Are Your Customers Happy?

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Are Your Customers Happy?

Your customer arrived on your site, browsed a few pages, and made a purchase. Sales are always a good thing, but as a business owner, you want to know more than simply a Google Analytics description of your customer’s browsing and buying habits. You want to know if that customer was satisfied, and whether or not their purchase will lead to more purchases in the future.

Customer satisfaction surveys are an underutilized measuring stick that not only builds affinity with customers, but also helps brands improve their user experience. Asking key questions can help you gauge the overall experience as seen through your customer’s eyes.

Using an online texting service to pose the survey means using a channel with a 98% open rate, and a response rate that is 8 times as effective as email.

6 Rules for Effective SMS Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Keep it short – Your customers are in the middle of their lives when your survey arrives. Be mindful of their time and limit your survey to 5 questions or fewer. Some surveys, like asking if a customer was satisfied with a recent purchase, can be completed with just a single question.

Be Targeted with Your Questions – If you want to understand if your customers were satisfied with their search results on the site, don’t ask if they were satisfied with their purchase. Limit your questions to the area you are focusing on.

Provide Options… - Limiting the response to Yes and No; True or False; or Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree makes it easy for your customers to quickly answer the questions with the type of answers you can easily categorize and react upon.

…But Leave Room for Free Text – Some customer comments provide fantastic feedback on their experience. By leaving a space for free text, you can pick up some great customer insights.

Avoid Questions with “And” – If you ask “The product descriptions were clear and the images were accurate – Yes or No,” you’ll never know if their answer refers to descriptions or images. Instead, you’ll want to turn that into two different questions.

Take Another Leap – If your survey is dynamic, direct satisfied customers to review sites like Google, Yelp or Facebook, and ask them to leave a review. Ask an open-ended question to unsatisfied customers to learn the reason for their disappointing experience.

Sending SMS Surveys

Before sending bulk text messaging surveys to your customers, it’s always best to ask them during the checkout process to opt in to agree to receive messages from you.. You’ll find that they are much more likely to participate in your survey if they know it’s coming.

Logistic Companies Can Use SMS Messages to Protect the Environment

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Logistic Companies Can Use SMS Messages to Protect the Environment

The logistics and delivery industries contribute to environmental decay by burning fuel, polluting the air, and emitting enough carbon dioxide to be a significant contributor to global warming. Effective use of text messaging services by logistics and delivery companies can reduce the environmental footprint produced by these companies.

Fewer Miles on the Road

Transporting and delivering packages poses a significant challenge to delivery companies. When customers aren’t home, delivery trucks need to return to the same address multiple times. All that extra mileage increases delivery costs while adding to the strain on the environment.

Two-way text messaging between delivery companies and package recipients can ensure that the recipient is home the first time or provide an alternate address for the package to be delivered. Delivery companies can even create triggers that give a 15-minute SMS “heads up” before the truck arrives.

Improved Operational Efficiency

Supply chain delays cause havoc to logistic companies. A minor mishap at a port can cause delays to delivery trucks, warehouses, distribution centers. Those delays leave trucks idling, and warehouses running extended hours.

An effective SMS text service can notify drivers and warehouse workers when things are running behind, allowing them to find more efficient and environmentally-friendly ways to deal with the changes in their pick-up and drop-off schedules.

Staying Out of Traffic

Poor routing increases the amount of time delivery trucks stay on the road, which contributes to environmental damage. However, even perfectly plotted routes are impacted by unexpected traffic events.  

Effective 2-way SMS communication between the dispatcher and driver can help the driver find better routes on the fly and reduce the amount of time spent idling on the road.

Better Logistics

Using SMS tools allows logistics companies to improve efficiency while reducing the strain they put on the environment. Talk to our helpful professionals to learn more ways text messages can help improve the way you do business.

 

 

 

5 essential strategies for successful business SMS campaigns

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5 essential strategies for successful business SMS campaigns

Not all SMS marketing messages are created equally. Some brands consistently get better response rates, click-throughs, and opens. It’s not just about content. You might think sports teams and entertainment messages would easily outperform retail hardware stores, but that’s not necessarily the case. The most successful SMS marketers understand the medium and use that knowledge to drive results.

Follow these guidelines written by our top business SMS service experts, and give your text message marketing efforts the best chance for success.

Business SMS Tactic #1 Opt-in Audience

Text messages are not the place to raise awareness with unknown audiences. Sending unsolicited messages to a purchased phone list is a sure way to trigger complaints, generate bad will among your recipients, and reduce your credibility in the market.

Opt-in audiences, on the other hand, are already primed to receive your messages and offers. Generating opt-in phone lists might be easier than you think. Create text-to-win offers, host text contests, or ask for phone numbers at exhibitions and events. With every message, make sure your recipients have an easy way to opt out of your phone list.

Business SMS Tactic #2 Say Who You Are

When members of your list receive your messages, you want them to know that it’s your business that is sending the message. When possible (sometimes government regulations prevent it), always include your business name as the sender. That way, your brand name will appear in your recipients’ massaging application.

Some countries require registration to do this. In those locations, make sure to include your brand name in the first words of the message. That way, customers can easily see who is contacting them, and more often than not your brand name will appear on the notification for your message.

Business SMS Tactic #3 Branded Short URLs

Short URLs use fewer characters than regular website URL. Bit.ly, a well-known link compressor, can convert a link with hundreds of characters into about 12 characters. This is important when dealing with character limits in an SMS.

However, marketers who are looking to get more out of their text messages should consider branded short URLs. While in short form like a bit.ly, these URLs can begin with your brand name. Research has shown that branded links receive up to 39% more clicks than the generic short links. 

Business SMS Tactic #4 Personalized Messages

When brands personalize messages to individuals, it helps forge a stronger connection between the brand and recipient. The messages are more relevant, and the customer feels like the brand is more of a colleague than a business.

Personalization can take different forms. In some instances, it uses the recipient’s name, while for others the offer is customized based on the buyer’s history with the brand. Either way, this technique tends to increase conversion and response rates.

Business SMS Tactic #5 Trackable UTMs

UTMs are a method Google Analytics utilizes to track web traffic. While your bulk text agency should be able to tell you how many people clicked on your link, the UTM can tell you what happened once those people arrived at your site.

UTMs can tell you how long people stayed on site, the pages they viewed, and whether or not they ordered a product or downloaded a white paper. UTMs are instrumental in A/B testing, allowing marketers to see not only which message brought the most traffic, but whether there was a difference in the quality of traffic that came through.

Talk to our smart message  SMS experts to ensure your SMS campaigns deliver the customers and conversions your business is targeting.

Avoiding Carrier Filters in SMS Marketing

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Avoiding Carrier Filters in SMS Marketing

We recently received the following message through our ‘Contact our Experts’ form.

“We have been using a different service for SMS marketing, and a lot of our messages are getting blocked by filters. Can you guys get us passed the carrier filters?”

Fortunately, this is something we see every day, and have a team in place to guide our customers through the tricky landscape of carrier filters.

What are carrier filters?

Mobile subscribers who receive an overload of spam SMS messages often feel that their only option is to find a new carrier. Rather than allow subscribers to churn, carriers like AT&T, Vodafone, and Orange choose to block out spam SMS messages. To do so, they set up filters blocking certain messages from getting through.

These filters range from keywords that prevent messages from getting through, to complex, machine-learning filters that shield customers in real-time from being overwhelmed by unwanted messages. Often times filters are activated by customer complaints, causing future messages emanating from that number to filtered out. Filters can also block high-volume senders, even if the message is innocuous.

Carriers protect their filters as a closely guarded secret, to prevent spammers from learning how to sidestep these consumer protections. There is no way to know with certainty if a message will get through. Unfortunately, unlike email where a recipient can “whitelist” a specific sender, carrier filters don’t take user preferences into account while blocking a message from getting through.

Best Practices to Avoid Filters

There are two primary reasons why messages get blocked: spammy content and high volume sending. Here are some of the tools and tricks we recommend you use to help your messages arrive at their destination.

Require Opt-In

When SMS recipients opt in, it is much less likely that they will complain when they receive your texts.

Offer Opt-Out

When recipients have a way to stop receiving your messages, they tend to opt out rather than file complaints against you.

The Message Itself

Sending a message to customers should provide a good customer experience. The message should not be too long and should contain information that is immediately useful. Messages that encourage recipients to respond are very effective, as they demonstrate value that you are delivering to the customer.

Do Not Include…

Overly capitalized SMS messages look like spam, while aggressive language often leads to complaints. Avoid overly long messages, and cut down on hyperbole like 100% guaranteed, completely FREE, or no charge. These tend to be filtered.

Use Short Codes

Short codes are 5-6 digit telephone numbers that are used to send out SMS messages. These numbers are pre-approved by carriers for high-volume SMSing, and can be used for marketing and promotions, alerts and notifications. These are ideal for businesses that need to send out high-number of messages over a short time period.

One Last Thought

There are no guaranteed ways to completely avoid filters. However, to help protect our customer’s SMS marketing budget, MessageWhiz offers a risk-free revenue share pricing model, where you only pay  when you’ve achieved your desired campaign results. That way, you won’t pay to send out messages that carriers filtered out.

Talk to our experts to find out how the MessageWhiz text messaging service for business can help you get your messages into your customers’ hands.

 

4 Great SMS Uses for the Gaming and Gambling Industry

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4 Great SMS Uses for the Gaming and Gambling Industry

Over 50% of all gamers who spend money on video games are Millennials between ages 18-34. They are deeply entrenched in the digital lifestyle and prefer to communicate with their trusted brands through SMS over any other channel. This combination creates the perfect storm for gaming companies utilizing SMS messages in their marketing and gameplay strategy.

Protecting Gamer Accounts

Fraud is a considerable threat for gamers and online gamblers. It is a world where billions of dollars each year switch hands instantly through in-game purchases and betting, as the game steadily moves forward without pause. Criminals hack into accounts, giving them access to their victim’s in-game credit card or PayPal account.

Using SMS as a 2-factor authentication tool (2FA) helps protect players and their assets. Accounts become accessible only through a combination of user name-password and a second code sent to the user’s mobile device via SMS.

Enhancing Sales Through Triggers

As players progress through games, their challenges typically increase. Savvy gaming companies can assign triggers indicating a need for a new item in the near future, and have their system automatically generate an SMS promoting the in-game purchase. The SMS can include a link to a video, where players can see the benefits provided by the in-game purchase. When they do reach the stage where the item is useful, they will have already been prepped to make the purchase.

Triggers can also be used to remind players that a scheduled event is coming up. If the system notes that other members of their team have come online, individuals can receive an SMS notification, telling them that their team is assembling.

New Levels and Launches

As new games come online game developers can send bulk SMS alerts to their players promoting the game. The messages can include video links, giving players a preview of the excitement that awaits them.

This method is especially useful when new levels or worlds are added to existing games. Sending out text messages with video links to players who have moved on to other games is an effective way to bring them back into a game.

SMS for Gamblers

Gambling sites can use an SMS messaging service to alert customers of changing betting opportunities. Triggers can be set up alerting users that odds are changing, or that new betting opportunities have become available.

Many casino companies use SMS to manage their loyalty programs and communicate regularly with their regular gamblers by reminding customers to top up their accounts,  upcoming tournaments, events, and competitions or special chip promotions. SMS messages can also be used to send out betting tips, and SMS short codes can attract new users who text in by offering a tip of the week.

Contact our experts and see how Message Whiz can optimize your SMS marketing campaign for Gambling and Gaming.

 

 

Secure Text Messaging for Healthcare

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Secure Text Messaging for Healthcare

4 SMS Healthcare Solutions and their applications in the Healthcare Industry

In the United States, personal medical data is fiercely protected by HIPAA. As a result, medical facilities are required to protect their patient’s information, and use secure channels when exposing medical information. While SMS messages aren’t encrypted, which limits a medical facility’s ability to communicate with patients using text messages, they still are an immediate and trusted channel for communicating with patients. Medical practices and healthcare facilities can use this immediacy and trust in implementing SMS communications into their patient communications processes.

SMS Healthcare Solution #1: Alerts and Updates

While HIPAA prevents the transfer of personal health information (PHI) via unsecured channels, it doesn’t prevent doctors from sending out generic reminders to their patients. For example, if there was a health crisis in a specific region, the health care facility could send out an alert to all its patients warning them of dangers and advising them what to do should they be affected. Medical facilities can also send out generic reminders to patients to get their annual flu shot before winter, share links to general health articles, and offer general health tips.

SMS Healthcare Solution #2: Personal Notifications

Health care facilities do need to be cautious when contacting patients with medical information. However, there are a number of notifications that can be sent out via SMS. The following notifications can be sent to patients, without including any information that would identify a medical condition:

  • Notification that test results are available on a patient portal
  • Notification and approval request when another medical facility or insurer asks for access to the patient's health record
  • Notification that a requested prescription is available on a patient portal
  • Notification from pharmacist that a prescribed medication can be picked up
  • Notification that a prescription is no longer valid

SMS Healthcare Solution #3: Appointment Reminders

Missed appointments can cost medical practices thousands of dollars each year and impact the health of the patient. An appointment reminder SMS service would allow patients to respond whether or not they are coming. For those who are unable to make their appointment, the facility would then be able to offer the available slot to someone else. Medical facilities must be careful to be HIPAA-compliant when sending out these reminders. For example, a reminder to come to the Oncology Clinic would indicate that a patient has cancer. To be safe, appointment reminders should be limited to include that date and time of the appointment, the provider’s first and last name, and the address.

SMS Healthcare Solution #4: Office Management

Healthcare providers can use SMS tools to help manage their office. With text messaging software they can easily communicate shift assignments, request maintenance, and communicate with equipment vendors. 

For more information about our secure text messaging for healthcare visit: https://messagewhiz.com/text-messaging-service-for-business#health

Or contact our experts today to find out how MessageWhiz can help you introduce SMS healthcare solutions into your medical practice.

Debunking SMS Marketing Myths

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Debunking SMS Marketing Myths

SMS messaging has played a role in marketing for well over a decade. As technology has improved, the SMS has increased in its effectiveness and power. In some ways, it is more effective than email marketing, social media, and other digital marketing media. Despite its effectiveness, there are some myths surrounding the SMS that have unfortunately prevented businesses from embracing SMS as an effective tool.

Myth 1: SMS Marketing is only used for Bulk Messages

SMS messages are certainly an efficient medium for getting a message in front of a lot of people. Recipients are more likely than email recipients to open your message, and they do within minutes of receiving the message. But bulk messages are only one part of an effective SMS tool set.

Savvy marketers have discovered the ability to send targeted, personalized messages to individuals, as well as to small and medium sized groups. Individuals who left a full online shopping cart on their favorite site can get a gentle SMS nudge with a link to complete their purchase, while groups of all sizes can receive relevant messages based on demographic commonalities, similar preferences, or past history.

Myth 2: Text Message Marketing: too Expensive for Small Businesses

Text message marketing is more expensive than email marketing, which can frighten small business owners away. However, implementing a text message marketing software strategy offers a far more effective approach than email marketing. For one, text messages have a 95% open rate, while emails are opened only 20% of the time. Second, emails frequently end up in spam or promotion folders, while SMS messages always appear in your recipient’s phone

It’s true that most service providers do charge per sent SMS. However, business SMS marketing services deliver a higher return on investment (ROI) than other customer communications channels and more than pays for itself. In addition, MessageWhiz offers a multi-tiered pricing model so you can manage costs. We even have a risk-free option, where users pay only when their campaign has reached predefined targets.

Myth 3: SMS is Obsolete

It certainly isn’t. The volume of text messages sent by companies to their customers is growing by an average of 10% over each of the last 5 years. SMS functionality is built into every phone, and works regardless of internet connectivity, so companies can be certain that their text messages arrive at their intended destination, unlike popular free chat apps like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Viber. As long as your customers or prospects are connected to their mobile provider, they can receive SMS messages.

As mentioned above, 95% of SMS messages are opened, and 91% of them are read within 90 seconds of being received. As SMS messages require the recipient to opt in, the messages reach an already engaged consumer. Couple that with research indicating consumers prefer to receive promotional messages from companies they trust via SMS over any other channel, and you have a perfect marketing storm, where engaged consumers receive messages straight to their fingertips.

Alive and Kicking

As we move deeper in 2019, strategic use of mobile text marketing is an important marketing activity that can be used for everything from building one-on-one relationships to broadcasting messages to large groups of people.

Three SMS Marketing Trends for 2019

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Three SMS Marketing Trends for 2019

SMS marketing has seen tremendous year-over-year growth, as more businesses try to harness the power of one-to-one communication via mobile. We’ve seen a number of changes over the past few years, and here are three big trends we expect to see in 2019.

Increase in Trigger-Based Messages

One of the most exciting opportunities for marketers is the ability to launch text messages as the result of a pre-defined trigger. Triggers can be nearly anything, sending out timely messages that can be acted upon immediately.

For example, let’s say a regional restaurant chain offers free curly fries every time the home town basketball team scores more than 110 points in a game. The restaurant can set a trigger to automatically send a free curly fries reminder SMS to its entire phone list the moment the team scores 110 points. They might even throw in an upsell, offering anyone who comes in within the next hour a large drink for the price of a small.

Triggers don’t have send messages to entire mailing lists. A financial institution that experienced a minor security breach that only affected customers in one branch can have an SMS message automatically sent out to that portion of its customer base, advising them to go online and check their account. 

Triggers can even go to individuals. A hotel can create a trigger so that when an arriving guest’s plane is delayed, their customer receives an SMS asking if they’d like the hotel to arrange transportation or room service for when they arrive.

Increased B2B Marketing

Most text message marketing to date has focused on promotional SMS messages, but 2019 is going to be the year we see more lead nurturing and lead gen activities take place over SMS. The reason is simple. Younger workers prefer SMS messaging over most other types of communication.

Marketers trying to nurture and develop leads through SMS need to provide value at every interaction and segment their lists effectively so that recipients receive relevant messages for their stage in the buying cycle. Because Millennials don’t like to be over-bombarded with ads, successful B2B marketers will first develop an off-phone relationship with their prospects before shifting the relationship into text mode.

Shortcodes over Hashtags

Shortcodes are those four-to-six-digit numbers businesses use when they want people to send a text and enter a contest or take a survey. 2019 promises to be the year where all types of enterprises start publishing shortcodes along with hashtags on their marketing materials.

For all their popularity, hashtags provide limited benefit to businesses. They direct a user to see content, but they don’t create an engagement or interaction. Even if the customer looks for the hashtag, they still need to click on a link, and eventually provide some type of contact information.

Shortcodes, on the other hand, require an interaction for the customer to engage. Customers using the shortcode to communicate are indicating a high degree of intent to the business, as they’ve taken a concrete action. Once the customer reaches out through the shortcode, the business can respond to the immediate matter at hand and add the sender’s phone number to their phone list.  

Are you ready for SMS Marketing in 2019? Talk to us today about our text messaging service for business, and start texting your customers tomorrow.

 

 

 

4 SMS Tactics the Travel Industry Should be Implementing

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4 SMS Tactics the Travel Industry Should be Implementing

Whether you’re trying to sell a trip to the Bahamas or enhance your guest’s stay in your hotel, SMS messaging services are steadily becoming the tool of choice for reaching your customers.

The reason is clear. For many travelers who lack immediate access to their email account, the best way to reach them is through their mobile device. It makes it easy to communicate gate changes, in-flight offers, destination highlights, and local offers. Travel agents, hotels, airlines, and others in the travel industry are all implementing text marketing services to keep in close contact with their clientele. Here are four tactics you should be using if you are in the travel industry.

Build Your Brand…and Your Contact List

There are a few ways businesses build up their contact list. First, they use information from existing customers, or contacts that have expressed interest in their service in the past. Beyond that, your options are limited to buying lists which may or may not be effective. There’s really no way to qualify the people on the list before you buy.

However, with effective business text messaging SMS marketing, you can have your prospects give you their number. Consider marketing a contest to your target demographic through social media for a free night’s stay in a hotel to anyone who texts STAY FREE to your number. Over the course of the contest, you’ll have built up a phone list of people who are both interested in staying in a hotel and match your target demographic.

For Most it was Just a Snowy Day

Turn cold, snowy days into business opportunities. Effective digital marketing looks for a customer when they are at their most desperate moment, and then places the solution to their problem one click away. On those days when it seems summer may take forever to come back, send out text messages promoting your sunniest vacation destinations.

This isn’t a technique that is limited to winter months. In the summer, when kids are on vacation, send out messages to desperate moms and dads for a weekend away from the kids, or offer a fantastic family vacation package. In all of these instances, you’ll be utilizing one of the most important elements of SMS marketing, by delivering the right message at the right time.

Build Relationships…and Upsell Added Services

Text messages allow you to create a virtual concierge service directly in your customer’s pocket. Update your guests about their check-in times, reservation information, and any changes to their itinerary. If your database includes your guest’s preferences, offer bar and restaurant recommendations, or present upsell services such as shoe shines, show tickets, or spa services.

Advanced SMS service providers, including MessageWhiz, can create marketing packages that include triggers, which generates an SMS message in reaction to specific events. For example, hotels can set up a trigger that asks guests while they’re in the pre-boarding process at the airport if they’d like the hotel to arrange pick-up service when they land or arrange for meals in their room when they arrive. Triggered SMS messaging creates unlimited ways for travel service providers to enhance their guests’ stays.

Last Minute Deals

Few things get the adrenaline pumping like a last-minute getaway with a special price. Excite your customers by updating them on exclusive deals only available for your SMS customers.

SMS messaging is perfectly designed to deliver last minute deals. While most email messages are ignored, SMS messages are opened within minutes of delivery, meaning SMS is a much better medium for delivering deals which require fast-acting customers to take advantage of.

Talk to us to discover how MessageWhiz can help you deliver vacation destinations to your customers.

Mobile Marketing APIs on my Mind

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Mobile Marketing APIs on my Mind

There was a night over the holiday season when the house was quiet, the fireplace was lit, and I had some time to skim through a few of my favorite web forums. I came across a question on Stack Overflow from March 2010, where a user was looking for recommendations for SMS gateways with API support. It’s hard to believe that API support has been part of SMS marketing for the better part of a decade.

The truth is you can be successful today as a mobile marketer without sophisticated APIs. If your SMS service provider has an add-on that integrates its SMS portal with your CRM system, you can continue to manage all your contacts and relationships within your CRM, and manage all your mobile marketing efforts, and communicate directly with your customers via compelling SMS messaging from within your CRM. It’s simple to use, and keeps all your mobile marketing data in a single location.

However, if you want to be able to integrate data from your text message campaigns with your company’s CRM systems, mobile apps, or backend architectures, you’ll need an SMS API. APIs may never trend on Twitter, but they are the key to connecting the data generated from your campaigns with your marketing platforms. They allow easy integration of information and protect you from spending six months developing complex back-end integration tools.

APIs have gotten much more robust since that Stack Overflow question in 2010. At MessageWhiz we use HTTP protocols for our APIs which enable our clients to optimize conversion, manage triggers, links, and campaigns. APIs also help them manage recipient lists, unsubscribe requests, and their broadcasts.  

As a marketing manager all this technical talk might not make any sense, but your IT guys will appreciate the ease that they can integrate your data into your CRM systems. It will make the data you’ve been cultivating that much easier to work with as you generate leads and sales from your marketing efforts, and convert them into real revenue.

Message Whiz is a leading business text messaging service provider, having developed an innovative SMS messaging platform and business SMS API service, designed to deliver the results that companies are seeking from their mobile messaging activities. Contact Us and start improving your business conversion rates today.