Getting Started In SMS Marketing

If a business wants to get its message out to where most people are these days, then it must reach them via their mobile devices, which in turn means text messaging. But it’s one thing to say that a business needs SMS marketing; it’s a whole other matter to actually do it.

Here is a primer for small businesses who want to jump on the SMS train and increase their customer base.

The Fundamentals Of SMS

For the sake of the neophyte, let’s pause for a definition. Short Message Service, or SMS, is defined as a message platform where users give the business permission to send out text messages of n more than 140 characters. The total character count is in fact 160, but the first 20 characters are reserved for the sender’s name. Twitter is the most well-known SMS platform.

Before You Start Marketing

Even before you decide on what sort of SMS text you want to send out, you need to have an audience in place that you can send it to. This is best achieved by having people sign up, either via a link in an email or one embedded on your website. Let them know that by signing up, they get advance word on promotions, sales, deals, and special occasions. People enjoy being in the know, and giving them this sense of exclusivity makes them more likely to sign up.

Now, as for content …

Start Small And Easy

If you’re just beginning your foray into SMS marketing, then start off with something that is basic and yet still actionable. Consider offering a discount for everyone who replies to the text by using a special code. The discount information can be sent via email to their account, possibly even using am embedded QR code.

This tactic is not only an easy way to get your business into SMS marketing, it also serves as a good indicator of how many people are reading the messages and are willing to act on them. But no matter what you include your message, heed the wisdom offered in the article “6 Tips For Writing More Effective Text Marketing Messages” and make sure that all of your messages have a call to action.

Have A Contest

People enjoy discounts, sure, but they also like having the chance to win something. Hold a contest and text the particulars via SMS. In fact, kill two birds with one stone and make it a contest for who can sing up the most friends on the text distribution list!

Promote An Event

If your business is going to be hosting some kind of special event in the near future, promote it via SMS, and again, building on the sense of exclusivity, include a special perk for the text recipients. This is particularly effective for restaurants and pubs that may be observing a holiday, or holding a viewing party for a sporting event.

Whatever You Do, Keep It Snappy

With only 140 characters to work with, it seems unlikely that there are any boring, rambling messages out there. You would be surprised. People’s capacity to waste words and not get to the point is limitless. So, be short, sweet, and to the point. Give the users the what, where, when, and why (as in, why they should care), and be done with it.

With an increasing number of people turning to mobile devices, SMS is the best way to reach them. Start off small, and build up your experience as you increase your address lists. In time, that increased list will mean more business.

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3 Ways SMEs Can Maximise Online Marketing With no Additional Spend

There are around 58.6million internet users in the United Kingdom. Accounting for around 90 per cent of the population, it makes online marketing one of the most compelling activities to reach new customers.

With this in mind, here are three tried, tested and proven ways that any SME in any industry can reach more potential customers online without any additional spend, other than time, of course.

  1. Embrace Twitter

Do you use Twitter? If so, how quickly is your following growing, and do you see any meaningful engagement? Popular automotive publication, Car Waffle, were able to double up on their Twitter following, hitting 31,000 followers and almost one million Tweet impressions a month in just three months, and crucially, without any spend.


In addition, their Twitter account is currently growing at rate of 5,000 followers per month, and as their audience grows, their rate of growth increases too. They also drive a whopping 10,500 link clicks every month.


What’s most interesting is the fact that if you too were able to drive this number of link clicks and the traffic only converted at a rate of 0.5 per cent – which is rather modest – it would account for 52 sales, web enquiries or email subscribers, depending on what your goal was.

That’s a fairly big deal considering Twitter is just one of many social networking platforms out there. Harness the power of others and social media alone could drive hundreds of additional conversions month in month out.

How did they do it?

Timing – Naturally it’s best to tweet when your audience is online and you can use a free tool such as Manage Flitter in order to determine this.

In addition, Twitter engagement for brands is 17 per cent higher on weekends, so if you don’t tweet on a Saturday and Sunday – which most brands don’t – you’re missing out on tons of extra engagement.

Images – Research shows that Tweets containing images will generally receive twice as much engagement. This is because the human brain can process images 60,000 times quicker than text. With Twitter’s new multi-image upload tool you can now add up to four per tweet, though one will usually suffice.

Links – Using the Bitly link shortener can make a tweet look far more visually pleasing than simply pasting in a full URL string, thus increasing the likelihood of it being retweeted. Using a link shortener also frees up more characters for you to be able to deliver your message.

Hash Tags – Use them, but use them sparingly; talking at an Expo just the other day, Georgina Parnell from Twitter said she recommends using a combination of no more than two blue elements per tweet (i.e. links, Twitter handles and hash tags).

Engage – Failing to engage with your audience by way of replying to their comments, tweets or mentions is one of the worst things you can do. Even if you don’t have time to reply to them all, you should reply to some.

  1. Run Competitions

Let’s face it, everybody likes a good competition, right? Of course they do; however, most of us will only ever enter a competition if the prize is extremely relevant to our interests, or a lump of cash, naturally.

Although there are exceptions to the norm such as the online community of serial competition entrants, or ‘compers’ as they’ve become known. These individuals are often willing to take surveys, subscribe to mailing lists and engage via social media indiscriminately in exchange for the opportunity to win a prize.

Harnessing this community can produce an enormous boost in traffic, almost instantly. Just look at the graph below which Stoneacre Motor Group agreed to share, it shows an almost doubling of traffic to their website. Visits rose from 3,000 visits to 6,000 shortly after they announced a competition to win VIP tickets to an open air concert featuring One Direction.


However, it’s not all about traffic; a competition can be run with the aim of driving email subscribers too. Parenting blogs have proved to be particularly good at this with some adding over 10,000 email subscribers from a single competition.

Another good example is CCF, who set out to conduct a car tax disk survey and used a competition in order to drive participation, offering £100 worth of high street vouchers to one lucky winner. This resulted in 850 entries, email subscribers and completed surveys.

How do you get the most out of an online competition?

Make it simple

The more barriers you place between a visitor and your competition, the fewer entries you will receive. Competitions that perform best are those that simply require a retweet or a comment. As a general rule of thumb, try to keep the number of required actions to a maximum of two and if you ask people to enter by joining your mailing list don’t ask for too much information, a name and email address should suffice.

Harness your existing audience

If you already have a large number of email subscribers use them to drive additional engagement. The chances are they will be on social media and the average Facebook user has around 130 friends and the average Twitter user, 127 followers. By encouraging them to like, share or tweet your competition, you can very quickly spread the word to a much larger audience.

Competition Forums

There are literally dozens of online competition platforms. Most allow you to submit a competition for free. In addition, you can add a massive boost via paid competition platforms such as, who will guarantee 1,000+ genuine entries. They do this by promoting your competition to their list of 10,000 email subscribers, but a minimum prize value of £500 is required.

Here’s some of the best free to submit competition platforms:

Money Saving Expert –

Loquax –

Twitaculous –

  1. Use Emojis

Emoji is Britain’s fastest growing language, according to Professor Evans and the research he conducted in conjunction with Talk Talk Mobile.

The research found that 8-in-10 of us use emojis when we communicate; that amounts to huge potential for businesses willing to communicate in this way, and though some may see it as unprofessional, many have already introduced its use across their digital marketing campaigns.

As far back as 2012, Experian analysed some of these businesses, 56 per cent of which reported an increase in open-rates when symbols such as emojis were included in the subject line of emails. In other research, a simple snowman symbol was shown to lift open-rates to a staggering 65.72 per cent. Considering the average email open-rate for business is 21.59 per cent and eCommerce just 16.89 per cent, that’s a pretty impressive result.


However, the use of emojis to enhance engagement stretches much further than just email campaigns. Examples of emojis being used across other marketing channels include the case of tennis player Andy Murray, who tweeted about his entire wedding day in a single tweet made up of 51 emojis; this earned him a staggering 13,848 retweets and 29,500 favourites.



In addition, some marketing executives have begun using emojis in their page titles which then show up in Google Search.


How to use emojis

Finding emojis – There are a number of online resources that list all available emojis one of the best by far is, as it allows you to quickly and easily copy & paste the emojis that you wish to use.

Where to use – Emojis can be used in status updates on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well as in email subject lines and web page titles that show up in Google Search, and even in printed material.

How many – According to software engineer Thomas Dimson, almost half of all comments and captions on Instagram are made up of emojis and it seems the more you use, the more engagement you get. However, for use in email subject lines a maximum of five seems to work best. For Google Search no more than three is advised.

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Calling all Innovators & Entrepreneurs, we need your help & your green VOTE !!

As with any Irish technology company, we all suffer unique challenges when growing business internationally. As a country we have a small population so we struggle when trying to make as much noise as our International competitors. Even places we assume are tiny states such as Haiti & Togo have twice and three times our population.

Hence we need your help…

One of our company’s, Surface Power HONE which has developed a revolutionary “daylight” powered Nano-heat engine technology is short-listed (final 18 was judged by experts) for the 2Degrees Champions Award –  “Innovation of the Year” which is the world’s leading collaboration platform and service for sustainable business with over 46,500 members from 177 countries.

Surface Power HONE has nearly 7,000 installations of this patented technology over 8 countries to date and it has been kept fairly secretive until recently. The technology was field tested in the West of Ireland & New Zealand as the daylight levels are some of the lowest in the OECD. In short, it replaces the use of oil and gas for heating and cooling with free daylight. Have a look at LIVE customers on our website such as the UK National Health Service running their hospital’s central heating on free “daylight” (sounds mad but true !!)

The next phase of the 2Degrees “Innovation of the Year Awards” is a voting stage which will reduce the final 18 to 5 for the big awards ceremony and we need your help and your vote. 

Although already in the short-list of 18, we are the only Irish Technology company in this shortlist and are up against huge players such as Nestle, General Motors & B&Q.

You can vote for us by clicking the link below to get us into the final 5 and we thank you in advance for that vote. Be sure to tweet it afterwards using the link so we can personally send you a thank you tweet. Go raibh maith agat as do chabhair.

Best Regards, John Quinn, CEO. (Twitter – @johnquinn_irl )

Read our story and VOTE from below.

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Start Your Own Business Without Leaving the House!

Whether you are living in a rented house in the Florida Keys, or own one of the beautiful condos in Montreal, it is possible for anyone to start their own business without even leaving the house.  During the recession, many working age people decided to start a home based business in order to make ends meet, and now they are reaping the benefits of their hard work.  If you think working from home sound like the ideal solution to your financial worries, keep reading for some tips.  This article aims to help you start your own business from the comfort of your own home.

Start Small

It’s tempting to throw a lot of money at a business in order to get it started.  However, it’s a much better idea to start small with low overheads, especially if you won’t necessarily be making a wage for a few months.  A laptop on a kitchen table can be the perfect work desk (at least at first), and your spare room could be the ideal stock room.  Many of the world’s biggest companies started off in the same way: Marks & Spencer’s started off on a market stall, whilst Laura Ashley began on her kitchen table.

Agree Payment Terms

Don’t expect people to pay you on time, as it’s common for companies (especially big businesses) to take their time with payments.  It’s a much better idea to agree payment terms before you begin any work.  If you are building a website for someone, for example, you could ask for 50% of the payment upfront, and the remainder upon delivery of the website.  If you are happy to wait until after you have completed the work, make sure your client’s know when you expect payment to be made, and what the consequences will be for ignoring your payment rules.

Plan Your Finances

No matter what type of business you are running, it’s important to plan everything.  Even if you’re only setting yourself up as a freelancer, you need to have a good idea of how much money you expect to make each month, and how much your outgoings will be.  It can be tough to estimate sales when you’re just starting out, but once you have been working for a month or two, you should have a much better idea of what to expect.  Where possible, try to avoid borrowing money unless you are sure you can pay it back.

Don’t Forget to Market

Marketing can be challenging for home based business owners, so this is one area that is worth investing in.  Marketing is one area where you need to spend money to make money, and you’ll really appreciate the constant workflow that you attract.  Failing to market yourself correctly could lead to huge gaps in your business’ cash flow, especially if you have to spend hours every day looking for new work.  Market your business daily, and you should find that you have a steady stream of custom.

Every home based business requires a significant time investment, but if you have the motivation, you can make it work.  Good luck!

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