Learning management systems (LMS) have proven to be a crucial tool for education institutions. However, learning isn’t limited to children or classrooms. In fact, many businesses use a LMS for training and professional development of their current workforce including onboarding programs for new employees.
Professional Development Using a LMS
One important way that learning management systems are being incorporated into the workplace is by assisting in employee training. Over 76% of employees desire opportunities for growth within their company. Since internal employees make up 59% of new hires, fostering their skills through training holds long-term benefits. You are creating a new wave of employees from pre-existing talent. So, where does LMS fit in?
Using a LMS is quickly becoming a popular way to conduct and organize professional development. Having a centralized learning platform allows employees to access all the necessary resources and training materials from anywhere. The seamless integration of learning management systems also means that employee development doesn’t stop after the a training session ends. Mobile integration is built into most LMS platforms. Two of of the top professional development systems – Litmos and Bridge – boast about their mobile capabilities allowing employees 24/7 access to learn. This means that professional development can occur at anytime regardless if employees are at their desks, in between meetings, or while on company travel.
Simplifying the Onboarding Process
68% of HR professionals want a stronger link between onboarding and learning. What better way to strengthen this connection than with a learning management system? Using a LMS can improve the efficiency and outcomes of your onboarding process. It supports a uniform onboarding experience for new hires that is both quick and effective. And seamless mobile integration is beneficial for new hires as well as current employees.
The mobile components of professional development a LMS also make it easier for onboarding remote employees and disperse teams. Telecommuting has grown in the US to 37% as of August 2015. Since remote work allows employees to work from anywhere in the world, having a digital onboarding program ensures that your team is connected and educated with the same materials.
Learning management systems are changing the way professional development is conducted. It has literally put the entire training process at the fingertips of employees. By providing instant uniform access to learning tools, employers can expect to see a more skilled workforce. For employees, these skills translate into better productivity and assistance in achieving professional aspirations.
Small Businesses are Tapping Into a Smarter Way to Communicate with customers – Using SMS on Long Codes
A small business, such as a real estate agent, has the on-going communication issue that so many of us have. It’s difficult to pin down your clients and connect with them while they are always on-the-go. Many real estate agents are using SMS (text messaging) to stay in contact real-time with their clients, but doing so from your own phone all of the time is not so simple either. The costs can get out of control very quickly, and agents want the client to still feel the personal / local touch.
SMS from a local Long Code
The local real estate agent has 2 key goals: connecting with new prospects as quickly and easily as possible and staying connected with current clients while in the process of searching for/closing a home. Since young couples and similar home buyers are using their phones more and more (for both work and personal life), it is easy to connect using SMS.
The first goal of engaging prospective home buyers requires some external signage and a series of helpful SMS campaigns. It begins with a “welcome + more info” style campaign for the prospects. When someone drives past a house and sees a sign that reads “Text MOVEIN to 512-123-4567” and takes action, then the automated message back will provide basic info about that agent plus a link to view property details. The real estate agent can also receive a notification or view in a report that a specific contact (based on phone number) texted-in, so she knows to follow-up with that contact.
A different approach to the initial engagement process with a lead is offsite marketing – newspaper ads, social media, website, or other outdoor signage – that lead to a dialog campaign. This SMS campaign utilizes the SMS dialog feature of asking questions to determine the home buyer’s needs and wants. Gathering this data helps the local real estate agent to offer the best possible offerings to the contact/prospective client. Then the information about each contact (called contact attributes) can be synced with the agent’s customer database software for sending smarter and more targeted messages through all marketing channels.
The importance of using a long code, in part, is the experience of seeing a local phone number posted in the advertising rather than a short code (which is associated with marketing SMS). If you are a local business, then it is so key for your customers/clients to feel like they are engaging with a local business and not some giant conglomerate.
The second goal of staying connected with current clients uses SMS tools in a more long-term way. Keeping things very simple, an agent can simply use SMS through a platform as a better way for tracking communications. Instead of sending a text from his/her phone, the agent can send SMS from a desktop computer or tablet. The key differentiator in this experience are the improvements to the agent’s long-term reports and tracking communications.
However, a small business that wants something a little more robust can leverage the SMS API to be connected with a CRM system and send text messages using different triggers. When a home buyer completes a step in the buying process, such as putting in an offer, that is tracked in the CRM system, then a SMS message can be triggered by that change in the system. We can set it up in such a way that a pre-set text message is sent to the home buyer when that offer is either accepted or decline by the seller. It is one less step for the agent, while still fulfilling on a protocol.
The result of these upgrades is a smoother communication strategy. The small business real estate agent makes small upgrades to the communication plan and process, and in-turn improves the overall experience of buying a home. SMS offers a faster and more affordable approach to client communications while maintaining the local-feel using a long code.
Is Mobile Marketing Still Viable? YES!
While mobile technology launches were not center stage during this year’s South By South West Interactive Conference, it certainly did not go away. Some people claim that we have app fatigue or that mobile marketing is not as sexy as it once was. However, the conversations during a few panels and on the trade show floor would say otherwise. This will be the year when brands learn to personalize and customize the messages they send to consumers using mobile marketing.
Mobile Marketing is Getting Personalized
As with other channels, mobile marketing is getting personalized . This shift in messaging is particularly important for small businesses. The most active smartphones users today are very different from years past. Something has returned to these consumers – trust. To build trust between a customer and a local business is vital for the growth and sustainability of that business. Consumers are back to trusting locally and they feel good about being known by their first name.
I have seen this personalized messaging done best with text marketing, but also with mobile websites and mobile apps. Text marketing makes it easy, because on some platforms you can create text surveys for your customers and segment your future messages based upon their responses. This creates a type of preferences setup for discount offers and announcements. Ask your customers about their visits to your store:
- How often do they visit
- What is the most common item or service they purchase
- Are they satisfied with customer service
- Would they recommend you to friends
- How is the quality of your product or service
For the people who are very satisfied or who visit you frequently, consider developing a mobile loyalty program to show your appreciation. The people who are less satisfied or who are casual customers need more of a push, so offering a large discount or free item may help to grow them into a more loyal customer. Mobile coupons have 10 times the redemption rate of printed coupons, and mobile loyalty programs are used much more frequently than those plastic cards.
South By South West has come full circle in the type of attendees – from small start-ups to huge brands, and now back to the small businesses again. Local businesses are very savvy and flexible with their marketing efforts, which is why they see the importance of mobile marketing and how they can utilize it to grow their businesses.
Mobile Strategy Improves Retail Experience
A few of the large home hardware retailers dove into mobile marketing last year. There were various takes on how to develop a relationship with customers:
- Animated mobile ad campaigns
- New mobile websites with detailed product information and location finders
- Mobile apps targeting the loyal DIY customers
- Text marketing programs with valuable season updates and sales
Several great campaigns in 2012 showed success for their respective brands, because mobile strategy improves the consumer experience. It is great that these large national brands with tons of resources are dedicating part of their budget toward mobile marketing. However, there are so many wonderful small businesses and local hardware retailers who can also take advantage of mobile marketing solutions.
One small shop invited customers to text-in for weather and seasonal notifications. Customers were getting valuable information about how to prepare and what to purchase. This increased sales, grew the SMS database organically (friends tell friends) and created new loyalty among those customers.
Local businesses are seeing even more traction from the addition of mobile tools to their marketing plans than the big brands. If you want to sponsor a “ladies night” to drive business from female customers, then use text message marketing to get the word out and collect RSVP’s. The next time you run an ad in the town newspaper, update your call to action to include “Text In for Special Offers and Tips.” You will be able to track how many people read your advertisement and you will reach new customers. Now are you ready to go mobile?
The Truth About Email Marketing
I cleaned out my email inbox this past weekend. Three hours and two coffees later, I had diminished my inbox to one page. Among the discarded emails were a slew of online promotions and coupons, mostly unopened. Many of them were great deals, but I didn’t take the time to read them, so now they sit at the bottom of a cyber trashcan in an obscure corner of the Internet, never to be seen or redeemed.
Text Marketing vs Email Marketing
Email deals and coupons are a good thought, but it is important to note new statistics when planning your promotions strategy. The average open rate for email is 12%, while the open rate for text messages is 97% (CTIA Wireless Association). Why are more people opening text messages than emails? People carry their phones with them everywhere they go, both sending texts and checking email. However, it’s hard to stand out in the clutter of your customer’s email inbox. Streamline your message using a more effective medium with text marketing. You will increase the possibility of coupons being redeemed by offering mobile coupons. Now, more than ever before, restaurants are taking advantage of the great potential of text marketing. It is affordable, fast, effective, and trackable.
A text marketing campaign is also mutually beneficial to a restaurant and its patrons: the business gains additional revenue and recognition, while customers get coupons or other helpful notifications such as event invitations. This relationship builds a positive brand image and, subsequently, customer loyalty for your restaurant.
Are you thinking about ways to improve promotions for your restaurant? Don’t miss out on an opportunity to drive new customers through your doors and expand your brand loyalty. Add text marketing to your current marketing channels to increase coupon redemption rates and restaurant traffic. Be smart about what channels you use to send out marketing messages. If you’re customers have email habits like mine, then they might not be reading yours.
Fact: The #1 form of communication is done through cell phones
So why do most small businesses shy away from implementing a mobile strategy?
As a consumer we can pretty much do everything on the go with our cell phones. The fact is that there are more searches being done on mobile devices than any other piece of technology, but the reality is that most small businesses are by passing the idea of using technology for marketing, business development, and general business operations.
Common thoughts on mobile marketing:
1) It’s too expensive
2) It’s only for large businesses
3) It’s too complicated I would never be able to understand it
It’s Too Expensive & It’s Only For Large Businesses
Four or five years ago when the use of a mobile strategy first emerged they were very expensive. Large businesses were paying top dollar for cutting edge technologies to stay ahead of their competitors.
Today, small businesses have affordable mobile marketing strategies at their fingertips that can give them an edge and put them on the same level as larger businesses. Small businesses don’t have to pay exuberant amounts of money to implement an SMS (text marketing) campaign or have a mobile website. For a small monthly payment, small businesses can create a professional looking mobile website for individuals who are searching on-the-go and send out text messages to their customers to offer them special promotions to get them back in their stores more frequently.
It’s too complicated
Individuals shy away from mobile marketing because they think it’s too complicated for them to understand and operate. The truth is that small business owners can easily operate a platform designed to create mobile websites and text marketing campaigns from their personal computers.
Mobile is here now. It’s up to small businesses to step out and take advantage of affordable mobile marketing strategies to engage the fast paced consumers while on-the-go. Contact 3Seventy to learn more about mobile strategies for small businesses!