We live in an age with a diversity of different communication options available to us. With one device, we can call, text, IM, email, or video chat with almost anyone within seconds. But just because many options are available doesn't mean that many options are in use. Though most of us can admit to using multiple forms of communication on a regular basis, broad trends illustrate that some forms of communication are more popular than others - and those preferred methods are starting to evolve.
So what did 2016's activity say about the state of communication by Americans? And what can we expect to see in the near future?
Advantages of Understanding Communication
First, it's important to understand why communication trends are so important. When you understand how your customers are communicating with each other, you can:
- Build a better marketing strategy - The first benefit here is obvious - when you know what medium your customers are using most frequently, you can make that medium your primary channel of communication. For example, if 90 percent of your customers use email frequently, email marketing is a must. Communication trends may also inspire new kinds of advertising campaigns that connect to your customers in different ways.
- Improve your customer service - In a similar vein, you can use your customer communication insights to improve your customer service strategy. For example, if you know your customers strongly prefer phone conversations to other mediums, you can ensure your customer service line is always available, with better trained staff to address customer concerns over the phone.
- Better understand and serve your customers' needs - You can also use communication information to create better, more accurate customer personas. Then, with your customers better described, you can create better products, improve your services, and adjust your approach to better serve your customers overall.
If you attend church on a regular basis, then you’ve probably noticed that many churches are modernizing their approach to worship and congregational gatherings. While most churches still hold physical worship services, many are also dabbling in online media, podcasts, and live streaming services. But what does this mean for the future?
Top 5 Types of Church Technology
When you think about church, technology probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But take a look around and you’ll see that technology is making major moves in this industry. And despite some friction and pushback from certain individuals and groups, it appears that the technological disruption is largely positive. Here are a few current tech trends for churches:
1) Online Media
In an age where a lot of small and local businesses have yet to fully realize the potential of online media, churches – by and large – are strategically allocating resources to this important area of visibility. This includes website development, social media, and video production.[click to continue...]
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
- Specialty stores
- Food trucks
- 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.
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.
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.[click to continue...]
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 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 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.[click to continue...]
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.
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.
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.[click to continue...]
Hospitals are incredibly important resources within a community, and in the case of an unpredictable and devastating disaster, it's crucial that hospital facilities remain organized, operational, and prepared. This means having an effective, well constructed emergency plan in place, capable of dealing with scenarios like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, chemical emergencies, and other events.
Back in 2006, a study published in the journal Prehospital and Disaster Medicine evaluated hospital emergency preparedness for mass casualty incidents (MCIs). These events are almost unthinkable, but the fact that they're possible means that hospitals need to have an emergency preparedness plan in place to deal with them. Furthermore, if a hospital is equipped to handle an MCI, this preparedness plan can form a framework that allows them to handle minor emergencies smoothly and effectively.
The Elements of Hospital Preparedness
The 2006 study outlines nine key elements for hospital emergency preparedness for disasters of all kinds. The authors recommend an annual assessment of emergency plans, focused on these nine important aspects:
- Elements of disaster planning
- Emergency coordination
- Hospital surge capacity
- Personnel availability
- Equipment availability
- Medical supply stockpiles
- Expanded laboratory capacities
Numerous tools are available to hospitals to conduct these annual assessments, including surveys and self-assessment tools.[click to continue...]
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