Category Archives: SMS Marketing

Why SMS should form part of local governments’ emergency communication strategy

With the range of services provided by councils being as varied as it is, the range of threats that can effect those services can also be just as large. Whether it be adverse weather conditions causing school/facility closures, major roadworks notifications, internal IT system failures, or health and safety alerts, forward-thinking local governments should always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

There are two main points to take into account for this when planning an effective communications strategy. Firstly – the speed at which messages can be sent to staff/residents, and also the ability to make sure they have been delivered/read. Secondly, making sure that your message can be delivered to every recipient required.

Mobile messaging tools like SMS stand out as an excellent option at this point. They’re delivered almost instantly, and nearly all of the UK’s population now own a mobile device with SMS support.

Why SMS should form part of local governments’ communication strategy

  • 95% of text messages are read – and 90% of those within 3 minutes (Esendex / Techjury)
  • 95% of UK residents own an SMS-enabled mobile phone (Statista)
  • Text messages work for all demographics, including elderly people who are less likely to have a smartphone
  • You can receive replies and engage in conversation if it’s appropriate
  • Traceable messages mean councils can check when citizens have read messages
  • Messages aren’t going to get lost or moved to a ‘promotions’ folder – every text goes into the Messages inbox.

How can text messaging be used effectively by local governments?

Emergency notifications and facility/road closure updates

When an emergency strikes sometimes it’s not feasible to contact affected parties using traditional communication methods. Post is slow and expensive, emails get lost in inboxes and have low open rates, and manual calling is too time- and labour-intensive. 

SMS is an ideal alternative for things like IT outage notifications, road closure notices, health advice, and also local facility information, as they’ll be delivered straight to your audiences’ pockets on a device that gets checked on average 58 times per day (Source).

Councils have the option to deploy SMS in one of two ways. Firstly, via an API, meaning that SMS functionality can be integrated into your existing systems. This is great for minimising staff training as the functionality is in a system they’re already familiar with.

Secondly, SMS can be accessed from a secure online platform which offers the benefit of being accessible from any device with an internet connection – ideal in the event of an office closure situation or if your main software programs have been compromised.

To make life even easier, both options support customisable message templates. This means that you can save time by selecting a pre-composed message and personalising it for every recipient by using your own data.

Communications with staff/arranging extra workforce cover


From time to time emergencies arise which require extra staff to deal with it. For example, if there are not enough refuse collectors to deal with the day’s commitments, then more may need to be drafted in to help.

By sending out an SMS notification, you can communicate with non-working staff in a matter of seconds to see if they can help. This avoids the requirement of making calls and sending emails which may go unanswered for hours and helps to eliminate the risk to citizens. 

SMS can also be deployed as a 2-way messaging platform meaning that non-working staff can also reply/ask any questions through the platform.

Going the extra mile with SMS Web Pages


For local governments who want to increase their engagement with emergency communications by including images, branding and interactive functionalities, there are SMS Web Pages.

The ability to use multiple interactive buttons which trigger different actions means that once received, an SMS Web Page can act as a resident’s base to manage their digital relationship with that particular council in an emergency.

Links to frequently asked questions, access to the latest information relating to the emergency, or even linking to a chat with a member of staff through the resident’s channel of choice – it can all be accessed through an SMS Web Page.

How local governments can get started with SMS emergency messaging

We’ve worked with a variety of different councils to provide better ways of providing emergency communications.

To find out how SMS and our other powerful communication channels can form part of your strategy, please get in contact today with us on 0117 205 0202 or info@textmarketer.co.uk to find out more.

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Protecting yourself against coronavirus SMS scams

Understandably the coronavirus pandemic has made many people worried about their wellbeing. Though there have been many heart-warming stories amidst the outbreak, unfortunately there has also been a growing number of scams.

Cybercriminals have been capitalising on individuals’ uncertainty and fear, and in the UK alone, there have already been over 500 COVID-19 related scams, totalling £1.6 million in losses. Many of these scams involve messages to recipients under the guise of organisations such as the NHS, WHO and even national government. These messages aim to trick individuals into downloading unsafe applications or include requests for personal information such as bank account details.

What’s more, this isn’t just a problem in the UK. Australia’s Cyber Security Centre recently urged people to remain vigilant, as it reported SMS phishing scams, also known as smishing scams, were on the rise and similar trends have also been identified in East Asia and North America. 

To help tackle the growing issue, the UK government has added both UK_GOV and UKGOV to the list of restricted SMS Sender ID. Ensuring all text messages sent using these sender IDs are automatically stopped by mobile networks, and therefore are not delivered to recipients unless coming from an official channel – please see example message with sender ID highlighted for reference.

This is in addition to measures networks first announced in early 2018, as part of the SMS PhishGuard initiative which introduced an official SMS SenderID Protection Registry. However, as cybercrime researcher Chris Monteiro states – “arguably, the issue is not that spoofing is easy, but that identifying a legitimate message is inherently hard.”

Helping you identify legitimate messages

Phone with padlock, implying security

As alluded above, it’s not always easy to identify a legitimate from a fraudulent message, but the below outlines a few tips which may be useful in situations where you need to make the distinction:

1. Take a moment to consider the sender ID

With the exception of government and charitable groups, businesses and organisations are only able to contact you if you have opted in to receive communications. So, when you receive a message take a moment to consider whether you are expecting the message and if you previously opted in to receive these communications from the sender identified in the sender ID.

2.     Review the message content

It may seem obvious, but often these messages will be written in such a way to try and make the recipient panic and act quickly. Try to stay calm and properly review the message content. Is the tone consistent with other messages you have received from this organisation? Is the message asking for personal information? It’s very unlikely that a business will ask you to convey personal information via SMS. 

3.     Contact the organisation or business directly

If you are still unsure whether the message is legitimate or not, contact the business or organisation directly and ask. A simple phone call can quickly confirm this and put your mind at rest. Just be sure to use details you either already have stored for the organisation, or those you have found online, as details within the message may be fraudulent.

Reporting SMS scam messages

In addition to following the advice above, if you do receive a suspicious SMS message in the UK, you can report it to your network provider by forwarding it to 7726. Reporting these campaigns enables mobile network providers to continually update protective protocols to protect future recipients.

If you have supplied personal information

If you believe you have provided personal information in response to a fraudulent campaign, remain calm, notify your bank and update relevant passwords as soon as possible. Thankfully many organisations can usually identify unusual activity on accounts, but it is always best to be cautious.

At Esendex we understand how important it is to help reduce spam and have always had robust measures in place. All accounts go through a four-step account verification process and we have various safeguards and filters which cover both the content and selected sender ID of all message campaigns. We are committed to working with mobile operators and staying up to date with the latest cybercrime trends to ensure we continue to protect our customers and their businesses.

If you have any concerns, or would like to find out more information please phone one of our friendly advisers on 0117 205 0202

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How can gyms support their members during the pandemic?

In the UK gyms were among the list of public places closed on 21st March 2020, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Following the government announcement, many were left wondering how they could continue to support their members, while adjusting to this rather different reality.

Typically, gyms and fitness studios are reliant on both physical locations and on-site staff, but thanks to advancements in technology, that doesn’t have to remain the case.

The digital fitness industry has really grown over the past few years, generating $3.6 billion revenue for the US alone in 2019; and although hardly surprising, companies such as Peloton have reported 5 times more fitness app downloads in March, relative to February – in line with increasing lockdown restrictions. But what might be surprising, is that for fitness businesses willing to be flexible and respond to the pandemic digitally, there are some relatively simple solutions to continue supporting your members.  

  1. Stream live workout classes

This may seem obvious, but thankfully, due to advancements in technology you don’t need specialist equipment to stream live – you can do so using a laptop or even a smartphone. What’s more, there are now many free and straightforward applications to support live streaming and below we have listed just a few, all of which at their basic level at least, are free:

  1. Real-time work out videos

Since many individuals are working remotely and some may also be responsible for children, it may be difficult to tune in at a specific time. Therefore, it could be worthwhile creating some real-time work out videos. Your members can then benefit from being able to access this content on demand and are able to see and understand how each exercise is performed correctly. Again, these can be filmed using a laptop or smartphone and there are several user-friendly, video editing softwares available. For a relatively extensive list which includes a quick overview of each application and any associated costs, we recommend this article.

  1. Send personalised workout routines

Be it over social media, email or SMS with a PDF attachment, sending members a personalised written workout can be simple but effective. Not only does this have the advantage that individuals can do the workout in their own time, but by supporting this activity online you can encourage individuals to tag your brand in completion photos, and perhaps even create a leaderboard, to encourage competition and engagement between members.

This is particularly effective for personal trainers. Once considered a luxury for the rich and famous, personal trainers have become increasingly popular over the last few years with 13,770 registered personal trainers in the UK and 80% of those working on a freelance basis. Consequently, the ability for personal trainers to continue to support their clients on a 1:1 basis is more important than ever. However, to stand out from all of the online noise around exercise an effective medium such as SMS is recommended due to it’s 95% open rate and ability to respond quickly and effectively with any concerns or questions. 

Communicating with your members

Ultimately, the most important aspect when introducing any of these new options to your member community, is being sure to effectively communicate the options available and any associated processes they need to follow.

Under normal circumstances, social media may be a fantastic way to communicate with members. But as our news feeds are currently full of stories surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, there is a concern that announcements made on social media, for example, details of your new online classes may be missed. Thus, we recommend using more personalised communication to help ensure your messages are noticed. Channels such as email, phone calls or text messaging are effective mediums to communicate with your members and enable you to discuss your new digital propositions in further detail.

As a business messaging company, we can speak knowledgeably of how gyms and fitness studios can best use and implement SMS into their communication strategy. Consequently, we’ve created a quick guide below of the top use cases.

Send bulk notifications

By utilising bulk SMS, you can communicate with your entire member database in just a few clicks. This can be a great way to notify members that some digital additions are coming soon, so to keep an eye out, or even to send a quick update on any changes to opening hours. What’s more, as SMS boasts a 95% open rate, you can be confident your message will be received by all recipients.

Send time-critical reminders

You might want to send a reminder to all members registered for a live workout, that it will begin in 15 minutes and perhaps even include the link to the class itself. This can be really beneficial – particularly when first introducing this type of activity. And since SMS benefits from 90% of all messages being read within 3 minutes, you can be sure your reminder is delivered and read almost immediately.

Communicate in real-time

Sometimes the information you need to share with your members requires a little more space than is available with a standard SMS. This is where utilising SMS Long Numbers can be useful. It allows recipients to reply to your messages, so you can have a real-time conversation and explain anything which isn’t clear. Thus, ensuring your message is received and enabling you to communicate more detail.

No matter which channel you use, the important thing is that you continue to communicate with your member community. If you would like to discuss further, how SMS could help to support your communication strategy, please email info@textmarketer.co.uk or call 0117 205 0202.

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How care homes can use SMS to keep families updated

On the 2nd April 2020, it was announced that the coronavirus pandemic had officially surpassed 1 million cases globally. As the situation has developed, many countries have introduced social distancing and enforced various closures, including those of schools and restaurants, in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. 

To protect those identified as high risk, for example the elderly, many social restrictions were implemented as early as possible. Though necessary, these restrictions have been difficult for families and friends, especially in cases where relatives are residents within a care home. Often residents will rely on family visits for socialisation and with health concerns weighing on people’s minds, it is even harder for families to be separated from their loved ones. With this in mind communication has never been more essential.

Since nursing homes often house many residents, communication with families can be a challenge. For instance, it is unlikely that staff will have the time to assist with calls for each resident but, thankfully due to technology, there are ways to communicate which are less labour intensive. Using our robust platform, the care home team can send bulk messages to families in just a few simple steps. These messages can then be used in the following ways to help residents and families feel more connected during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Notify families of changes and send relevant updates

While nursing homes aren’t currently allowing visitors, it is vital to keep families reassured and notified of any changes. A simple message with details on any new measures the home has introduced to ensure resident safety, could help keep family concerns to a minimum and potentially save a lot of staff time answering phone calls.

Furthermore, once visits can be reintroduced, you can update all resident families almost immediately by sending a bulk text message that includes information on visiting times. And, if these times differ according to different medical care schedules, you can segment your contact lists as appropriate to ensure each family receives relevant information.

Enable two-way communication

By setting up a virtual mobile number, not only can your organisation send messages directly to recipients, but they can also reply. So, families can reply with a short message which staff can then relay onto residents. This could help families feel more connected and alleviate feelings of loneliness. And as all replies are received into your account inbox, all staff can access messages, so even if there is a shift change, messages can still be passed on in a timely manner.

Send families personalised updates

As well as being able to send ad hoc messages, you can also personalise bulk messages with information like resident names. This small touch could go a long way to making families feel more at ease. Moreover as SMS benefits from a 95% average open rate and 90% of all messages are read within 3 minutes, you can be confident your updates are received and read within minutes, helping families feel more connected. 

At a time like this, communication is crucial and there are many different technologies both families and nursing homes can utilise to make things that little bit easier. 

To learn more and see if this could be a solution for your organisation, simply contact our friendly team on 0117 205 0202 or at info@textmarketer.co.uk

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A note from our CEO, Richard Hanscott

Our ability to change has perhaps never been so important. Every organisation is having to think fast and make changes to cope with the severe challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has created. I am reaching out today to reiterate our commitment to you, our customers, and to provide a few examples of different industry responses to this situation and how we are helping to keep their customers engaged.

While this remains a developing situation, Text Marketer continues to operate as normal. We are fortunate to be a cloud-based business with a strong Business Continuity Plan, and as such, we have been able to quickly change the way we work in response to the situation. This means that all of our staff can work effectively and safely from home, while providing you with the quality service that you expect and deserve.  

We believe that the role of communication is more essential now than it has ever been. Everything that has gone before has now changed and people are having to adapt to this new normal. The role that your business can play in this new life, very much depends on your ability to communicate. While many businesses are understandably focused on continuity, this moment is also about innovation. To adapt to an unprecedented and highly changeable environment, businesses need to be thinking in new and different ways – communicate in formats that they have never before considered. 

Over the past few weeks we have worked with a wide range of businesses to communicate with their customers. To share not only that these businesses are still trading, but how they have innovated and changed to continue to provide value to their customers. 

“We believe that the role of communication is more essential now than it has ever been”

RICHARD HANSCOTT – CHIEF EXECUTIVE, TEXT MARKETER

With a drop in footfall and enforced store closures many retailers have concentrated on driving traffic to their online stores and adapting their delivery processes to be in-line with government regulations and keep all of their customers safe. 

An example includes retailers sending a text message to customers to alert them that a product on their customers’ wishlist has come back into stock or that a new delivery date has become available. This kind of personalised messaging helps to support customers in a more unique way, than if the retailer were to post the updates on social media for example. The message could get lost in the noise on a social platform and also presents more steps to purchase for the customer. By using a text message, the retailer can be sure that they’re targeting the right customer, with the right message at the right time and hopefully ensure they are more likely to convert.

With the mandatory closure of all restaurants, pubs and cafes the hospitality industry have had to move quickly to feed the nation with delicious, freshly cooked meals, delivered safely to the doorstep. Sending customers a personalised message to explain that their favourite restaurant now provides home deliveries has been critical.

A fantastic example of these businesses using SMS is around safe and secure delivery. A text message can be sent to alert the customer that their takeaway is just 5 minutes away and inform them that the delivery driver will ring their doorbell and leave their order on their doorstep. This ensures that the customer remains fully informed. Text messages have an average open rate of 95%, meaning that the customer will be alerted almost immediately to their food’s imminent arrival. 

With schools being closed for the majority of the nation’s children, the communication between educators and parents has never been more important. The variety of ways in which teachers have continued to communicate and support students and parents has been vital to ensure that education can continue at home.

An example includes teachers sending an SMS survey to parents, to understand how the students are getting on with their homework, ensure the student’s mental health isn’t suffering and enable them to make tailored communications with the student going-forwards. This is often sent on a Friday to help design the following week’s lesson plan. Sending the survey by text means that teachers can quickly receive feedback, with an average 90% response rate. 

We hope that these examples can provide some inspiration, support and confidence in your own business and understand how you too can continue to navigate this changing situation. 

Before signing off, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our real-life heroes in the NHS. Never has our healthcare system needed more help than right now and we are grateful to be able to support their work, if even in a small way. As such, we are offering all healthcare providers, sending emergency communications, 1000 free message credits and full account management support. So if this affects you, please contact us and we will work alongside you to get your messages up and running. 

I reiterate that we are here for you all and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our many communication experts info@textmarketer.co.uk.

Stay safe

Richard Hanscott

CEO, Text Marketer

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How can technology help the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak

There’s no denying that the NHS has been under increased strain over the last few years with staff shortages, increased waiting times and an unprecedented number of nurses leaving the profession. With the latest COVID-19 developments, looking for ways to relieve some of this pressure is of paramount importance. 

At Text Marketer we believe that the introduction of technology can help to support the NHS and its patients during the toughest of times. One of the problems that we face at present is how to look after those patients already requiring treatment without putting them at risk of contracting the virus when visiting a hospital. Below are some examples of how SMS has been used to help people with long-term conditions. 

Managing chronic conditions

SMS can be of great help in managing chronic conditions without any personal contact. Researchers at The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney conducted a clinical trial which evaluated how an intervention by text message could be used to increase medication adherence in adults with chronic diseases.

Applications ranged from a text being sent to patients if they failed to open a medication dispenser, to personalised messages regarding specific medicines and dosages. The conclusion was that SMS proved to be an essential tool in disease prevention, monitoring and management.

Monitoring long term health conditions

Text messages can also be used to send a friendly reminder for patients to log their vital signs such as blood oxygen levels. Depending on the results recorded, platforms can then provide some guidance based on the agreed care between the medical professional and the patient. This type of digital management has led to improved treatment and lowered anxiety levels for patients with conditions such as COPD.  

Flexibility of delivery

Another advantage of mobile devices and telehealth technology is their flexibility in delivery, which enable patients to stay at home and reduce in-person contact.

However, even though technology can help support patients from the comfort of their home, there are still people that will need to attend doctors surgeries or hospitals. SMS can also be of use here.

Appointment reminders

It’s widely reported that the cost of missed healthcare appointments to the NHS alone is close to £1 billion per year. SMS is a fantastic channel to reverse this trend. Sending a simple text message reminder of an upcoming appointment can help to reduce no-shows by almost 50% according to Health Services Research. Text messages have a 95% open rate, meaning that patients are alerted to their upcoming appointment and can be offered the opportunity to reschedule if necessary, thus freeing up the appointment for someone else. 

Critical message alerts

SMS has been used as an efficient alert system for many years and never has it been more important for the healthcare industry. SMS can be used to communicate to your entire workforce or your patients at the touch of a button. This has been most effective in communicating to people the symptoms of coronavirus or warning people of clinic restrictions and closures. 

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How education providers can use mobile messaging for better emergency communications

Education providers should always be mindful of the threats that come from modern life. Whether it’s hackers damaging software systems, unauthorised people trying to gain access to secure areas, naturally occurring incidents such as heavy snowfall, floods or an outbreak of an infection; educators need a clear idea of their communications strategy should the worst-case scenario occur.

How will we adapt to the new circumstances? How can we organise our staff and keep parents and guardians informed? How will we keep students safe?

Adaptability, in particular, is crucial, and there are two main considerations to take into account – the speed of response, and audience reach. This is where mobile communication tools like SMS can form an essential part of your emergency communication strategy. 

What are the benefits of using SMS for emergency communications in the education sector?

  • 95% of SMS will be opened by your staff/students/carers (Esendex)
  • 90% of your staff/students/carers will read an SMS that you send them within 3 minutes (Techjury)
  • 96% of UK residents own a mobile phone with SMS support (Statista)
  • SMS can be received at any time or place
  • No internet connection required
  • Two-way chat communications can be deployed where required
  • No spam folder. Messages arrive directly in your staff/students’/carers’ inbox

What are the applications of SMS for crisis communication in education?

Emergency messages/institution closure notifications

Students, parents and carers are extremely busy people and getting hold of them when you need to can often be tricky. If a student is sick, has been involved in an accident, or maybe the education institution has had to close, then fast and succinct communications need to be sent to convey this.

SMS does exactly this, while also providing delivery tracking which means you know exactly who has read your message, and when they read it. The disadvantages to leaving a voicemail message in these circumstances are pretty distinct.

SMS can be utilised in one of two ways. Firstly via API, which means it can be integrated into your existing administration system. Or secondly, via standalone online platforms which also offer the benefit of being accessible from any workstation with an internet connection. If your admin system has been compromised, having a secondary mechanism for message delivery is a good backup.

For large scale sends, lists of contacts can be imported and message templates used for speed and clarity. Dynamic fields also make it easy to personalise your messages for every student/carer.

Communications with staff

All of the benefits of SMS for communicating with students and carers can be said of staff too. Quickly notify your workforce of institution closures, security breaches and any other events which may effect service. All this without the risk of messages getting lost in inboxes, and delivered to mobile devices which are checked on average 58 times per day (Source).

SMS is also a great way to arrange cover for teachers who are unable to attend classes because of illness or accident. Quickly compose a message in your SMS tool of choice, and send to any teachers/supply teachers that you think may be available to fill in at short notice.

2-way mobile communications for conversations with students / carers

When education providers send out emergency communications, inevitably there will be questions raised from message recipients – on mass at times. This presents a problem if the education provider only has a limited resource to answer those questions and a finite number of phone lines through which questions can be answered.

SMS presents a solution to this, by providing an instantly accessible conversational platform to ask questions at any time or place. There are also large benefits for the education provider, as multiple conversations can be easily managed at the same time by using templates.

Taking it to the next level with SMS Web Pages

When communications need to be a little more visual and interactive, SMS Landing Pages are a great way to do this. You can include any imagery and branding that you like, and interactive buttons make it easy to link to secondary actions. 

This means that for business continuity purposes, SMS Landing Pages can be used as a base to manage your relationship with students/carers/teachers in the context of that emergency.

Links to the latest news feed, querying open times, links to support staff – it can all be accessed through an SMS Landing Page.

How education providers can get started with SMS for emergency communications

We’ve worked with a variety of different education providers to provide better ways of providing emergency communications.

To find out how SMS and our other powerful communication channels can form part of your strategy, please get in contact today with us on 0117 205 0202 or info@textmarketer.co.uk to find out more.

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Suggested templates for SMS communication in a crisis

Emergency communications are key to effective crisis management. They enable your company or organisation to function as normal during and after an incident. As a crisis can be something as seemingly simple as a carpark closure, they are much more common in business than people think.

In situations where something much larger is at hand, for example, a local emergency, the way a business communicates and responds with employees and customers, can mean the difference between a great response and serious damage to a brand’s reputation.

Amid the coronavirus crisis, many people in the UK received an SMS from the government reiterating guidelines to stay at home. As you can see, this message also included a web link for further information and was signed off with – Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

This is a great example of crisis communication. The message was concise, informative and emphasised key points made on other channels, for example, the daily news update. Furthermore, by ending the message with – Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives. it provides recipients a reminder of the ‘why’ behind the measures being implemented.     

Why is it important to have a crisis communication plan?

Illustration of five business people sat around a table having a meeting.

Whether a minor disturbance or global issue like COVID-19, a robust crisis communication plan allows you to respond almost immediately and with a high level of professionalism. Without a plan, you risk losing valuable time, or worse still, sending a communication which isn’t right either in terms of tone or information. 

A crisis communication plan should extend across teams and channels. Any teams which are customer facing or likely to receive questions from other colleagues should be included. For example, customer care and human resources. While we would never advise anyone to solely rely on one channel for crisis communication, a multichannel approach is much less risky, as SMS benefits from an average open rate of 95% and 90 second user response time, it is a very effective channel for emergency situations.

While crisis communications will always vary from one situation to another, having a number of templates at your disposal ensures your company is in the best possible situation for disaster recovery. As such, we have pulled together some SMS templates to be used in a number of different scenarios.

Temporary office closure

Good morning, overnight we had a power outage to the [location] office, the team is still working hard to fix. Please log on remotely and await further instruction. We thank you for your patience. 

Severe weather conditions

Due to ongoing severe weather conditions, all work will be suspended starting [date] [time]. Please refer to [person in charge] for assistance, they will be in touch with further instruction soon. For more information, check [url]. Thank you. 

Mobilise teams

ATTENTION! Mains pipe damage alert at [organisation name] [address] your assistance is required. Please confirm receipt of message and estimated time of arrival for yourself and your team as soon as possible. For more information, please contact [person in charge] on [phone number] as soon as possible. 

Local emergency

ATTENTION! There has been an emergency in [location]. Please confirm your location and status as SAFE or REQUIRE ASSISTANCE by responding to this message with your employee ID number. If you require emergency assistance please dial 999.

Appointment cancellation

Hi [name]. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel your appointment at [location] on [date] [time]. To reschedule please contact our team on [phone number] who will be happy to assist. 

Service issues

We are aware that some of our customers are experiencing internet connectivity issues in your area. Our team is working hard to resolve the issue. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. The progress of the work can be monitored at [url]. We thank you for your patience.

Above are just a few templates that could be used for SMS crisis communications, but they could easily be adapted for email, website updates or even over the phone. As individuals may feel stressed or even upset during a crisis, it is vital that your company’s message remains consistent across all channels. Afterall, the aim of these messages is to provide clarity and reassurance, not to confuse people. 

To learn more about how your business could implement SMS into it’s crisis communication strategy, please contact our friendly team on 0117 205 0202 or at info@textmarketer.co.uk.

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How local authorities can help manage the COVID-19 crisis through effective communication

We are living through extraordinary times, and while we’ve written about the most common applications of mobile messaging for government bodies, we also want to face into the bigger picture. Simply, what role does communication have in helping to bring about an end to the coronavirus?

For answers, we turn to countries who have flattened the curve; who have falling numbers of confirmed cases and appear to be coming to the end of their crisis. How have they used the communication tools at their disposal to navigate the situation, and what can we learn from them?

1. Information sharing between government departments, and central and local governments

According to Time Magazine, “there are almost daily meetings between Regional Health System managers, hospital leaders, and the Ministry of Health” in Singapore, one of the countries credited with halting the virus’ spread relatively rapidly.

How they conduct these meetings in an era of social distancing isn’t fully documented, but it’s probable that they are using video conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts, and group messaging apps.

In Singapore, we know that doctors are using Telegram and WhatsApp groups to share clinical and logistical information, for example (source: The Lancet). The outcome of this information sharing is better management of resources, identification and mitigation of risks, and the ability to provide more facts to the public, debunking misinformation.

An invitation to a WhatsApp group can be sent via bulk email or SMS to save time individually inviting each member. Create the group first, then in ‘Group Info’ select the ‘Invite to Group via Link’ option to generate a link you can email or text to the participants.

2. “Timely, accurate and transparent risk communication”

To stop the spread of fake news, it’s important for governments to get on the front foot with communication in order to build trust with the general public. 

It is particularly important in an era where news spreads incredibly quickly through social networks, leading to what the World Health Organisation has dubbed an “infodemic” (source: United Nations). Distinguishing fact from fiction is very difficult for a member of the public, and governments can lead us out of this maze with clear, factual and frequent reporting.

South Korea’s Vice-Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said “The more transparently and quickly accurate information is provided, the more the people will trust the government… They will act rationally for the good of the community at large.” (Source: South China Morning Post)

As an example of this ethos in practice, the South Korean government has developed apps which show clusters of infection, and also sent text alerts to anyone with a mobile phone in the country about infected areas, so that they can be avoided (source: Al Jazeera). 

This approach is not without its critics – the texts have been described as “scarier than coronavirus” by one recipient (source: The Guardian), but they are contributing to the slowdown of cases, as people get tested when they realise they have inadvertently been exposed to the virus.

Another example is the French government, who texted all French mobile phone owners to remind them of their obligation to remain indoors and avoid unessential travel (source: France Info). There was a degree of confusion as to how the French government had access to an entire nation’s mobile numbers – they worked with the mobile networks to send out this bulk message – but local governments most likely do have mobile numbers for many citizens, and so can be similarly effective on a smaller scale.

An important consideration is the tone and content of your messages; psychologists in Italy have drawn a direct correlation between this and citizens’ behaviour, saying “The moment the politics changed and started to speak in a more clear and direct way, people’s behaviour also changed and people developed more of an attitude of awareness.” (Source: The Guardian)

3. Swift communication of test results

Governments are adopting different policies regarding testing for coronavirus, but a consistent approach to communicating the results: a call if you test positive, and a text if you test negative. In South Korea, the tests are being processed and the results communicated usually within 24 hours (source: BBC).

In Australia, the Health Minister Roger Cook pointed out that it was taking clinicians “up to 20 minutes per phone call to inform patients of a negative test result” (source: Government of Western Australia), time that could be better spent helping sick people. Replacing these calls with SMS also speeds up the response time so that people who have tested negative can return to life as (relatively) normal.

The vital role of local government in crisis communication

There are other ways in which we can foresee government bodies utilising social media, messaging apps, email and SMS to help citizens through this crisis: advice for maintaining good mental health, for example; or helping parents advance their children’s education while schools are closed. Supporting struggling local businesses with tax breaks or loans by making it clear who is eligible for what, and how to apply. Advising people who are unwell about the best ways to manage their condition without visiting a doctor.

In times of crisis our governments need to lead the way in communicating effectively: reminding individuals of their responsibilities, providing clarity where there is confusion, and showing us how our actions are collectively helping our communities.

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Remote learning: How technology and communication can be used to aid education during this uncertain time

While schools and universities across the globe shut their doors, two questions remain – how can parents best educate and entertain their children during this time? And how can schools and teachers support them?

This is a daunting prospect for many. It’s an unprecedented situation and for the majority, this is new territory. Moreover, this is coming at a time when parents are already doing their best to provide a level of normality to their children’s lives in an ambiguous time. Though the majority of schools have provided students with workbooks and access to online resources, many parents and carers will want to support their childrens’ studies during this time. 

Thankfully, there is a growing list of support and advice being made available and, below we have outlined just a few of the ways both parents and schools can make the best of the situation ahead.

Free educational resources

In a bid to help support teachers, parents and carers over the coming months, many companies are offering free access to their online resources and services. What’s more, many of these resources are currently used by qualified teachers, so often the content is in accordance with the national curriculum and materials echo the topics that would have been covered under normal circumstances:

  • TwinklOnline source of teacher-created planning and assessment materials. They are offering free access to all teaching and learning materials.
  • Cypher – An organisation which teaches coding to children in schools and during holidays have launched live online camps to keep children engaged and learning from home.
  • PerlegoOnline library has opened up it’s 300,000 educational books free of charge to students until the end of the academic year.

Tips for parents new to homeschooling

Home schooling is not easy and it’s likely it’ll take time for everyone to adapt to a new everyday life. To try and ease the situation, especially for parents new to the role of home teacher, please see the below 5 tips from Tom Rose and Jack Pannett, both qualified teachers and sports coaches:

  1. Plan and prioritise core subjects
  2. Opening your new school: Explain why
  3. Fresh start: Establish routines
  4. Teaching core subjects: Celebrate milestones
  5. You can’t pour from an empty cup

Communication between parents and carers, teachers and schools

At present, communication is of paramount importance for businesses and the same is also true for the education sector. Many schools and universities have already set up various channels of communication to enable effective contact between themselves, students and where appropriate, parents and carers. But now more than ever, members of the education sector need effective ways to communicate opening hours, new guidelines, advice to parents and to organise their staff.

If not already in place, this may be a great time to introduce SMS communications. Not only do text messages benefit from an open rate of 95%, but as the average user response time is 90 seconds, it is a great way to enable swift, two-way communication. Which can be particularly useful when you need more of a dialogue to explain a complex brief, such as maths homework. Additionally, as you’re able to send these messages via our platform, teachers are still able to keep their personal phone numbers private.  

Furthermore, most parent engagement software is already compatible with our SMS API, so you can easily set up messages within your existing systems, to be sent to recipients via SMS. These messages could act as a nudge to students, to send across or confirm their understanding on a particular topic, signposting for parents and carers to online resources to help with learning at home and even checking-in around mental health for some of the older students. Through utilising SMS, concise and frequent messages can ensure communication lines are kept open during this time, without overwhelming recipients. 

As mentioned, this is an unprecedented situation for all of us. But for any schools looking to improve or enhance communications over the coming months, we may be able to help. Simply contact our team on 0117 205 0202 or at info@textmarketer.co.uk for more information.  

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3 steps to ensure business continuity in a crisis

According to PwC’s Global Crisis Survey 2019, 69% of leaders have experienced at least one corporate crisis in the last 5 years — with the average number being 3. Some companies emerge from a crisis unscathed – in some cases performing more strongly after the crisis than prior to it – and this blog post is designed to identify the best practices for SMEs.

The overwhelming difference between successful and unsuccessful crisis management is planning, with 54% of prepared organisations coming out on top, compared to 30% of unprepared organisations. Moreover, plans that were tested and refined led to these companies being 4 times more likely to weather the storm.

However, you can’t plan for every eventuality, so the best place to start is by considering what’s most likely to happen to your business.

1. Assess risks as they apply to *your* business – there is no ‘one size fits all’ plan

Are your premises at risk of flooding? What would happen if your software infrastructure failed? What would happen if your business hit a difficult trading period and couldn’t pay its debts?

At the time of writing, the most likely crisis to hit many UK businesses is the threat of COVID-19, an infectious disease; but again, this will affect companies very differently. A software company can ask all of its staff to work from home and probably see no difference in productivity, whereas a high street store or logistics company has a much more complex challenge on its hands.

2. Prepare a business continuity plan (BCP) – even if you’re an SME

Every size of business, from sole traders to multinational corporations, should have a BCP. This is an assessment of the most likely crises to impact your business, and what you would do to mitigate them.

Search engines are your friend here; it’s likely that you’ll be able to find example plans for your industry and size that you can use to help consider risk mitigation. 

All BCP plans should include:

  • A named crisis coordinator and their contact details – anyone can report a crisis but this individual (or team) will enact the plan. If you have multiple locations, you’ll need a coordinator at each branch;
  • An internal and external communications plan – how are you going to tell your team, and how are you going to inform customers and suppliers, of the situation;
  • Example messages – SMS, email and social media templates that you can use to communicate quickly, clearly and confidently. Remaining calm is key, and this is something that you can prepare ahead of time so you can devote your energy to more complex situations when they arise (NB: if you need any support with adding message templates to your Text Marketer business SMS services, just get in touch; our team will be very happy to help);
  • A list of any systems that could be affected, and details of backup options. This will also help you to identify things you can do ahead of any crisis to limit its impact. With specific reference to coronavirus, Gartner has provided 10 key questions you should consider which will help you develop this list.

3. Test your plan

You won’t know what you’ve missed or what needs fine-tuning without testing your plan. Choose a day and enact your plan to the letter – with the exception of actually sending any external comms.

You might find that emails aren’t picked up by commuting team members, so they don’t pick up messages about office closures; perhaps your list of staff mobile numbers is incomplete or out of date, so you can’t reliably reach everyone.

You may find that some of your systems are inaccessible from home IP addresses and you need IT support to ensure connectivity from all locations. You can’t anticipate everything and that’s why tests are essential.

Update your plan with the findings from your test. This isn’t just best practice; you may find some of your customers prefer to, or indeed insist on working only with suppliers who have a regularly tested BCP plan. In its way, it’s a competitive advantage.

Finally, make sure everyone in your business has access to, and understands your BCP plan. If you have a learning management system, it’s worth adding this as a course to ensure that there’s widespread engagement.

Above all, remember that it is not a matter of if, but when – and be prepared.

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How to successfully manage remote teams

At present, business continuity will be one of the top priorities for most businesses across the globe. Many organisations will have created a Business Continuity Plan that prepares them for a situation, such as having their entire workforce being home based. 

However, if this isn’t the case, we have highlighted a few key points that you can follow to ensure that having a remote workforce will have minimal impact on your business.

Internet

One of the most vital pieces of technology that remote workers require is a strong, reliable internet connection. Today many businesses operate in the digital sphere. This means that the majority of activities that keep a business running, such as marketing, sales, customer service, product and engineering, should be able to continue to run as normal, as long as they have an internet connection. 

It would be rare for a person of working age to not have the internet installed in their home already. However, if this is the case, it might be worth looking at getting their internet installed. This will ensure that your team can continue to work as normal and your business to function as expected. 

Team morale

There are many studies available which promote the benefits of remote working, such as increased productivity. However, there are still disadvantages that need to be addressed to ensure that your team continues to perform at maximum capacity. One of the main elements that you need to consider is team morale. 

We suggest ensuring that the following are in place to help prevent low morale in remote workers:

  • Digital group chats. This enables your team to feel connected. The ability to instantly message and interact with others can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness. There are various channels available for this such as Slack, Whatsapp or Skype
  • Daily team meeting. The idea here is to connect your team, either individually or as a whole, through a video conferencing call. The ability to see other team members visually, often helps to alleviate any feelings of isolation
  • Clarify goals and projects. It can be hard for individuals to understand how to complete certain projects that would normally require teamwork or input from various departments. This is where you need to foster an environment for this to still happen via digital channels and clearly communicate the approach with all team members 
  • Humanise communication. One of the main interactions missing for a remote worker is personal communication. No one schedules a meeting to discuss how their weekend was or what they had for dinner last night, but these are conversations that would naturally flow if a team were in a traditional office setting. At the start of each day, encourage your team to not just dive in with work-based requests, but humanise their interactions a little more. A quick how was your evening will take a couple of minutes from the working day, but could help to significantly support your team to feel less disconnected

The role of a manager

Managing a team is a key role at the best of times, but becomes increasingly important when managing people remotely. The key to success here is communication. Many of the perceived downsides of remote working can be alleviated by a manager improving and increasing the level of communication with their team. The channel and approach needs to be considered and tailored to the individual. However, using channels such as Google Hangouts, Whatsapp, Slack or text messaging can often help your employees to still feel like they’re part of the team and have a transparent view of the business strategy. 

Preparing for the long haul

If you are facing sustained office closures, making sure that you have up to date contact details for all of your team members across multiple channels is essential. Do not rely on any single channel to communicate important messages: leverage email, SMS and messaging apps to make sure that you’re reaching as many people as possible. 

It’s also a good idea to have templates set up in your messaging platforms which allow you to send updates quickly, efficiently and with personalisation built in, to further reinforce the human aspect of messaging.

If you need any help with your internal communications strategy in the event of a crisis or emergency, please get in touch; we have worked with many customers to build an effective programme and would be happy to share knowledge.

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Feeling sheepish about talking to your customers?

We’re just going to come out and say it… customer comms aren’t as simple as they used to be. As I type [21st February 2020], the search term ‘how to talk to your customers’ has over 1.38 billion hits on Google.

So, when did we get so bad at talking to our customers? Well, a few years ago something changed. As technology developed, so did the number of communication channels. As customer attitudes towards data sharing changed, so did their expectations. And whether we like it or not, for many of us the reality is that much of our time is spent trying to think of ways to produce more relevant and personalised messages, in an attempt to boost that all important customer engagement. 

Let’s go back to basics for a moment – why is it so important to talk to your customers?

Well if you look at the numbers:

  1. Existing customers spend more than new customers – On average 31% more (Source: Invesp)
  2. You’re more likely to make a successful sale with an existing customer than a new customer – 60 – 70% vs just 5 – 20%
  3. Acquisition costs more than retention – For businesses in fashion ecommerce, customer acquisition can cost as much as 20-40% more than customer retention (Source: Harvard Business School)

Additionally, the study from Harvard Business School mentioned above, went on to reveal that due to the fact that new customers cost so much more, the majority of fashion ecommerce brands actually make a loss on a customer’s first purchase. So, not to put too fine a point on it but the only way that a customer’s revenue is making it to your bottom line, is if they go on to make more purchases. And well, talking to them is a pretty good way to encourage this.

So, how should we talk to our customers?

Keep it interesting, keep it relevant

Personalisation has come a long way in just a few years and as such, customers expect a lot more. By utilising purchase history, companies are able to make much better recommendations to their customers and it’s this kind of activity they have come to expect.

Jenny, would you like some heels to go with that new cocktail dress?

Omnichannel comms

We’ve said it before, now let’s say it again – using multiple channels across your customer comms just makes sense (yes, we are talking about email and SMS again). Email and SMS compliment each other so well, that introducing SMS in conjunction with email communications can boost email open rates by up to 20%. Combining the two channels, creates more brand awareness and a study by Smart Insights found that sending a follow-up SMS to consumers mentioning a previously sent email, can increase open rates by as much as 30%.

“Michelle, did you receive our last email? Because your personalised discount is about to expire”

Changing consumer attitudes

There is a reason that the humble SMS has so much potential – consumers spend a daily average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones (Source: Guardian). This does often lead to one question with clients – is it right for us to be using such an intrusive channel to speak to our customers? However, consumers are viewing things a little differently. Customers love the convenience of text messages. So much so, that 9 of 10 would like to talk to a business via SMS and 75% would like to receive offers via SMS.

Ready to give SMS a go? Simply open a free account today – you won’t regret it.

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Why Valentine’s day can give your sales a boost

As we all know February is the shortest month which means we can have a lot to achieve and not a lot of working days to achieve it in. As a business, you still have to meet targets and forecasted figures and luckily is one holiday that can help you reach your business goals – Valentine’s day.

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying it’s a commercial success. Over the last few years, the UK has upped its game on gift-giving spending over £650 million (Mintel) and the highest spenders are men!

But what are we spending our money on?

Well restaurants benefit the most as couples spend the day, evening or weekend dining out, followed by hotels and accommodation for a romantic getaway, closely followed by florists as orders for bouquets go through the roof.

But it’s not all about those happy couples, there are plenty of ways to the might mobile phone is helping singles find each other too. Online dating continues to make waves with 5% of users feeling dating apps allowed them to feel more comfortable and to be themselves in dating scenarios, plus a lucky 46% of dating app users met their current partner online! (Figleaves)

Luckily we’re not just using our phones to match (or break up) with each other. Media IQ state that over 25% of us use our phones to buy presents, while 17.8% rely on their phones to make a dinner reservation or for a hotel booking (17.2%).

Astonishingly 46% of singles had never broken up with someone in person, but online or via texting.

Whether you are a restauranteur, a retailer, a travel agent, or even a zoo – whatever sector your business sits in, sending a Valentine’s Day message to your customers promoting your business might just be the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day.

Or why not just tell your customers how much you love them…

“Happy Valentine’s Day… To show you how much you mean to us we are giving you 20% off with the code LOVE”

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eCommerce trends for 2020

This year, it is reported that even more brick-and-mortar stores will close their doors, but eCommerce will continue to rise. It is such a large part of the UK retail industry, that Statista have actually reported that by 2021, roughly 93% of internet users are expected to do online shopping – which is the highest online shopping rate in Europe. 

Now we may not have access to a crystal ball, but we do have a huge number of customers within the retail industry and, well, Google. So we’ve done a little research and pulled together, what we think are the 6 most interesting eCommerce trends to look out for in 2020, get ready to jump on the bandwagon!

1. More flexible payment options

This trend started in the US a couple of years ago and is now starting to pick up momentum in the UK. Some millennials may have noticed a pay on pay-day option open up on ASOS, through a company called Klarna. In the US alone, retailers offering ‘Afterpay’ have reported an increase in conversion rates between 20 – 30%. We expect to see many more stores adopt similar tactics as the year continues.  

2. Rise in personalised content

Despite the introduction of GDPR, it’s safe to say that many of us are still unsubscribing to a number of emails each week. As customers become inundated with communication from various brands, their expectation of the value of the content ultimately increases. It’s no longer enough to simply add the customers first name to the beginning of an SMS. In order for businesses to keep their customers engaged, they are going to have to ensure content is personalised in line with customer expectations, or face the fact that the unsubscribe list is going to grow. 

3. The continued rise of SMS 

I know, we can’t believe it either! But apparently 2020 is going to be the year of late adoptees. With people spending an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on their phone (Source: Rescue Time), sending an SMS direct to any mobile handset, can be a great way for companies to communicate with their customers. I mean, who knew?! 

4. Additional fulfilment options

Abandoned carts continue to be a challenge for businesses within the retail industry. However, customer feedback reveals that some of the more common reasons customers abandoned their cart, are centred around fulfilment – expensive or lengthy shipping, limited delivery options etc. Given how profitable increases in conversions can be to a business, it’s a no brainer that brands will try adding to their fulfilment options, in a bid to decrease cart abandonment in 2020. 

5. Evolution of voice search – Alexa!

According to Loup Venture, by 2025 75% of American homes will play host to a voice assistant. Naturally, as more homes adopt the likes of an Alexa, voice search will increase, as will expectations around what you can achieve with voice search. Now this one will take a little longer than 2020 to come to fruition, but we envisage businesses making moves towards voice ordering capabilities and to be frank, we want in. 

6. Increase in ethical considerations 

Last year brought environmental issues to the forefront of many minds and there are now more people than ever, looking to purchase more ethically. A study from Cone Communications found that a whopping 87% of individuals will purchase a product because a company advocated an issue they cared about vs 76% refusing to purchase from company after discovering it supported an issue against their beliefs. But don’t worry, on this one we can help. For instance, did you know that a single email produces as much as 0.014 grams of CO2e, which equates to roughly 285 SMS messages. 

In all seriousness though, to find out more about how your business could look to reduce their carbon footprint in 2020, speak to one of our friendly sales team at info@textmarketer.co.uk

We hope you’ve enjoyed the Text Marketer fortune reading!

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We’re seeing 2020 – A look back on our top performing blogs of 2019

Happy New Year and happy 2020!

The festivities may have drawn to a close but right now, we’re simply celebrating the fact that we’re still on the good side of January. The one where new year resolutions are still in place and we’re all feeling a little nostalgic. 

So before we hit the January blues and the realisation that a daily 5am alarm, may not actually turn us into the next Bill Gates; we thought we’d share our top 10 performing blogs from 2019. Get those ideas flowing with some of our best content from the past year.

Let the countdown commence:

10. Proof that business SMS is still alive, kicking and very much growing

Every so often we have someone ask – “Isn’t SMS dead?” and the simple answer is no. Not at all. But to add a little more weight and prove it’s not just our bias, we dug into our platform data and pulled the stats. 

9. Example SMS Web pages for food outlets

Let’s be honest, you see pizza, you want pizza. This post is a great example of how our SMS landing pages can be used to boost sales in the food outlet industry. 

8. How businesses can build their own mobile solution for less

A mobile solution needs to allow businesses to communicate with their customers, allow customers to connect with the business, quickly collect feedback and provide multiple ways to collect customer information. This blog details how SMS can assist with each of these 4 key areas. 

7. Different methods for sending SMS 

There are 3 ways that businesses of all shapes and sizes can send SMS. You can send bulk messages using an online platform, easily have a conversation with your customers using Email2SMS, and hook up your CRM, website, or software, so you can send SMS messages automatically with an API. Each option will suit some businesses better than others and this blog provides a great overview of each, so you can make an informed decision. 

6. The 4 best call to actions to use in your SMS marketing messages 

Every campaign needs a strong and simple call to action for customers to follow to ensure it is a success. This post details the top four calls to action for SMS marketing messages. 

5. 4 reasons why customers stop using the Text Marketer ship

This post started as a challenge to fit in as many ship related puns as possible and ended up, addressing the 4 main reasons why businesses stop using Text Marketer. All in all, it is a great read on why SMS and Text Marketer are the right fit for you and your business and really, who doesn’t appreciate a pun?!

4. The consumer shopping journey – how mobile phones have changed the landscape for retailers

At Text Marketer, we’re proud to provide SMS solutions to hundreds of retailers and this piece highlights some really interesting stats and views on the importance of mobile, in the changing shopping landscape. 

3. Example reminder messages to send to customers

Missed appointments are a real issue for businesses and sometimes you can be a little too close to the problem. So this post is great for any individual that needs a more concrete idea of exactly what to send to their customers and clients, in a bid to keep missed appointments to a minimum.  

2. How to extract a mobile number from a cell containing text in Excel

Okay, confession time – this post was actually first and whilst we’re thrilled it’s helping you all, our ego couldn’t take the hit so we’ve placed it second… don’t tell anyone. Perfect for anyone wanting a step-by-step guide on how to extract a mobile number from a cell containing text in Excel, see what we did there. 

1. The SMS marketing best practice guide

We’re thrilled this post has received the most *wink* traffic! It’s a brief overview of tips and knowledge we’ve learnt over the years, compiled to ensure you make the most of your SMS campaigns. 

Thanks for joining us down nostalgia lane, we hope some of this content proves useful. As ever, if you have any ideas for topics you’d like to see, simply contact us at info@textmarketer.co.uk

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Simplicity, care, and low prices – 3 reasons why Text Marketer is the perfect choice

What a surprise, a post on our own website
talking about how amazing we are.

Of course, we are going to advocate that we
are the best SMS provider out there, it would be pretty foolish to say
otherwise. This is why we understand that for those reading this post some may
take it with a pinch of salt. However, we do think we are great.

Over the past few decades, yes decades, that Text Marketer has been around, we have seen more SMS providers than we can count pop up and then drop off a few years later. We can attribute the long-term success of Text Marketer down to 3 things; simplicity, care, and low prices.

Over the past 20 years that we have been trading, we have ensured that all our systems are user-friendly, that the care we give to all customers is first class, and that we continue to offer low-cost prices.

We are glad that our customers have also seen the effects of these 3 areas as well.

Let’s delve down and see how we have managed
to keep thousands of customers happy with just 3 little things.

Simplicity – why make it complicated?

We have always strived to make everything as
simple as possible. From sending a text message to thousands of customers, to
buying SMS credits, both should be easy to do and take a matter of minutes, and
both do with Text Marketer.

One of our favourite quotes on this subject
is from Leonardo Da Vinci who said, “Simplicity is the ultimate
sophistication.”

The easy use of our platform isn’t just the
only area that we have looked at, we have simplified what we offer. We don’t
overcomplicate our online SMS platform with more than you need, unlike some of
our competitors who constantly add extra products and services that aren’t
actually helpful to businesses.

A great example of this is with MMS, a service that has been dead in the water for years, yet we still other SMS providers offering this as a new feature along with other pointless features.

What our customer say on simplicity

“Very user friendly dashboard and super
simple to use. Great introductory offer too!”

“Simple, easy-to-use interface that’s
no-fuss, to allow you to get your message out as quickly and as easily as
possible.”

“Simple to use and implement into our
systems.  Easy ordering and invoice
access, great to deal with.”

Care – a truly caring team

One of the reasons we have been so successful is the care we give to every single customer, taking our time to help and advice as best as we can. We have (again another boost) the best support team here who are always happy to help, which is why we have the best score on Trustpilot against other SMS providers.

What our customers say on care

“Helpful, speedy and personal customer service”

“Best customer support. Swift and polite.
Thank you, Megan, you are a star!”

“Excellent service, and good customer service
too. Customer service is the number 1 priority for me and TM nail it”

Low prices – why pay more?

And of course, we couldn’t finish the list without mentioning our low prices. Our prices have always been low and will continue to stay that way. We don’t think it should cost you thousands of pounds to contact a few customers.

But even though our standard price per SMS is low, we still want to give you more, which is why we have a Double Credits Offer, that takes the price per from 3.6p to 1.8p for all new customers. On top of this, we regularly have SMS sales thought out the year where we will give you free SMS credits.

What our customers say on price

“Easy to use API and web portal, and most
important, cheapest prices I’ve found on the web”

“Good price & just received 20% extra
free SMS credits!”

“Excellent – Great Price”

If you would like to see how amazing and easy
to use our online SMS platform is, why not sign up for a free account and get 10 free credits to trial
the platform, with absolutely no obligation to continue afterwards.

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SMS for Christmas and beyond

With just 2 sleeps (yes we count in sleeps) until Santa descends the chimney, I think we’re all wondering the same thing… are we on the naughty or nice list? In all seriousness though, this got us thinking. What can a business do to ensure their customers put them on the nice list, not just for Christmas but for Christmas and beyond? After all, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%, whilst the probability of selling to a new prospect is just 5 – 20% (Source: Kapost).

Well, in recent years SMS marketing campaigns have become increasingly popular with customers. So popular in fact, that text campaigns are opted out of, less than 5% of the time. So with mobile marketing on the rise and SMS an accepted marketing channel, text campaigns are a logical place to start.  

Now we know that one of the largest hurdles to the world of mobile marketing, is often perceived barriers to collecting data from customers. So we thought we’d pull together a few tips on how your business can approach building a mobile database or as we like to refer to it, growing that nice list:

1. SMS customer loyalty program

Put simply, incentify. This concept is by no means new but a report by Smart Insights found that 90% of mobile users who participated in an SMS loyalty program, felt they gained value from it. A great way to keep customers engaged is to be selective with the campaigns and in this case, the deals and discounts that you are sending them. 

By ensuring you segment your database, into various services or product areas of interest to your customers (you could use purchasing or survey data) you can make sure individuals only receive the campaigns and discounts they’re really interested in. This in turn, will increase the likelihood of engagement and sales.

2. Make it simple

 Remember what your goal is – to get your customers to opt-in so keep the message simple.  We think a really effective way to grow a mobile database is to set up a shortcode with an allocated keyword so customers can message in directly. 

“Text SMS to 88802 to opt-in to our mobile marketing and be the first to find out about our sales!”

This could also be incentivised and advertised on other marketing channels (more on this below), to really drive database sign-ups. For instance, you might run an in-store promotion offering each customer that registers for the mobile distribution list, an additional 10% discount off their purchase.   

3. Use all available channels

Having a reliable and up-to-date database is key to any successful marketing campaign. But it’s important to remember that all campaigns, no matter the channel, should work together in harmony.

One study shows that integrating SMS into a campaign can increase email open rates by 20% (Source: Smart Insights).

When it comes to marketing there are multiple channels you can use to communicate with your customers, to name just a few: 

  • Direct Mail
  • Email 
  • Website
  • In-store promotions

 Why not consider using these other channels to give a shout out to your mobile marketing activity? It could be as subtle as a couple of lines on the end of an email: 

“Never want to miss a sale? Reply with details of your mobile contact number to be added to our mobile marketing list. This will guarantee you’re the first to know about our amazing deals!”

Or as in-your-face as a pop up on your website:

“Enter your mobile number now, to be added to our fantastic SMS loyalty program! It’ll be worth your while, we promise.”

Hopefully these tips will help you grow your mobile database whether you’re new to SMS or a seasoned professional. Our friendly team are always on hand to help, so if you would like to discuss a few ideas, simply email us at support@textmarketer.co.uk

Wishing you all a very Happy Holidays!

The post SMS for Christmas and beyond appeared first on Textmarketer.

Example SMS Web Pages for a thoughtful festive greeting

So it may be a little colder and a little darker but as we approach the festive period, cheese is more readily available, the sequins are making a daily appearance and perhaps most importantly, the Costa Christmas menu is in full swing. So it’s safe to say, you’ll not find any bah humbugs at Text Marketer HQ.  

Now, we know how important this time of year is to businesses; retailers and restaurateurs in particular and we also know just how many of your competitors are contacting their customers, pushing for those all important sales. So, how do you stand out from the crowd?

“Emotion is what really drives the purchasing behaviours, and also, decision making in general.” – Gerald Zaltman, Harvard Professor. 

If we know emotion drives purchasing behaviours, then it’s emotion and meaningful connection that will ultimately get customers across the line. And for this, our SMS Web Pages can be a great tool, to send a thoughtful festive greeting.

With our SMS Web Pages feature you can create a bespoke landing page, include beautiful images, additional text and a call to action. But it’s not just that these are more ‘showy’ than the humble SMS, though it’s definitely the season for it; a recent study by Forbes reported that 91% of consumers prefer visuals over text-based content.

Now as an early Christmas present from us to you, we’ve created a few example SMS Web Pages for retailers and restaurateurs. These will hopefully spark some ideas of how your business can approach a mobile marketing campaign, hitting all the right notes.

Examples of SMS Web Pages for the festive season

Pull on the heart strings

This time of year is all about making moments with loved ones. So use your campaign to showcase how your products and services can really enhance the occasion and make making memories, that little bit easier. 

Reward loyalty

It’s important to remember that heading into January, customers will be offered many deals from various businesses and will likely be sporting purse strings that are a little shorter; so make sure whatever you send is worth their while – especially for individuals registered on your loyalty program. 

We hope these examples have inspired you to create a great SMS Web Page and mobile marketing campaign, signing off with a final tip – timing is everything!

The post Example SMS Web Pages for a thoughtful festive greeting appeared first on Textmarketer.

3 big questions to ask when choosing an SMS API provider

With what seems like millions of SMS
providers to choose from, picking one that best fits your business can be a
real headache. You need to think about how easy the platform is to use, like uploading
and managing contacts, the price per SMS, and if there are any hidden costs in
this. Also what products and features they offer and what you need, what kind
of support you get, and so forth. The list goes on and on.

However, if you are only planning on sending
your customers SMS messages automatically through an API, then your decision
making becomes a little easier.

You don’t need to think about all the extra
features in the online SMS platform along with the ease of use of it, all you
need to think about is 3 things.

Does the provider offer direct connections, how easy is it to follow the API instructions, and of course, the price per SMS? 3 simple questions that won’t take you long at all to find out.

1. Do they use direct connections?

Number one on the list is to check if the
provider is using Direct UK Connections. These are links with major providers
like 02 and Vodafone. So when you send your customers a text message, your
message goes through one of these providers and straight to the user’s handset
within a matter of seconds.

What some providers are using is something
called grey routes. These are not directly connected into the providers and
will take numerous International hops before being sent to the user. Meaning a
much slower delivery time, as well as your data being sent through other
multiple systems and sometimes your messages getting lost.

2. How easy is it to follow the API documentation?

The best API in the world is pointless unless you can use it. That is why we have made our API instructions as easy and as simple as possible. But don’t just take our word for it, see what our customers have said about it.

“The Text Marketer API code integrated
perfectly with our internal systems and has proven to be a worthwhile tool to contact
our current and prospective customers. – Highly recommended.”

“As a new user, it was very easy to set up an account. I am using the php based SMS API and it is extremely easy to use.”

3. What is the price per SMS?

Since you are just integrating with an API
there is no need to be spending 8, 10, 12 pence a text. You are doing most of
the work integrating it into your system and you won’t need access to the
online SMS platform to send these messages.

Meaning there is no need to pay overinflated
prices, which is why at Text Marketer we have an extremely competitive and low
price per SMS.

If you are interested in seeing how easy it
is to use our API and send your customers automated messages, sign up for a free account and use our sandbox area for free
to test with.

The post 3 big questions to ask when choosing an SMS API provider appeared first on Textmarketer.