why you should text your customers

You should text your customers.

Obviously, that statement needs some qualifications and explanation, but it is true.  Plain and simple.  So I’m going to say (type) it again.

You should text your customers.  The benefits of texting customers are becoming more and more apparent to businesses owners across the nations.

What Not to Do

Let me tell you what this concept does not mean:

  • It does not mean that you should text all of your customers
  • It does not mean that you should annoy your customers with spam
  • It does not mean that you need to send texts every day of the week
  • It does not even mean that you need to send texts every week!

What to Do

Here is what texting your customers should look like:

  • You should carefully consider what messages you send to which customers
  • You should send content that your customers actually want to receive
  • You should be intentional about the timing and frequency with which you send messages
  • You should send messages that in some way contribute to bringing in more sales for you

Benefits of Mobile Marketing

Nash Riggins, writer for Small Business Trends, wrote a helpful and interesting article called “10 Amazing Results from SMS Text Marketing.”  The benefits he lists of mobile marketing for business include the following:

  1. Extended reach
  2. Higher response rates
  3. Increased customer retention and repeat sales
  4. Time savings
  5. Cost effectiveness and increased savings
  6. Highly targeted, trackable campaigns
  7. Increased urgency (which equals same-day traffic)
  8. The ability to leverage your other advertising efforts
  9. Increased sales through marketing to an already interested audience
  10. Increased brand loyalty

Any one of these benefits would be reason enough to at least pursue the possibility of mobile marketing for your business.

 

The bottom line is that people text all the time.  People check their phones constantly.  They read incoming texts almost as soon as they come in.  What more convenient way could there be for businesses to reach customers?

At the risk of sounding like I have some kind of short-term memory problem, I will say (type) it yet again.

You should text your customers.

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People love texting so much they might allow it in movie theaters

Back when I was a kid (when we washed all our clothes by hand and trekked five miles in the snow to get to school… just kidding) there were two places I loved to go: the public library and the movie theater.  These were places filled with fun, freedom, and excitement, even if stuffy librarians or theater attendants seemed to find joy in shushing us and threatening to kick us out. (That never happened to me; I was a good kid.)

Well, the library slowly became less and less hallowed and now it seems you’re lucky to find any quiet there at all.  But the movie theater remains the one place where speaking is not allowed, where phones are to be turned off, and distractions are to be put away.

Last week, however, the possibility of change presented itself and left many in a state of shock and confusion.  Adam Aron, the CEO of AMC Entertainment, mentioned the possibility of allowing texting in movie theaters, reasoning that, “When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear ‘please cut off your left arm above the elbow'” (according to Variety).

The propositions regarding the possibility of allowing texting during movies met with mostly backlash and AMC decided not to move forward with the idea.  Rasmussen Reports even conducted a survey in which they found that 59% of adult Americans are “less likely to go to a movie theater where people can text during the movie.”

Despite the majority of Americans not in support of the idea, 32% of Americans did not seem to care one way or the other and 6% reported being more likely to go see a movie if texting were allowed.  Amber Jamieson of The Guardian points out that the movie-viewing experience is evolving and says, “Allowing cellphones – in certain screenings, in certain movies – is just another reimagining of what a cinema experience can be.”

Whether or not texting should be allowed in certain movie theaters is beside the point.  The idea would never have even been considered 15 years ago.  The fact that this possibility is even being brought up is proof of society’s growing love and attraction toward texting!

Folks, it’s time to reach people on their level.  What can you do to improve your communication efforts with the knowledge that people really love texting?

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Your Sent Messages Report allows you to view all of the messages you have sent from your account.  This tutorial will walk you through how to navigate this report.

sent messages report navigation

Clicking on the “Sent Messages Report” link will take you to this screen:

Sent messages report

This report shows you a list of all messages you have sent in the entire history of your account.

Message

The text underneath the “Message” column shows the content of the message that was sent.

Recipients

This column shows you how many recipients there were for your message.  If you click on the “Members” link for a particular message, it will show you a delivery report of all the numbers that were the recipients for that message:

Delivery report

This report will show you the first name, last name, phone number, and email address for each recipient.  It will also show whether or not the message successfully went out from the system.  You can use the search bar to search through the report for a specific recipient.

Date Sent

This column shows you the date and time that each message was sent.

Sent By

From this column you can see which specific administrator sent out the message.  If you have no additional administrators set up, or if the message was sent by the main administrator, the “Sent By” will simply say “Administrator.”

Send Message Again

Clicking the “Send Message Again” icon will take you to the Send a Message page and will automatically copy and paste the content of that message into the text box so that you don’t have to type out the message again.  (You will have to select the recipients for the message again.)

Other Things to Know

  • You can change how many messages are displayed by clicking the arrow (above the table) that says “Show 10 entries.” Then from the drop-down menu that appears, you can select 25, 50, or 100 entries.
  • You can search through your messages by typing a search query in the text box.
  • Clicking the “Copy to Clipboard” button will copy the information regarding your messages. You can then paste the information into another document.
  • Clicking the “Export” button allows you to export your message information as a CSV, Excel, or PDF file.  You also have the option to view a printer-friendly version of your Sent Messages Report.
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To Text Patients or Not to Text Patients

To text patients or not to text patients?  That is the question.

When it comes to healthcare, communication can sometimes be tricky.  What are you allowed to do in terms of contacting patients?  Do you need written consent to fall in line with TCPA regulations?  What about HIPAA guidelines?

Is It Safe to Send Text Messages to Patients?

A recent Managed Healthcare Executive article attempts to dispel some of the myths surrounding texting patients.  Some myths the article debunks include:

  • Mobile messaging is prohibited by the TCPA
  • You must obtain prior written consent
  • Messages must be free to the end user
  • Mobile messaging isn’t HIPAA compliant
  • Mobile messaging is just too risky

The article offers a clear presentation of why these myths are not true and why healthcare providers should use text messaging as an important and effective means of communicating with patients.

What Kinds of Messages Should I Send Patients?

There are a lot of useful ways you can use texting in regards to helping your patients.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Remind patients to take their medications
  • Promote healthy eating
  • Encourage patients to exercise
  • Urge patients to take steps to quit smoking
  • Remind patients of health restrictions that may limit what they should do in their day-to-day routine
  • Send friendly messages to promote patients’ mental wellbeing
  • Remind patients of appointments
  • Guide patients on what kinds of activities they should be engaged in

The list could go on.  The positives involved in texting patients are so strong and the negatives are minimal.  Texting provides a convenient and easy way for healthcare providers to get connected with their patients.  It can help patients live better, healthier lifestyles.

Texting is affordable, widespread, and effective.  So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and start texting!

 

To get started with a free, no-risk trial, sign up at https://mobile-text-alerts.com/signup

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6 awesome and fun youth group games

We know that many of our customers use text alerts to improve communication within their churches.  One challenge many churches face is getting middle school and high school students involved and engaged in the group.  Some youth leaders are completely lost—“How do I relate to these kids?  I haven’t been their age in 10+ years!”—and with this in mind, I thought some may find it useful to get some ideas of events they can try with their youth group.

Note: These are just “fun” ideas, not inherently spiritual.  The notion that youth groups should involve regular Bible studies and other spiritually-minded events is a given, and it is best to include a spiritual element (such as a Bible lesson, personal testimony, or Gospel presentation) to any of these kinds of fun events.

Here are 6 fun youth group games you may want to implement with your youth group.

  1. Lip Sync Showdown

Separate your youth group members into teams and have each team select a song to “perform” (read: lip sync).  They will have so much fun working together to prepare their performance, and the results can be downright hilarious!  Have a panel of judges decide different awards to give out for the performances (“Best Choreography,” “Funniest,” etc.).

My middle school youth group did this each year and it was a blast!  We all looked forward to the event with anticipation and some of us spent weeks preparing.

  1. Spoons Tournament

Spoons is a perfect youth group game because it is simple, inclusive, and fast-paced!  There are different variations to the game, but one set of rules can be found here.  Create an event out of the game by hosting a “Spoons Tournament.”  You can have several different games going on at once until winners move up the bracket and go against each other.

A fun twist to the rules involves hiding the spoons throughout the room instead of putting them in the center of the circle of players.  Then players have to run around the room in search of the spoons to avoid being eliminated.

  1. Ultimate Four Square

Help include shyer and more awkward adolescents by including this playground game that is fun but doesn’t require a lot of pressure or coordination.  To shake things up, allow each new player that makes it to the “King” square to add a new rule.  If you want to shake things up even more, increase the number of squares from four to eight.  With eight squares, you could even have two separate balls going at once!

  1. Battle of the Sexes

Pit the boys against the girls in a friendly competition.  Do a Google search to find fun games that boys and girls can compete in and then set them loose!  Just be careful not to foster too much of a spirit of competition—boys really don’t like losing to girls!

The difficulty in this is making the games fair across the board.  Most games generally favor one sex over the other.  One solution is to try to make half of the games lean toward one gender and half lean toward the other so that it all evens out in the end.

  1. Photo Scavenger Hunt

Separate the group into teams and give each team a list of items, places, or situations throughout the city (or, if you want to do it on a smaller scale, throughout the church or throughout the neighborhood).  Make sure that at least one person in the group has a camera of some sort and give everyone an hour or two to take a picture of as many things on the list as possible.  Whichever team gets the most pictures on their list wins!  You can even include bonus points for more difficult items.  Some examples of the kinds of items you can include are:

  • Your team with a customer service worker
  • Your team in front of a lake
  • A member of your team proposing to a random person on the street while the rest of your team looks shocked
  • Someone on your team eating a fast food burger

With a middle school group, you will have to designate adult drivers if you decide to do the event throughout the city.  For high schoolers, you may still want to designate adult drivers for safety reasons (teen drivers tend to break the speed limit when they’re on this kind of time crunch!).

  1. Real Life Clue

We’ve all played the famous Hasbro board game Clue.  How fun would it be to set up a real life Clue game for your youth group?  You don’t have to make it as gruesome as “Who’s the murderer?” (For our youth group the big mystery was “Who’s the cookie thief?”)

Separate players into groups and set up different stations.  Have different adults lead the stations as “suspects.”  At each station, a group will participate in some kind of activity (trivia questions, Jell-O tasting, puzzles, etc.).  Once the group completes the activity successfully, they can receive a clue as to who the “cookie thief” is.

The clues can be as obvious as, “I saw Mr. Jameson in the basement when the cookies were being stolen, so it couldn’t have been him,” or you can make the players do a little bit more detective work by giving more obscure clues: “Their apparel was like the skies above reflecting in the water below [i.e. the culprit is wearing blue].”  The game is the most fun when adults can really get into the “suspect” roles that they are playing.

Give a time limit, and after the time is up, each group must reveal whom they think the culprit is based on the clues they collected at each station.  The groups that guess correctly can win a prize!

 

Fun activities likes these can be a great way for youth group members and leaders to grow closer and feel more connected, though youth leaders must be careful not to make “fun” the goal of the youth group.  What kinds of games and activities have you found effective in your youth group?

 

 

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Did you know that with Mobile Text Alerts you can send a message directly from your mobile phone by texting in to our system’s number 229-299-8227?  You can easily cut through all the steps involved in logging in to your control panel to send out messages!

You can read our brief walkthrough of how to send a message by texting in to the system, but in this post I want to explain some of the in’s and out’s of this feature more thoroughly.

  1. Set an administrator number as “Super Administrator” to send to all groups or numbers

Super administrator

Setting your administrator number to “Super” (on your Manage Administrators page) will enable that number to send to any group set up on your account.  As a “Super Administrator” you can also send a message to all of your subscribers at once.  To send to a specific group, designate the group’s name at the beginning of your message.  To send to all subscribers, use the word “all” at the beginning of your message.

Example- To send the message “This is a test” to a group with the name “Staff” you would send the following message: “Staff This is a test”

Example- To send the message “This is a test” to all subscribers you would send the following messages: “All This is a test”

  1. Set an administrator number as non-“Super” to limit that number’s access

non-super

If an administrator number is not designated as “Super,” that number will only have access to send messages to the group(s) assigned to it.  They will not be able to send a message to all subscribers and will not be able to send a message to other groups on the account.

If the non-Super number is only assigned to one group, you do not need to put the group’s name at the beginning of your message.

  1. Make sure your group names are only one word

If your group names are more than one word, the system will not be able to recognize the group when you try to text in to send a message from your phone.  If you are having problems trying to text in to send a message to a group, double check on the Manage Groups page to make sure the group’s name is only one word.

  1. Don’t confuse “group name” with “group keyword”

groupname, groupkeyword

The group name is simply the name you have designated for the group.  This is the name you need to enter when you’re trying to text in to a group from your phone.

The “group keyword” involves a feature that costs $3 per keyword per month.  This feature allows subscribers to text in to be directly added to a group.  While this feature is useful, it has nothing to do with texting in to send a message from your phone.

Keeping these two terms straight can save you some confusion when you’re trying to send your messages!

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School Districts Update Parents with Text Alerts

There was a day and age when schools used phone calls as the primary means of communicating with parents and students.  Then along came emails, and that method of communication was added to the mix.  Now we have an even more effective method to integrate: texting!

Niagara Falls City School District is an example of a school district that has begun to take advantage of text messaging technology.  They are planning on using a texting system as a vital part of updating people regarding events and other relevant information.

Some features of a text alert system that make it convenient for a school district include:

  • An easy means to opt in—simply by texting a single word (or in Niagara Falls City’s case, a single letter) in to the system
  • An easy means to opt out—simply by texting “stop” in to the system
  • A convenient way to organize subscribers

Another benefit of using texting as opposed to other means is the preference of texting by many parents.  More and more people are transferring to texting as their preferred means of communication.  The article link above quotes the Niagara Falls City School District’s community relations director, Judie Glaser, as pointing this out: “In many situations, it is more convenient to receive a text message than a phone call, and it can be read more quickly.”

Texting is preferred, simple, and cost-effective.  It might be just what you need to improve communication.

If you are interested in trying out a text alert system, feel free to try out a free test account at https://mobile-text-alerts.com/signup.  You can view pricing information to see which plan would work best for you at https://mobile-text-alerts.com/pricing.

Sign up today to get your own Mobile Text Alerts system!

Please contact us at contact@mobile-text-alerts.com to let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.

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There are all sorts of features of your Mobile Text Alerts system that you may not be aware of!  Here are 7 useful features.

  1. Schedule a message to go out later

You can easily schedule a message to go out at a specific date/time from your “Send a Message” page.  Just select the “Schedule Message to Go Out at a Later Date” option and then you can set the specific day and time.  You can also designate if (or how often) you want your message to repeat.

Schedule message for later

  1. Set up a message template

You can set up a message template from the “Message Templates” page on your control panel.  Setting up a template allows you to easily send the same message again without having to type out the message every time.  After creating the template, all you have to do is click the “Send Template” icon, select the recipients for your message, and send it out!

set up message template

  1. Export your subscriber list

You can download your subscriber list as a CSV, Excel, or PDF from your “Manage Subscribers” page by clicking the “Export” button.  You can also view a printer-friendly version of the list (under “Print” when you click “Export”), and you can copy the list to your clipboard so that you can paste it into another document by clicking the “Copy to Clipboard” button.

exporting subscribers

  1. Set up group keywords

For $3 per month each, you can set up group keywords.  These group keywords allow people to text in to the system and be added directly to a specific group.  For example, if you have a group keyword “Staff” and group keyword “Customers,” users could text “Staff” to be added to your group of staff members or they could text “Customers” to be added to your group of customers.  Contact us if you would like to purchase group keywords!

  1. Set up group administrators

Did you know you can have administrators assigned to specific groups?  When setting up administrators on your “Manage Administrators” page, check the Super Administrator option to “Off” and assign a group to the administrator.  This will allow the administrator access to send messages only to that specified group.

group administrators

  1. Change your time zone

You can change the time zone for your account from your “Settings” page.  Under “Control Panel” settings, select the appropriate time zone.  If your area does not participate in Daylight Savings Time, you can switch “Use Daylight Savings Time” to “Off.”  Having the correct time designated on your account will ensure that any scheduled messages will go out on time and will help your sent messages reports correctly reflect the times that your messages were sent.

time zone

  1. Send messages to email addresses

You are able to send your text messages to subscribers’ email addresses as well.  All you have to do to enable this feature is to switch the “Send Messages to Emails and Phones” option to “On” under your Control Panel Settings.

sending messages to emails

 

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A useful feature of Mobile Text Alerts is the ability to set up administrators for your account.

Setting up administrators allows several advantages.

  • It allows multiple people access to send messages from your Control Panel.
  • It allows group leaders to send messages by texting in with their own personal phones.
  • It allows group leaders to send text messages from their own personal email addresses.

This tutorial will walk you through the “Manage Administrators” page on your Control Panel.

manage administrators navigation bar

 

Add an Administrator

add an administratorClick the green “Add an Administrator” button to input a new administrator.  You can then fill out the fields as desired.  Click “Save” to save the new administrator.

administrator fields

You can add as many administrators on your account as desired.

multiple administrators

 

Remove Administrators

If you would like to remove one or more administrators, click on the row of the administrator (or hold shift and click on multiple administrators) to highlight that row.

administrator highlighted

Then click the red “Remove Administrators” button to delete the selected administrator(s).

Remove administrator

 

Administrator Fields

  • Username and Password – This is the username and password that administrators can use if they want to log in to send messages from the Control Panel.
  • Phone Number – Entering the administrator’s phone number will enable that number to send messages from your account by texting in to 229-299-8227.
  • Email – Entering the administrator’s email address will enable that address to send messages from your account via email.
  • Administered Groups – This field allows you to assign an administrator to a specific group or groups.
  • Super Administrator – Setting this field to “on” will enable the administrator to have access to send messages to all groups. Setting this field to “off” will enable the administrator to send messages only to the group(s) assigned to them in the “Administered Groups” field.
  • Edit – Clicking “Edit” on an administrator’s row will allow you to edit the information for that administrator. You must click “Save” after editing the information to save any changes.
  • Delete – Clicking the “Delete” icon on an administrator’s row will permanently delete that administrator.

Other Things to Know

  • You can change how many administrators are displayed by clicking the arrow (above the table) that says “Show 10 entries.” Then from the drop-down menu that appears, you can select 25, 50, or 100 entries.
  • You can search through your administrators by typing a search query in the text box.
  • Clicking the “Copy to Clipboard” button will copy the information regarding your administrators. You can then paste the information into another document.
  • Clicking the “Export” button allows you to export your administrator information as a CSV, Excel, or PDF file.  You also have the option to view a printer-friendly version of your “Manage Administrators” page.
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