why the government spent 5.5 million on text messages

The government spends money on things it shouldn’t.

Regardless of our political opinions, I’m sure we all can agree with that statement from time to time.

For example:

A lot of these things are admittedly pretty crazy (on the surface at least). It really is no surprise that the government spent over $5.5 million on text messages to help with problems such as alcoholism and smoking addiction.

These problems pose real health risks, so the question to ask is: Is the expense worth it?

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but let me discuss some of the reasoning likely behind this spending.

The government recognizes that (A) people text, (B) people text often, and (C) texts can influence.

People Text

A survey from Pew Research Center found that 73% of all American adults send and receive text messages on a cell phone. Note that this staggering percentage only includes adults and doesn’t even take into account teens and pre-teens.

In light of this kind of information, it makes sense that they would use texting as a method to try to decrease the amount of binge drinking people engage in on their 21st birthday.

People Text Often

The survey from Pew Research found that people who use text messaging “send or receive an average of 41.5 messages on a typical day.” It also found that “[c]ell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day.”

That’s a lot of texts!

Texting Can Influence

With the prominence of texting, it stands to reason that texting has a lot of influence, especially among young people. This is why the government has invested so much money in an attempt to reduce problem drinking, obesity, smoking, meth addiction, and other health-related problems.

We have discussed in previous posts some of the success of texting programs similar to these.

 

The bottom line? Whether or not the government should be spending its money on these kinds of projects, their reasoning in betting on the potential of texting seems sound.

Follow the government’s lead and start texting your audience today!

people love texting so much they need to instigate a wexting ban

You remember that new word wexting? As in, walking while texting?

Well, apparently the walking while texting phenomenon is not limited to the United States.

In Toronto, Canada, a majority of voters sampled agreed that the city council should place a ban on texting while crossing the street. Only 35% of those sampled disagreed with the proposal.

The ban apparently did not go through. Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff said, “Council’s proposal to ban texting and walking was dismissed by the province and others, but whoever dismisses it is out of touch with the public.”

Older voters unsurprisingly favored the ban in the vast majority (73%), while 61% of mothers were in favor.

What does this mean?

The fact that this proposal exists at all would be a sign of the times. But viewing the results of the poll proves there is even common consensus that people have a hard time controlling themselves.

Let’s face it; we are addicted to our phones.

Take the Pokemon Go craze. We have people falling off cliffs and getting hit by cars because of their obsession with looking at their phones.

People love their smartphones—the games, the social media, the texting.

Do we need government bans on texting while walking? Maybe, maybe not (honestly, putting bans probably wouldn’t help anything). My point is simply this: texting has successfully integrated into society. People love it, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

What do we do?

Embrace the craze!

No, I don’t mean you should stare down at your phone while crossing the street, or that you should get so distracted that you wander off a cliff.

I just mean that you can connect with people in the way that is convenient and meaningful for them. Use common sense, of course, and don’t get too sucked in. But don’t be afraid to take advantage of technology!

Texting is only a tool, after all. How we use it is up to us.

4 Ways to Increase College Enrollment and Retention with Text Alerts

College counseling by text messaging?

Is that really a thing?

Yes, it is, and the the results are promising! A study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia showed great potential for “improvements in students’ academic performance in college” as a result of methods such as text messaging. The article describes how the study’s principles are beginning to be applied.

But how? The article mentions 4 ways that texting can help increase college enrollment and retention.

“Applying for financial aid”

Applying for financial aid is a terrifying and daunting task for up-and-coming college freshmen. Applicants, especially those with no parental guidance, often have no idea how to go about getting loans or scholarships. They have never handled much money before and they need help working through the confusing financial aid processes.

Informational texts that help guide potential students applying for financial aid can be a huge help in getting people off on the right foot and nudging them to choose your college.

“Registering and preparing for college”

Once a potential student completes the financial aid process and selects a school, they still have to go through registration—another daunting step for young people who are stepping out on their own for the first time. Even if a prospect makes it through registration, they have to figure out orientation, enrollment, using the college’s online course management system, and a myriad of other overwhelming tasks.

You can use text alerts to break up registration and preparation into smaller chunks that are easier to follow. Simple encouragement and step-by-step instructions can make the overwhelming process more manageable.

“Connecting with resources and advisers”

Let’s say someone has made it through the financial aid, registration, and preparation processes and are now a full-blown student. How can you keep them engaged in their studies so that they don’t fail or drop out?

Sending out text alerts is an easy way to connect students with resources that can help them. You can send texts with information on how to get help on or off campus, and you can also provide them with advisers’ information for easy reference.

“Receiving counselor assistance”

One awesome benefit of texting is that it’s easy for the students to text back, which can be great for interactivity! If students need more one-on-one help, they can reply to your text alerts and a counselor can contact them.

This kind of interactivity can help make students feel valued and engaged and can increase the likelihood of degree completion.

The potential for texting in terms of its ability to increase college enrollment and retention is exciting. Why not give it a try?

Sign up for a text alert system to start improving your college now!

 

the day text alerts saved my life

[Disclaimer: This is not a true story and is not meant to be taken seriously]

Hi, my name is Jefferson, and this is the story of how I almost died.

I go to college at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I’m a psych major, always evaluating everyone and everything. The mind fascinates me, specifically the criminal mind. I always wonder, Why do people resort to theft and murder? What brings them to that point?

I wonder all this and meanwhile crimes happen all around me. Omaha certainly isn’t the crime capital of the world, but it ain’t no small-time country town either. There are shootings and rapes and drug deals, and I’m just not used to any of it! (I grew up in a small town in Nebraska called Roca; population: 220.)

Anyway, one day I’m just strolling along campus, minding my own business, when suddenly my phone buzzes. I take a look, thinking it’s probably my mom or my sister (I really don’t have that many friends) and am surprised to see that it’s a text alert from the school:

“WARNING: Man threatening with sharp object in the library. Police have been called. We advise students to stay away.”

I stop in my tracks—the library is where I am headed. I am intrigued and tempted to peek inside to see what might be going on.

Maybe I can be a hero! Maybe I can knock the intruder down and save the day! I’ll pin him to the ground and hold him there until the police arrive! It’s a chance to experience firsthand the thing that fascinated and yet scared me the most—the criminal mind.

But then I remember the sad yet relieving truth that I have the arms of a twig and have never lifted a dumbbell once in my life. Brains, not brawn, are my specialty. I most certainly would be overpowered if I tried to subdue that attacker. I’ll leave it to the athletes and to the police.

About an hour later I receive another alert from the school:

“Threat has been subdued. No one was injured. Thank you to Hudson Jacobs and Jared Hoover for your brave pursuits in holding the attacker down until police could arrive.”

Hudson and Jared are both on the basketball team.

Called it.

So I continue on, thankful to be alive, thankful to be scrawny, and thankful for text alerts.

P.S. As it turns out, the “sharp object” the man was using to threaten people was actually just a pencil.  Go figure.

Save a life! Get a text alert system today. 🙂

3 ways people can sign up for text alerts from you

Trying to figure out how people can sign up to receive texts from you?

Your Mobile Text Alerts system allows 3 different ways people can sign up for text alerts.

  1. Texting in

An easy way for people to sign up for text alerts is by texting your keyword in to our system’s number 662-200-4303 (or 48421, if you purchase a shortcode keyword)

  • Question: What is a “keyword”?
    • Answer: Your keyword is an identifying word unique to your account. You can set a keyword for your account from the “Settings” section after you log in.
  • Question: What are “shortcode keywords”?
    • Answer: Shortcode keywords allow people to text your keyword in to the shortcode 48421 instead of the 10-digit number. Shortcode keywords cost $15/month.
  1. Sign-up page

People can also sign up for text alerts by visiting your sign-up page. Your sign-up page is automatically created for you when you set up your account. The URL can be found at https://mobile-text-alerts.com/keyword (replace “keyword” with the actual keyword for your account).

  • Question: Can the sign-up page be embedded into our website?
    • Answer: Yes, you can copy the HTML from the page and paste it into your own website. Instructions on how to do that can be found here. You can also embed your page with an iframe. Contact us for more information.
  • Question: Can we customize our sign-up page?
    • Answer: Yes, we can include your logo or change the colors on your sign-up page at no extra charge. On the higher plans, we can work with you to do a redesign of your page (additional fees may apply).
  1. Manual addition

People can provide their information to you in some other fashion (such as on a paper form) and then you can add their numbers to your system manually. There are 2 ways to go about this:

  • You can add numbers one-by-one by clicking “Add a Subscriber” from your Manage Subscribers page.
  • You can add numbers via a spreadsheet from your Import Subscribers page. For more information on importing a spreadsheet, see here.

 

Those are 3 convenient methods for people to sign up to receive text alerts from you. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions!

How Schools Can Increase Student Performance by Texting Parents

Education is so important!

Our society is built around the necessity to be able to read, write, and do basic math. Parents, teachers, and school administrators constantly look for ways to improve the education system so that our kids can have the best possible future ahead of them.

Can texting help?

A study in the UK sought to test the potential benefits of using texting directed at parents to help increase student performance. The researchers found success with the method, especially in the areas of improving math skills and decreasing absenteeism.

So how can texting parents increase student performance?

  1. Texting parents about upcoming tests

Use texting to inform parents when their kids have upcoming tests. The texts can be as simple as “Math test this Friday,” or you can go into a little more detail: “There will be an algebra test over chapter 4 on Friday.” The point is to make parents aware of what’s going on so that they can help make sure their kids are prepared.

  1. Texting parents about past-due homework

Texting has the potential to be a great avenue to inform parents when their kids have missed homework. Sending over a simple text such as “Homework assignment was not turned in today” goes a long way to helping parents keep their kids accountable. Parents can use texts like this to check up on their kids’ progress and be involved in their education process.

  1. Texting parents about content learned in class

Help facilitate discussions at home by sending parents a brief summary of content learned in class: “This week we introduced the relationship between sine, cosine, and tangent.” The reinforcement at home of what has been taught in class helps the concepts stick in the student’s mind.

This strategy of texting parents is described in the article as “highly efficient” due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. The study ended up costing schools approximately £6 (which translates to $7.92) per student for the entire year, but with one of our pricing options the cost could be as little as $.90 per student per year.

What are you waiting for? Try out a text alert system for your school today!

Need a little inspiration?

At the heart of Mobile Text Alerts is communication.  But let’s face it, our everyday interactions can become dry and routine.

These 8 quotes may be just what you need to inspire your communication and change your thinking around!  Maybe you can apply the concepts in these quotes to your own text alert strategy.

(Click here to try out a free text alert system!)

quote1“Brevity is the soul of wit.” – William Shakespeare

 

quotes to inspire your communication“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.” – Yehuda Berg

 

quote3“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

 

quote4“Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.” – George Eliot

 

quote5“Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

quote6“Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.” – Homer

 

quote7“Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.” – Rita Mae Brown

 

quote8“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” – Rollo May

 

 

 

How subscribers can include personal information by texting in

One of the awesome features of your Mobile Text Alerts system is the ability for subscribers to be added to your list by texting your keyword in to our system.

The issue some people have with this text-in feature is that they think it doesn’t allow subscribers to include as much information as the sign-up page or the import feature.

But something you may not know is that you actually can have subscribers include a lot of information about themselves by texting in.

 

Texting in to join

It is easy for your potential subscribers to text in to join. All they need to do is text your keyword to our system’s number 662-200-4303.

Your keyword can be changed from your settings when you log in to your control panel.

If someone texts in your keyword, the system will automatically send them a welcome message and add their number to your subscriber list.

 

Including name when texting in

If you would like your subscribers to provide their name when texting in, you can instruct them to send a text to 662-200-4303 in the following format:

Keyword FirstName LastName

For example, if your keyword is “Church,” a subscriber named John Smith would text the following:

Church John Smith

This would not only add John Smith’s number into your text alert system but would also automatically attach their first and last name.

 

Adding to groups

Subscribers can easily add themselves to one of your groups after texting in. All they need to do is text the following format to 662-200-4303:

Join GroupName

As long as the group name that they include in the text message exists on your account, the subscriber will be added to that group

(NOTE: Adding to groups by texting in will only work if the subscriber’s number is already subscribed to the account.)

things you should never do when speaking to a customer

Customer support is hard.

It requires delicate interpersonal skills and a lot of discernment.

Support reps can use all the help and reminders they can get! In light of this, here are 6 things you should never do when speaking to a customer.

(Did you know you can connect with your customers via text alerts? Try out a free test account today!)

  • Never say “No.”

No one likes to be told “No,” and yet sometimes we must deny requests that customers make.

Instead of just flat-out saying “No” when a customer requests something that can’t be done, put a positive spin on it: “Although we can’t include that specific feature for free, you can always upgrade plans to include that feature at minimal cost!”

  • Never interrupt.

When you interrupt someone, you are in essence telling them that what you have to say is more important than what they have to say.

Only under very rare circumstances is it acceptable to interrupt a customer when they are speaking. Even if they are rambling, try to find a strategic spot to interject respectfully.

  • Never say “There isn’t anything more I can do.”

We’ve all had that frustrating experience of being on the phone with a customer service rep who just doesn’t seem to be able to do anything about your situation. It leaves you irritated and undervalued as a customer.

Never end the conversation on this note. Always propose some kind of solution when speaking to a customer, even if the solution is to have someone higher up contact him/her.

  • Never argue.

In our normal everyday lives, we can argue back and forth and try to convince people our opinions are right. But in the world of customer service, this is not acceptable.

Do not argue with a customer, even if you know you are right. The point of the interaction is not to prove you are right but rather to maintain as much rapport with the customer as possible even in the midst of a disagreement. You can offer clear explanations, but it must never escalate to the point of arguing.

Let’s face it: we all have a sense of pride and we don’t like it when people point out our faults. Your customers are no different.

When speaking to a customer, if you notice they are doing something wrong and need to be corrected, don’t focus on all the things they are doing wrong. Instead, gently and politely focus on explaining how they can do it correctly.

  • Never be only negative.

This one really extends from many of the others (especially #1).

Constant negativity can be extremely disheartening and draining. While some negativity is unavoidable, there are ways to sugar-coat it so that it doesn’t taste so bitter in your customer’s mouth.

Anytime you must say something negative, always try to balance it out with something positive: “Your account has been disabled due to an unpaid invoice, but we’d be happy to get it back up and running again!”

10 awesome ways to use text alerts this summer

Summer has caught up to us so quickly! Seems like yesterday I was writing about 10 ways to use text alerts during Christmas and here we are ready for Christmas in July! And just like Christmas, summer is a perfect time to take advantage of text alerts as well.

Here are 10 ways you can use text alerts this summer.

  1. Plan a pool party

I don’t mean a little pool party with just your closest friends. I mean, reach out to people (via text alerts, of course) and invite people and get community members together for oodles of pool fun!

  1. Help organize summer camp

Some of my greatest childhood memories are from summer camp. You can help impact kids’ lives by volunteering to help out at a summer camp, and you can use text alerts to connect with parents or older students.

  1. Advertise summertime sales for your business

Each season of the year has its own specials and sales, and summer is no different. Text alerts is the perfect avenue to advertise your business’s summer deals, promotions, and discounts.

  1. Host an outdoor ice cream social

What brings people together better than ice cream? Especially in the summertime! Use text alerts to make this a huge event for your community.

  1. Organize an outing to a water park

Adults and kids alike love going to the water park. Text reminders and announcements can really amp up the hype for your epic water park expedition!

  1. Coordinate Vacation Bible School for your church

Vacation Bible School takes a lot of effort and coordination among dozens upon dozens of people. Volunteer to help at your church and aid in the coordination with text alerts!

  1. Establish a summer reading club

This season is a great time to get involved in some “light summer reading.” And how much more fun to do it with friends and like-minded friends-to-be! Use text alerts this summer to recruit for your club and communicate reading assignments and meeting times.

  1. Communicate with parents regarding summer school

A change in routine can really cause a lot of confusion in people’s daily activities. If parents have children in summer school with different activities and schedules than normal, they will appreciate being kept up to speed.

  1. Gather neighbors, friends, and community members together for a huge water fight event

Imagine dozens (or even hundreds!) of grown adults launching water balloons and soaking each other with water bazookas. If this sounds fun to you, you should go make it a reality! (Okay, kids can join the water fight too.) Use text alerts to help get the word out.

  1. Warn people about cancellations or postponements due to rain or thunderstorms

Along with the season comes the refreshing summer rain and thundering summer storms. Unfortunately these often unpredictable weather events can wreak havoc on your outdoor event planning. Text alerts can inform people of weather-related changes.

What other awesome ways can you think of to use text alerts this summer?

Post navigation