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9 posts categorized "Religion"

July 09, 2014

How to Make the Perfect SMS Pitch

Depositphotos_12696240_xs

Using SMS messaging in the most effective way requires an understanding of the singular properties of the medium. If you approach your text marketing campaign in the same way you would an email campaign, you’ll miss out on the many advantages of an SMS-focused strategy.

Perhaps the most important differentiator between email and SMS is the character limitations of the latter. If you’ve already engaged with social media via Twitter, you’ll understand the unique challenge of crafting a message in less than 140 characters. You may have an extra 20 characters at your disposal with SMS, but the same rules of clarity, brevity and levity apply to the creation of a good message.

But there is a key difference between a social media campaign and an SMS messaging campaign. Tweets don’t require opt-in subscribers, or incur even a minimal additional cost to the viewer. To engage with your texts, consumers have to give up their cell phone number and agree to receive messages. This is no mean commitment, and it demands a new standard of ethics and responsibility on the part of mobile marketers.

With an open-and-read rate of more than 90%, it’s worth getting your SMS strategy right from the start. If you fail to impress with your first message, subscribers will simply opt out. Hooking recipients with those first 160 characters they see is essential for the long-term survival of your mobile marketing campaign. Here, we offer a few pointers on making the perfect SMS pitch…

Be Relevant

You might have a large portfolio of services to offer a wide range of different consumers. The beauty of SMS lists is the ease with which you can ‘divide and conquer’ according to personal preference. Don’t waste that opportunity by viewing your contact list as a monolithic, static entity. Instead, view each phone number as an individual organism, with highly specific needs. If you run a hotel with a public restaurant, for instance, don’t send updates on room rates to someone who only signed up for meal deals.

Be Appropriate

Striking the right tone for your audience is one of the tricks of the SMS marketing trade. This will vary hugely depending on industry, but there are a few rules of thumb that apply across the board:

  • Don’t use text speak in an effort to appeal to a youth demographic, or simply to save precious space. Unless you are aiming purely for a tween crowd, it will come across as unprofessional at best, and incomprehensible at worst. Remember, many people dislike text speak, but nobody objects to proper English.
  • Having said that, your messages should be more informal than a letter or even an email. Strike a friendly but professional tone.
  • Avoid jargon. When working in a specific industry, it’s easy to get caught up with insider jargon, so remember who your audience is before rattling off a message containing a foreign acronym.

Be Link Friendly

In all likelihood, you have a lot more to say than you can possibly fit in a text message, so don’t forget to include a hyperlink to your website. View text as a gateway to your brand, and encourage recipients to click with a clear call to action.

Be Plugged In

Segmented mobile subscriber lists are an invaluable source of user information. You should be constantly tracking the analytics of your mobile marketing campaign to see what each subscriber likes or dislikes, and adjusting your messages accordingly. The more you seem to be speaking to each customer as an individual, the better your SMS pitch will be.

December 10, 2012

5 Christmas-Themed Text Message Coupons

Entry By Jason Brick

With everything else going on during the holiday retail rush, it can be hard to find time to come up with SMS Marketing content for December. Fear not, dear readers, the Ez Texting Blog is here to help. Whether you use one idea, all the ideas, or springboard off of them for your own content, Merry Christmas. 

Christmas-sms-coupons

  1. Stocking Stuffer Super Sale
    For suggestive selling at its finest, offer a variety of coupons for low-ticket items that offer a discount with the purchase of larger merchandise. This could take the form of a 5% off per $10 value of other items, a buy-one-get-one deal, or packaging accessories for your big sellers. Add a time-limit to create a rush for a single slow afternoon.
  2. The Twelve Days of _________
    This one is practically cheating, giving you twelve coupons from one basic idea. Start a countdown to a specific date -- Christmas, the solstice, the new year, your last day open before closing for your own holiday, whatever. Each day, place a discount on a single item that's either high-margin or moving too slowly. When you announce an item, include a teaser for the next day's sale. 
  3. Photo Contest Extravaganza
    Folks love their holiday photos, so celebrate that with a series of photo contests, giving the top ten participants a special discount or freebie. If you have a screen in your shop, consider putting up a slideshow of winning images to play throughout the month. Some ideas for photo contests include:
    • Best tree
    • Most exhausted face after shopping
    • Ugliest gift wrap
    • Nicest holiday feast
    • Cutest stockings
  4. Christmas Poem Contest
    Encourage your people to get creative by announcing a series of poem contests on your social media platform. Once or twice a week, send out a single word: the type of poem this contest is about (for example, " Haiku" or "Dirty Limerick"). Print or write out the best results, along with whatever prize you've decided the winners have earned. 
  5. Worst Day/Best Day Giveaway
    The holiday season gives us all some of the warmest and fuzziest memories of the year, and some of our most stressful experiences. Set aside a handful of low-cost, slow-moving items as giveaway prizes and award them to folks who give you the best and worst stories of the holiday season.

Readers, what was your most successful holiday SMS plan ever? What new ideas do you have for this year? Share with us in the comments and have a great holiday season. 

February 21, 2012

5 DIY Digital Communication Tools to Highlight Your Cause

Entry By Jason Brick

Even more than a for-profit business, a non-profit cause needs to maximize its reach while minimizing expenses. DIY digital initiatives, because of their scalability, are some of the best ways to achieve this goal. Your organization is probably already using some digital communication tools, but here are others you should consider implementing.

Diy Digital

1. Flash Demonstrations

This is the most visible way to take advantage of mobile media. Using a text message broadcast, you can organize a meeting of followers with short notice and big results. Depending on your goals, the result can range from a simple presentation, to an artistic display, to a full-bore protest. 

2. Send Reports

Informing your contact list about your cause is key to keeping them involved and giving. A regular report citing statistics, recent developments, and progress made on projects, is a necessary part of your website. An occasional announcement, sent via text marketing, can serve as an extra "ping," to keep your cause front of mind.

3. Text-To-Give

A recent UK report found a 15% response rate for text-to-give fundraising efforts. While low compared to other methods, because the costs are small, text-to-give generates strong returns in spite of the low response rate. So, include a text-to-give message in your publicity initiatives, as well as in occasional broadcasts, to maximize the reach of this method. 

4. Go Viral

The power of digital media is in sharing. Encourage your original recipients to share your broadcasts with their network, and to ask their network to help spread the message as well. Remember, impactful and insightful messages are the most likely to get re-broadcast. As for humor, it can get a lot of shares, but may not be appropriate for your cause's message. Always err on the side of caution.

5. Integrate QR

Quick response codes are easy ways for a potential contact to get involved in your cause, and have a "gadget factor" that may draw some early adopters who would otherwise be less attracted to your organization. Plant your QR panel on bumper stickers, paperwork, fliers, print advertising -- even on your T-shirts. The more places that panel pops up, the better your response will be. 

 

Scam Alert

Unfortunately, more than a few scams have used digital media -- and especially text-to-give campaigns -- to draw fraudulent donations. Your organization will see the strongest results if you pair your digital media initiatives with a professional web and physical presence. This can help contacts feel safe about getting involved with and giving to your cause. 

 

November 16, 2011

7 Ways Religious Groups Can Use Text Messaging To Build Community

Post By Angela Stringfellow

Imagine this: You’re sitting in church listening to the choir finish up your favorite hymn, when you hear a distinct buzz.  You turn around to see a church deacon pull out his phone and begin the two-thumb dance of replying to a text message.  

There’s can’t be much worse than seeing someone sitting in the middle of a religious service, listening to the sermon and texting.  But is there a way to blend the power of the SMS message with religious activities?

It's not a blasphemous question at all. Here is a list of 7 powerful ways SMS messaging can be used to better the religious community:

1. Prayer lists: The power of prayer is astonishing and there is power in numbers.  Often times, prayer lists are included in church bulletins and quarterly newsletters, often getting into the hands of the congregation days or weeks after the need first arises.  Miracles happen every day, most attributed to some sort of divine intervention.  Using text messaging can instantly get information into the hands of those who can provide prayer, positive thoughts and support to a family in need.

2. Message of the day: We’ve all seen quote-of-the-day calendars offering scripture or words of encouragement.  The quick quotes are designed to be motivating, re-affirming or simply just a reminder to live life honorably, graciously and with faith.  The simple task of sending an SMS message to the congregation will offer the same words of hope, faith and love.

3. Sermon /Bible study suggestions: For religious leaders who write their own sermons, writer's block is inevitable, and they often find themselves scrambling at the last minute to complete the story they want to share. A quick text to the congregation for suggestions can not only provide good ideas, but allow the congregation a sense of ownership over the content of the services.  In addition, having an interactive process allows the material to be relevant.  A quick poll can take a national statistic and make it local. In addition, SMS can be used to discuss topics for discussion at Bible studies or other educational forums.

4. Social service events/notifications: A flood, a fire, a family’s medical emergency. The need for help is often immediate. SMS texting can provide the perfect opportunity to reach out to vast numbers of people who can provide the resources needed in a time of crisis. Whether it’s rounding up the troops to help in the aftermath of a natural disaster or reminding volunteers of the canned food drive, the simple and quick notification can be the difference between a turnout of five and a turnout of 100.

5. Recruitment campaigns: Many churches, synagogues and religious institutions are struggling with attendance. Younger members are simply not attending as they once were. SMS messaging can be used to supplement recruitment campaigns by providing information on congregational meetings, religious services, youth group activities or simply to invite the community to a meet and greet.  The call-to-action alone may be enough to get a few people in the door.

6. Fund raising: If the church is in need of a new elevator, a roof, or perhaps a new organ, the contributions of its congregation are vital. Notifications used to be hung in parlors or on bulletin boards in the community. Now, the unobservant can be notified quickly and easily with a text message announcing the fund raising event. After the initial message it’s easy for those who received the message to pass it along to their social network.  Not only does this help raise the funds, but will help the organization gain community exposure and potentially bring new members through their doors with the event.

7. Religious news: People like to be informed.  Many young families are too busy with their lives to stop and take a moment to read the paper or even watch the news. What better way to share news that is pertinent to your congregation than to send a link via SMS.  On smartphones, the quick and simple links can be viewed and the congregation is now up-to-date on the latest news surrounding the religious community.

The fact of the matter is that texting is quick, easy and efficient.  The challenge is finding appropriate ways for the religious community to take advantage of the technologies available. By providing opportunities for members to interact, the community as a whole grows stronger; thus, accomplishing the ultimate goal: spreading the word.

How is your church or religious center using technology and SMS messaging? If you’re not using it, would you consider it?

Learn how other religous groups are using text messaging right now.

August 31, 2010

Saddleback Church builds sense of community with mobile

Shane Neman, Ez Texting's CEO, recently presented our case study of Saddleback Church at the DMA/Mobile Marketer Nonprofit Mobile Day:

Saddleback Church has a 360-degree mobile strategy in place that it uses to build a sense of community and increase charitable donations throughout its eight houses of worship.

The nonprofit uses SMS to make its services more interactive and to engage prospective members by integrating text messaging

...

The Church first began mobile marketing via SMS. The church used SMS to poll audiences. This was a means of building a sense of community. However, Saddleback also used the answers it got to segment its audience.

Consumers were asked to text SADDLEBACK to 313131.

Consumers that participated in the polls were asked a question, which they replied to with three possible answers. They were then asked to provide their email address.

Saddleback Church was able to send emails to participants based on their poll responses. There were three variations of the email communication; one for each of the possible poll answers.

Read the entire article at Mobile Commerce Daily

June 22, 2010

Texting To High Heaven?

We'd like to point out a great article over at SmarterTechnology.com. Writer Dennis McCafferty looked at the great things that Ez Texting client Saddleback Church is doing with text messaging:

One of Ez Texting's more high-profile customers is Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of the largest churches in the nation. (Superstar minister Rick Warren is the founder.) The church selected Ez Texting's group-text messaging platform and then connected its entire membership database to the Ez Texting SMS gateway. This large-scale connection uses application programming interface (API), which allows the church's computer system to interact with the Ez Texting messaging system for seamless, automated communications. When parents attend services, they get alerts when a situation comes up involving one of their children attending a program outside the main church. This replaced an older, more antiquated pager system. Saddleback also sends daily Bible verse messages via text.

During major services, such as those for Christmas and Easter, Saddleback integrates text messaging within the program. The most recent Easter service, for example, was held at Angel Stadium in Anaheim and broadcast on XM/Sirius satellite radio, as well as via a Webcast. Those attending in virtual fashion were encouraged to text Saddleback to 313131 to interact when a trivia contest was featured. The church has also used the texting connection to send information to interested audiences about its history and mission, and for message-building and recruitment purposes.

Read the entire article @ SmarterTechnology.com

Want to learn about how to use text messaging for your church? Head over to the ministry resources center.

June 02, 2010

Saddleback Church Uses Text Messaging To Interact With Audiences Around The World During Easter Services

Check out our latest press release over @ PRWeb:

When Saddleback Church wanted to enhance their services, they turned to text messaging. Saddleback Church chose Ez Texting’s group text messaging platform for its low cost, and flexible, powerful API. Saddleback connected their membership database to the Ez Texting text messaging gateway using the API. All communications are synchronized and seamless.

March 26, 2010

Public Knowledge Wants You To Tell The FCC To Protect Freedom To Text!

Public Knowledge is a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group working to defend citizens' rights in the emerging digital culture. They have filed an important petition with the FCC:

Text messaging is a part of everyday life for people—a fast and convenient form of communication useful in every situation. Because of its importance, in 2007 Public Knowledge and others filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking that it clarify that text messaging is subject to the same nondiscrimination rules as voice communications.

You can learn more about the petition (and sign on) @ http://www.publicknowledge.org/issues/text-message-petition

So why is this an issue? Let's look at an article in yesterday's New York Times:

When the earthquake devastated Haiti, Catholic Relief Services tried to gather contributions for its efforts using the hottest trend in giving: donations via cellphone.

But the charity wanted to try a twist on the technology: when people sent a text message to donate, they got a reply offering to connect them via phone to the charity’s call center. The group hoped that the calls could build a stronger bond with donors, and garner larger contributions as well.

But just three days into the effort after the Jan. 12 earthquake, the charity got word that Sprint Nextel was demanding that the “text-to-call” effort be shut down. The charity had 40 days to abandon the feature or lose access to millions of Sprint customers.

Sprint’s original motivations are murky; it said that an intermediary company had failed to properly fill out a form to verify that it was dealing with a legitimate charity.

The conflict underscores a problem that public interest groups asked the Federal Communications Commission to address more than two years ago: the hazy legal status of text messages, which are controlled by telephone companies without any real government oversight. The laws that prohibit phone companies from interfering with voice calls do not apply to text messages, a fast-growing medium.

“We should be able to communicate with people the way they want to be communicated with, not the way the phone company wants them to be communicated with,” said Jed Alpert, a founder of Mobile Commons, the company that connects Catholic Relief Services and 100 other nonprofit organizations with text messaging networks. 

Read more @ The New York Times.
Check out the petition here.

March 03, 2010

Geeks & God Podcast Talks About Texting To Further The Gospel

We love hearing about innovative uses of our group text messaging service. Today we listened to the Geeks & God Podcast, featuring Pastor Lucas Forsthoff. Head over to Geeks & God to check out the Podcast. They start talking about texting at the 26-minute mark.

Want to learn more about group text messaging for ministries? Head over to the resource center.