SMS Text Marketing Blog

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 12:08 — Jeremy Pollack

Is your law firm harnessing the power of text marketing for lead generation? If it is not, it should be. Text marketing for generating leads is one of the best tools you can use and offer your firm partners, since it allows you to communicate with a variety of audiences in ways that they are receptive to and that don’t cost you much money.

When you automate your text marketing, you don’t even have to expend much time to generate revenue for your law firm. Using a CRM can help you organize the leads you receive and convert them into revenue. Together, text marketing and the use of a CRM will increase your ROI significantly.

As you implement text marketing, make sure you consider the following:

Get Permission

It is not okay to randomly send text messages to people who have never expressed interest in your services. Get permission to send SMS messages via opt-in forms on your website or by asking for it in other ways. You might want to create a mobile keyword for each type of legal service you offer; for instance you can ask potential clients to Text Divorce at 900000. This way, you get the opt-in, and you know more about your leads’ needs.

Make Messages Short and Clear

Once you have permission to send SMS messages, keep your texts short so that they can garner interest and persuade people to contact you for more information. Make messages clear so that individuals don’t have to guess what you are asking them to do. If you want someone to call, ask for a call-back. When you would rather someone click on a link to your landing page, make that request specific.

Pay Attention to Timing

Timing is critical when it comes to text messaging for lead generation. Pay attention to when you send your SMS messages. The ideal time to send a text messages is shortly after initial contact, and then you will want to follow up promptly after you get a response.

Qualify Your Leads

As you are using mobile marketing to generate leads, you will want to qualify and grade your leads, so that you are sure which ones your sales team can utilize. You might also have your sales team note which leads may not be right to follow up with now, but could hold potential for future business.

Messages Should be Relevant and Have End Goals

Every text message you send should keep prospective clients engaged and wanting to know more. Don’t stop reaching out after one great message, however. Keep sending useful information and offers to assist, and you will likely see your click-through rates and interaction increase for your benefit.

In order to determine if your text messaging lead generation campaign is working, you must set benchmarks for your sales team and evaluate which SMS campaigns have proven successful. This gives you the information you need to drop time-wasting campaigns or expand on ones that have had a high impact.

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 11:55 — Jeremy Pollack

As the November election comes closer, the campaign managers behind the current batch of presidential hopefuls will likely be looking for ways to utilize digital and mobile marketing to help their candidates’ causes. Should they require inspiration, they need only look back at the past seven years to study how President Obama harnessed the digital media to build his reputation and promote his agenda.

In fact, in today’s world of technology-driven information and social awareness, a candidate running for president must embrace digital marketing in the way Obama did. What did President Obama do to reach out to generations built on technology, to effectively convey his messages? Including mobile marketing and social media marketing, the following are some of the digital strategies Obama used and practices that campaigns in 2016 and the years following can learn from.

Use Iconic Quotes

President Obama has been a powerful communicator, so it made sense for his PR team to assemble some of his best quotes and put them in graphic form for sharing online. Particularly on social media, sharing short but inspiring quotes from the President is a perfect online marketing tool to sway public opinion your way.

Spread “Share With a Friend” Images

When Obama was running for the White House in 2012, his team created a series of images that highlighted the President’s biggest accolades and shared them on social media, asking everyone to “Share With a Friend” the accomplishments that meant the most to them. This campaign was quite simple, but it encouraged mass sharing and promoting of Obama messages through eye-catching images.

Humanize Your Candidate

President Obama’s team was great at humanizing him through social media channels like Twitter, in particular, leveraging the power of social media to show that he is funny, kind, a good husband, a loving father, emotional, or whatever they wanted to portray him as. Through social media marketing, and the sharing of pictures of President Obama hugging his wife or acting in other compassionate ways, the Obama campaign crew kept its boss approachable and connected with the rest of us.

Optimized Opt-In Pages

Obama’s web and marketing managers played with different versions of splash pages until they found one that was able to generate more than $60 million for his campaign. They toyed with, and tweaked, button copy, calls to action, and imagery until they had a successful landing page that yielded amazing results in terms of campaign donations and loyal supporters.

Tailor Your Message to Your Audience

Whether you are implementing mobile marketing, social media marketing, or any other type of marketing, it is imperative to tailor your message to the audience you want to attract and keep. President Obama did just this by creating Kids for Obama, Asian Americans Pacific Islanders for Obama, and Obama Pride campaigns – among others – that featured specialized logos that were variations of his notable logo.

There are dozens of other ways that President Obama used mobile marketing and social media marketing tools to portray himself as contemporary, knowledgeable, a man of the people, and in touch with today’s issues. Any political candidate running within the next several years would be wise to embrace the tactics that helped make Obama the vision for change that Americans were hoping for.

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 13:18 — Jeremy Pollack

Need to generate buzz for your upcoming community theater production? Do so with MMS marketing for community theater. MMS marketing for small businesses is helping many a company gain the attention it wants, thanks to consumers reading text messages almost immediately after receiving them among other benefits. Review a few options for using MMS marketing in community theater promotion efforts and see if they don’t make a considerable difference.

Discounted Show Tickets

Add texting opt-in information to all advertisements—flyers, billboards, print ads, etc.—and stress that anyone who signs up for your text list will receive discounts to shows. Offer discounts to every show of the season if it is within your budget, or select shows only. If promoting the latter, let consumers know they can choose which shows they want discounted tickets for.

VIP Party Access

Run contests through your MMS marketing campaign that result in VIP access to post-show parties. People never tire of backstage passes, so make it easy for them with a campaign that grants access to the first 10 or 20 subscribers who respond to the message. Note that the backstage pass includes free food and drinks, as people never get sick of those things, either!

Show Updates

Keep your subscriber list updated about your company’s latest shows via SMS. Inform them of show dates and times, any featured performers appearing in the production, and anything else that is relevant.

Contests

Alert subscribers to upcoming contests via MMS, and send images of the prizes. Run any type of contest you like, such as a costume contest where participants send in photos dressed as their favorite characters from the show season. Prizes can include vouchers for free drinks and snacks at show concession stands, the aforementioned discounted show tickets, and more.

Videos

Get your subscribers excited about an upcoming production by sending links to video clips of dress rehearsals. Show your subscribers why they must attend the show by including snippets of songs if applicable and the best scenes from the production. Think of the videos as your very own trailers that pique viewer interest and encourage them to learn more.

Donation Appreciation

Send texts with links to donation web pages. Go a step further by announcing that your company will recognize those who donated the most at your next show or community event. Reward them with special show packages that include ticket discounts and other perks for the duration of the season.

Fundraisers and Parties

Make performances at fundraising events and similar parties work better for you by handing out flyers at the end of the song/scene that feature texting opt-in information. If you have a booth at the fundraising event, include a code or old-fashioned sign-up sheet that encourages attendees to subscribe to your text alerts and subsequently learn about exclusive offers.

Take full advantage of MMS marketing for community theater to increase show season awareness, audience numbers, and ticket sales. Text messaging is an inexpensive yet highly effective way to improve business.

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 13:14 — Jeremy Pollack

Wondering how to make the best possible use of MMS marketing for small businesses? Get the inspiration you need by reviewing six of the most creative MMS marketing campaigns from the last few years. Learn how the following brands set themselves apart from the competition via MMS marketing and see if you come up with a few outstanding ideas of your own.

Julep

The makeup company launched a mobile marketing campaign that resulted in a database of more than 5,000 subscribers within the first 24 hours. Julep enticed opt-ins by creating a highly appealing text offer that provided customers with 50 percent off of their next nail polish purchases. The ‘Julep Mobile Insider Club’ was promoted by sending emails to the existing subscriber database and posting about the campaign on social media outlets. One promotion about their new Kai nail polish color resulted in a 34.23 percent click-through rate and a 17.44 percent purchase conversion rate.

BMW

This famous luxury car brand encouraged consumers to invest in expensive winter tires by creating a campaign that reminded them how such tires are essential to safety. Winter tires offer much better tread on snowy, icy roads! BMW sent personalized MMS messages to its subscriber list that focused on what those individuals’ vehicles needed specifically, resulting in a 30 percent conversion rate from 1,200 messages.

American Eagle Outfitters

Clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters’ creative MMS marketing campaign is all about announcing upcoming sales, including holiday sales and flash sales for clearance items. Promo codes are frequently included with messages, and are tracked at Point of Sale and linked to the mobile-friendly website.

National Wholesale Liquidators

National Wholesale Liquidators offered consumers who opted in to their mobile marketing campaign $5 off any purchase of $25 or more. The campaign was advertised through online, in-store, and print advertising channels, resulting in a database of 50,000 mobile phone numbers. It was subsequently found that customers who opted in to the campaign spent 80 percent more than those who were not part of said campaign.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut aims to help answer the age-old question, “What are we having for dinner?” The fast food chain sends mobile messages to customers with rumbling stomachs that feature promotions and coupons to encourage pizza as the answer to the dinner query. The campaign increased foot traffic as well as online order numbers.

Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware continually strives to increase customer engagement in a variety of mobile-tastic ways. For example, it offers coupons through its microsite, and uses barcodes and promo codes to increase trackable offer numbers. It also allows customers to save their offers for later use via SMS, email, or Passbook. Continually providing a variety of excellent offers in combination with in-store signs that promote opting-in has resulted in the numbers the hardware store desires.

These and many more examples of creative MMS marketing campaigns demonstrate the power of mobile marketing and how sending texts to consumers at the right time is well worth the effort. People open text messages almost immediately after they receive them, something that cannot be said for email and other means of communication. Why not leverage MMS marketing to your benefit?

Sun, 08/28/2016 - 14:35 — Nic Denholm

With more than half the world now using mobile technology, the mobile marketing industry is growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, technology research firm eMarketer estimates that ad dollars spent on mobile marketing campaigns will quadruple in the next four years, from 8.4 billion to 37 billion dollars by 2016. This means that mobile marketing campaigns will become increasingly more competitive for consumers’ attention, motivating brands to be extremely innovative in order to stand out.

Creating unique, fun, and interesting user experiences is of the highest importance in developing wildly successful mobile marketing strategies, especially if the marketing channels can be social or viral. Companies also must keep up-to-date on the latest innovations in mobile ad technology, including behavioral, geo, and trend targeting. Below are a few of the most successful examples of creative mobile marketing ideas in the past year.

LG: Mobile, Social, and Musical
After launching its L-series handset, technology company LG created a twitter-based mobile game in order to reach a younger female audience. The company promoted its event at the LG Arena featuring the young pop band One Direction, hiding 25 exclusive pairs of VIP tickets each in a different location. As people tweeted #lgtickethunter to LG’s short code, the map on LG’s site zoomed in closer to each location—for every tweet LG received, the map zoomed in tighter, eventually revealing the locations. LG’s goal was to create some buzz around the campaign as well as to create greater brand awareness for the company across a younger market. Over the course of five days, LG received 58,000 uses of the #lgtickethunter hashtag, with 40,000 page views to the 1-page site and 9420 unique visitors. As a result, the L-series phone saw a 28% increase in sales during the campaign.

Key takeaway: Make your mobile marketing campaign relevant to the target market’s interest. Mobile marketing research into emerging trends will help. Keep in mind what’s hot and current for your demographic, and position your marketing accordingly.

Ikea: Traditional Catalog Transformed
With the goal of reinvigorating interest into one of the most traditional direct marketing campaigns, IKEA turned its renowned catalog into an interactive mobile app, allowing consumers to view hidden content by scanning certain pages of the catalog. This enhanced user experience drove IKEA’s app to become the number one downloaded marketing app for a brand in 2012. The 6.2 million installs made for more than three times the attention IKEA’s catalog received the year before, and users spent an average of eight minutes in the app compared to only three minutes in the catalogue.

Key Takeaway: Modern consumers are becoming more tech compelled. Transforming traditional, static marketing collateral into interactive and entertaining content is important in today’s evolving economy.

Quiznos: Close by and Right up Your Alley
As we’ll see in this example, successful mobile marketing is not just about being creative on the user side, it’s also about being savvy on the marketing side. In November 2012, the quick-service sandwich company Quiznos launched a geo-targeted mobile campaign in the Portland, Oregon area to attract nearby consumers who were likely to make a purchase. Instead of simply setting parameters as to location, Quiznos used location-based behavioral targeting technology to establish conditions around who was most likely to actually buy food at a quick-serve restaurant. The sandwich brand only served mobile ads to 18 to 34-year-old consumers who had visited comparable quick-service restaurants, like Subway or Jimmy John’s, during the previous 30 days and who were no further than three miles away from a Quiznos shop at the time the ad was served. Because of Quiznos’ tech savvy approach to geographic and behavioral targeting, the company served nearly 3.7 million targeted ad impressions and consequently saw a 20 percent increase in coupon redemptions within the Portland area compared to similar nationwide campaigns that didn’t use behavioral targeting.

Key takeaway: Consumers are constantly on the go, and mobile marketing campaigns should reflect that reality. Delivering an ad that targets individual behaviors and current location, and including a coupon, is a great way to inspire immediate action.

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 09:46 — Jeremy Pollack


Mobile marketing impacts the sporting industry. Major sporting events are a key driver of emergent communication technologies, and text marketing is no different. The 2012 London Olympics saw mobile advertising grow by 50%, as businesses recognized the enormous power of the spectacle as an attention-grabber that could attendees into phone numbers on lists. 

Other sports organizations are realizing the potential of text marketing as a way of engaging fans whose prior involvement in the game was limited to hollering support (or abuse!) from the touchline. The smartphones now carried by most fans allow them to interact directly with their club or team. Collegiate athletic departments are looking towards the 35% of young sports fans who routinely comment on games via social media.

College sports fans and tech-savvy youngsters aren’t just easy bedfellows – they’re often one and the same person. Educated and equipped with their smartphone round-the-clock, this demographic is instinctively primed for your text marketing campaign.

It’s not just college sports or major one-offs like the Olympics that are benefitting from text marketing. Sport is big business, and everyone from the Bundesliga in Germany to the NBA in the US, right down to minor league grassroots enterprises are using mobile platforms to transmit, among other things:

 

  • The latest transfer news
  • Results
  • Player Statistics
  • Tactical information
  • Fixtures
  • League table standing


Text marketing is helping the global reach of sports organizations grow. Even a decade ago, the English Premier League was still largely the preserve of UK soccer fans. At the end of 2012, 37% of global mobile media users followed it.

The beauty of sports as a vertical is how easily it can be broken up into sub-verticals. Take the aforementioned soccer as an example. You have a pyramid of fandom, all pointing to ‘soccer’ at the top. Beneath that you have a variety of international clubs, which capture huge audiences (nearly half the global population watched the 2010 World Cup, according to FIFA). Below that are the top-flight club teams from around the world, which attract cross-country interest thanks to the European Cup and other continental competitions. Then there is a raft of amateur and semi-pro lower leagues, each with their own loyal following. Finally you get right down to Sunday soccer teams and casual spectators who watch the occasional televised match. This grassroots fanbase is just that – a ‘base’ on which the entire soccer industry is built. 

To varying degrees, these fans have strong, identifiable allegiances that translate directly into personal preferences. This segmentation neatly forms the basis of an effective, highly targeted mobile marketing strategy, which no sports organization should go without.

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 23:48 — Mark Podhajsky

EZ Texting is dedicated to ensuring that our industry leading text communications platform remains at the top of its game.  To that end, we’re always releasing updates, enhancements, and other improvements.  Check out some of the items we’ve released over the past six months!

 

Virtual Phone Numbers

Virtual phone numbers allow you to conduct one-on-one correspondence — such as for customer support or appointment scheduling and reminders.

Zendesk Integration

Zendesk is one of the world’s most widely used customer support platforms. EZ Texting’s Zendesk integration allows you to receive and reply to support tickets via text, and gives end customers an easy and convenient way to get help when and how they want.

Data Uploading

EZ Texting’s redesigned data uploading tool makes adding new contacts to your account a snap.

Advanced Search and Filtering

Reporting on sent messages just got easier with advanced search and filtering enhancements.  Search by group, contact name, and number, and filter by date range, message type, recipients, date range, and more.  Once you’ve filtered your data, export it with ease!

In addition, we’ve implemented some changes that, while not readily visible, are no less important.  These infrastructure upgrades allow your largest campaigns to go out without a hitch.

Stay tuned for more!  The second half of 2016 will see several new features, including:

  • Additional reporting enhancements will enable you to slice, dice, filter, and export the specific data you need.  Use message tagging to identify different types of messages and group them for intuitive analysis and reporting.
  • A handy reminder wizard will allow you to proactively manage time-dependent messaging:  payment reminders, birthday messages, appointment reminders, and more.
  • With an upcoming data capture add-on tool, you’ll be able to capture more than your contacts’ phone numbers when they opt in to your lists.
Sun, 07/03/2016 - 07:25 — Nic Denholm


According to researchers, people who use their smartphones to send text messages have what’s referred to as a “texting rhythm” that’s detectable upon evaluation of their brains. The new study shows that texting can actually change a human’s brain waves. 

Little is known about the neurological effects of smartphones on humans, aside from this bit of fresh fodder; but scientists are coming to find out more about how our brains function while using the devices. The study analyzed data from 129 participants, all whom were monitored for more than 15 months via video footage and electroencephalograms (EEGs). It found the unique “rhythm” in about one out of five participants, all of whom had their brain waves monitored as they used their smartphones to send texts.

 

The Mayo Clinic Study

Researchers working at the Mayo Clinic in the United States found this “texting rhythm” after asking study participants to take part in various activities using their smartphones, such as sending normal text messages, tapping their fingers on their devices’ screen, and using the phones’ audio telephone capabilities. All of these tasks were to evaluate cognitive and attention function.

Only sending text messages caused the brain rhythm to change in study participants. Researchers think that it’s the combination of auditory-verbal and motor neurological activity, combined with mental activity, that creates these unique brainwaves. Further, there seems to be no correlation between the “texting rhythm” and the participants’ demographic profiles, such as gender, age, detection of an existing brain lesion, or epileptic history.

 

Further Findings Including iPad Use

William Tatum, director of the epilepsy center and the epilepsy-monitoring unit at the Mayo Clinic, led the study and says that the new brain rhythm is largely connected to a vastly distributed network that is increased by emotion or attention. He states that the “texting rhythm” is an “objective metric” of the human brain’s capability of processing non-verbal data while using an electronic device.

Researchers hypothesized that the “texting rhythm” might only be found in participants using mobile devices that could fit in their hands, because these devices have small screens and require greater concentration. They saw, however, that the rhythm was also present in the participants who messaged on iPads. 

 

Can We Use This Data to Reach Any Conclusions?

The Mayo Clinic study could provide significant implications when it comes to conversations about interfacing with computers and even driving. Tatum says that we now have a biological reason to refrain from texting and driving. Texting changes brain waves, so people (especially heavy-texting millenials) need to avoid doing so while operating a car.

Tatum also states that there is a lot more research that needs to be done to understand the brain responses generated when a human sends a text. The complete Mayo Clinic study was published in Epilepsy and Behaviour, a medical journal.

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 12:34 — Nic Denholm


If you’re a business owner, the fact that 84 percent of millennials act on mobile push notifications is something to definitely capitalize on...and quick. The location-based mobile platform Retale commissioned a study on the subject in September of 2015, which polled 500 millennial adult men and women age 18-34 years old all over the United States. 

The study found that 94 percent of the millennial generation use location-based services, or apps that identify a person’s location. Retail establishments and brands frequently use such apps to send consumers information about products and services at stores near their locations. These services are a bit more popular among millennial iPhone users at 97 percent than they are among millennial Android users at 93 percent. 

 

Acting On Push Notifications

Some 84 percent of millennials respond to push notifications. Engagement following push notifications from brands is high at 83 percent, with men more likely to follow through on push notifications than women at 86 percent and 79 percent, respectively. Some 89 percent of millennials will act on push notifications from favorite brands, with men again more likely to act than women at 91 percent and 85 percent. As previously mentioned, iPhone users are more active on mobile devices in terms of push notifications than their Android counterparts at 92 percent and 86 percent. 

 

Preferred Info

In terms of the types of information millennials like to receive when push notifications pop up, most want deals and discounts (shocking!). Coupons, “instant” deals, customer rewards, sales, and new product information are among the favorite push notification topics, as are store locations, hours, and in-store guidance as to where products are located. Receipts following purchase completion are also among preferred push notification information. 

 

Reasons for No Response

When asked about reasons for not responding to push notifications, millennials cited lack of relevance, intrusion/too many notifications, poor timing, and lack of deals. Considering that 80 percent of millennials look at their devices first thing in the morning and 78 percent spend two or more hours on their devices each day, businesses having issues engaging consumers with push notifications should revamp their mobile marketing strategies.

 

Mobile Marketing Campaign Tips

Whether you are looking to revitalize your push notification strategy or are otherwise working on a new mobile marketing campaign, consider the following tips to help you get the most from your efforts: 

 

  • Text Instead of Call: Millennials might spend half their lives on their phones, but that doesn’t mean they want you to call them and interrupt their days. Opt for SMS messaging instead and go the non-invasive route. 
  • Get Personal: The millennial generation is used to brand customization and essentially getting what it wants when it wants it. Personalize your campaigns based on demographics and buying interests to pique millennial interest. 
  • Think About Security: Security is a constant mobile technology issue, and millennials are very protective of their personal information. Keep this in mind at all times and ensure your mobile options are safe and secure. 

 

Make push notifications work for you…. and enjoy the results.

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:26 — Nic Denholm

In many rural places of the world that have shortages of food, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where one in 10 people do not have enough to eat, the Word Food Programme (WFP) relies on food monitoring systems operated via mobile technology. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is the second-largest country in Africa and a land filled with fertile soil and abundant rivers, food insecurity or “the availability and adequate access at all times to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food” remains a concern and a crisis.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been involved in wars and rebellions for the last 20 years or more. Like countries in similar circumstances, it has had its entire food system disrupted and much of its population displaced. The WFP is using new mobile technology to monitor, and provide, food in these vulnerable communities. It has been using smartphones and voice recognition software to collect food security information on a regular basis since 2014.

 

Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM)

Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) is a project that 15 countries throughout the world have implemented to monitor food security. The first pilot for the program took place in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and its successfully been replicated in Mugunga III, which is a site that hosts more than 4,600 people near Goma. These early mobile data collection projects in DRC will likely be copied in other areas of the province, in the months ahead, and food price collection information will be introduced throughout the nation. 

The primary goal of mVAM is to gather data on food access, price, consumption and coping mechanisms (per household level) remotely. This allows the WFP to access food security in a specific zone in a better way, and it lets the organization provide emergency help if possible. Each month, WFP employees Jean-Marie Kaseku and Mireille Hangi call nearly 300 respondents who live in Mugunga II, and they ask them several targeted and specific questions. They want to know exactly how many days out of the last seven they ate protein, fats, and cereals. They inquire about what coping mechanisms they used if they did not have enough food to eat. They hope to find out if individuals had to borrow money to eat, reduce rations so all family members could eat, or decrease daily meal intake.

 

Remote Data Collection Proves Easier

In countries where infrastructure, like roads, has been damaged, it’s often difficult to know if populations are eating and thriving. Without a means to meet face to face for interviews, remote data collection proves more flexible. This method for gathering data is also more cost effective and quicker. Compare a phone call and technological analysis of data to other methods, such as in-person interviews that cost $20 to $40 per family or transcription of those meetings that might take four to six weeks.

The WFP project is particularly useful in areas of extreme vulnerability and illiteracy. With the mobile food security data collection project, the WFP is able to understand at a more effective level what people need and how to get it to them.

Sat, 06/25/2016 - 11:58 — Nic Denholm

Use of mobile technology in U.S. hospitals is growing fast. Some of the largest hospitals in the United States have now turned to mobile technology as a primary means of communication.


Use of mobile technology in U.S. hospitals is growing fast. Some of the largest hospitals in the United States have now turned to mobile technology as a primary means of communication. These big healthcare facilities are already using mobile health apps and other tech platforms, or they’re planning on it, says a survey put out recently by mHealth consulting firm, Spyglass Consulting Group.

 

The group surveyed 19 major hospitals in the U.S. and found that 63 percent of them had an mHealth communications platform in place that would support at minimum 500 web-enabled devices, or that they had intentions of employing such a platform in the next 12 to 18 months. The reach for each would be at least 500 mobile devices and smartphones, but some could connect with more than 5,000 devices.

 

For Doctors and Patients

Hospital mHealth strategies and plans put doctors, and patients, in communication with one another through mobile technology. Gregg Malkary, Spyglass founder and managing director, says that mobile devices like smartphones are now replacing desktop computers, landline phones, and pagers as a preferred means of communicating and accessing patient data. The mHealth apps and technology allow for retrieval of important information, and response to pressing matters, from any location at nearly any time. 

 

All Hospital Departments Are On Board

With the integration of mHealth mobile technology into a hospital’s day-to-day routine, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, financial personnel, information technology professions, and ancillary care workers are all able to come on board to best support the care of patients. Patients today are looking at their healthcare options as they would any other choices in any other industry. They’re checking out what hospitals offer and assessing which ones will ultimately make their care easiest. This means they’re often choosing to get treatment done at hospitals that communicate seamlessly between departments, which is where mobile health technology can come in.

 

Security and Reliability

Of course, having access to easy communication and patient data retrieval is not all that’s required when implementing a mobile health technology system. Security and system reliability are crucial. At the 19 big hospitals surveyed, patients and doctors are finding that these needs are being met across the board, throughout the hospital’s departments. From radiology to housekeeping, different professionals at the facilities have their needs met with the current mHealth platforms.

Spyglass also reported that 83 percent of people surveyed said they required a mobile health communication platform that was comprehensive in scope, meaning it worked for them inside of the hospital and out. Seventy-eight percent thought that, for any mHealth platform to succeed, it would need to have a tightly integrated IT infrastructure and be available on a large scale. Out of all the respondents, 50 percent said that the existing tools available to them offer limited options for reporting and analyzing data. 

Malkary stressed that all of the U.S. health provider organizations reported that any smartphone communication system considered would need to be highly reliable, easily manageable, scalable, and support the critical mission of patient communication.

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 11:56 — Nic Denholm

Text messaging has become a way of life and a primary means of communication, so it is no surprise that the use of text messaging in healthcare has been growing. Even our doctors are now sending us texts regarding prescriptions and other matters concerning our health care. For many, this type of communication is well received and easy to engage in. But with the new convenience comes the need to make sure that mobile messaging is Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant.

Use of Text Messaging in Healthcare Requires Extra Precautions

The Pew Research Center says that almost two thirds of people in the United States own smartphones, which means there’s a good chance that patients and doctors are used to communicating via text messaging. Both of these groups likely feel comfortable exchanging SMS messages in the course of discussing patient orders and treatment. But in a healthcare setting, SMS service takes on extreme importance. 

The Joint Commission recently said it’s acceptable to use text messaging to submit patient orders, within certain parameters, but it cautions that critical steps are needed to remain HIPAA compliant. Firstly, it says that in order for text messaging regarding health to be compliant, people must be happy with the service. According to Al Villarin, MD – a CMIO at IT consulting firm Burwood Group – compliance begins with a contract between the clinical and the technical. To remain compliant, any healthcare tool must fit easily into an existing workflow and be well received by everyone in the loop.

Burwood Group executive director Tim Needham, who oversees healthcare solutions delivery practice, agrees and says that new communications systems succeed only if they can involve the entirely of the participants. Physicians, therefore, must only use technology – in this case SMS services – if they deliver value and are efficient. Otherwise, healthcare practitioners and patients will revert back to the default methods that they know.

 

Careful Consideration of Text Messaging Services Is needed

To remain compliant, it’s important that healthcare facilities and professionals carefully screen potential SMS services to make sure they offer secure communication systems and ease of use. Thankfully, most vendors in this area have focused on security and ease – and therefore HIPAA compliance – for the last few years. They’ve developed tools that seem to be well adopted across departments. Still, finding those sms services that the entire industry takes hold of is another story. This has been difficult; the potential is there to make healthcare communications more organized for all professionals and patients.

As part of the HIPAA compliance evaluation process, it’s imperative that each hospital and physician’s office take the time to analyze the effectiveness of its mobile communications – and then make necessary adjustments if needed. A tool is only as good as its ability to serve the people, and compliance is most likely found when it can be proven that all parties feel satisfied with the service used.

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 08:52 — Nic Denholm


Data collected from multiple recent studies show that SMS messages can help smokers kick their habits. Research focused on smokers receiving encouraging messages like “Be strong” and “You can do it!” revealed that these text interventions are helpful in getting smokers to abstain.

The researchers behind the study used meta analysis, a technique that combines findings from many independent studies, to arrive at their conclusion. The scientific team analyzed 20 manuscripts that documented 22 SMS messaging interventions dealing with curbing smoking in 20 countries. It sought out information about how mHealth text messaging – with a specific health issue in mind – could directly impact decisions made by individuals that could positively impact their states of wellness.

 

mHealth Via SMS Service to Meet People Where They Are

Receiving a personalized message regarding a health issue might be what it takes to get an individual to finally make the connection that choices are contributing to sickness. This is the focus of the mHealth text messages that are delivered straight to those who have agreed to participate in the trial. The SMS messages are short, direct, and supportive comments that remind receives about poor health choices and offer education. They’re messages a friend might send, and more.

The SMS interventions ideally will be adapted to suit the participants’ lives and natural environments. They’ll be on-point, regularly scheduled, convenient reminders to take immediate action toward smoking cessation (and hopefully other bad lifestyle choices in the future).

 

More Research and Trials are Needed

The study’s lead researcher, Lori Scott-Sheldon from Brown University, says that the evidence revealed in the trials provides inarguable support for the effectiveness of SMS messaging interventions. She offers that these messages have absolutely reduced smoking behavior, but more research is necessary to understand exactly how the interventions work, why they work, and under what conditions they’re most effective.

The Journal of Medical Internet Research published the study. Scott-Sheldon added that tobacco use is a preventable health issue and one of the leading preventable concerns. This is why, she purports, text messaging shows such promise. The SMS services are low cost, they’re able to reach a wide audience, and they don’t take many resources to implement. The mHealth messages, Sheldon-Scott says, should be a “public health priority” so that smokers can get the intervention they desperately need. 

Since SMS messaging has reached near-market saturation, it makes sense that the technology be used as an easy, cost-effective, and direct means to get health information out to the public – and to hopefully influence individuals in a way that creates immediate positive changes in their lifestyles. 

There are not many groups in the United States, or in the world, who do not have access to text messaging, and therefore the potential for an SMS service like the stop-smoking texts is great. A senior research scientist at The Mirian Hospitals Centres for Behavioural and Preventative Medicine, Beth Bock says that widespread availability of a good stop-smoking program can make a powerful statement – and impact – on public health.

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 08:50 — Jeremy Pollack


Android mobile device users in the UK have a serious potential problem to deal with: Marcher malware. Marcher is a destructive piece of malware that steals banking usernames and passwords, and cybercriminals are using it to steal phone users' private information.

Marcher malware has been ripping off Android users’ logins since 2013, when the cyber fraud program entered the underground forums for Russian speakers. In the beginning, the malware only went after credit card info by overlaying a phony screen on the Google Play store, which asked for credit card numbers, expiration dates, and codes from users. Then it targeted large banks and financial services, focusing on companies in Germany.

The evolution of Marcher malware now threatens those who bank with financial companies in Germany, the UK, France, Austria, Turkey, and Australia. Marcher only attacks Android devices; there are no reports of an iOS Marcher malware version.

 

Marcher Malware Has Specific Targets Within the Android Market

Android users who have the popular KitKat, Jelly Bean, and Lollipop versions installed on their mobile devices are among those hardest hit with the Marcher malware infection, according to Check Point security company researchers. These users have frequently been receiving phishing emails that purport to be a Flash update. After users click the links in their emails, which they think will let them upgrade their OS and safeguard their devices against identity theft and data loss, Marcher’s process of devastation starts.

The three-step road to havoc involves deception and trickery, as users are coaxed into enabling the installation of the malicious app (outside of the Google Play store) and installing it, which leads to the fake overlay screens popping up on bank apps to gather personal information. These overlays are made to look like necessary components of users’ approved banking applications. Check Point says that they’re easy to create and often programmed by individuals that the original malware operators have outsourced.

 

Banking Apps Are the Target, But Not the Only Victim

About 88 percent of the apps that Marcher targets are banking applications, but this malware also goes after airline, ecommerce, and payment system apps. The primary goal of the malware is to steal login information, which allows easy access to personal information, funds, and more.

IBM says that Marcher’s capabilities turn users’ mobile devices into tools that can harvest authentication elements and credentials whenever the criminals’ needs arise. When a mobile phone or tablet becomes infected with Marcher, those who control the malware can continue to send text messages encouraging users to go to their mobile banking apps and give up private details. This is often done by sending an SMS message that claims money has deposited into a user’s account. 

IBM states that users are typically curious, and that they follow up on the SMS message by checking their accounts right away for the unexpected transfers. Unfortunately, the fake overlay is waiting for them, and it steals their banking credentials. This is possible because the Trojan hijacks the text message, and it fetches for overlays that match a long list of banking apps that the user might have on his or her device. 

These deceptions are just a couple of the ways that Marcher is creating mayhem for Android users. As is true with other malware programs, a crucial way to avoid the devastation is to carefully monitor the SMS messages that arrive on your mobile devices. IBM suggests that Android users not follow any URLs from text messages or emails that offer unexpected perks, bonuses, problems, or tools. It’s best to treat these messages with extreme caution, and to delete them immediately and follow up on issues of concern by phone or on a separate device.

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 09:21 — Nic Denholm


The Joint Commission text message ban has now been lifted. The Joint Commission - the largest healthcare accreditation body in the United States - announced last month that it will start allowing physicians to make patient orders via text message. The move is a huge victory for MHealth advocates. 

The news was happily received by healthcare providers, who see text messaging as the most efficient and reliable method of communication, and mobile technology developers who can access a potentially huge new market. For both groups, this feels like a long-overdue update to regulations that have hobbled natural progress towards emergent technologies that will ultimately benefit patients.

The changes were made in response to a 2011 FAQ document issued by the Joint Commission, which stated that text message orders were prohibited due to security concerns. In a dramatic reversal of that position, the Joint Commission text message ban has been lifted and text messaging is now permissible, within certain parameters.

 

What are the Parameters?

Changes to the regulations reflect a shifting culture in which SMS is the communication platform that most people feel comfortable using. But it’s not open season; the new guidelines don’t simply allow clinicians to send text messages to anyone as part of their job. The Joint Commission has provided a number of specific requirements for organizations using SMS:

  • Encrypted messaging
  • A secure registration process
  • Delivery and read receipts
  • Date and time stamps
  • A specified contact list of people authorized to receive and record orders
  • Customized policies and procedures

The Joint Commission also recommends that healthcare providers closely track and document the capabilities, limitations and uptake of their SMS platform, and develop a risk-management strategy. 

 

Why Now?

Doctors - like everyone else - have come to rely on smartphones as a tool for optimizing their time and improving communication. Unlike everyone else, the information they need to share is sensitive and highly personal; security is paramount. The healthcare industry is subject to strict regulations, and any new legislation takes a long time to draft, pass and enact. The legal process moves - necessarily - as slowly as it ever has, but technology changes at an ever-increasing rate (subject only to Moore’s Law). This developmental dissonance means there is a significant lag between technology becoming available to consumers, and being ready for use by industries dealing with their private data.

Thankfully, mobile communication legislation is beginning to reflect the realities of the modern world - and this can only be a positive thing for the healthcare industry and all who rely on it.

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 03:03 — Nic Denholm

Today’s young adults aren’t letting go of their phones so much as letting go of the idea of talking on their phones. That’s the growing takeaway from many recent reports that suggest millennials believe texting is more efficient than talking.

Multiple Studies Show Gen Y Prefers Texts

New data from the OpenMarket revealed that 76 percent of millennials would rather lose calling options than texting, and that texts are “more convenient” to their lifestyles. 

When it comes to business purposes, most millennials find that receiving texted reminder for payments, appointments, and special promotions is “helpful.”

A poll by Gallup also confirmed that text messaging outranks phone calls as the dominant form of communication among millennials, with 68 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds saying they texted “a lot” the previous day. In the last couple of years, monthly texting among this age group has more than doubled.

 

Why Millennials Are Choosing Texts

So, why are millennials so keen on text messaging? Here are six reasons why millennials won’t pick up the phone.

 

Call Are Presumptuous

One reason is that many see phone calls as overly intrusive or even presumptuous. Phone calls presume that a person needs to drop everything to adhere to another’s agenda. Texting, like email, is a passive form of communication that doesn’t require real-time interaction.

 

Situation Dictates Communication Style

Young adults choose texting as their everyday form of communication. If something exciting happens, such as a wedding or vacation, millennials decide to share that special occasion via Snap Chat or Instagram. But if the subject is serious enough, they will surely pick up the phone.

 

Text Threads Are Like Conversation

Today’s smartphones utilize a system of texts that plays out like normal face-to-face conversations. The folks who talk a lot also text in longer threads. The people who are succinct don’t. If you’re a chatterbox in real life, your phone doesn’t have to slow you down.

 

No Need for Privacy

With social media being such a huge aspect of their world, millennials don’t really care about privacy. In fact, many of them will take part in large group texts to get more input, so even the idea of 1:1 privacy has become an archaic concept. 

 

Planning

While on the topic of group texts, note that millennials use group texting to make plans with friends. It’s convenient and also quick.

 

Superfluous

Phone calls require a lot of airtime and beating around the bush to get to the point of the message. Texting requires individuals to put thoughts into words, enabling them to share only the essential details and get straight to the point.

 

Reaching Millennials With Text Marketing

If you want to tap into the major market of millennials, you’re going to have to utilize text marketing. Thankfully, our professional marketing team at EZ Texting can provide you with the necessary tools and tips to properly engage these young consumers.

Contact us today by calling (800) 753-5732 to learn more.

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 02:41 — Nic Denholm

In recent years and months, mobile payment systems such as Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay, have been ramping up, giving merchants ample choices. The consumer demand for mobile wallets is on the rise, and for good reason.

For merchants of all types, from small mom-and-pop stores to Fortune 500 companies, mobile wallets can boost revenue and reduce operating costs substantially. 

Here are five reasons why the mobile wallet is more crucial to the future of retail than apps.

Ability to Reduce Costs

Retailers and food service operators can enjoy the benefit of reduced costs by using mobile wallets. This is because they can drastically lower fraud loss and/or payment processing fees, the latter of which merchants often cite as one of the largest expenses after labor.

With apps, there is still a huge risk to hackers getting into the system and obtaining critical customer info, such as their addresses, bank accounts, and credit card numbers.

More Sales and Increased Revenues

Mobile wallets have the ability to move more consumers through the line quicker, driving up revenues for merchants. If a business has the ability to leverage a mobile wallet to engage and connect with costumers, it can sell more products and services during slower periods by enabling customers to check out anywhere at anytime, or enticing them with exclusive discounts and coupons.

While apps allow retailers to connect with consumers and offer them promos, buyers do not have the ability to purchase items as easily as they would if they were using a mobile wallet.

Catering to the Anywhere, Anytime Customer

More people are performing their daily errands online, creating significant opportunities for retailers to be invited into a consumer’s mobile world. If a retailer creates a rich interactive experience for the mobile-enabled consumer, it allows customers to purchase items both in store and via internet-based mobile purchasing opportunities.

Simplification

With mobile wallets, users enter their information once and then receive PIN numbers through text messages, which are used to complete the purchase. Shoppers only need to enter their PINs to complete the transaction, saving them the time and hassle of re-entering all of their information again for future transactions, as some apps require.

Rich Marketing Platforms

A report recently released by Forrester Research suggested that mobile wallets are set to become an essential marketing platform within the next five years. Mobile loyalty is important for connecting with consumers, and brands should mobilize their loyalty programs and branded content to offer promos to consumers in real time.

Mobile wallets are imperative for brands hoping to use mobile technology to reach consumers. If your retail business wants to enjoy the many benefits of mobile wallets and text messages, contact EZ Texting today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 02:40 — Nic Denholm

We live in a fast-paced, mobile-centric world. This is why many big-name brands are turning their attention to mobile technology to reach consumers. But as customer preferences and behavior spill over into the business workforce, businesses are now utilizing the benefits of these technologies to their advantages.


 One study in the UK shows that providing mobile apps to workers can boost productivity by 34 percent. The drive in mobility is a key player in the business tech agenda, as more companies are recognizing its value.

 

Here are a few ways mobile technology is boosting productivity. 

Communication is Key

Like every good business professional knows, communication is a critical part of the success of a company. The integration of mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops, makes it easier for workers to collaborate and for companies to communicate and connect with staff, vendors and consumers. 

Real-time communication has huge customer service benefits. Responding to consumers in a prompt fashion, offering a greater range of products and services, making product information available to customers, and improving turnaround and service all equate to better business profits, as Air Canada found when it replaced paper processes with interactive mobile devices for ground staff.

Workers benefit, too. From interacting with colleagues while traveling to attending an office meeting from 1,000 miles away, mobile business keeps the lines of communication constantly open. 

Mobile Marketing

Customers now have 24/7 access to their favorite brands via mobile technology. Companies are realizing the value of advertising to on-the-go consumers and now offer advertising and marketing through SMS (text) messaging, banner ads, mobile apps, mobile websites, QR codes, and more. 

Not only can these campaigns be customized to reach a more targeted audience due to software that “reads” the websites and sees what people are seeking on their mobile devices, but it is also helping businesses reach customers from anywhere at any time.

Cloud Commuting

This technology lets companies store data or applications on a remote server that can be accessed by authorized personnel. Employees can then create, view, and share this information to facilitate a variety of tasks, such as banking, virtual meetings, and file sharing. If a company has telecommuting workers, such as employees on maternity leave or vacation, these individuals can have quick and easy access to info that allows them to work from anywhere.

Cost Reductions

The infrastructure to support a mobile workforce is more affordable than equipping a physical office with desktops, servers, printers, and faxes. Allowing workers to have access to training materials, company info, and more can save them (and your business) money on travel, instructors, accommodations, rented office space, and more.

Mobile technology is proven to boost business productivity through connection, cost reduction, and creative mobile marketing. If you want to take advantage of mobile marketing and technology, contact our company today to learn more. 

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 03:05 — Jeremy Pollack


Each year, nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke—an attack on the brain caused by a loss of blood flow, which can result in disabilities such as memory loss, speech impairment, and limited mobility.  

During a stroke, brain cells lose the blood flow they need to stay alive. When brain cells die, it can cause permanent disability, depending on how serious the stoke was and in what area of the brain blood loss occurred. 

More than two-thirds of stroke survivors will experience some type of disability. For patients recovering from a stroke, therapy is one way to improve the cognitive functions that are often disabled after a serious attack. 

 

Mobile Tech Improves Stroke Recovery 

In a recent study conducted by Constant Therapy, researchers found that stroke survivors who engaged in at-home therapy featuring customized brain rehabilitation software, like an app, increased their cognitive, speech accuracy, and processing speed during recovery. 

Each stroke is different, and each survivor will need different therapy to reconstruct or reconfigure the areas of the brain that suffered damage during the stroke. Constant Therapy has designed an app that allows doctors and caregivers to customize the treatment plan to focus on the different brain areas that control specific brain functions. 

The company analyzed 20 million therapy exercises, as well as 100 million data points. Combining this big data with a mobile platform will continue to improve the customization capabilities of the mHealth program. 

“The more data we collect, the better our algorithms become,” said Keith Cooper, CEO of Constant Therapy.

Plus, having the therapy available in an app, and for various mobile devices, allows patients to maintain therapy programs at home, not just while they’re in the hospital. 

Stoke survivors that incorporated at-home therapies, like Constant Therapy’s app, received 5 times more therapy than those only receiving therapy at a clinic. 

The more survivors engage with the app, the faster and more thorough their recovery. Processing speed in language and cognitive exercise increased more than 80 percent for patients who completed more than 500 experiences on the mHealth app. 

 

mHealth to the Recue 

Commonly referred to as mHealth, mobile technology affords both providers and patients more control over their wellness plans, before and after a catastrophic event like a stroke, heart attack, or other serious medical emergency. 

In fact, it’s estimated that the mHealth solutions market will be worth nearly $60 billion by 2020. This includes an explosion of growth in a number of mobile services focused on monitoring, managing, diagnosing, and recovery therapies for patients and providers. 

The risk of stroke can be reduced by regular exercise, eating well, not smoking, and monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol. Unfortunately, stokes can happen to just about anyone without warning. 

The good news is that we’re getting better at helping survivors get back to normalcy. And with mHealth solutions, you can engage in these treatments from the comfort of home. 

Tue, 06/07/2016 - 04:57 — Nic Denholm


The role of mobile in microfinancing appears to be growing, which isn’t particularly shocking. Mobile finance solutions are increasing in popularity due to the ability to perform banking actions with the mere touch or swipe of a smartphone, and many microfinance institutions have implemented m-banking platforms to reduce costs, improve customer service, and extend their reach in rural areas. 

 

M-Banking Financial Service Options

Microfinance institutions offering m-banking provide services such as loan repayment, account balance checks, and voluntary savings deposits. Countries that already feature mobile money networks find m-banking provides microfinance clients with the flexibility they want to manage deposits and payments, resulting in money saved and improved financial security. 

M-banking has also proved helpful to women in the developing world, as they frequently do not have formal bank accounts, and yet are often responsible for overseeing their families’ finances. 

 

Inexpensive and Efficient

Limited capacity and costly operational expenses are among the issues plaguing many microfinance institutions. Mobile finance solves these issues by allowing for microfinance service offerings on a cheaper, more efficient scale. Additionally, MFIs act as agents for mobile network operators and banks. This subsequently allows microfinance institutions to educate themselves on mobile finance options, minus the outrageous investment costs. 

Another benefit is the ability to take advantage of mobile phone penetration in the absence of an m-banking network. MFI clients can use their phones for non-cash purposes.

MFIs interested in using mobile banking options also do so with the intention of drastically improving operations by reducing service delivery costs and cross-selling their other products. This is designed to substantially increase efficiency. 

 

The Future of African Economics

Financial technology, or ‘FinTech,’ could potentially revolutionize economic situations in many African countries. More than two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa owns cellphones, but only one-third has bank accounts. Cash is still the main currency, yet more and more startup companies are putting their marks on the financial landscape. 

African FinTech companies include M-Pesa, the Kenyan money transfer system used all over Africa, as well as 22Seven, the Cape Town-based mobile app that links to user bank accounts and makes it easy to track spending, make investments, and create customized budget plans. 

Nomanini is another option. The wireless device looks like a game console and links cloud service software so informal vendors can process transactions easily from any location. Zoona is yet another African financial service that transfers money via cell phones. Other financial tools and services include Cellulant and GetBucks. 

 

The Bitcoin Element

Bitcoin is a form of mobile money featuring no tradable or inherent value and is therefore a welcome addition to Africa’s financial options. Currently BitX is more popular in Southeast Asia than Africa, but it’s entirely possible that it will catch on among African nations, especially given its African bank origins. 

What does it all mean? Mobile money is a viable option applicable the world over. As long as mobile banking and financing options are safe and secure, their popularity is highly likely to increase.