The SMS Marketing Blog

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6 Halloween Marketing Ideas for SMBs


Everyone’s favorite spook-tactular holiday is approaching, and with it comes the opportunity to drive more customers to your small business. Check out a few of the super-cool Halloween-related possibilities for small business marketing to implement while you enjoy the beautiful fall season: 


Welcome Trick-or-Treaters

Participate in a trick-or-treat event with other area businesses, or simply welcome costumed tykes into your store. Put treats that relate to your business in bags, such as candy featuring your business name, pencils, erasers, small note pads, and pencils. Kids love getting small toys in addition to candy, so feel free to be as creative as you want.


Create a Haunted House

Turn your business into a haunted attraction, and have your employees dress up as various ghosts and goblins. For example, if you have a retail business with aisles of merchandise, turn each aisle into its own special “haunt.” Encourage employees to get really creative with their costumes, which they’ll be all about if they love Halloween. Provide a discount that’s attractive to parents bringing their kids to your business, such as 10 or 15 percent off certain merchandise. Giving away coupons to customers upon their completion of a haunted house is also a fun possibility. 


Offer a Halloween Promotion

Send email coupons or codes to customers that are only good on or around Halloween. Text message codes are another possibility. Decorate your store as extensively as you want—or as much as your budget allows—to further draw people in and look for decorations in dollar and “five below” stores. Dress up in a creative costume and have employees do the same, which again they’ll likely be excited about. 


Hold a Costume Exchange

Show your dedication to the community by hosting a costume exchange. It’s not only a great way for customers and potential customers to cull and subsequently procure new costumes for cheap, but it’s also a way to familiarize locals with what you offer. Besides, people will likely jump at the chance to get rid of old masks of politicians and find something fun without spending a small fortune. Halloween costumes are expensive, after all!


Throw a Halloween Party

Make your business Halloween party central! Host an open house that allows consumers to learn more about your business while enjoying mystery punch and pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies. Designate a section for games, which will keep kiddies occupied, and offer freebies such as temporary tattoos, face painting, and of course plenty of candy. Ensure party-goers leave with goodie bags that feature more freebies and lots of information about your business, including business cards. For best results, make certain all freebies feature your business name and contact information. 

These are just some of the many ways to use Halloween to your small business’s marketing advantage. Have fun and get creative, and don’t forget to ask employees for their input and help. Most people love Halloween, and are excited to participate in anything involving the spooky holiday. Have fun! 

Mobeam Promises to Be a Comprehensive Mobile Wallet


Mobile shopping has made great strides in the last year, thanks to technology that allows smartphone users to scan in-app barcodes for food, tickets, merchandise, and more. Shopping is already convenient, but is there an even smarter way to shop? Mobeam thinks so. 

Mobeam, a mobile barcode beaming technology provider for Android, has partnered with Mobiquity Network to deliver a comprehensive mobile wallet solution. Mobiquity Network, a subsidiary of Mobiquity Technologies Inc. is a location-based advertising and app engagement software provider that should prove a useful ally for Mobeam. 

Mobeam will integrate Mobiquity Networks’ ad platform and software into its Beep’nGo app, which will enable the company to deliver highly targeted barcode-scanable offers to smartphone-holding shoppers. These shoppers can redeem target discount and coupon offers at in-store checkouts via scanable barcodes on their phones.

The partnership gives Mobeam the potential to reach 260 million monthly shoppers who already use Mobiquity’s network. Mobeam’s Beep’nGo app will now be able to detect Mobiquity Networks’ beacons, which are currently placed in high-traffic mall areas like food courts, walkways, and corridors.


Creating True Mobile Wallets

George Garrick, Mobeam’s CEO, says integrating Mobiquity Network’s ad and software technology with Mobeam's offerings creates a true mobile wallet for smartphone users. 

“Our goal is to make the shopping experience for consumers as easy as possible using mobile technology which enables true digital wallets, not simply digital credit card alternatives,” said Garrick. 

Mobeam chose to work with Mobiquity Networks because Mobiquity powers the biggest shopping mall-based beacon advertising network in the United States. Mobiquity Networks is known for providing proximity marketing in a way that enhances the user’s experience.

Garrick continues, “By joining Mobiquity Networks’ publisher network, we can improve the shopping experience even more by enabling shoppers to redeem their Mobiquity offers by simply beaming them into the checkout scanner.” He explained, “We complete the ‘last mile’ of capturing valuable targeted retail deals and enabling the shopper to easily transmit those savings into the checkout POS for an instant redemption.”


How Does It Work?

Garrick states that Mobeam “will integrate Mobiquity Networks’ software into its popular Beep’nGo app, enabling it to deliver smarter and more convenient ways to pay and save while shopping.” He adds, “Popular and emerging ‘mobile payment’ apps rely on NFC or other technologies that communicate with credit card payment terminals, but not with scanners.”

Mobeam’s barcode technology enables true mobile wallets, not just NFC-based card substitutes. This means that Beep’nGo users will now be able to carry membership cards, loyalty cards, gift cards, vouchers, coupons, tickets, and more in one app, offering universal POS access at retailers. And, they’ll get targeted discounts delivered to this app, which provides more opportunity for saving money at stores where they shop most.

The integrated technology solution will deliver highly impactful offers to users’ smartphones, at the moment they’re looking for deals.

Mobeam’s patented light-based beaming technology excels at overriding technical barriers and enables POS red laser scanners to read barcodes on Android mobile devices. Mobiquity Networks is a national leader in location-based mobile advertising and application engagement software.

Lawyers Finding Business Via Text Messaging?


Navigating the laws that regulate advertising options for lawyers can be tricky.  Changing times bring up changing opinions on what constitutes forbidden telephone solicitation, and what does not.

Contacting potential clients via text messaging is a practice that has recently been reviewed by the Florida Bar. This method of communication has been deemed acceptable, but there are still restrictions that an attorney must follow. 

As a lawyer, how do you keep up with technology, communicating in a way that most people now do, while following state laws and regulations? Let’s take a closer look at how text messaging can work for an attorney and how lawyers are finding business via text messaging.


Acceptable and Unacceptable Means of Communication

Lawyers are not allowed to solicit business in person. They are also not allowed to call someone on the telephone and ask to be hired. But, an attorney can send a text message, according to a recent Florida Bar decision. 

In-person and telephone solicitations are forbidden because, the American Bar Association says, “the situation is fraught with the possibility of undue influence, intimidation, and over-reaching.” Just this past February, a Florida Bar committee said the in-person and telephone ban on advertising also barred text messages. But, the Bar’s board of governors reversed that ruling in July. They concluded that texts are more like emails than phone calls. 


Times are Changing

Bar President, Ramon Abadin, says that text messages are “an adaptation to reality.” He states, “Most people communicate by mobile data devices that happen to be phones, too.”

Abadin notes that a change in perspective regarding text messaging is “part of the national dialogue. It’s what we should be doing as professionals. We should be looking at how best to serve our clients.”

An attorney, Abadin says, should be looking at the ways in which his or her clients want to be communicated with, and the ways that communication could appear as inappropriate. The issue of text messaging arose when law firms inquired to the Bar as to whether or not texts were appropriate. An Orlando law firm that sent a second inquiry succeeded in getting text messages approved as logical means of communications. 

The firm described how it planned to send texts to criminal defendants, those whose email addresses were not available. It offered the argument that “criminal charges can change your life forever,” and suggested that a solid sample message might say, “You might feel scared and alone. The government accusing you has power; it has money; it has police; and it has many lawyers who will be working to convict and punish you. You should have a lawyer, too.” 

This law firm presented data showing that 90% of adults in Florida have at least one mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. It also showed that 90% of them use these devices for text messaging. 

The Board concluded that laws needed to be updated to reflect this change in American culture. Text messaging for lawyers is now a viable way to gain clients needing representation in a variety of circumstances. There are, however, regulations that must be adhered to even when sending text messages, and it’s important to keep these in mind to avoid breaking the law.



APUS and InMobi Team Up to Capture Chinese Mobile Market


How does an already-huge company reach more mobile users? It teams up with another huge company in a quest to, together, dominate the Chinese mobile market, among others. 

Chinese start-up APUS and Indian mobile advertising firm InMobi are forming an alliance to reach a hoped-for 500 million new users in China, India, and other countries by 2016.

InMobi is the leader in customizing Android software. InMobi is India’s top mobile advertising firm. InMobi, in fact, competes with Facebook and Google in the $100 billion worldwide mobile advertising market. It’s one of the only Indian start-ups to make a profit and it already reaches about 1.4 billion devices.


What’s in It for APUS? 

The new partnership will help APUS earn advertising revenue from ads run on InMobi’s platform. APUS will likely see a boost in its user base and enjoy a share in the huge Indian smartphone market. 

APUS’ flagship product lets Android users customize the home screens on their smartphones. APUS hopes to gain more than 80 million users as a result of the deal with InMobi, which will lead to hefty profits.


What About InMobi?

InMobi will gain access to more than 200 million additional users by partnering with APUS. They’ll have exclusive access to all APUS users in India, which total more than 25 million. 

This partnership is the first of its kind between two of the fastest growing tech power companies from China and India. The time is right for APUS and InMobi to make this move, as the smartphone markets in China and India are growing rapidly.

APUS and InMobi’s deal comes after recent media reports that Google has plans to re-enter China. This partnership is important for InMobi if it wants to secure a stronghold in the country. Google pulled its services out of China five years ago, largely because it refused to self-sensor search results.


What’s Next? 

In an official press release, InMobi said, ““InMobi will share its vast expertise in India to help APUS establish a larger footprint in India, enabling an increased user base and market share. In return, APUS will engage in monetization partnership with InMobi….”

InMobi offered, ““InMobi will provide local expertise to APUS to help them understand the unique Indian app market and will aid in user acquisition programs including providing guidance localizing the APUS app experience and acquiring the right talent to help APUS India grow as APUS aims to make its app climb to the top five in the local Google Play store.” 

The big goal is APUS “becoming the leading Android user system in India by the end of 2015 and acquiring more than 80 million users in India by 2016.” 

However, this deal is not the only big thing on the horizon for InMobi. The company is placing heavy bets on its new mobile advertising product, Miip. Miip gives customers curated lists of products they might be interested in, based on their previous choices and their personalities.

InMobi is currently estimated to be worth about $2.5 billion.





How to Identify the Right Mobile Niche for Your Brand


Businesses that are succeeding today are using mobile technology to do so. They’re harnessing the power of mobile apps, mobile search, and text messaging to tap into consumers’—and other businesses’—demands. They’re also embracing mobile technology because it is effective, and it can no longer be ignored. Gone are the days when businesses could afford to forgo mobile technology due to cost or lack of understanding. Today, whether you’re already using mobile technology to advertise and grow your business, or are new to the game, you need to be identifying the right niche for your brand and reaching out.

To identify the right mobile niche for your brand, you first need to determine who your customers are, what devices they’re using, and how they’re utilizing mobile technology. Then, you need to position yourself as a company that’s mobile friendly and knowledgeable, and you need to supply what your customers are demanding.

Let’s take a look at a few ways in which businesses are identifying the correct mobile niches for their brands and seeing success:


When Public Opinion Matters

Mobile marketing to smartphones and tablets can help build a brand’s reputation or save one that’s damaged. The right mobile marketing techniques can increase customer count and shift negative perceptions of a company. 

Take, for instance, a business like a hotel or restaurant. These types of companies are prone to receiving negative feedback from disgruntled customers, many of whom document their anger and frustration online. These businesses benefit from mobile customer service techniques that bring a warm and fuzzy feeling back to the customer. Mobile marketing in these circumstances can include texting discount codes to customers and offering easy booking from tablets and smartphones. 

Brands that have been associated with more traditional marketing techniques, like banking, can utilize mobile marketing strategies to appear more contemporary and current. Recently, we’ve seen an increase in the number of banks offering mobile banking as a way to keep customers satisfied. Businesses that want to compete today need to be where their customers are. And, they’re on their mobile devices.


Mobile Devices to Meet a Specific Need 

Along with the rapid increase in mobile device usage, we’re seeing an increase in the types of mobile devices available and their usage possibilities. This is making it easier for businesses to come up with products and services specifically targeted to help other companies. 

New and unique niche market opportunities have arrived because of the ease of use of mobile devices. Crime scene investigators, trucking companies, and even pavement manufacturers are making the most of mobile technology and offering solutions that have never seemed possible. Those investigating crimes can use software applications to scan tablets and smartphones for important information. Truck drivers’ driving behavior, speed, and other stats can be monitored by their company via tablet. Sensors embedded in pavement can now be monitored, and tests can be analyzed easily via mobile technology.

Today, mobile technology offers opportunities for nearly all businesses—you just have to find the right method for you.

SMS Is Helping Women in Kenya Track Their Pregnancies


In remote areas of east Africa, regular healthcare for expecting mothers is hard to find. Nairobi, Kenya, for example, is desperately impoverished; the infant mortality rate in this region is one of the highest in Africa, with 40 out of 1000 babies not living past infancy. This is a story Malele Ngalu, marketing director for Kenya-based Totohealth, laments on a personal level. 

Ngalu was born in Africa; his mother faced medical disadvantages that resulted in the loss of his twin brother shortly after birth. Today, Ngalu has teamed up with Felix Kimaru, founder of Totohealth, a free SMS text service to help mothers and their infant children during a five-year program.  

Kimaru has raised more than $50,000 to get his startup off the ground and implemented in several rural areas throughout east Africa. Nairobi was one of the first areas Kimaru and Ngalu tackled, sampling the service to 2,000 parents.

According to Ngalu, most parents don’t realize their infant is sick until it’s too late. 

“We asked the parents why they did not bring the children in when they saw they had a problem, and they said they didn’t know there was one,” he said.


Texting for Health

To combat this problem, Kimaru has developed content to be delivered on a weekly basis via text message. The content relates to various developmental stages (up to the age of 5) as well as women’s health. The texts also advise regular checkups and include ready access to a help desk, where trained medical doctors and nurses are available to answer questions, as well as refer parents to nearby clinics or hospitals.

Since its launch early last year, Totohealth has seen significant user growth across the continent. Word of mouth from the original 2,000 users helped double the number of parents actively using the service in nearly 30 different countries. 

Unlike most developed countries, providing this service via app is not yet possible in east Africa—the infrastructure just doesn’t exist yet. 

“Even in low income settings like Kibera, the majority of people have basic phones,” said Ngalu.  

Most basic phones have the ability to receive and send text messages, so for the time being, SMS is the best way to deliver the information as well as track patient progress.  

According to Kimaru, the parents who use the service have a 96 percent likelihood of attending every recommended checkup and appointment. These kinds of results are getting the attention of large groups like the World Health Organization. 

The other advantage to using text is that it’s relatively inexpensive, costing only about 25 cents a month per user. Right now, county governments are footing the bill for the service, hoping that government policy and social awareness will help drive further change to reform maternal programs.  

Kimaru is looking to raise another $300,000 in funding to expand Totohealth’s operations throughout other parts of Africa. 

Crammers Charged with Multi-Million Dollar SMS Scam


Two men are facing charges of running a ‘cramming’ scam that netted them tens of millions of dollars by charging mobile users premium rates for unwanted text messages. 

Six defendants were charged in a New York federal court with an ‘auto-subscribe’ fraud. The scam involved sending text messages containing celebrity gossip, horoscopes and other trivia - and charging up to $10 per month to the unsuspecting recipients bill. The fraud charges were brought by a New York attorney, Preet Bharara, who had previously lodged charges against another six defendants connected with the scam, alleged to have taken place between 2011 and 2013. 

The case is just the tip of the cramming iceberg. So how do they work? And how can you stay vigilant for the signs of a scam? 

Crammers use local exchange carrier (LEC) billing to charge mobile users through their local telephone company accounts. By doing this (rather than charging through the providers of the product or service) the cost to the customer often goes unnoticed. Charges might be made for premium messaging services, special ringtones, apps or long-distance calling. Anything the crammers believe they can slip ‘under the radar’ on a phone bill is fair game. It won’t work on people who - as we all should - check their bills carefully, but, like all scams, the hit rate doesn’t need to be very high to make it worthwhile for the fraudsters. Add automation technology into the mix and crammers are able to target thousands of people in a short space of time, with minimal effort. 

The defendants at the center of the most recent cramming scandal were charging close to $10 a month for text messages sent without the users consent. Most users simply ignored the messages because the amounts were not big enough to ring any alarm bells. The scam is designed that way, which is why such schemes can levy huge amounts of money without being detected.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) offers some useful tips to prevent mobile users falling prey to scammers. Recommendation #1 is to cast a careful eye over your monthly statement to check for unusual charges. They may appear as a one-time charge or on a monthly auto-renewal basis. Be wary of generic-sounding fees, company names or services. Also look out for unsolicited text messages. If you receive text messages from a source you don’t recognize, relating to services you didn’t ask for, you should view this as a Big Red Flag. Knowing what’s going on with your phone bill, and contacting your service provider if you see anything suspicious, should keep you safe from being stung by crammers.

Delete Message, Restore Space: How to Recover Lost SMS Messages


Trashing old text messages on is a good way to improve your phone's performance. Large apps can take up a surprising amount of space on the hard drive. But did you know that SMS conversations can take up us much space? More, even, if there are pictures and video attached. Deleting text messages is easy, and should be done regularly to keep your phone running at optimal smoothness.

Understandably, many of us are reluctant to delete messages. We feel we may need the information in the future. Luckily, there are ways to recover deleted messages. Three of them:


The iTunes Method

The simplest way to recover old messages is to perform regular backups to iTunes. Deleted SMS messages can be recalled simply by plugging your device in to a computer. 

Once connected to iTunes, click the phone icon in the upper left corner of the screen; choose ‘Restore Backup,’ and hey presto - all previously backed-up settings, text messages and apps will replace the current data on your phone. It takes a few minutes. 

Of course, this method can only replace data from your most recent backup. The iTunes Method can't recover data from previous backups.


The iCloud Method

The iCloud is a solid option for retrieving lost text messages, as long as your service area is within a territory that backs up SMS messages automatically. To check if this is the case, read on...

Log in to iCloud using your Apple ID/password. Check if "Text Messages” is available. If not, you're not covered. If it is, you can start searching through old SMS messages to find what you're after. 

To do this, search through the messages and locate the text or texts you want to restore to the phone. Next, navigate to the settings menu, turn on the iCloud and turn "Text Messages" off. A pop-up will appear - click ‘Keep on My iPhone.’ 

Now you can turn "Text Messages" back on in the settings menu. Click ‘Merge,’ and the messages you selected from the iCloud will start to appear (again, this takes a few minutes).


Third-Party Apps

There are a few third-party apps that can recover deleted iPhone data. Some cost money, which is why this option is less attractive than just recovering a backup from iTunes. But if an app is your only option, we have a couple of recommendations.

WonderSahre is a nice piece of data recovery software, compatible with several devices. It recovers just about everything from lost pictures and videos to voicemails and SMS messages. Also recommended is iMobie PhoneRescue, which can recover 22 different file types. 

Lost or deleted text messages aren't usually a problem, but when you do need to get something back, you'll be glad you prepared your data storage practices ahead of time. Deleting old text messages should be a normal part of your iPhone’s maintenance, and is a good way to free up space. Equally, backing up the phone's data regularly should form a key part of your regular maintenance if you want to bid a permanent goodbye to the irritation of lost information.