As of 2015, the millennial workforce is the largest generation in the U.S working economy . However, 53% of hiring managers say it’s difficult to find and retain new millennial employees. One reason for this large gap is the differences in communication styles. While email remains a popular communication medium for all working generations, Millennials are more skewed towards text message-based communications (MarketingSherpa). This schism between generations can be both frustrating and detrimental to the hiring process.
Simplify the Hiring Process
SMS-based recruiting and hiring tactics are becoming a lot more common. About 82% of hiring managers believe millennials have very unique skills and are more technologically adept than previous generations. In addition to the staggering 98% open rate, text messaging is a great way for hiring managers to dip into the millennial workforce.
An SMS hiring strategy provides the immediacy that millennials are accustomed to while taking away some of the burden for the hiring company. By enabling text message notifications, details about an open position, scheduling, and FAQs can be handled at a much faster pace.
Bridge the Communication Gap with the Millennial Workforce
So, now that you’ve hired millennials for your company, what’s next? How are you going to maintain an open line of communication?
39% of millennials say that having a great working relationship with coworkers is a priority. Not only is SMS important for hiring millennials, it’s also important for staying connected with them. Consider making the inter-office communication easier by using an SMS dialog campaign – creating collaboration, information sharing, and operations instantaneous. 86% of millennials see themselves as adaptable and nothing caters to fostering that adaptability like instantaneous SMS communications.
The millennial workforce continues to grow, and it is up to innovative companies to be ready for the change in processes and communications. Tapping into this pool of talent can seem daunting – especially since there is a 72% chance millennials are open to change, more so than the 28% for other generations. Stay ahead in both the hiring and communication process by allowing millennials a home-field advantage. SMS is a great bridge for integrating the millennial workforce into your company or organization.
1.8 million bachelor’s degrees were awarded in 2013, and the numbers have only been growing. One of the hardest parts of being a busy post graduate is keeping in contact with fellow alumni. Thankfully, alumni associations across the country work hard to grow and maintain their database – helping alumni stay in touch. With the help of SMS technology, the burden of maintaining alumni communications can be reduced for these associations.
Simplifying Opt-Ins, Updates, and Operations
The obvious first step to having a great alumni database is getting people signed up. Associations want as many alumni as signed up and done in the easiest way possible, but once people graduate so much happens – email addresses change, mailing addresses change, and people forget. A simple solution to this “where are they now” barrier is inviting the soon-to-be graduates to opt-in to a mobile club just for alumni, and do so before graduation. Since so much of one’s contact information changes after graduation, it’s better to invite students to sign up using the one contact method that is not likely to change – their mobile phone number.
According the US Census Bureau, “At age 18, a person can expect to move another 9.1 times in their remaining lifetime.” And the average American will change jobs 10-15 times in his or her lifetime, which means there are at least that many email address changes along the way.
Establishing an SMS database is the first step for alumni associations to stay in real contact with graduates. Then maintaining those alumni relations becomes a simple process. Using a basic SMS campaign for sharing alumni news and alumni updates. Associations can also use a dialog SMS campaign for numerous purposes, such as surveys and event coordination. Wouldn’t it be great to invite members of your alumni association to vote on potential locations for a local meet-up or find out who plans on attending the next home game?
SMS for Alumni Communications & Perks
In addition to staying in regular contact with graduates, alumni associations often provide perks and discounts to their members. However, this can be one of those benefits that gets lost in the shuffle of emails and direct mail pieces. A simpler way to promote these perks, coupons, and other promotions is with SMS database of alumni contacts.
Have close ties with a local bar or eatery? Then setup a SMS coupon campaign to deliver special offers to the alumni database while they are visiting in the homecoming season. This approach not only benefits alumni relations and the members, but it also creates new opportunities for sponsorships and benefits. The coordination with sponsors more efficient, the overhead cost is lower, and the ultimate reach is wider.
Integrating Your Alumni Database
Not only can you improve alumni communications using SMS technology, you can create a more complete view of what’s going on with your database. Your alumni association can integrate your CRM platform with the SMS database to achieve this view. And you could invite alumni to communicate with you through their channel of choice – email or SMS – while seeing all of their information in one place.
With so many people going in different directions, managing alumni communications is challenging. Even as distance widens, alumni associations have so many resources to keep the class together. SMS provides not only simplicity, but an overall better way to keep up alumni communications.
Curious how mobile technology can improve communications in your school? Learn More
With such a plethora of options for entertainment, it is important for entertainment venues to make a strong impression with a well developed SMS marketing plan. Here at 3Seventy, we are fortunate enough to work with several clients in the entertainment industry – from bowling and sports to live music and more. In collaboration, we’ve implement smart SMS marketing strategies. Here are some tips on how to incorporate SMS marketing into your entertainment venue business.
1. Make the Most of Your Mobile Club
A great sms database is an effective way to keep customers in the loop about promotions, events, and giveaways. Invite your customers to opt-in by using an incentive, and keep them engaged by scheduling a bi-monthly text message update letting them know about fun things happening at your business and special offers.
2. Keep People Entertained Between Activities
Want to have your guests keep the fun going as they wait their next turn to putt, rock climb, or bowl? Make waiting time a little more fun with interactive text trivia and polls. Create a dialog campaign so that when customers see a question on the digital signage or tv monitors, they can text in the trivia answer and see the results on the screen in real-time.
3. Using SMS to Stay on Schedule
During peak times such as summer vacation, it is important to keep the traffic moving effectively in your entertainment venue. Set up a system where customers can receive an SMS alert with real-time updates about the next available go-kart, bowling lanes, movie showing, etc.
4. Try Out Mobile Coupons
Instead of having people fumble around with cutting out and bringing in paper coupons (and possibly losing them along the way), make the experience easy. When you provide customers the convenience of using mobile coupons via SMS, it increases the redemption rates and drives traffic faster to your venue.
5. From Text Message to Trophy
If your entertainment venue is host to a league or other competition, then consider creating a targeted SMS campaign for that competition. Participants can receive text messages each week with rankings, highlights, and upcoming events/tournaments. Send out a “Congratulations” text message to the entire SMS database too. This can increase customer satisfaction and leave a positive reflection of your venue’s brand with the competition participants.
A day to the rink, arcade, or alley should be nothing but fun for the people who come through your entertainment venue’s doors. You will roll a strike with your SMS marketing strategy when you provide an easy way for customers to engage with you business both in and outside of the times they visit.
Global companies are connecting Remote Teams using mobile, specifically SMS
It is already difficult enough to have a consistent sales message when your team is in the same building. Communication is key to the branding and sales process for companies – both large and small.
Staying connected and up to date, no matter what your location is a big issue for companies to tackle. The boom in remote teams has created communication issues and imbalance. Team members want to focus on filling the funnel and closing those big sales, rather than worrying if the information they have is updated and correct.
Sales managers want to have a coaching conversation with their sales team about an upcoming sales call, but now a days there is no physical office… everyone lives and works remotely. More salespeople and their managers have shifted to remote working environment where managers must rethink the way they coach their teams and provide sales materials such as updated pitch-decks.
The sales manager wanted to build trust with this sales team, grow their confidence, and boosts individual performance. In an office environment, this usually takes place in small 3-5 minute conversations in the hallway, out to lunch or in between calls. Virtually, the environment of these small conversations feels more strained. So goal number one for the sales manager was to create a routine to be in constant mobile communications and have it feel real.
There is a distinct need for coaching. This could be a surrogate coach who can be a top-performing team member working as a mentor, a virtual team member, or a local person who can see the sales team member. There are tips, tricks and key how-to scenarios that need to be played out and tracked. How do you manage this relationship and professional development?
For the second goal, the sales manager was concerned about updated sales materials. He wanted to make sure his team members had the most current pitch decks, flyers, etc. What is the best way to confirm these materials are getting to everyone and in a timely fashion?
To address the first goal, a dynamic SMS campaign is created for each team member using the SMS API. A sales manager can automatically have a messaged pushed out to the entire team every Monday with personalized (dynamic) content inserted into the message. The team member can reply confirming their meeting or asking to reschedule. This is one less task for the manager to do manually, but still allows him or her to reach out to team members on a regular basis.
Following this appointment reminder style of messaging, the sales manager or coach can connect with the remote team rep using multiple ways:
SMS Chat for real-time text messaging through the portal. This has several advantages including a saved history of your messages and using your computer, rather than personal phone, for texting.
Virtual meetings through a dedicated mobile application allow for video conferencing that feels like you are there.
Triggered SMS Campaigns to congratulate the remote team rep when he or she gets a win. This is another hands-off, but effective method for supporting your team. Creating a message that is triggered based upon an activity in the CRM system. It can be personalized and written by the sales manager so that it reads like his or her voice.
Dealing with the current sales materials becomes easy when you have a dedicated sales team mobile application/ tablet application. The head of marketing or sales can add the latest pitch deck, flyers, direct mail pieces, and other materials into a single portal that the entire team can access. When a new item is added to the portal, the remote team member is notified via email or text message. And the best part is that it is accessible while on-the-go. Rather than worrying about the technology in a prospective client’s office, the tablet allows them to present.
*NOTE: This use case has not been set live yet. Some of these features are not yet available for client consumption.
Recruiters and Hiring Managers are sending up-to-the-minute job postings to keep up with the market.
SMS for recruitment has become key. The job market has improved slowly over the past 7 years. A big change over this time period is the technology we use to communicate and how job postings are found. First of all, consider these statistics:
64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind.
10% of Americans own a smartphone, but do not have broadband at home. Compared with smartphone owners who are less reliant on their mobile devices, these smartphone-dependent users are less likely to own some other type of computing device
43% of smartphone owners are looking up job information. (Source: Pew Research)
One of the big advantages of using SMS is timelines – your ability to reach an individual fast and efficiently with the right information. Many human resources professionals and recruiters are leveraging SMS to reach today’s generation of mobile-first candidates.
For those recruiters working in the field, it’s important to stay in touch with candidates. And sending real-time information about job openings is key to getting the best candidates, but the average email takes up to 48 hours before someone will read it. And so many young people are living a low-income life style that limits their internet usage.
Triggered SMS Alerts using an SMS API helps to address these issues. You can integrate whatever systems you use for contact management and tracking with your SMS platform using an SMS API. When you make this integration, you can setup different rules to triggering text messages to be sent. For example, “if a job opening with the title Software Development in this zip code pops up, then send a message to these phone numbers.”
One company learned that using triggered SMS messages in conjunction with other recruitment activities such as campus job fairs, online job postings, and campus interviews can be very effective when setup with the right parameters (through an SMS API). Using SMS in this kind of situation is a way to start the conversation between a recruiter or employer and the prospective employee or intern.
The right SMS platform allows you to get plenty of information up-front using SMS. 3Seventy calls this 3Seventy – the ability to have a seamless threaded conversation via text message. It is a pretty powerful tool when used to it’s fullest extent.
While SMS recruitment has proven to be effective for many companies and organizations, it’s important to remember that SMS campaigns are best used to create awareness and prequalify quality candidates. SMS campaigns are not meant to replace your traditional channels of communication with prospective candidates, rather it is a way to enhance and improve the overall experience.
Ways Recruiters and Hiring Managers Can Leverage SMS Campaigns:
Create Awareness using SMS recruitment alerts with job postings
Prequalify Candidates using SMS 3Seventy surveys
Have direct communication with candidates for scheduling interviews
Making the connection with the mobile-first generation easy
Why should you bother with SMS integration into your other systems?
One of the major benefits of text messaging is immediacy. You want to enable your customers to leverage that benefit without modifying the way they interact with your business.
Platform integration plays a key role in enabling your existing applications or systems to be mobile. When you integrate with a reliable and feature-rich SMS gateway like 3Seventy, then delivering communication benefits to your customers is easy. Our free Application Programming Interface (API) tools allow for seamless integration with your proprietary software or website. Enabling your existing system to interact with an SMS gateway for sending and receiving messages can help streamline your marketing processes.
Common Systems for SMS Integration
Email: Combining SMS and Email may be the smartest thing you’ve ever done for your customers or clients. Rather than forcing them into only one communication channel with your business, customers can choose how they want to contacted and the types of notifications they want. While a customer may want to read your monthly newsletter via email, he may also want a specific text alert about a product or service update. This will alleviate your database issues by combining the two, as well as increase customer satisfaction.
CRM: This is where SMS personalization has the greatest potential. If you have a truly robust Customer Relationship Management system that is filled with contact attributes such as birthdays, contract renewals, preferred products, zip code, or other key identifiers, then you should be leveraging that information in your text message marketing program. Use auto response text message to in response to contact’s actions, or send out behavior-based targeted messages to reach the right audience at just the right time. And, of course, remember to personalize things when it makes sense (with the contact’s first name or other unique identifier).
This integration improves the efficiency of your communication by giving you more information and more options for each SMS you send or receive.
Point of Sale: For the mobile marketers working in retail, restaurants, and other brick and mortar businesses, SMS API integration into POS systems makes a world of difference. Using an SMS API to integrate into your POS is a great way to ensure that you don’t miss any opportunities to make a sale or retain a customer. While text coupons / mobile coupons can be a total blessing for driving foot traffic, they become an annoyance when the customer cannot move smoothly through checkout. We can all fantasize about having a mobile app for our store, but that isn’t always the smartest investment. SMS is a much more affordable way to keep customers loyal, fulfill their mobile requirements, and get people into your store.
Our integration tools (PHP .Net, Java, Ruby) make it easy for programmers to develop, integrate and deploy SMS solutions with your proprietary software or website, enabling 2-way SMS communications. Learn more about 3Seventy’s SMS API and get support integrating your systems with our SMS Gateway by contacting us.
When you sign up for an account with 3Seventy, you are getting more than an SMS Gateway. You are getting a fully featured messaging platform where you can build a contact database for SMS (text messaging), MMS (image messaging) and Email. And your contact database contains more detail than just a list of phone number or email addresses. Contact attributes are the contact details for each of your customers.
How can you use Contact Attributes?
If you’re starting with a clean slate, then you are most likely to gather details about your contacts by using a Dialog Campaign. A SMS dialog campaign on the 3Seventy platform allows you to create a multi-threaded message where you can deliver the follow-up message to a customer based upon a response. You can text in to see a sample text tree.
Here’s an example of what your message tree might look like (think of “if” “then” kind of flow)
Customer texts the keyword SOCIAL to a shortcode, and receives a text message back with a question with multiple choice options (a.Facebook b.Twitter c.Google+ d.LinkedIn e.All). After the customer replies with “b” to the question, and follow-up question is delivered. This question/response flow continues as long as you like. All of the questions are pre-setup and triggered by the answers.
The answers to each question are your Contact Attributes. If your question is “What is your favorite food on the menu?” and the possible responses are “Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner”, then your contact attribute is Favorite Food and the possible values of that attribute are Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. This means that a contact who replies “breakfast” to the text message will have the contact attribute value of “breakfast” in his profile.
Why are Contact Attributes Great?
Contact attributes are a highly powerful tool in your marketing toolbox when you’re using 3Seventy’s platform. When you create a contact list for sending targeted messages, you will choose specific contact attributes and values to segment it. Marketers: this is the tool you wish you had in email, so get excited.
The most unique thing 3Seventy’s platform has to offer is seamless two-way text messaging. A company can create multi-threaded conversations using automated or open-ended responses without those users ever leaving their text inbox. Imagine a poll or survey style of SMS message, but without the need for new keywords to trigger the next message. The system treats it as one larger campaign constructed with multiple messages.
A SMS Dialog Campaign can be quickly setup in the platform or through the RESTful SMS API using calls to the system. Below is a screenshot of a sample dialog campaign setup inside of 3Seventy’s platform.
NOTE: When you ask a question in a SMS Dialog campaign, you are required to associate a Contact Attribute with that question. For example, if the question is “How often do you visit our store” then your Contact Attribute name may be “StoreFrequency”, and the value of that attribute is the answer choice from the end-user. This is what makes the SMS Dialog such a powerful tool. When a user replies to your question, their response is attached to their contact record.
In the image below, you get a glance at some of the contact attributes being used and the values, as seen in the “Edit Contact” section of the 3Seventy Platform.
How does it work for marketing?
Drive additional sales through multi-threaded conversations, known as SMS Dialog. How? Targeted messaging. You can create a Loyalty or Rewards club with another system, as many companies do, and connect to the 3Seventy platform through the SMS API. With that connection setup, you have the ability to push out a survey to loyalty club members to learn more about what they want / need / expect from your company. The new Contact Attribute will be recorded in your contact database on the 3Seventy Platform, as well as your loyalty software platform (if you choose to set it up that way).
Take it a step further by using dynamic personalization of in your SMS messages. You not only know your customer’s first and last name now, but you know that her favorite coffee is the holiday seasonal flavor of peppermint. Increase your response rates and sales by sending your SMS messages to a targeted list and using dynamic content. A message might read, “Hey [name]! Did you hear that we’re offering the [drink type] for $1 off today. Come on by and show the cashier this message.”
There are hundreds of ways to leverage SMS Dialog campaigns to drive sales, increase loyalty, and grow your brand recognition. You can get as creative as you like.
How does SMS Dialog work for operations?
Integrating a SMS dialog solution into other systems helps to create a robust communications tool. It makes data actionable and reduces costs. The system can send immediate triggered SMS messages for anything including technical updates, scheduling, internal communications, or anything else that is dependent upon information sources.
Like the marketing examples, there are hundreds of ways that a company could use SMS Dialog campaigns to streamline communications internally (or externally). Check out some of 3Seventy’s SMS Use Cases.
When you compare open rates of text messages to emails, it is clear that SMS is much faster and more effective. While you don’t want to abandon your email marketing efforts, you should consider the impact of offering text as a communications channel for your customers. If you are a restaurant or retailer that sends out special offers all the time, then mobile coupons delivered via SMS are likely to have a higher return rate for you.
The demographic reach of text messages is undeniable. You can reach just about everyone in the US (as well as abroad). Whether your core audience includes young moms, college students or people approaching retirement, you can connect with them using two-way dialog text messaging. Leverage those customers with high disposable income who are well educated and want specific information from your company.
For content marketing, text messages are a key way to drive this audience from inquiry to next steps. If you plan your marketing content the right way, then you’ll find that customers will choose your company and opt in to receive text messages from you. Just make sure the content is valuable.
What are your plans for reaching customers while on their mobile phones?
Successful Brands Define Themselves as an Actual Person
In secret meetings, brand managers might refer to their brand as she, he, athletic, hipster, emo, rock star, popular, hungry, party animal, surfer…you get the idea. In this posting, I’ll refer to the “brand” as a “she”. A compelling and interesting brand carefully selects characteristics that her target demographic aspires to become. In a brilliant blend of science and talent, brand managers design this perfect personality who impacts everything that could possibility influence their customers.
Your Brand’s Personality In A Text
Text Marketing is an excellent way to have a brand’s personality communicate with her customers. Think about it – how do friends communicate with each other these days? Do they send letters in the mail (print mail advertising)? Do they hang giant posters of their friend in the front window of their house (in-store banner advertising)? If any friend of mine did that, the stalker card would fly out of my pocket faster than I bolt out of my office door on a Friday afternoon. These days, friends communicate with each other through text messaging and social media. A super in-tune brand engages her fans through their channel of choice – their mobile phone.
One-way text messaging, however, just isn’t going to cut it. If a brand truly cares about what her fan thinks, then it just won’t work. One-way text messaging is, simply rude. If I sent a good friend a text message and she didn’t respond….her phone better be either lost or water saturated. Again, we all know that ignoring a text message is just plain inconsiderate.
3Seventy Best Convey’s Your Brand’s Personality
Luckily, 3Seventy has developed an innovative way for a brand to complete a conversation with her fan, not just start a conversation. Dialog texting is best used to find out 2-3 key pieces of information about your fan. In the world of mobile marketing, we call that “small talk”. So brands, stop being rude. Engage your fans through dialog texting; make them feel like you care about who they are and what they would like to eat for dinner. Your brand is smart and polite, and she will definitely jump for joy when you guide her towards an engaging mobile strategy.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, TrueDialog is the preferred SMS solution for enterprise businesses and higher education. TrueDialog's cloud-based software and API make it simple to send mass text messages, communicate with employees, alert students and parents, and provide multi-user, team-based customer support at scale.