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Is SMS Marketing Right for Your Business?

SMS Marketing for Your Business
 

Believe it or not, text messaging can be a surprisingly effective marketing channel. In 2013, mobile marketing grew by over 100%, and part of this growth was an increase in SMS marketing. Nearly a third of consumers have subscribed to mobile messaging from brands, illustrating that people really are receptive to this form of advertising. Of those who have subscribed, two thirds have made a purchase as a result of receiving a relevant SMS marketing message.

With an open rate of an astounding 98%, versus 22% per emails, SMS marketing looks promising. For many brands, implementing an SMS strategy can bring a considerable return on investment, it can increase web and in-store traffic, generate sales, and strengthen relationships with existing customers.

Although SMS messaging isn't well suited for every niche or industry, it works very well for many types of companies, notably retailers, restaurants, and nonprofit organizations. But is SMS a good option for your business?

What Kinds of Businesses Do Well with SMS?

There are a few types of businesses and non-business entities that are likely to see good results from marketing and advertising via SMS. Some of these include:

  • Brick and mortar retailers
  • Ecommerce retailers
  • Salons
  • Supermarkets
  • Specialty stores
  • Bars
  • Bakeries
  • Food trucks
  • Churches
  • Nonprofit organizations

That's not to say that other industries can't see success from an SMS campaign, text messaging tends to work particularly well for these kinds of businesses.

 

Retail SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing for Retail

For both online and brick-and-mortar retailers, SMS marketing can encourage customers to make a purchase. Many retail stores across the country are implementing SMS as part of their marketing strategies, offering coupons, deals, and sale reminders to returning customers. While mobile coupon codes are a popular choice for text message promotion, that's not the only option. Some of the most popular types of promotional SMS messages for retail stores include:

  • Announcing product launches to create buzz
  • Limited time mobile coupons to encourage customers to make a purchase in the near future
  • Reminders about annual clearance sales

Mobile messaging reminds your customers about your brand, offering the incentives to shop with you, and not your competitors. Because SMS messages aren't intrusive, consumers tend to respond well to them.

 

Restaurant SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing for Restaurants

Restaurants can also benefit from SMS marketing. Offering deals, specials, and coupon codes can invite your customers to return and take advantage of limited time offers. Like retail stores, restaurants -- as well as food trucks, bars, and other establishments -- can bring in more foot traffic with SMS promotions.

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Top 11 Great Communication Apps for Scout Troops

Top 11 Great Communication Apps for Scout Troops
 

Leading a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop is a great way to give back to your local community. Many people, especially parents, decide to create a scout troop in their local area. For scout masters, keeping track of everything and maintaining good communication with the scouts, or with parents of younger scouts like Brownies and Cub Scouts, can present a challenge.

Fortunately, there are an impressive variety of options for facilitating consistent, effective communication with your scouts and their parents. Here are some of the best options, including general messaging apps, platforms designed specifically for scout troop management, and more.

 

TroopTrack - Top Communication Apps for Scout Troops

TroopTrack

TroopTrack is a software program specifically designed for managing and organizing scout troops. You can plan events, manage important information, and communicate with members of your troop using an email distribution list, which includes a monthly newsletter personalized for each member. 

In TroopTrack, you can also create custom web pages and share pictures, documents, links, and videos. For many organizations, including Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, they also provide information about badges and other achievements. [trooptrack.com]

 

Email - Top Communication Apps for Scout Troops

Email

Email isn’t the latest and greatest cutting-edge communication app, but it’s still in use for a reason. Pretty much everyone has an email address, and the majority of teenagers and adults check theirs regularly. If your troop is composed of younger children who don’t have their own mobile devices or Facebook pages yet, email is sometimes the simplest way to keep in touch with their parents.

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Top 5 Free Santa Apps for Kids

Top 5 Free Santa Apps
 

Christmas is an exciting time of year for children and advances in technology have made it possible to create Santa apps to spread holiday cheer. NORAD really kicked off the interactive Santa Claus movement when the organization launched NORAD Tracks Santa in 1955, and later launched it's online Santa Tracker in 2004. Since then, several companies have joined in on the mission to spread holiday cheer by offering free apps for kids to use during Christmas each year - calls from Santa, hilarious videos with Santa's elves, and unforgettable holiday video eCards are just a few of the many apps available.

To get everyone in the Christmas spirit, DialMyCalls.com has compiled a list of the top 5 free Santa apps for kids to enjoy:

 

NORAD Tracks Santa - Top 5 Free Santa Apps

1) NORAD Tracks Santa

Dating back to 1955, NORAD Tracks Santa is the longest running interactive Santa Claus experience for kids and adults. Every December the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) launches their annual Santa tracking event. Kids and parents alike can enjoy interactive games, videos, information and much more - let's not fail to mention that everyone can track Santa as he makes his way around the world. NORAD Tracks Santa is available on the web as well as the Google Play Store (Android Mobile App) and iTunes (iOS Mobile App). [noradsanta.org]

 

DialMyCalls' Free Personalized Santa Calls - Top 5 Free Santa Apps

2) DialMyCalls' Free Personalized Santa Calls

DialMyCalls officially launched their free Santa calls event back in December of 2011 as a way to give back to our local Jupiter, Florida community. We quickly realized that not only locals loved the personalized calls from Santa Claus - the event generated buzz from happy parents all across the United States.

Each year parents are able to visit DialMyCalls' Santa Calls event and schedule a personalized call to their children, direct from Santa Claus himself. Easily select your child's name from the list and schedule when you want them to receive a call from jolly old Saint Nick - if your child's name is not available, we offer a standard greeting from Santa that can be sent. Send free Santa calls to your kids today!

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Top 9 Best Business Apps for Internal Communication

Top 9 Best Business Communication Apps
 

For businesses, communication is key. To reach your organizational goals effectively, it's important that everyone involved can communicate with one another. The internet, and especially the rise of mobile, has made communication more instant and more effective than ever before. Today, web and smartphone apps can supercharge your company’s internal communications, helping streamline your efforts to improve efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, your bottom line.

Versatile Options for Communication

Instead of relying on a company intranet, organizations can take advantage of a variety of programs designed for business communication. There are apps available for instant messaging, email-style message threads, and even sending out notifications via SMS text message or phone call. By leveraging more than one available app, businesses can streamline and enhance internal communications for better team cohesion and improved productivity.

Business Apps for Internal Communication

These nine business communication apps, available on mobile devices and desktop computers, provide a reliable and versatile way for employees to communicate effectively with one another:

 

Slack - Top Business Communication Apps

1) Slack

Slack has quickly become one of the most popular project management and collaboration tools, especially for companies with remote workers. This cloud-based team communication app actually originated as an internal communication tool for a small game development company. Launched in 2013, it's now one of the most popular ways for internal teams to collaborate. Slack features chat rooms organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging. Files, groups, and members are all completely searchable, making it easy to pull up previous conversations. It's available for web, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. [slack.com]

 

HipChat - Top Business Communication Apps

2) HipChat

HipChat is another popular team communication app, accessible from web or mobile anywhere in the world. It's available in a freemium version, but there's also an inexpensive paid version that adds extra features. Designed to integrate with Google Drive, Facebook, Dropbox, and other popular software, it's a versatile and affordable option that's a great choice for small businesses. [hipchat.com]

 

Basecamp - Top Business Communication Apps

3) Basecamp

Basecamp bridges the gap between staff and clients. It's designed to make it easy for people in different departments within a company to share files and collaborate on projects. By consolidating internal communications, project management, and client relations in one place, it provides an efficient and streamlined solution for managing a variety of internal communication and collaboration needs. Basecamp's discussion boards eliminate the need for complex, hard-to-navigate email chains by consolidating discussion about a subject in one place. It also manages tasks and to-do lists for staff members. [basecamp.com]

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Top 16 Best Apps That Integrate With MailChimp

Top 16 Best MailChimp Integrations
 

When it comes to email marketing, MailChimp is the gold standard. Founded in 2001 the service is almost unparalleled in its ease of use, versatility, and integration. MailChimp is an indispensable tool for marketers around the world, whether they’re selling a product online or promoting a charitable nonprofit.

MailChimp is capable of seamless integration with quite a few different apps. From e-commerce platforms and content management systems, to CRM and project management tools, MailChimp integration is surprisingly versatile. Here are sixteen of the best apps that integrate easily with MailChimp.

 

Shopify - MailChimp Integration

1) Shopify Integration

Shopify is one of the most widely used e-commerce platforms. During the checkout process, Shopify can ask your customers if they’d be interested in receiving promotional emails from your brand. If they agree, MailChimp for Shopify will automatically add their email address to your list. The customers are also automatically added to their own list, making it simple to target emails specifically to former customers.

But that's not all -- it can also send e-commerce data directly to your MailChimp account, giving you valuable insight into your customers’ purchase behavior, geographic location, and other valuable information. It also picks up on sales that were directly generated by your email campaigns, helping you accurately measure your ROI on each promotion.[shopify.com]

 

Facebook - MailChimp Integration

2) Facebook Integration

Facebook is the worlds most widely used social network. Whether you’re targeting teenagers or senior citizens, your audience probably uses this ubiquitous social platform. Your fans and followers are more likely to take action if you make it as easy as possible to sign up for your emails. With Mailchimp's Facebook integration, you can easily add an email signup form directly to your Page.

Mailchimp can also integrate with Facebook Custom Audiences, which allows you to target ads to specific subsets of your customers. You can sync your entire MailChimp list with Facebook or upload it as a CSV file, helping you broadcast engaging, relevant ads direct to your Facebook audience. [facebook.com]

 

Power BI - MailChimp Integration

3) Power BI Integration

Power BI is a visualization program for analytics and data, helping you and your team share insights and examine detailed data. It presents your business' information on a single dashboard, letting you create visually striking reports and build robust data models.

Power BI can pull data from your MailChimp account to generate a dashboard for it, helping you explore data from your email campaigns. You can pinpoint which subscribers are most engaged, find out what geographic locations respond the best, and evaluate trends over time. Best of all, you don't need any coding abilities to use the program.[powerbi.microsoft.com]

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Top 8 Tips for Planning a Productive Church Meeting

Top 8 Best Tips for Planning a Productive Church Meeting

Whether you're a pastor, an administrator, or a devoted volunteer at your church, meetings can feel like a serious drain on your energy and time. When not properly planned, meetings can meander off in a million different directions, making it impossible for your group to focus on important issues that need to be resolved. Poor organization, poorly defined meeting goals, and a lack of meeting structure can cripple an organization's meetings, and houses of worship are no exception.

If you feel like your church meetings aren't really accomplishing anything except wasting your staff and your volunteers' time, it might be time to reassess how you go about planning and executing your church meetings. Maybe you're having trouble contacting everyone effectively, leading to important people accidentally missing critical meetings. Maybe you're never quite sure what to talk about, leading to poor focus and meetings that spread your subject matter too thin. Maybe your meetings last far too long, but when they end, no one feels like anything actually got done.

These helpful tips can help you make your church meetings more productive than ever, turning them from a drain on people's time into a truly valuable opportunity to plan and grow together as a community.

Top 8 Church Meeting Tips - Schedules

1) Plan Your Religious Meetings on a Regular Schedule

Are your church meetings happening haphazardly, without any real schedule that determines when and where you meet? Having your meetings on a regular, predetermined schedule makes it easier for participants to keep up with them, as well as making it easier to measure progress toward your goals. Whether your meetings are once a week or once a month, planning for predetermined dates and times can help ensure that everyone who needs to be there is available.

Top 8 Church Meeting Tips - Agendas

2) Plan an Agenda for Each Church Meeting

For each church meeting, you should have already planned what you're going to talk about. Many church groups create handouts with key points, which can be distributed at the meeting. Without a clear agenda, meetings are likely to veer off-track or last longer than anyone wanted them to. A carefully designed meeting agenda ensures that anything truly important is brought up and talked about. If you're planning a meeting to discuss an upcoming bake sale to raise money, you don't want half the meeting to revolve around recent problems with the church choir. Structured meetings get a lot more accomplished than meetings where everyone is left to their own devices.

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