Text Messaging Marketing in Religious Institutions

Religious institutions are great at testing out and taking advantage of different technological tool. They have found the perfect balance of using tradition and innovation. Churches, mosques, synagogues as well as religious schools are very receptive to technology and open to keep their members engaged via different means.

One of the technologies that can be best utilized by churches and other religious institutions is SMS marketing. Text messaging marketing uses the mobile devices to send promotional information to a high number of cell phone users. It is estimated that a Short Message Services are read within four minutes of sending, and this makes them an effective tool for use by churches that want to reach a high number of individuals within a short time.

SMS Marketing for churches

Text to join and SMS Alerts

Text to join is a service that is used to collect phone numbers and email addresses that can then be used to communicate with them in the future. Churches and other religious institutions can use this service to ask their members to join their texting and e-mail alert programs and start communicating with the members on regular basis. SMS alerts are the easiest way that churches and other religious institutions can use SMS technology in their work. Text messages can be used to reach members of congregations with various messages. Religious institutions can perform their core functions of increasing spreading spirituality messages through SMS. In this manner, institutions of religion can reach many people, and hopefully influence their beliefs. SMS alerts can be used to communicate from a church to congregants about special events of the institution. Conferences, meetings and other events can be communicated to members inexpensively and fast. In matters spiritual, churches and other religious institutions can send SMS alerts to members periodically to strengthen their faith. For example, churches can send daily SMS alerts with bible verses.

Mobile Surveys

Religious institutions also need quality control methods to ensure that the services that they provide their members are satisfactory. Mobile surveys are an easy and economical to use; member are required to respond to questions about a particular issue using text messages. The results are then collated and such institutions use the results to improve their services. Better services translate to satisfied and spiritually sound members.

Text to Screen

Text to screen is a service that uses SMS to engage members of an audience. Using a designated short code and a keyword, a text message is sent, and then displayed on a big screen projection device where a greater audience can view its content. In religious institutions that have large audiences, this is a great way of communicating and engaging members. Texts by members of the audience in form of questions and comments can be relayed live on a display during a church service. This increases audience participation, and the message of the church is received more effectively.

Text messaging services is a good and effective technology that churches and other religious institutions can employ to effectively reach their audiences with their messages. If well utilized, they are also a great way of generating income for such institutions.


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How schools, universities and educational institutions can leverage SMS Marketing and SMS Alerts

In today’s world, technology has become one of the most significant ways of getting information. It is also one of the most convenient ways that people communicate with each other. Short message service (SMS), also referred to as texting, is one of them. This is becoming more and more popular in schools and universities among students, teachers, professors, and school administrators. Below are a few examples and ideas on how schools, universities and other educational institutions can leverage the power of SMS marketing and SMS alert services.

Informational SMS Alerts:

One way that schools and universities use SMS is for information purposes. For example, administrators, deans, or school principals can notify either the parents, the students, or both about events that will take place. New prospective students can text in a keyword to a short code to receive enrollment information, request an onsite campus visit, campus maps etc. Also existing students can sign up for class and alerts, such as class schedules, campus events, graduation ceremonies and any other on campus related activities. Text Messaging is a simple, direct and cost effective way to keep students informed and engaged.

Emergency SMS Alerts:

SMS alerts have become a great option for campuses when it comes to emergency alerts. A simple text message to join the school emergency alert program provides great comfort and safety feeling to students and parents. Schools and universities can then leverage SMS alerts to keep students informed about weather alerts, school closing, on campus awareness etc.

SMS Marketing for Universities

Mobile Surveys and Feedback:

Text message surveys have become popular among students as this is an easy and trendy way to get feedback from students. Universities and colleges are making Mobile Surveys an option for students to participate in sharing their experience about campus activities, events they would like to see on campus and about their overall experiences in college. The use of this technological source makes it easier and fun for students so the participation rate is higher than sending out an e-mail or filling out a paper survey. Also, Mobile Surveys offer great reporting and survey results that allows school faculty and staff to focus more on addressing the students feedback than spending time on organizing the answers.

On Campus Sales and Offers:

SMS marketing is also a great tool for campus cafeterias, bookstores and any other places that offer discounts to students. An example is displaying a call to action in front of the cafeteria or within the cafeteria:

Text OFFERS to 82257 to join our Text VIP program and receive our specials and alerts.

This simple step will sign up students to weekly cafeteria specials that offer discounts and specials. To learn more on how to leverage SMS Marketing for on campus cafeteria you can also ready our Sodexo Case Study.

SMS Marketing and SMS alerts have become a great way to communicate and engage with on campus students, faculty and staff. This is a simple channel that offers great benefits to participants and subscribers (students and faculty) as well as to system managers (faculty and staff). SMS is cost effective, immediate and provides great reporting capabilities. Overall this is a channel that schools and universities can no longer afford to ignore.

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How to Leverage SMS Marketing Campaigns to Grow and Maintain E-mail Lists

E-mail, text and social media marketing represent some of the most efficient and cost-effective means of advertising today. The influx of internet-ready portable devices has expanded the internet and increased the possibilities for advertisers. However, privacy concerns have prompted authorities to implement laws and regulations limiting the use of e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Unwarranted e-mails are marked as spam by servers and may impact negatively on business. So, given the power of the internet and the stringent marketing rules governing it, how does a business leverage this power to create legitimate e-mail lists and drive customers and profits its way? SMS marketing may have the solution.

SMS campaigns represent a simple yet powerful marketing campaign for any business. Over 86% of consumers send a text message every week, with 30% of the 320 million wireless service subscribers having interacted with a brand via SMS. Since sending an e-mail requires that the sender must have permission to send the e-mail to the recipient beforehand, SMS campaigns represent the best way in which to obtain this consent. Unlike e-mail marketing where someone can send e-mail to anyone and risk being marked as spam, sending an SMS requires the receiver to first opt-in or accept texts. This reduces the instances of messages being marked as spam and having the desired marketing effect.

Grow email subscribers via SMSOne way that SMS campaigns can be leveraged to build an e-mail list is by incorporating a promotion into the SMS campaign. Initially the subscriber is asked to text in a specific keyword in order to receive a discount or a promotional code. Once they reply, this will represent their decision to opt-in for any future texts from your company and that you are free to continue with the advertising message. You may then send a message asking them to reply with their e-mail address to receive their promotional code or any other promotional material as appropriate. When properly implemented and managed, such an SMS campaign can result in valuable e-mail capture and help you build a legitimate e-mail list.

Another way to encourage opt-ins is by implementing mobile text-to-win or mobile sweepstakes. The basic idea behind these types of campaigns is that people generally love free giveaways and gifts depending on how legitimate the offer appears. For a business that attracts referrals, the text-to-win strategy works extremely well especially because of the ease of texting and the high number of text-savvy individuals. A basic text-to-win campaign would begin by creating the call to action to promote your campaign – simply asking participants to text in a KEYWORD to a SHORT CODE. a text with a keyword that represents your industry and business niche with a prompt to reply to win. Once the user replies, a follow-up text is sent prompting the user to reply with relevant details, such as their email address. Once you receive a reply with this information, you can then proceed to carry the draw and pick out the winner. Other methods that can be used to get emails for your email database include text-to-vote and text-4-info which provide good platforms to engage subscribers.

It is important to remember to send an email as soon after receiving feedback from the subscriber to maintain engagement. Maintaining a clean e-mail database is almost as crucial as hunting for one. Therefore, it is important to remember to send regular emails and promotions to keep subscribers engaged and to ensure good ROI for your business.

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Learn how MMS can boost your SMS marketing campaigns

Once you have a successful Mobile Marketing campaign up and running, you might think there is little room left to improve on this avenue of your strategy. However, beyond SMS marketing there are a wealth of further opportunities available to communicate with your customers which you should be tapping into.

MMS is Multimedia Messaging Service – messages containing content other than just words. They can include videos, images, audio and slideshows as well as accompanying text to explain your message. Mobile Marketing Magazine stated in 2013 that 7 in 10 people in the UK and US own a smartphone, while Business Insider puts the figure at 1 in every 5 people in the world! Put another way, TechCrunch.com found that 80% of adults who use the internet have a smartphone. Having a smartphone allows people to engage more fully with multimedia messages and these statistics show that this way of reaching out to customers is an opportunity not to be missed. In some cases, MMS campaigns are resulting in up to three times as many click-throughs and conversions than standard SMS marketing messages, so it is becoming increasingly important to incorporate video and picture messaging into your current Mobile Marketing strategy.

Short code MMS campaigns

So how could you use MMS campaigns alongside your existing SMS Marketing techniques?

A good example is the way Starbucks launched an SMS and MMS campaign – Frappuccino Fun All Summer Long – last year with a call-to-action to text in a keyword to a short code. Once the user texted in he/she would receive a Happy Hour Frapuccino picture. Also, Starbucks incorporated videos into the campaign. The participants would receive a total of six SMS and MMS messages (combined) per month when they opted into the campaign.
The efficacy of Starbucks’ campaign is proved by the fact that it was covered so widely by online media and was considered something of a novelty. The campaign was heavily promoted via Facebook, Twitter, the company’s website and even on the Starbucks app.

Increasingly other businesses are using these strategies and it may no longer be so surprising, but many companies still haven’t tapped into this potential. MMS offers can prove to be a valuable way of reaching customers, and a good way of maximizing outreach is combining it with the power of social media as well as your existing SMS Marketing. How about sending an SMS to make people aware of a new offer or discount code, and then follow it up with an entertaining video clip to say thank you when they use the code? You can also include text with the MMS message to encourage them to share it on Facebook or Twitter, or a link for them to ‘like’ it on your own page. If a funny clip isn’t suitable for your business or branding, this can be adapted to suit – the main thing to remember is that people love to share interesting things with their social networks, so the more you can make your communication stand out, the better.

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Incorporating SMS Campaigns to Your Social Media Channels for Better Performance

As technology is advancing, SMS continues to grow and become a powerful source of marketing. It has proven more powerful than even social media campaign. Statistics show that 97% of people check their mobile phones every 15 minutes for a text message. Out of the 97%, 84% are bound to reply. Businesses capitalize on this fact in order to drive their sales.

Promote via SMS and Social MediaBut, as many other marketing tools, the power of SMS can be amplified when adding other channels. Social media is a great channel to compliment your SMS Marketing efforts and when SMS is integrated alongside other social media forums, a magic touch is added and an increase in sales is bound to be seen. The two marketing platforms can work hand in hand. A business that combines these two is bound to perform much better than one which uses only one of the above forms.

The question right is how a business can use SMS marketing to build themselves a wider social media platform?

Most businesses engage in text messaging to promote a one on one touch with their clients and communicate their sales to their clients in a quicker way. Businesses still use social media to increase their clientele base by targeting the youth mostly and following the norm of the modern times. Let’s integrate both marketing strategies and see how one can benefit from the other.

Businesses can leverage their Social media sign up list and extend them the option to join their SMS Marketing program. Anytime the company posts from new sales offers, to discounts or promotions; their clients can receive them directly to their phones. This flow ensures that your conversation does not stop on Twitter or Facebook but you have another channel to reach your audience – the SMS channel. The clients’ phone numbers are stored in your SMS Provider’s database.

Companies also have the option to send out an SMS alert from their SMS Platform and post that same alert on their social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Another strategy is for companies to create a Text-to-Win campaign and promote the campaign on any Social media platform. Businesses can also start friendly competitions on social media all aimed at promoting their sales. The competition however, will run on text messages. You have to text a particular code and keyword in order to enter the Mobile Sweepstakes. Not only would businesses have acquired a lot of new phone numbers, but they would also see their sales increase.

Have you ever stopped for a minute and thought about the number of people buy online via the phone in a minute? Imagine the impact on your business sales if you were able to access their phone numbers. A simple text message will convert them to your clients. Remember to send them a URL that links them to your company’s social media sites and website.

These two powerful channels can help you grow interact with your customers, promote your brand and increase sales.


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