Author: lorrainebrownweb

Five SMS marketing mistakes you need to stop making immediately


SMS is one of the simpler marketing channels out there. It consists of a small bit of text usually no more than 160 characters. But despite the simplicity of the channel, there are still plenty of mistakes that can be made in using it. Here are just five which, if avoided, could improve your SMS marketing efforts.

No sender info

When your customers opt-in to receive your text messages, they do so by texting a keyword to your registered shortcode. Some may save that shortcode in their contacts list under the name of your brand but you can’t count on it. And since customers may have a dozen or more different shortcodes in their texting history, they may not be able to determine the sender just based on the shortcode alone. A simple way to fix this mistake is to begin every text with the name of your brand followed by a colon. It takes up very few characters and it lets recipients know right away who is texting them.

No personalization

SMS is an inherently personal channel. After all, you’re sending a message directly to your customers’ SMS inbox via their mobile phone number, something people usually only give out to friends and family and close acquaintances. So why not make it more personal? One way to do this is to use a bulk SMS service that has the option to automatically address the recipient by name if that information is stored in the database. Simply starting off a text calling the person by name makes it feel more personal. Another way to offer personalization is to send a congratulatory offer to customers on their birthday. Finally, you might try segmenting your audience according to demographic or interests and tailor different messages for different segments of your audience.

No call-to-action

It’s not enough to just inform customers about a new product or a special deal or a mobile coupon–you have to tell them what you want them to do as a result. Tell them how they can get that product, to act fast on that special deal before it expires, or to claim that mobile coupon in store today. The call-to-action is what drives the desired response and simply telling them what you want them to do is surprisingly effective.

No hook

Most mobile phones will display the first few words of a text message when it’s received. Those first few words may be the difference between that text being opened immediately and that text being opened several hours later when the recipient stumbles across it again. Text messages are most influential when opened immediately so you want to include some kind of hook in the opening line of text that makes it near impossible for the recipient to ignore.

No two-way option

Millennials and Gen Z prefer texting to speaking on the phone. Despite this, the majority of brands who use SMS to communicate things to customers don’t allow customers to text them back. Most bulk SMS services only recognize and respond to incoming texts if the text is the keyword to opt-in or the word “stop” to opt-out. Advances in chatbot technology have made two-way SMS a more practical option where customers and brands can actually interact. SMS no longer has to be a one-way channel. Give your customers the option to text back and many will take advantage of it and that two-way engagement will improve the effectiveness of your SMS marketing efforts.

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Source: business2community.   com/email-marketing/dont-common-email-marketing-mistakes-01918761#EfBOFxFFWkAfrb7v.97


Tips for integrating chatbots into your business model



People no longer have the same reservations about talking to machines as they might have just a few years ago. Already, 65% of smartphone owners report using voice assistants on their phones. Advances in machine learning and natural language processing have allowed chatbots to become more practical and utilitarian than ever. Chatbots are computer programs designed to communicate with humans via voice or text. Early applications of chatbots include Map applications that give verbal directions while driving and can understand users’ verbal request for directions as well. AI assistants like Siri, Bixby, and Alexa are also examples of chatbots that can understand to some degree what humans are saying or asking of them and respond in kind. Now we’re beginning to see more task-specific chatbots designed to work on a single website or within a single application to connect customers to brands. But as brands rush out to develop chatbots because it’s the trendy thing to do, they aren’t taking care to really integrate their chatbot into their business model and as a result, their chatbot isn’t as effective as it could be. A chatbot can potentially add a lot to your business, but only if it’s integrated properly.

What will your bot do for you?

You shouldn’t be developing a chatbot just to have one. Before you invest one dollar into developing a chatbot, you need to have clear goals in mind for it. What challenge will the chatbot solve for your business? Which performance indicators do you hope to achieve with your chatbot?

How will it work?

Chatbots are complex computer programs. They have to have access to lots of data to make them accurate. Where will that data come from. Do you already have stored transcripts of customer service interactions that you can feed them. Will you be able to grant your chatbot access to databases of information that it will need to succeed? How will you use Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to make your chatbot better at conversing in a way that seems natural? What will your bot do when it encounters a question or statement that it doesn’t know how to respond to.

Where will it fit in?

How will your bot be integrated into your existing staff. If your bot will be functioning primarily in a customer service role, how will support tickets be divided across customer support staff and your chatbot? Will your chatbot be able to hand customers over to live agents if it gets stuck? If your chatbot is designed to aid customers in the online shopping experience, will it be able to get through the entire processing of narrowing in on the right product all the way through the checkout or will your chatbot need to be integrated with a sales team that can take over at some point in the interaction? Perhaps you plan to create a chatbot to be used for employees rather than customers. How can your chatbot bridge the gap between employees and IT or HR?

Having answers to these questions up front will allow you to be wiser as you invest in a chatbot that will be able to help your business rise to the next level.

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Source: forbesindia.   com/blog/technology/integrating-chatbots-into-your-business-model/

How to maximize ROI with your Facebook marketing strategy



Earlier this year, the 2 billionth Facebook account was created. Nearly one-third of all people on the planet have a Facebook account. If you’re just venturing into social media marketing, Facebook is a great platform to start with since it has a very general audience ranging from pre-teens up to the elderly; it’s popular among both men and women, conservatives and liberals, and any other demographic you might be trying to reach. Another great thing about Facebook is that it’s free to set up a Facebook page for your business and get your feet wet with social media marketing. But a zero dollar investment will only get you so far and you’ll eventually want to start paying to sponsor posts or create Facebook ads so your reach extends beyond just those who sought out your page and chose to follow it. The following tips will help you to maximize the return on your investment into Facebook marketing.

Decide on clear, measurable goals

What do you hope to get out of your social media marketing efforts. Do you already have an established loyal customer base and now you need to build on that base. Perhaps you’re already doing fine on unique visitors but you’d like to see more return customers. Whatever it is you’re after, you need to identify specific key performance indicators that you can track to measure success. Without clear, measurable goals, you won’t be able to gauge the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing efforts and you won’t be able to determine how to allocate future funds for Facebook marketing.

Define your target market

The wider the net you cast through paid Facebook advertising, the more it’s going to cost you. On the one hand, you want to cast wide enough that you get results, but you don’t want to waste marketing dollars reaching people who aren’t likely to become customers either. If you’re an online business, you don’t have to worry about limiting the geographic reach of your advertising. Instead you’ll want to target specific demographics that make up your ideal customer. If you’re a local business, limiting your advertising to within a set number of miles of your physical address is just the obvious first step. You’ll want to further narrow in on specific demographics within that region as well.

Choose high quality images

Images you include in your posts or advertisements should be of a high quality–not low resolution and pixelated, stretched, or unoriginal. Instead of just choosing from boring stock photos that do nothing to differentiate your brand from the rest, consider taking your own photographs or purchasing higher quality images.

Create video content

Facebook has been trying to prioritize video content on their platform for a while now so you will have a better chance of being seen if you periodically post video content to Facebook. Your videos need not be shot with the highest quality video/audio equipment. Simple how-to videos, livestream product reveals, and photo slideshows set to music can be effective forms of video content that you can shoot with your smartphone. Remember that the quality of the content is more important than the production value.

Test ad performance

Whether you use Facebook’s built-in tools or third-party software, you need to keep a close eye on certain performance indicators. By experimenting with releasing ads at different times of day targeting different demographics and regions, you can begin to recognize patterns and trends that will be helpful to getting better ROI through your Facebook marketing efforts.

Use existing mobile channels to build social media presence

Social media is increasingly consumed on mobile devices. Your best bet for expanding your reach with Facebook marketing is to use existing mobile channels such as a mobile friendly website or SMS campaign to get existing customers to follow your page. The more “likes,” shares, and comments you can get on your page and posts, the less you have to rely on paid advertising to be successful on Facebook and the better ROI you’re going to get.

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Source: smallbiztrends.   com/2017/09/facebook-marketing-strategy.html

Six things your customer service chatbot must be able to do



Chatbots are in the midst of a huge growth phase. Chatbot programmers and AI researchers are still discovering new ways to use them as well as things they can’t do. Chatbots are already a lot more useful and practical for the average small business than they were even just a year ago. One of the most popular uses is in customer service. If you’re considering developing a chatbot for your business’s customer service needs, here are six things you’ll want your bot to be able to do.

Use natural language processing to understand what people are saying to them

Early chatbots operated very similar to automated phone answering systems–the kind you encounter when you are forced to call a customer service line and listen to a series of options before giving responses. Deviate in any way from the exact wording and the automated system will have no clue what you’re saying. You don’t want your chatbot to operate in this way. Natural language processing (NLP) is a branch of artificial intelligence research geared towards creating machines that can understand language so that it isn’t limited to responding to several predetermined questions or requests. Your bot needs NLP if you want customers to be able to speak freely with it.

Respond empathetically

One of the things people don’t like about interacting with chatbots is that they can be cold and impersonal. A live customer service agent can defuse a bad interaction by showing empathy and relating to customers on a personal and emotional level. While chatbots may not be capable of feeling emotions like humans, they can be programmed to use empathetic language which can still have the same calming effect on customers.

Offer a personalized customer service experience

Your chatbot will need to be able to remember second- and third-time users. If your chatbot has access to previous conversations it can recall a person’s preferences and personal information. It can address the customer by name without having to ask for it and can make the customer feel important and appreciated.

Stay consistent in tone and personality

Chatbots are unsettling for many people. A way to reduce the unsettled feeling customers might get is to make sure your bot is consistent in tone and personality. If it fluctuates between friendly and conversational to being very straight-the-point and robotic, people will have trouble getting into the experience of chatting with your chatbot and may prefer to get on the phone instead.


Your chatbot will make mistakes daily. Don’t worry about creating a perfect chatbot because it’s impossible. The best you can hope for though is a chatbot that grows more accurate with each mistake. Through machine learning, you can feed your chatbot hundreds or thousands of customer service interactions so it can pick up on patterns to better understand what leads to failed and successful interactions.

Ask for help

If people invest several minutes into conversing with your bot only for your bot to get stuck and not be able to help, they then have to get on the phone which is probably what they were trying to avoid in the first place. It defeats the purpose of using a message-based platform in the first place. So if you’re going to invest in a chatbot, make sure your customer service team is equipped with the tools to be able to take over a failed chat session. Make sure your chatbot is able to recognize and admit failure early enough in the process that customers don’t grow frustrated and give up before a live agent can assist them.


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Source: venturebeat. com/2017/09/16/5-small-changes-that-drastically-improve-chatbot-conversations/

How to take your business’s social media strategy to the next level




Social media marketing is changing every single day. New platforms and technologies are constantly being created giving marketers access to new streams of data that they can use to adjust their strategy. The way brands are using social media today is different from what it was even just one year ago and it will be different another year from now. The most successful social media marketers are those that embrace these new platforms and marketing tools and incorporate them into existing strategies to always keep improving. If you want to take your social media business strategy to the next level, then here are four tips you need to keep in mind.

Engage with customers

In the world of social media marketing, you’ll often hear the advice to do a lot more listening than talking. Social media is different than traditional marketing channels in that promoting your products or services is not the primary goal. Social media is about building brand awareness and opening up lines of communication with your customer base. As such, you don’t want to be putting so much attention into your promotional content that you’re not able to adequately listen to what your customers are saying to you on social media. But there’s something even more important than listening, and that’s engaging. Find ways to truly interact with your customers or potential customers on social media and you’ll be on the right track.

Use social media management tools

There’s no shortage of social media management tools that you can be using to track various metrics and better engage with customers. Which ones you use will depend on your particular strategy. Social media management tools can give your social media people a central dashboard where they can schedule the publishing of content, route inbound messages to the right person, and see what’s being said about the brand on social media.

Get the right content to the right people

Outside of social media, almost all advertising is paid advertising. But social media is more diverse. While you certainly can pay to sponsor posts, there’s also earned, owned, and shared content that are free. There is a place for all kinds of content in your social media strategy. It’s a matter of finding the right balance. When you’re putting together a post, you need to consider your audience and objectives and decide on which type of content will be the best for that particular situation.

Find the right balance of human and machine

One of the most exciting things happening in social media marketing is the emergence of chatbots that can help to automate a lot of the business-customer interactions that take place over the messaging platform. Chatbots can be an excellent tool but they don’t replace the need for high quality social media people. Finding the right balance between human and machine so that your chatbot is helping and not hindering your social media strategy is of utmost importance.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.  com


Which criteria to use when selecting mobile marketing tools and channels


In the smartphone era, a strong mobile marketing campaign is crucial to the success of every business no matter how big or small. But putting together that mobile strategy is easier said than done. There are dozens of channels and hundreds and hundreds of tools for tracking metrics and automating the advertising. You can’t afford the time or money to try them all so how do you pick which ones? Here are a few criteria that can help you decide.

Mobile marketing tools and channels should…

  • Be easy to use. Unless you have the resources to hire a full-time social media person, you should make ease of use a priority in selecting both mobile channels and mobile marketing tools. If the learning curve is too steep you’ll probably waste too much time trying to figure out how to use it and not enough time actually implementing and benefiting from it.
  • Be effective. This one’s pretty straightforward. A channel or tool should do for your business what it’s supposed to do. If you try out a new channel or tool and give it a fair chance, but it doesn’t help you achieve your mobile marketing aims, then there’s probably no sense in investing in it further.
  • Be Up-to-date. Some tools or channels may have been helpful at one time, but aren’t anymore. The world of mobile technology is advancing at an incredible rate so if tools and channels aren’t being regularly updated to keep them relevant, they aren’t going to be the best option for your business.
  • Offer value to your business. This is another one that might seem obvious but many businesses are using tools and channels simply because other businesses are using it and they just think they should as well. So ask yourself, is a given tool or channel offering you any tangible results? If it’s not doing anything of value for your brand, you need to consider why you’re investing time and money into it at all.
  • Have good customer service. This one applies to tools and not channels but you’ll find that many mobile marketing tools come with 24/7 support and others do not. It’s safe to assume that you’re going to run into problems or questions with any given tool so it’s important that you can get immediate assistance when these problems or questions arise so you can use the tool to its full potential.

SMS is a must

With so many tools and channels, very few are a must for all industries. What works for one business won’t necessarily work for another. But there is at least one notable exception: SMS. Short Message Service (or text messaging) needs to be a part of every mobile marketing campaign and it meets all five criteria above:

  • Ease of use. If you select the right bulk SMS service, SMS marketing is very easy since the service will automate the opt-ins and opt-outs. You only have to craft the message and set the time for it to be sent and the service takes care of everything else.
  • Effectiveness. The open rate for text messages is about 98% (90% within three minutes of the text being received). Click-through and redemption rates for special offers are about ten times higher than they are for email.
  • Up-to-date. Though the SMS protocol hasn’t changed hardly at all over the years, regulations on text messaging have and the majority of bulk SMS services have continuously adapted to be compliant with these regulations.
  • Value. The low cost per text, combined with the effectiveness of the channel means SMS is one of the most valuable mobile channels you can have in your arsenal.
  • Customer service. Select a service with a great reputation for round-the-clock support and SMS might be the best thing that ever happened to your brand.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter. com



Six ways to grow your online business on a budget


Whether you’re a brand new startup trying to launch a business from home or you’ve got an established brand with a great online presence, it’s crucial that you keep it growing. Stagnation is the death of all brands from small startups to national chains. The following tips will help you build your online business without spending a fortune.

Make sure your website is optimized for mobile

The year 2016 was the year mobile web traffic surpassed traditional web traffic, and mobile web traffic is only going to increase the gap with each passing year. Already, more than half of your website visitors aren’t having a positive experience on your site if it’s not mobile optimized. Mobile optimization is inexpensive because the majority of website building platforms already have responsive design which does it for you.

Find out all you can about your audience

You’ll waste less money trying to find a marketing approach that works if you just take some time to get to know your existing customer base (and your ideal customer) better. Find unobtrusive ways to get information from customers along the way. Start small by asking for an email address or phone number and get permission to email or text. Offer small incentives in exchange for personal info like birthdate, gender, and age. Short surveys after purchases are a great way to obtain this kind of info from customers.

Invest in SMS marketing

Mobile is an increasingly important aspect of digital marketing and there’s no better place to start with mobile marketing than SMS, or text messaging. Text messages only cost a few pennies per text so it’s one of the most affordable digital channels out there. Add to that the fact that you’re only sending them to people who’ve opted in and that 90% of your recipients will open and read your text in three minutes or less and you realize how cost-effective SMS marketing is.

Create engaging content

You can diversify your marketing efforts by launching a content marketing campaign. Content marketing is different from other marketing efforts in that the primary goal isn’t to make sales, but rather, to create awareness, drive engagement, and generate leads that may one day become loyal customers. Content marketing can be as simple as adding a blog to your company website and paying a freelancer to post two or three articles a week too it. If your brand is committed to producing high-quality content, potential customers will seek you out.

Segment and personalize

Using the information you obtain from following the advice in tip number two, you can segment your audience by age, gender, interests, or other criteria and provide more personalized marketing for the various segments. Segmentation and personalization of your marketing efforts is cheaper in the long run since you won’t be wasting money sending ads that aren’t relevant to the people you’re sending them to.

Build a strong social media presence

The great thing about social media is that it’s free to create a business page and you get a lot of free advertising in the form of followers who share your posts where their friends and family can see them. Once you’ve gotten started and are seeing success, you can invest in paid advertising and a full- or part-time social media person to maintain your various social media pages.

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Source: nuwireinvestor.  com/10-tips-growing-online-business/