide an exclusive offer or discount for joining.


Offer your customers something for opting in.

If you do plan to run two campaigns, it is even more important that you offer deals exclusive to each medium. You do not want your text message subscribers to opt out because they feel they receive the same exact information from your emails, and vice versa. Instead, they should want to be part of both lists because they receive valuable information and offers from both platforms.

The customers who have signed up for your mass texting campaign are already engaged with your company and want to receive communication from you. This makes it more likely they will want to sign up to engage with your business via email as well. By smartly integrating the two, you can use your texting program to capture emails to have another way to communicate with your customers. Contact us to get started with a mass texting campaign.

The Top 5 Ways to Use Group Texting to Boost Holiday Business

The holidays are just around the corner, and for many businesses, this time period represents the bulk of their sales for the entire year. The highest average monthly retail sales tend to be in November and December as people hit the holiday sales and buy presents. Having a good holiday season is important for the health of your business. By using group texting, you can engage with your potential customers and boost your holiday business.


Santa's not the only one who can send out holiday greetings and gifts through text.

Text to Win Contests

One way to get into the holiday spirit and engage your customers is to run a holiday-themed text to win contest. This type of contest is simple to run and easy for your customers to enter. If you offer an attractive grand prize or something small just for entering, such as a special coupon, then people will be more likely to participate and subscribe to your SMS marketing list for future campaigns. Once they have the coupon, they will be motivated to shop for gifts in your store or business.

Special Sales

Sales and discounts drive the holiday shopping, which is why Black Friday deals start earlier and earlier every year. You can take advantage of people's desire to save big in the holiday season by sending out special sales that are exclusive to your text message subscribers. In the weeks leading up to the holiday shopping period, it is beneficial to promote your group texting program, promising special exclusive sales and deals for subscribers.

Last Minute Discounts

Group texting is an immediate marketing channel. Most people open their texts within just a few minutes of receipt, which makes it the perfect forum for sending out last minute discounts and flash sales. It is best to send out your message a few hours before the sale begins to ensure people have time to prepare. The more limited-time the offer, the more motivated people will be to take action right away.

After Christmas Sales

The holiday season does not have to end once Christmas passes. Many smart shoppers wait for the after Christmas sales to do their shopping to take advantage of better deals. With group texting, you can promote your after Christmas sales and boost business by offering an exclusive coupon.

Create a Marketing CTA Related to Your Texting Program


When your team develops your holiday marketing flyers, incorporate a text CTA.

One way to extend the reach of your holiday marketing efforts is to include information about your group texting program in your call to action on your marketing collateral. A short CTA easily fits on posters, flyers, television ads, print ads, and more, because you simply need to include a keyword and short code. Not only will this help you attract more business around the holidays, it will also help to grow your mobile subscriber list.

There are many other ways to incorporate group texting into your holiday marketing strategy. A creative campaign can help you get the attention of last-minute shoppers and boost your business during this important season. Ready to run your holiday campaign? Try ClubTexting for free today!

7 Tips for Marketing Multiple Locations Using Mass Text Messaging

Businesses that have multiple locations don't have to always use the same mass text messaging campaign for all their stores. With a few simple actions, you can easily create multiple text marketing campaigns for each of your store locations, or you can text subscribers about all your locations. The following tips will help you to get the most out of your text marketing program at each of your stores.

To Use Multiple Keywords or Not


If your business has several locations, you may benefit from multiple keywords.

Using multiple keywords is an easy way to set up individual campaigns for each of your store locations. However, it's important to keep in mind that this doesn't work for every business. Generally, if you have multiple locations in one small geographical location, it may not be in your best interest to run multiple campaigns. Your customers can easily get confused if they are receiving unique offers for different stores within close proximity.

Businesses that have locations further apart benefit the most from using multiple keywords. Using your keywords, you can tailor your campaign to target offers for customers in one general area.

Be Wary of Text Frequency -- Schedule Smartly

It is important that you do not overwhelm customers with text messages, as they may become frustrated. When you have multiple campaigns running for each store location, you run the risk of sending a customer more texts than they want to receive. While most customers will sign up to receive offers from their closest store location, some may sign up for multiple campaigns. Recent data suggests the ideal frequency for marketing texts is around two to four per month. Therefore, it is important that you schedule your campaigns smartly so that offers don't all go out at the same time.

Make Coupon Redemption Easy


Make it easy for customers to redeem coupons across locations.

People are motivated by offers and coupons. But if you offer a coupon for one location and it is not accepted at another, you run the risk of frustrating your customers. Therefore, it is best to send out coupons that are valid at all store locations, even if you are running multiple mass text messaging campaigns for your different stores.

Choosing Keywords for Cross-Promotional Advertising

One thing to keep in mind when running multiple campaigns is your advertising. Generally, your television and radio ads are already targeted for the specific geographical region, so it should not be difficult to include a special keyword for each of your stores. But it may be more of a challenge to market your mobile program via your website and social media profiles. If you have geographical-specific sites, then it is easier. Otherwise, you may have to just list the different keywords for each region or store location and allow customers to choose which one to sign up for.

Monitor Your Campaigns Smartly


Keep track of your customers and campaigns so that you avoid duplication.

When you have multiple keywords, the organization and management of your mass text messaging campaign becomes more difficult. You have to ensure that you have the right subscribers listed under the right campaign. Additionally, you want to continually see how many people sign up for more than one campaign so that you can adequately schedule your posts. It is also important to ensure your campaigns remain unique for each location while also benefiting your overall business. Once you have a strong foundation built for monitoring your different campaigns, it will be easier to ensure they run smoothly.

Although having multiple keywords, one for each of your locations, may seem like a great idea, it is not for everyone. However, many companies with multiple locations find it beneficial to organize their marketing campaigns per location, and having special keywords for each location helps you stay organized. Ready to see how you can use text marketing to advertise multiple store locations? Try ClubTexting for free.

How to Drive Business to Your Cafe with Mass Text Messaging

To compete with other cafes, especially the large national chains, you need to stand out from the crowd. Mass text messaging offers an ideal way to do this. It is relatively inexpensive and the open and conversion rates for marketing texts are high. The following ideas should help you start driving more business to your cafe with an SMS program.

The Perfect CTA


Include a CTA about your texting campaign in TV ads to increase your opt in rate.

If you want to encourage customers to opt-in to your text marketing campaign, start with a call to action related to your program. You can include a keyword and short code or long code on your print ads, television ads, radio ads, and digital ads. That way, no matter where your customers are, when they see or hear your ad, they can sign up for your texting campaign instantly.

Offers and Deals

People love to save money, so one of the best ways to drive business is to offer special deals via text message. Routinely sending out valuable offers for food or beverage items at your cafe can help turn one-time or occasional customers into loyal customers.

Take Advantage of Perfect Advertising Spaces


Use the space in your own cafe to promote your program.

You don't need to spend a lot to advertise your text marketing campaign; you can take advantage of spaces you already own in your shop. For instance, you can advertise on your menus, napkins, napkin holders, table cloths, cups, and anywhere else that you also have your logo. Just add two simple lines of text with your keyword and short code and other pertinent information. To increase opt-ins, consider offering a special deal for signing up that can be redeemed that day.

Text to Win, Polls, and Surveys

Get creative with your text messages to engage with your cafe customers. Polls and surveys help you to discover what your customers want from your business so that you meet -- and even exceed -- their expectations. You can also develop a text to win contest, offering your customers a special grand prize, such as free coffee for a month. Text to win contests are easy to run, easy for customers to enter, and can help generate interest in your business and drive sales, especially if you include a small prize for entering, such as one free coffee or a special discount.

Loyalty Program


Reward the loyalty of your text message subscribers with occasional special deals.

Your mass text messaging program can be used to support (or in lieu of) a card membership loyalty program. It is easy to segment your text message subscribers into groups. For example, you can track your customers' purchasing data and send exclusive offers to those who spend a certain amount at your cafe to thank them for their loyalty. This helps your business all around, since 82 percent of customers shop more frequently with businesses that offer loyalty reward programs.

Mass text messaging is a simple way to engage with customers and drive business. Because it has a significant impact and a relatively low cost, it is a marketing channel that helps level the playing field for smaller cafes interested in competing with larger chains. Contact us to get started on your first campaign.

Why Integrating your Text Message and Social Media Marketing Makes Sense

Do your social media followers know that you're using text messaging to engage with customers? If not, it is time to tell them! Your social media followers already have a positive opinion of your company and want to remain in contact. That makes them the perfect target audience for your text marketing campaign. Integrating your social media and SMS marketing campaigns provides you many benefits, helping to capitalize on the lucrative advantages of both mediums.

Target an Attentive Audience


Your followers and subscribers already have a positive relationship with you.

Social media followers and text message subscribers are attentive audiences for your marketing efforts. They have already indicated an interest in your business. They generally have a positive feeling toward your company and plan to visit it in the future. This means they may also be willing to sign up to communicate with you in another way, whether that is email newsletters, social media following, or text message marketing. You can promote your text message program to your social media followers and vice versa to expand the reach of both efforts.

Increase Customer Engagement

Having a large number of followers on social media may seem like the ideal goal, but the real prize is having a significant amount of engaged followers. These are the people that interact with your posts -- commenting, liking, or sharing with their followers. You may have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of followers, but if they do not engage with your posts, then you have gained little.

You can increase the level of interaction by integrating your social media and text marketing campaigns. For instance, you can run a text to win competition, asking your followers to text a particular keyword for the chance to win. Alternatively, you can use your text marketing list to promote your social media campaigns and get people to actively engage online. For example, you can text your subscribers and ask them to like and share a post for a chance to win something.

Similar but Different Messages


Your social media and text message offers should be unique to the particular medium.

Integrating your social media and text marketing campaigns helps you to grow your reach and engage with customers. However, it is important that you still maintain the two channels as unique marketing forums. In order to benefit from both, your customers must want to sign up for both. This means that they need to see the value in following you on social media and signing up to receive text messages.

You can create unique value by sending similar but different messages through the various channels. It is also helpful to offer different categories of messages across the different channels. For example, you could reserve your mobile program for offers and your social media accounts for news or tips. This provides you with extra space to reach the same people without over-saturating them with messages from one source.

A strong marketing plan integrates multiple marketing channels so that you benefit from their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. If you haven't integrated your mobile program with your social media, it may be time to start. Contact us today to get started!

The Top 5 Reasons to Add Texting to Your Customer Service Program

Good customer service is vital to your company's success. People shop with their emotions, and poor customer service is one of the top reasons they choose to go to another business. There are many different tools you can use to build a strong customer service program. One cost-effective option is to use a texting service to improve communication with your customers. Some companies hesitate to incorporate texting into their customer service program, but they are missing out on the following benefits.

It Is The Popular Option For Customer Service


Many customers would rather text than speak to an agent on the phone.

Recent data shows that a large portion of customers, 64 percent, would rather use text messages than make a call to communicate customer service issues. That percentage increases to 77 percent for those between the ages of 18 and 34. By offering a communication channel that people want, you already set yourself up for a more favorable customer service experience, which in turn results in a more positive feeling towards your company. Your texting service can also serve as a two-way communication channel so that your customer service agents can hold a conversation with a customer.

It is Easily Accessible from Anywhere

The beauty of texting is that customers can communicate wherever they are. If they have an issue with your products or services or need information about a transaction or appointment, they can do so instantaneously. Most people have their phones with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As soon as the thought occurs to them, they can contact you, even if they are in the middle of something. Furthermore, if they do have to wait on a response, they are not tied to a phone or computer. They can go to work, exercise, watch TV, play with their family, or go out with friends without the fear of missing the response.

You Can Set up Auto-Responses

With a texting service, you can easily set up auto-responses to help your customer receive the information they need. Although not all inquiries or other customer service issues can be handled this way, answers to frequently asked questions can be sent via auto-response. This helps you to automatically respond to the issue quickly.

Relieve Customers of Frustrating Wait Times

One of the most frustrating aspects of customer service is waiting on hold. By using a texting service, you can reduce customer wait times. Instead of sitting on hold for several minutes, your customers can text and receive a response almost right away. Even if it takes your agents awhile to be able to contact them with the information, the customers are free to go about their business while waiting. This helps alleviate customer frustration. If customers experience issues but receive excellent customer service, they may be more willing to continue to shop with you.

Customers Read Texts


People actually read their texts.

Another reason that you should incorporate texting to your customer service program is that customers actually read text messages. Text messages have a whopping 98 percent open rate, and the vast majority of texts are opened within mere minutes. This allows you to feel confident that your customers are receiving your messages.

Text messaging may not be the customer service channel of choice for every customer, but a large majority would prefer to have it as an option. By using texts to communicate with your customers, you can improve your customer service program and boost your business. If you're ready to get started, try ClubTexting for free today.

Weird and Wonderful Thanksgiving Marketing Ideas

 

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Halloween is done and dusted and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means we’re heading towards the biggest spending bonanza of the year. In theory, it should be easy for retailers to capitalize. Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide opportunities for huge sales spikes, as shoppers start buying gifts for the end-of-year holiday season. 

But Thanksgiving itself - and the days leading up to it - are a comparatively quiet time for businesses. Unless you’re in the food business, there are no guarantees of boosted profits, which means you have to get creative with your mobile marketing tactics. To help you, here are some off-kilter ideas to help you stand out from the crowd:

 

Break a Record

There are so many strange and surreal world records out there, it’s not as hard to break one as you might think. In 2008, National Geographic Kids magazine set the record for the longest chain of shoes ever laid out, with 10,513 items of footwear, heel to toe. Doesn’t sound too hard to beat does it? Or, how about attempting to beat the record for most star jumps in a minute (which currently stands at 61). Get your customers involved with an SMS campaign - if they can beat the record and send you the video proof, offer a prize giveaway. Whatever record you (or your customers) go for, try to keep it industry relevant. 

 

Cranberry Bucket Challenge

The ice bucket challenge is a bit 2014, so why not update it with a turkey twist? Because they come with pre-made brand recognition, such memetic juggernauts are crying out for a decent spin, so why not get your staff and social media followers to tip Cranberry sauce over their heads. Messier and more expensive than ice? Certainly. But wilder and wackier too. A colorful, sticky mess like this could really get you some attention online - you might even approach the scale of the frozen water viral phenomenon that inspired it.

 

Mobile Treasure Hunt

Give your online followers an incentive to sign up for mobile alerts by offering a whole bunch of festive prizes to anyone who can find a Thanksgiving-themed plushie around any major city you can get it to. A stuffed turkey - stuffed, that is, with fabric, not sage and nuts - is the obvious choice. Set a 48 hour time limit for your turkey hunt, and run it all via mobile communications. Send occasional, cryptic text message clues, making them easier as time goes on without anybody finding the turkey.

More Than 70% of Moms Use Smartphones to Shop

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It’s no surprise to see market research focused on moms. Aside from making personal purchases, moms are making important family purchases every day of the week. A recent study conducted by BabyCenter.com highlights growing trends among on-the-go mothers and reveals how they are using their mobile devices to make smarter and more convenient purchases.  

According to the report, moms are using their mobile phones to complete purchases 33 percent more often than they were just last year. This might come as no surprise—after all, nearly every demographic has shown growth in mobile purchasing. 

Of the 1,100 respondents to the survey, 70 percent report having used mobile while shopping inside a brick-and-mortar store location. Moms are doing this for several reasons, most of which focus on saving money.

 

Using Mobile to Save 

Some of the ways moms use mobile in-store to save money include searching the Internet—56 percent report doing this —and comparing prices at other retail locations. 

More than half of the respondents reported the use of a retailer app and 61 percent use mobile coupons. 

One of the most notable discoveries is that moms are using mobile to scan. They’re scanning to get coupons, and they’re scanning to compare prices, possibly with apps like RedLaser or similar QR code scanners. The big takeaway here is that moms are 55 percent more likely to make a purchase after scanning an item. 

For physical stores, as well as online retailers, streamlining a mom’s mobile experience should be high on the priority list. Fifty-nine percent of moms said excessive typing hinders effective mobile purchases. Four in 10 moms agree that a one-click purchasing button would increase the likelihood of them making purchases via mobile. 

“Streamline the process and offer special deals in-store; brands can sell more by connecting directly with moms on-the-go,” said Julie Michaelson head of global sales at BabyCenter.  

The use of mobile while shopping in-store is a great way to interact with a mom who is already positioned to make purchases. It can also build strong loyalty with customers who perceive value in mobile activity.  

Moms are among the savviest shoppers; using mobile to reward money-saving activities is a smart way to reach moms and reward them for doing all the hundreds of things they do each day for their families.
 

About the Author

Jeremy Pollack has a B.A. in English from USC and has been writing professionally since 2001. He is the founder and editorial manager of Compelling Content Solutions, A copy writing and content marketing services company.

 

Making Mobile Marketing Tactics More Effective

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Mobile marketing is hot marketing. It’s so hot that companies are springing up daily to jump on the mobile marketing train. Marketing teams from big firms can’t always keep up with the every-changing mobile marketing strategies, which include mobile apps, text messages, SEO content, and other solutions. Specialized marketing agencies are taking over and filling in where in-house departments are lacking. All of this means we’re seeing new, innovative, and fresh approaches to mobile marketing that stem from each marketing agency’s attempts to one-up the other.  

In the ultra-competitive mobile marketing niche, we’re watching strategies and trends in the making, many of which come from a sense of urgency and most from a desire for growth in our changing times. With all of the new mobile marketing tactics, how do we know what really works? What’s the best way to gain new clients and customers via mobile marketing? Is there a best way?

Let’s take a look at some of the facts and data:

 

Social Media 

Social media is the most widely used mobile marketing technique. But, it’s still only used by 14.8 percent of mobile marketers. Clearly, social media marketing is a must in a comprehensive marketing plan, but it should not be the only solution you’re using. 

It’s going to take more than just getting social to reel in new users and customers. Mobile app marketing needs to include other channels like video ads, banner ads, and other marketing strategies. Remember, 85.2 percent of the time social media is not the most effective means of gaining users.

 

Digital Ad Spend 

VentureBeat surveyed 731 mobile developers, with more than a billion users among them, to find out how one can get the best mobile users. It analyzed data and created a chart that broke up mobile marketing tactics into 16 user acquisition channels. Social media marketing, as we’ve stated, came in first in terms of usage at 14.8 percent. Of the 16 channels, 8 can be executed without paid ads.

This means that about 50.8 percent of marketers say non-paid tactics are their most effective when user acquisition is the goal. A bit more than half of the marketing developers queried prefer strategies like ASO, incentivized installs, PR, email, web organic search, in-app tactics, and offer walls. For mobile marketing tactics that are effective, you don’t need to go the paid spend route. Paid can help fuel growth, and it’s desirable as a core focus. But, it’s not the only solution and it should be used along with other mobile marketing solutions.

 

Old-School Mobile Marketing Tactics Are Reemerging

As marketing techniques shift to mobile, we see old tactics reemerge as the new way to gain users. The past repeats itself as marketers strive for balance between what worked brilliantly before and the new-fangled strategies that teams feel compelled to jump on. What is the best tactic? It’s most likely a mix of old and new. What will make the difference in user acquisition from one company to the next? The business that has its marketing strategies down to a science will win. 

The SMS Liqor Store Has Arrived!

During the early 2000s, a shadowy organization called Dial-a-Booze delivered vodka and beer to thirsty Glaswegians who were poorly served by the city’s strict licensing laws (which prohibits the sale of alcohol after 10pm and before midday). It’s ‘marketing’ was entirely word-of-mouth, everyone knew what it was, and enough of them had the latest phone number to keep the party going at 3am. A text message was all that stood between revelers and a trunk-load of drastically marked-up beverages.

Despite being treated by locals as if it were a vital public service, it was, of course, completely illegal. Skip 12 years and an ocean and the concept pioneered by Dial-a-Booze has become a legit enterprise. 

Drinkeasy is an SMS-based liqor store that doesn’t stop at the already-appealing idea of drinks-to-your-door. In true hipster style, the service peddles craft spirits produced by microdistilleries. It provides specific information on the source of each tipple. This is a smart move considering 24 hour grocery deliveries are already available to deliver the big brand products at cheap prices. Simply offering Smirnoff and Jack Daniel’s to mobile drinkers is not a USP; opening the door to a world of small-batch delights, not necessarily available at supermarkets, is.

The service is the brainchild of Nick Manning and Harry Raymond, the guys behind Swig, a drink-friendly social networking app. Since launching the app, they began receiving requests for drink recommendations, prompting the idea that they could combine their knowledge of local, small-batch liqor with a delivery service.

Right now, Drinkeasy is only available by invitation. But that, along with the selection of alcohol (which is currently limited to hard liqor) is expected to change in due course.

Hotel Guest Services and the SMS Messaging Solution

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Texting has surpassed email and a number of other communication methods as the go-to choice for businesses—and for the companies that support business professionals and other travelers. Hotel guest services that use text messaging tap into an easier way of communicating with guests and make them feel their needs are being attended to personally.

Why Text?

Here are just a few ways in which text messaging makes it easier for hotel front desks to communicate with guests:

  1. “The last mile.”  Many hotels are focusing on text messaging during “the last mile” – the time just before a guest arrives to check in, according to a recent TNooz business article. By connecting with guests during this time, the hotel can ensure that their questions are answered and that check-in goes more smoothly, boosting customer satisfaction and allowing the hotel staff to streamline efforts for greater productivity and efficiency.
  2. Quicker contacts.  Guests who have checked in can text the front desk with any needs, questions, or requests.  Companies like Marriott, which recently launched its own chain-specific guest app, report that customer ratings on sites like TripAdvisor have risen in direct response to the app’s use.  Customers appreciate a simple, quick way to connect with hotel staff without having to leave the comfort of their rooms.
  3. One-on-one communication.  Guests with disabilities or other special needs are often sensitive about their information being overheard by others standing near a front desk.  With text messaging, hotels eliminate this potential embarrassment by keeping conversations about a guest’s needs discreet.
  4. Better ratings.  According to TNooz, one hotel chain chose not only to implement texting, but also to test its efficacy. The chain matched two groups of guests and gave one the option to text.  Positive ratings from the texting group jumped 20 percent over the control group’s ratings, with the texters specifically mentioning the texting option as one of the reasons for their increased satisfaction.  The numbers indicate that texting works for hotels that wish to improve their Net Promoter Score or other ratings.

Bringing the Future of Texting to Today’s Guest Services

A recent white paper by the Global Business Travelers Association (GBTA) found that while not all hotels have adopted texting, those that have are encountering similar problems. The organization recommended that hotels focus on several key areas when implementing a new texting method:

  • Online check-in and room entry that perform seamlessly
  • Text or app-based concierge service offering prompt, personalized responses
  • Improving communications with airport shuttle services to make “the last mile” seamless
  • Pre-trip communications that differentiate between business and vacation travelers in order to provide a more personalized experience
  • Improving information exchanges between travelers, hotel staff, the texting service, and tracking systems, such as expense reporting software.

By harnessing technological tools like text messaging, hotels can provide exceptional service in a more efficient and productive fashion, boosting customer satisfaction and repeat visitors while gaining the most value out of expenditures on the project.

 

How Secure Are Mobile Payment Apps?

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Today’s world is one featuring numerous ways to pay for, well, anything. The latest offerings are in mobile form, but just how safe are mobile payment apps? Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Kash, Paypal, Square, Levelup—these products make paying as easy as taking out your phone, but are they vulnerable to hackers? Are the companies behind these oh-so-convenient apps doing everything they can to keep user information safe? 

These questions and others are being asked in a new report by advocacy group, The Clearing House. The report, entitled Ensuring Consistent Consumer Protection for Data Security: Major Banks vs. Alternative Payment Providers, argues that payment app developers aren’t subject to the same regulatory oversight banks get regarding cyber security. The result is security flaws remaining under the proverbial radar until it’s too late and a breach occurs. Clearing House is owned by the world’s largest commercial banks. 

Gary Miliefsky is the CEO of SnoopWall, a company that specializes in cyber security. He says that the report highlights real cyber security concerns.  

“These alternative-payment methods certainly are providing something that consumers want, which is a convenient way to make payments,” Miliefsky says. “But I don’t think most of those consumers would be too thrilled to know that these companies might not be subject to the same demanding data-security requirements their banks deal with.” 

 

Security Breaches

Starbucks is one company that has already made headlines for its mobile payment app issues. The app is a favorite way for coffee drinkers to pay, however in May reports suggested it had been hacked. Experts believe the Starbucks app was targeted because it stores credit card information. For its part, Starbucks denied the app was hacked. 

"When it comes to reporting on breaches involving customer accounts at major brands, the news media overall deserves an F-minus,” cyber security expert Brian Krebs said at the time in defense of the coffee juggernaut. 

 

It should be noted that mobile payment options are still in their “infancy,” and that phones themselves are easy enough to hack through apps, wireless signals, and by simply picking the device up and going through it. Using a system that requires two-factor authentication is recommended, as is using completely unique passwords for each account. Mobile payment apps will certainly improve, and in the meantime it’s important to do what you can to preserve the security of your phone and all the accounts it features. 

 

How to Restore Deleted iPhone Texts

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Deleting old text messages on your iPhone is a good way to manage its performance. Large apps can take up a considerable amount of space on a phone’s hard drive; left unchecked, text conversations can rival the same amount of space, especially if you’re using video and photos. Deleting text messages is easy, and should be performed regularly to keep your phone running smoothly. But what if disaster strikes and you need to restore a deleted iPhone text? Is it possible?  

The short answer is yes. While the world may feel like it’s about to end, the truth is that recovering a deleted text message is not impossible, nor is it as difficult as you might think. In fact, there are three ways to accomplish this task:

 

Restore with iTunes 

The easiest way to ensure you don’t have a brain aneurysm if you accidentally delete an iPhone text, or need to recover old messages, is with regular backups to iTunes. You can easily recover deleted SMS messages simply by plugging your iPhone in to a computer. 

Once you’re connected to iTunes, click on your phone icon in the upper left corner. Once selected, choose ‘Restore Backup,’ and all of the previously backed-up settings, apps, text messages and so on will replace the current data on your phone. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. 

It’s important to note, however, that this method can only replace data from the most recent backup. There’s no way to recover material you backed-up three ‘backups’ ago using the iTunes recovery method. 

 

Recover from iCloud 

Apple’s iCloud is a great option for retrieving lost/deleted text messages, provided that your service area is within a territory that backs up SMS messages automatically.  

First, log in to iCloud using your Apple ID and password. Look to see if ‘Text Messages” is available. If it isn’t, you’re not in a covered territory. If it is, you’re in luck.  

Next, search through the messages and find what you’re looking for. Using your iPhone, navigate to the settings menu and turn on iCloud. Also in the settings menu, turn off Text Messages. A pop-up will appear. Click ‘Keep on My iPhone.’ 

Now you can turn your Text Messages back on in the settings menu. Click ‘Merge,’ and in a few minutes, the messages you selected from the iCloud will appear in your phone. 

 

Third-Party Apps

Finally, if all else fails, there are a couple third-party apps that come highly recommended for recovering deleted iPhone data. Some apps cost money, which is less ideal than just recovering a backup from iTunes. But when doom is imminent, one must do whatever it takes. 

WonderSahre is an iPhone data recovery software the runs the gamut. This app works on several devices and recovers just about everything, from lost photos and videos to voicemails and text messages. Another highly recommended recovery system is Tenorshare, which works in all the same ways and offers a free trail. 

 

Hopefully, your world won’t come to a screeching halt because of deleted or lost text messages. The takeaway here is that deleting your text messages should be a normal part of your iPhone’s maintenance, but so should backing up the phone regularly so you can get data back if you need it. 

 

 

Is Social Media Advertising Effective?

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Word of mouth sales have always been popular, but they’ve also been tough to track.  Businesses can find it difficult to determine exactly how well word of mouth is working, even when their customers are eagerly chatting on social media.  You want people to enthuse about your products to everyone they know.  How can you be sure that your efforts are making that happen?

How Do Social Media Leads (and Sales) Work?

A 2014 Gallup poll claiming that social media influences only about 5 percent of shoppers left thousands of retailers wondering if they should even bother with the social media world.  The answer is yes!  But, if you want to use it as part of your overall mobile marketing strategy, it’s important to know how social media drives sales.

Social media is social.  Users log in to their social media accounts to connect with friends, family, and co-workers – people they know and trust.  When it’s time to purchase a new item or find a qualified service provider, people turn to their own social networks for awareness, research, evaluation, and advice, as one Google study discovered.  Or they notice which of their friends have “liked” a product or company, and file that information away for later use.

In other words, if you’re trusting the click-through rate of your ads to accurately express your social media’s ROI, you’re missing most of the story.  

How to Maximize the Impact of Social Media for Your Business   

To leverage the power of social media advertising, think “awareness.”

Because potential customers are on social media networks to socialize and gather information, barging into their feeds with overt ads for your products or services can have unwanted effects.  It’s a bit like walking into a strangers’ dinner conversation and trying to sell a product.  You don’t know whether this group of people contains a single member of your target audience, and the diners are more likely to be annoyed than interested.

Instead, join potential customers at the awareness and information-gathering stage of their journey.  Here’s how:

  • Use referrals.  Encourage current customers to refer their friends to your company.  Referrals encourage new customers to associate your company with the positive feelings they already have for the referring friend.  They also strengthen your relationship with the existing customer.  A referral may be as simple as encouraging current followers to like and share your company’s content, or as complex as a formal referral and rewards program.
  • Encourage user-generated content.  An advertisement that is shared still looks like an advertisement.  To integrate your company into your target audience’s conversation, encourage customers to create reviews or other content.  When customers create content, they’re more likely to share it and to stand behind it.  They created it, and they want to be heard.
  • Stay top of mind.  A combination of traditional, targeted advertising, shared content on social media, and user-generated content maximizes your company’s ability to stay top of mind.  When the customer is ready to purchase, your name will be first in their thoughts – and they’ll be first through the door. 

Give Your Fall Marketing Strategy a Seasonal Twist

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The shifting seasons provide an opportunity to regroup and re-evaluate, and perhaps come up with new marketing ideas to take advantage of changing consumer habits. Fall is especially important, as it represents the final approach to the all-important Yuletide shopping season. To give your mobile marketing strategy a new edge this Fall, consider trying some of these seasonal approaches:

 

1) Saving and Spending

An increasing number of canny shoppers are getting the bulk of their Christmas spending out of the way by Halloween. They’re looking around for early promotions and special offers to help save money. Target those consumers who won’t buy a thing until they see a deal. No need to mention Christmas - you can tie promotions in to Thanksgiving season, the ideal time for ‘Buy One, Get One’ offers.

 

2) Sports

Most of the major sports seasons begin during Fall, providing a good opportunity for marketers to capitalize. Get involved with a local team, either through sponsorship or a more indirect partnership. Remember, SMS polls are great for engaging your user base. Send surveys out to your mobile messaging contacts, asking them who their favorite college and pro teams are. Youth sports are a good avenue for marketing, and are more accessible to small businesses than national teams.

 

3) Focus on the Main Events

The two key holidays in Fall are Halloween and Thanksgiving. Keep an eye out for opportunities to promote your business using the language and themes of these two very different occasions. You might push ‘frighteningly low prices’ around Halloween, and push a message of gratitude to your customers during Thanksgiving. For the latter. why not send out cards to your loyal customers?

 

4) Don’t Forget the Smaller Ones

There are loads of lesser known holidays taking place throughout Fall: Grandparent’s Day (Sep 13th), Columbus Day (Oct 12th), Boss’s Day (Oct 16th), Daylight Savings (Nov 1st), Veterans Day (Nov 11th), First Day of Fall (Sep 23rd), and Small Business Saturday (Nov 29th). If you have an international audience, you can delight them with your knowledge of local holidays and surprise them themed offers. Give some love to Day of the Dead (same day as Halloween) in order to reach Hispanic shoppers, or have a Scottish-themed quiz on social media for St. Andrew’s Day (Nov 30th). Quick, one-day-only deals are easy to promote and won’t tie you into spending too many marketing dollars on something that isn’t working.

 

5) Tis the Season

Fall colors and images are pleasing to the eye. Browns and oranges, falling blossoms, piles of leaves, pumpkins, crafts, candy - the icons associated with the season are instantly recognizable. Keep these concepts in mind when re-vamping your website and social media pages during the run up to Christmas. 

Take advantage of the shift in seasons to shift your focus. Move away from summery themes toward a cozier, more contemplative autumnal vibe, make some timely special offers that put you ahead of the end-of-year commercial curve, and watch your Fall revenues blossom!

Eight Ways Technology Has Improved Air Travel

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Without a doubt, technology has streamlined everything in our lives from business to pleasure. Air travel is no exception: airlines are spending money to improve their customers’ experience. We’ve all heard about the advancements in in-flight entertainment, seats that convert into beds, and the all-important increase in leg room for the average passenger. But what about advancements for the tech-savvy traveler? Well, here we have compiled eight ways in which technology has improved air travel in recent memory.

 

1. Digital Check In. 

Nowadays about 9% of air travelers use digital tablets or smartphones to check in before boarding a flight, rather than checking in directly once they reach their terminal. Researchers from SITA, a multinational airline technology company, expect that figure to balloon to 24% in the next three years.

 

2. Social Media Seating. 

Imagine a flight where you already know a thing or two about your neighboring fliers! Launched in 2012 by KLM Airlines, the Meet & Seat program has garnered much acclaim from various participants. In essence, the Meet & Seat program to allows its fliers to select seatmates based on shared interests via Facebook or LinkedIn. 

 

3.Booking Flights Via Mobile.

Expedia recently reported that 48% of mobile users employ their devices for aspirational travel research. In addition, there are several apps available that cater to air traveling consumers. For example, Appi Holidays is a consumer travel app that allows a user to create their perfect holiday by providing them with a plethora of destination options and activities – ones that are either well-known or a little off the beaten path. 

 

4. Baggage-Related Technology.

Foremost, airlines have been offering automatic luggage drop-off machines more commonly. By 2018, 74% of airline companies are expected to offer the service (from 17% today). Also by 2018, it is likely that 70% of carriers will be able to give passengers regular updates on the location of their baggage, via their smartphones (up from only 10% today). 

 

5. In-Flight Entertainment Improvements. 

Several airlines have been experimenting with this. Virgin America offers a seat-to-seat chatting system, where fliers can message others onboard and order drinks, as well as watch movies or TV, listen to music, shop, play games, or look at Google Maps. Singapore Airlines offers a similar service, fit with a USB device to look at your own personal media. Finally, Emirates and Qatar Airways have exhaustive entertainment options, with over 1500 differing types/channels of entertainment each!

 

6. Social Media Impact on Air Travel. 

Facebook has changed the way people decide where to go on a vacation. 52% of users report that their prospective holiday destination ideas came from photos and status updates they witnessed in their Facebook feed. And since two-thirds of all air travelers have social media accounts, there has never been a better time for airlines to be active on social media channels.  

 

7. Airport Beacons. 

Many airports around the world have started to use beacon technology to improve customers’ experience. Using Bluetooth technology, travelers can use special apps to access maps of airports, as well as navigate their way to the check-in desk in their terminal.

 

8. In-Flight IPad Rentals. 

There are a few airlines that have begun to experiment with iPad rentals, among them OpenSkies, Qantas, Jetstar, Philippine Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines. While a few of these services are free for longer flights, the average fee is ten to fifteen dollars per rental.

 

We no longer live in the dark ages, where passengers are provided a tiny seat with very little legroom. With the amount of tech that has grown to be a part of our personal lives, we can expect to see a great deal more technology in the works for airlines – all for the benefit of the everyday passenger.

SMS is Helping Tanzanian Mothers Access Vital Health Information

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According to the World Health Organization, babies who are partially breastfed—or not breastfed at all—are vulnerable to serious illness if not death from diarrhea and other infections. Exclusive breastfeeding is subsequently recommended for the first six months of life, as it lowers the mortality rate among malnourished children in addition to shielding them from infection.

The Tanzanian government hoped to improve the health of newborn babies and their mothers by implementing a text messaging campaign some three years ago. Entitled Wazazi Nipendeni, which means ‘Parents Love Me’ in Swahili, the campaign provides subscribers with health information, doctor’s appointment reminders, and more through their mobile devices. Over 125,000 women have registered for the service, which has sent more than 5 million text messages so far. 

Mobile phone technology has become an invaluable tool for connecting with citizens in Tanzania and other African countries, no matter how remote their locations. According to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory, the country has the highest text message rate per month in East Africa. 

While the country has made progress in preventing deaths from childbirth-related complications, it did not reach its Millennium Development Goal of “reducing maternal deaths to 193 per 100,000 live births from 454 per 100,000 by the end of 2015.” Tanzanian government officials cite HIV/AIDS, a lack of skilled health workers and proper clinics, little to no funding, and insufficient awareness regarding women’s reproductive health issues for this failure.

 

Next Steps

"We have realized that engaging women alone is not enough. We need to involve all members of the society to make the campaign more effective," Pamela Kweka, an official from the Tanzania Communication and Development Center, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

The campaign originally focused on pregnant women, but now includes men, nurses, and midwives. The idea is to educate all societal members, not just expecting mothers.

Subscriber Adelika Kessy nearly died during childbirth three years ago after developing anemia a few weeks prior. She did not receive routine check-ups simply because she was uninformed.

"I was feeling tired and weak. It happened so suddenly and I didn't know what do," Kessy told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "I was too weak to give birth naturally, even after undergoing several blood transfusions. In the end, the doctors decided to carry out a Caesarean section."

Kessy, a 36-year-old housewife, is currently pregnant with her third child, and counts on the SMS service to alert her about clinic appointments.

4 Mobile Marketing Tactics to Avoid

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When something becomes as ubiquitous as mobile marketing, the issue of repetition and predictability rears its head. One of the cornerstone’s of any successful marketing strategy is originality. So how can you avoid using the same old practices as your competitors? To stand out from the crowd, avoid these over-used - or just plain wrong - mobile marketing tactics like the plague:

 

1) Mobile Exclusivity

We love mobile marketing. We think it’s the most important element of a modern marketing strategy. But that doesn’t mean it should be used to the exclusion of other approaches. Open your mind beyond getting that coveted home screen app spot and you’re more likely to achieve that very goal. Encourage users to engage with you in other ways first. Social media is a good way to start a conversation and develop your brand image in a way that pays off in the long-term. Once you’ve secured a reputation, it’ll be that much easier to achieve your mobile-centric ambitions.

 

2) Assumption of Intent

Just because someone is walking past a restaurant doesn’t mean they are hungry. Marketers, amped up by the possibilities of geo-targeting technology, often make the mistake of assuming that customers who can be reached should be reached. A good understanding of user intent - based on data, not assumption - will help you provide a better experience.

 

3) Channel-Specific Databases

Often, marketer’s instincts tell them to organize their customer data by the channel through which it was collected. But lumping mobile users or desktop user together doesn’t give you much insight when you consider that most people will use both channels at various times. Instead, create singular customer profiles using data from all channels. 

 

4) Poor Timing

So you’ve got the right message for the right audience. Job done right? Wrong. ‘Choosing your moment’ is one of the most overlooked mobile marketing tactics, but it’s absolutely essential to get it right. This is especially true for brands who serve a wide audience spread across different time zones. Stagger your text messages to arrive at the most convenient - or least inconvenient - moment. Research has shown that early afternoon text messages, sent between 1-3pm, are the most well received. And don’t send them too frequently. In most cases, two notifications per month from any one brand should be a maximum.

3 Ways to Increase Leads and Engagement with Text Messaging

Businesses always need to stay a step ahead of the competition, and coming up with new and creative ways to drive traffic to our sites is one way to increase your customer base and, therefore, sales. Right now there is no hotter market than mobile and text messaging.

Read on to learn about three of the most effective ways to drive more traffic and conversions to your business through the use of text messaging, while also integrating your SMS marketing with some of the most commonly used methods in marketing today.

Podcast Call to Action

Podcasting is growing at a massive rate, and millions of people are listening to various podcasts for the first time every single day. As podcasting audiences continue to grow, more entrepreneurs, marketers and businesses are discovering ways to connect and engage with these audiences.

An excellent way to include a commercial spot or call to action within a podcast is with text messaging. During a commercial break or at the end of a podcast episode, the host can say, "To learn more about XYZ, send a text to..." which you can then follow up with the number and your site URL.

Most people listen to podcasts through their mobile devices, so they'll already have their phones in their hands, making it easy to send a simple text in a moment's notice.

Keynotes and Conference Sessions

No matter how quickly the Internet continues to grow, there will always be live events, meetings and conferences throughout the world. At the end of most keynotes and sessions, the speaker will display a slide on the screen with their contact information, email or site address. While this is good in theory, 99% of people will forget to jot down this information before they leave the room.

A better alternative is for the speaker to spend a minute telling the audience to text a certain number with a specific message to get a free report or something else of value. By performing this call to action during a live session and giving everyone a minute to whip out their mobile devices and take action, the speaker will likely see a significant engagement response.

Now imagine how effective this can be when speaking to 500-1,000 individuals!

Webinar Notifications

As marketers continue to find exciting ways to deliver their messages and build new audiences, webinars have been on the upward trend. A webinar in a live event held online, usually with one or two presenters and hundreds of attendees viewing a slideshow or other type of presentation. The concept is simple, but getting people to attend the live event can be tricky.

When someone registers for a live webinar, the user usually provides their name and email address. An email is then sent an hour before the webinar to remind everyone to attend.

A better way to get more webinar attendees is by also asking for a mobile number so a text alert can be sent before your event takes place. Since text alerts and notifications are almost always instantly read, there is no better way to increase attendance to live webinars.

Text Messaging Isn't the Future, It's Now

Text messaging is all about engagement and getting users to take action. When implementing text messaging in your existing brand or business, be sure to provide value and a relevant call to action. There is simply no better way to see faster results than through a direct message to your consumers' mobile devices.

Zac Johnson is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience and always looks ahead for latest ways to increase brand engagement and awareness. Learn more about Zac and his latest "How to Start a Blog" project at Blogging.org.

6 Ways Text Message Marketing Tops Print Advertising

Print advertising has been a go-to way to reach potential customers for over a hundred years. Although it remains a viable marketing channel, digital and mobile marketing platforms have become more popular in recent years. One reason for this is that mobile marketing appeals to companies on a budget. The cost of reaching customers via mobile tends to be lower than creating a print marketing campaign.


Your current customers should be the first group to target with your ads.

One of the best ways to use mobile to connect with your customers is text message marketing. Commercial texts have an amazing 98 percent open rate. If you are deciding whether to spend your marketing budget on traditional print advertising or text message marketing, the following six benefits of texting will help you decide.

Reduced Costs

Print advertising can eat up your advertising budget, between the cost for the print supply and design, not to mention the fees for advertising in various magazine and newspapers. It can cost up to $20,000 to set up a print advertisement and another $3,000 to $30,000 to run it, depending on the magazine or newspaper, according to WebFX. Although you can have a relatively high return on investment with a successful ad, it remains a significant cost for businesses with a smaller marketing budget.


Reduce your marketing costs with text messaging.

Text message marketing costs much less. Most mobile agencies have a service fee of as little as $30 per month, or as high as $150 to $200 depending on the number of messages you send and any additional services you need. In addition to a lower service fee, text messaging also has a significantly lower development cost. You need to have a member of your team managing, writing, and sending the messages, but the overall cost of creation is much less than a print campaign.

Increased Impact and Engagement

Not only does text message marketing cost less, it can also result in a much larger return on investment because open rates and engagement are high. Text message marketing is an opt-in service, which means that 100 percent of the people receiving your messages want to see the offers, services, tips, and other information you send out. Additionally, with an open rate close to 100 percent, you can ensure that almost everyone will actually read your message. Even the best print advertisement does not have this level of customer impact.

Offer redemption is also higher with mobile marketing than with other forms of advertising. According to eMarketer, around 54 million consumers were expected to use mobile coupons in 2014, and mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times as often as print offers.

Direct and Immediate

When you distribute a text message, it is sent within seconds. This means that you can share information, offers, and deals instantly. Texting is a great way to communicate with customers about last-minute offers in order to boost sales. You can also quickly tell people about any changes, whether to your menu, the schedule of events, or other information. Alternatively, print advertisements are often designed and developed weeks or months in advance, making it difficult to create timely messages if you do not have all the information ahead of time.


Take advantage of the information you have to create specialized offers.

When you distribute text messages, you are sending messages to mobile users that most likely patronize your business. Therefore, you also have the capability to use further information about the recipients, such as their previous purchase data or geographic location, in order to personalize and customize your messages for a more direct impact.

Flexible and Easy to Quickly Change

Text messages are also quick and easy to change. If you find a mistake on print advertisement after it has been published, you have no recourse to take, unless you are re-running the ad at a later date. With text messages, you can quickly send out a second message retracting the first message and then share the correct information.

There's also flexibility with regards to message content and audiences. You can choose to send a message to a few people, or you can distribute a mass text to everyone on your contact list. You can easily adapt your messages, creating customized texts like appointment reminders, or sharing a special offer with a larger audience.

Easier to Track and Respond

It is very difficult to track your conversion rates and return on investment with print advertisements. You can only estimate the number of people who saw your ad, as well as whether it had any impact. Alternatively, it is easy to track and analyze the data for your texting campaign. You have real-time access to important metrics such as which customers have opened your messages and which have responded.


With real time data, you can adjust your plan right away for better results.

Eco-Friendly Approach

Another way that text message marketing tops print advertising is that it is a green channel. There is no paper waste; instead, everything is handled digitally. Offer redemption can be done by text message, rather than by a print coupon. With such a large number of people now looking for eco-friendly ways to conduct business, this may help you gain more customers.

These are just a few of the ways that text messaging may be more beneficial for your business than print advertising alone. But remember, the best way to utilize SMS marketing is to integrate it with a larger, cross-channel campaign that takes advantage of print, radio, TV, and digital advertising.

If you are ready to get started with your first text message marketing effort, try Club Texting for free.

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