3 Reasons to Have Audience Text Questions and Information for Your Next Event, Speaker Session or Conference

Receiving text questions as an information source for your event attendees or audience members is a readily available resource that they can access from wherever they are, whenever they need it, and stay engaged, whatever the size of the audience.

When I was a kid, I was one of those inquisitive ones. Whenever there was something I didn’t know off the top of my head, the first thing I did was try to find the answer. At that time, I was looking it up in a dictionary or an encyclopedia! These days, I’m a huge fan of the Internet because I can find the answers I need when I need them- my answers on my time. And, if there’s a conversation happening at a blog or twitter, I want in on it.

When I find myself at a live event or a conference, I want the same kind of ability to find answers when I need them from where I am. While event staff are one option, they are not always around. While some people have smartphones and can check an event app or mobile site, you still have to hunt for information in unfamiliar territory.

What I want, and countless attendees and audience members appreciate, is reliable, instant access to often get flustered trying to get the answers I need about the event when I need them. Or, when those answers are from a person speaking in front of a large group, a way to instantly ask their question. Now there are many solutions that enable attendees to text questions and receive answers, either up on a text-to-screen projection or via web-based texting software.

Top 3 Reasons to Have Audience Text Questions and Information for Your Next Event

1. Receive & Respond: At any event, attendees need their questions answered fast. While attendees can’t always find event staff or a computer, they will always have their phone. Setting up a dedicated “Text 2″ code and staffing it with knowledgeable people to respond to text message inquiries from attendees/exhibitors gives every attendee somewhere to turn for fast answers to any question- on their timeline.

3. Speaker Q&A: Want to get your audience asking questions during a panel discussion or in a large exhibit hall? Enabling them to text questions in rather than raise hands and wait for a microphone allows you to screen questions first, increase engagement, and keep it accessible for all attendees.

3. Text 2 Revenue: While giving your audience access to instant information and a way to communicate with speakers is good for them, there’s another upside for you as the host. Hosting a live event takes money, and sponsors are always looking for the best way to get their names out to event attendees. When you integrate text messaging into your event, sponsorship space at the end of messages = ROI.

We would love to talk with you about how to customize Text 2 audience question and information technology for your next event.

Image credit: farm4

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Mosio for Events
Audience Poll, Q&A and Surveys Software

Expert Q&A: Text Messaging in Dry Cleaning and Laundry Delivery Services (Arik Levy, Laundry Locker)

Arik Levy, Dry Cleaning and Laundry Delivery Services

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came up with the idea for Laundry Locker.
Having a professional job and working many hours, the inability to get my dry cleaning and wash & fold done used to drive me crazy.  With a background in operations and technology I knew there had to be a better way.  In 2005 I came up with an ultra-convenient locker based service model that would allow people to drop off and pickup their dry cleaning on their schedule, at their convenience, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This service is called Laundry Locker® and we are changing the way the world does laundry!  We have quickly become the largest cleaner in San Francisco with service in over 150 apartment buildings, numerous parking lots and office buildings, as well as 6 always open, self-service retail stores.

* You implemented technology in a pretty cool way at Laundry Locker. Tell us about it and how it helps customers.
Technology is fundamental to Laundry Locker®’s success.  As a self-service business, it is imperative that we build trust with our customers.  Our custom built, industry leading technology, gives us the ability to track every garment from the second an order is picked up to the time it is delivered.  This ensures consistent, reliable service and we open up much of our data to our customers to give them the visibility into what we see.  We provide full transparency including pictures of every single item and the ability for customers to mark up the pictures to let us know about issues with their garments.  This is an industry where customers are craving technology; they just don’t know it because it doesn’t exist.  Not only does the technology that we use improve the customer experience but also improves our bottom line.

* How do you see text messaging benefiting your industry?
Text messaging gives our customers the flexibility to transact with us in the most convenient way possible.  Our customers can place orders via SMS, receive alerts when their order is ready and we have more functions coming soon.  Customer service is key to our industry and the stronger relationship you can form with customers, the more successful you will be.  The mobile phone has put a computer in everyone’s pocket and we plan on leveraging that to its fullest. Technologies like mobile payments and NFC embedded in phones is super exciting.  We see some huge opportunities here.

* What got you started in texting (personally)?
I think I found out about text messaging in a bar. Expecting to find a missed call on my cell phone telling me where my buddies were, I instead found a text message; “We’re at the back bar.”  Brilliant!   Text messaging has made voicemail a thing of the past.  Got a message for me, just text it over.

* How have mobile phones changed your industry?

One of the most exciting things about mobile phones is that now the customer is always connected.  Their response times are quicker and they expect the same from their service providers.  Companies that can react in real-time and provide customers with the information they want, when they want it, will have a huge competitive advantage.

* What advice would you give any business owner implementing text messaging or mobile technologies?
The more channels of communication you open with your customers, the more difficult it becomes to manage the customer experience. For us, before we implemented mobile technologies, it was imperative that all our mobile interactions were seamlessly integrated into our existing customer experience system.  Our inbound text messages come in just like an order over the web and outbound text messages have the same traceability as our emails.  Without this level of integration, you will have a disparate view of your customer and you will be unable to react when they communicate using a different channel.

* Any other thoughts about mobile?
Apps and the mobile web are changing the game in every industry, even dry cleaning.  I think the new Motorola phone with a docking station is super exciting.  The smartphone  is the new laptop.  I can’t imagine the world without my smartphone, and 10 years from now we won’t believe that a basic iPhone was a sufficient device.  I recently heard about a billboard in NYC that was just a simple QR code.  The first day it was up, the QR code was scanned over 50,000 times!  Mobile technology is advancing every day and successful companies will be the ones that embrace it best.

* What kind of mobile phone do you have? If you are able to download apps to it, which is your favorite?
I have an unlocked iPhone running on T-Mobile.  While I compromise on internet speed, not dropping calls anymore is worth the trade off.  My favorite app is CardMunch.  I just emptied my drawers of 1000+ business cards, scanned them in a matter of minutes and they were hand transcribed, digitized and loaded into my Google contacts, for free!

To learn more about Arik Levy or Laundry Locker, you can visit the Laundry Locker website or on linkedin.

Expert Q&A: Text Messaging for Teen and Young Adult Health Services (Stephanie Kline and Alice Bacon, Scarleteen)

According to a new report by Nielsen Company, US teenagers have been cited as the fastest growing audience enamored of mobile content. While that might not seem like a huge surprise to many reading this, a popular reason we get calls from helplines and hotlines about integrating text messaging into their services is decreasing phone call volume. Scarleteen is one of the most popular teen and young adult services online, so we asked Stephanie Kline and Alice Bacon to answer a few questions for us regarding mobile technology and text messaging as it relates to teen and young adult health services.

* Hi Stephanie and Alice, thanks so much for your time. Tell us a little bit about yourselves and what you do.

Scarleteen is an online comprehensive sexuality education resource for teens and young adults. Like many of the others that work with Scarleteen, we are volunteers at the site. Between the two of us, we work the text-in service, answer questions at the boards, answer questions in the Sexpert Advice column, and have written articles. Alice also works outreach at a local teen shelter.

* How do you see text messaging helping teens and young adults learn about health and sex education?

Text messaging can be especially helpful for teens and young adults because it reaches them at their level. This generation is more mobile than in the past, reaching them individually on their cells is a good way to keep their attention and also keep them in proximity to important info. It also means a way of finding answers to questions quickly, and knowing it’s from a source they trust rather than just trusting what they might have heard somewhere.

In general, other places embracing text as a way of outreach can be helpful in its own, as it allows us to reach generations in ways that they feel more comfortable communicating.

* What got you started in texting (personally)?

Alice: What got me started in text personally…. I was finding that with a busy life I didn’t have a lot of time for answering in depth questions on the boards, so when we started doing text I saw it as an opportunity to scatter my Scarleteen work into small portions throughout the day and night.

Stephanie: Actually, I was a little reluctant, as I didn’t do much texting myself. But I had some time free when they were offering the webinar, so I figured I might as well get trained in case text was ever short handed. But I also found it fit better into my always hectic schedule – so now I love working that area.

* How have mobile phones and texting changed how your organization offers support?

Text messaging can offer real-time support where a teen or young adult may otherwise not have a way to get that. It’s especially handy for a teen or young adult who is out in the world, away from their computer, and needs advice or guidance regarding purchasing a pregnancy test, obtaining emergency contraception, reporting or getting services regarding a rape, etc.
* Advice you’d give to organizations considering implementing text messaging or mobile technologies?

Offering a text service can be really helpful, and it’s really pretty simple. As you go along, you’ll see what questions tend to come often, and what responses you give more than others. Setting up template answers saves a lot of time, and having an idea of what boundaries you’ll expect from users ahead of time helps things run smoothly.

* What kind of mobile phone do you have? If you are able to download apps to it, which is your favorite?

Alice: I have a Blackberry Curve, and my favorite two applications are Pandora Radio and Yelp.

Stephanie: I have a Sony Ericsson MP3 phone, so no apps but love the music.

* About the Experts:

Alice: I am a hard working single mom of a wonderful 4 year old boy named Nolan. I reside in the Seattle area where I am a full-time college student and a part-time worker of many assorted jobs. I have an intense passion for sexual health, domestic violence prevention and supporting pregnant and parenting teens. I also love reading, writing for fun, baking, blowing bubbles and hanging out with close friends.

Stephanie: I’ve spent most of my time for years working with children and adults with special needs. After 4 1/2 years of hard work and studying, I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. Now I teach for an alternative education school. It’s a wonderful challenge. I continue my work with Scarleteen and sexual education, as I remember what my sex ed classes were like and hope for much better for the students going through those courses today. When not in my classroom I’m usually found with friends and family, continuing writing, reading, exploring and traveling.

Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World

Donate to Scarleteen: help more teens and young adults

160 Characters: You can fit a lot of info in a text message.

We get asked by customers all the time just how much information can be shared via text message. Not surprisingly, many don’t think it is much, even when you consider that people manage to get a lot communicated with their friends, family and co-workers using text messaging. 

Back in 1984 when SMS was invented, Friedhelm Hillebrand decided on 160 characters because it was the average amount of characters that fit on a typical postcard. The above postcard (written by Rush drummer Neil Peart in 1984) has 254 characters including his sign off and name, but if you’ve never seen one of Neil Peart’s drum solos, trust me when I say that they are incredible, but also a little longer than your average rock drum solo.

98.15 Characters (61.4%)

That is the average number of characters in an outbound response from our clients to their customers, members, students and employees. The important thing to remember is that ultimately, users understand the medium they’re using. Text messaging is conversational and short, but plenty of information can be shared in a single text message.

So what does 160 characters look like?

Here’s my personal favorite quote (it’s from Charles Kingsley), I try to live by it every day. 159 characters including the quotation marks:
“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”

For those Mosio customers who are less like Charles Kingsley and more like Neil Peart in their responses, our system enables you to send longer responses, breaking it up over several text messages when needed.

Free Text Messaging Character Counter from Mosio

Free Text Messaging Character Counter

Our software has a built-in character counter for setting up text message alerts and reminders as well as when our clients are responding to their customers, but we often have people asking about the best way to figure out how much information can be sent in a text, so we built and have hosted this text messaging character counter and you’re free to use it as well. Feel free to bookmark it or save it somewhere in case you need it in the future.

Internally we have an 800+ term “textspeak” translator that has an SMS acronym dictionary of nearly every possible short phrase texters have come up with. We’re currently speaking with the development team about hosting that outside of our service. If you’re interested in it, contact us, let us know and we’ll pass it along that more folks are looking for it.

Happy texting,

Noel

5 Tips for Sending Text Message Alerts, Reminders and Offers

There are as many stats on text messaging usage as there are text messages sent every day, so I won’t list any here. You know everyone is texting, now it’s time to figure out the right way to go about it. Text messaging is the perfect medium for delivering brief pieces of information, offers or reminders to customers, members or employees with a nearly 100% chance of having it opened and read (open rates are north of 90%).

As I type I have 6 voicemails that need listening to and not a single unread text message. Reading them is too easy. Sending text message alerts, reminders and offers CAN be sent via your mobile phone, but if you’re sending them for business, it’s recommended that you use a web-based service to manage everything.

5 Tips for Sending Text Message Alerts, Reminders and Offers

1) Be consistent, but don’t send texts too often.

People want to be informed, not blasted. In fact, saying the phrase “text message blast” out loud on our offices will either get a giggle or a roll of the eyes, depending on who hears you say it. Before SyFy canceled Caprica (I’m still upset about it), I got Caprica SMS alerts every Friday reminding me that it was on, always with another little piece of information on the message. I already knew it, but the message provided me with a reason to get happy a little earlier in the day. Why not?

2) Don’t use “free” text message email (aka SMTP to SMS).

Kim Dushinski has a great post called “No Such Thing as Free Text Messaging“, definitely worth a read, especially if you’re using text messaging for marketing purposes. If you’re using SMTP or an un-certified text messaging service (“cheap, bulk SMS here!”, you’ve seen them), it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” you’ll get blocked by the mobile carriers. Mobile carriers love money as much as they hate spam and in quite a few occasions where free texting is concerned, they’re not getting anything they love.

3) Make it worthwhile for the recipient.

Whether it’s a special savings offer, coupon, a reminder to make sure someone shows up for a scheduled meeting or a last minute head’s up that something has changed, use the medium wisely. My dentist charges $75 if I miss an appointment, I’ll gladly take the day before text reminding me of it.

4) Use text messaging as a two-way dialogue, not a one way channel.

Imagine getting a phone call, email or text message from a friend or family member that you couldn’t respond to. Frustrating and the notion even sounds a little silly. The best thing about texting for businesses and organizations now is that there are plenty of services (not all, mind you) that enable users to reply back to an SMS once they receive it. It’s entirely up to you, but if a mobile service provider doesn’t let those receiving the text reply back to you to have a conversation with your customer and do so efficiently, you’re not utilizing “all parts of the buffalo” (apologies to any vegetarians).

5) Leave some character space for recipients to forward the message.

I was going to use a different tip and then someone told me about this from Yea-Nay Marketing’s blog that I think is definitely worth sharing. Text messages are 160 characters long (the length was determined by the average number of characters on a postcard). It’s plenty of space, so leave some in case the person receiving your text wants to forward it to some friends. Yea-Nay recommends only using 120 characters for your message, but it’s whatever you feel like. FYI: This is awesome! including the space after the ! is 17 characters, plenty of room for your customer, patron, member, etc to share with friends. If you’re looking for a SMS character counter, you’re more than welcome to use ours even if we never do business together. See? While there’s no such thing as free text messaging. There is a free text messaging character counter.

More info:

The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) has published new guidelines for 2011. The guide is 165 pages long, so i embedded the slideshare version down below if you’d like to click through it. For something possibly a little more exciting to you, check out their mobile marketing case studies.

The Competitive Advantages of Mobile Text Messaging: Stats, Facts, and Figures

Text Messaging Makes Businesses More Competitive

Clients often ask us about how text messaging provides them with an edge over their competitors. If you know your company needs to be mobile, why use text messaging? Our short answer is “because every phone is text messaging-enabled and nearly every mobile consumer in the U.S. has it as part of their plan.”

It’s 2017 and while many of the original statistics posted below pale in comparison to the data of today (we’re due for a new post), we’re constantly surprised at how new the SMS channel still is in many industries. We now get asked more about statistics and research showing the text message and mobile usage of older demographics.

We got a lot of great feedback from a blog post we did awhile back with text messaging and mobile facts and figures, so we put together another list of stats, facts and figures we found. Bottom line, adding text messaging to your business communications, whether it be with customers, employees, independent contractors, etc makes you more competitive.

Adding text messaging opens up a new, easy to use communication channel that helps cut through the clutter, costs and time associated with other forms of communication, like talking on the phone. Plus, it’s the preferred method of communication by most mobile consumers. We’re not saying don’t talk on the phone anymore, but if you have a faster, more efficient, cost-effective way to communicate, we think it warrants serious consideration.

Here are some bits of info for you and if you’re interested in speaking about your communication goals and how text messaging can provide you with a return on your investment, contact Mosio here.

The Competitive Advantages of Mobile Text Messaging: Stats, Facts and Figures
“90% Would Rather Use Text Than a Phone Number
GoIP Global, Inc User Survey, November 2010

…of the 82 percent of consumers who prefer on-device self-service, 35 percent are between the ages of 36 and 50 years old, 38 percent are between 25 and 35, and 27 percent are between 18 and 24.”
– Nuance Communications Mobile Customer Care Study

“44 percent of consumers surveyed said they would rather receive product information and other marketing messages through SMS campaigns than via any other channel.”
Direct Marketing Association, July 2008

“The average cost of a live-agent service call is approximately $12. An SMS interaction, on the other hand, costs mere pennies per message.”
ContactBabel Contact Center Analysis Firm

“Interacting with customers via SMS allows the issue to become what RJ Auburn (CTO of Voxeo) refers to as ‘a background problem’ — less of a headache and requiring much less of [company agent’s] time. Text messaging also gives agents a context for every inquiry. Unlike an IVR, SMS can move through these more complex inquiries seamlessly.”
DestinationCRM.com

“94%) have texting included in their phone plan. This makes texting by far the most popular feature of US consumer mobile phone plans. Other popular features include email (80%) and mobile web (78%).”
– New study from IHL Group and RetailConnections.

Texting Is an Underutilized Customer Engagement Tool

– Article by 1to1 Media, Insight and Best Practices from the Customer Strategy Experts

There you go, enough stats to shake a phone at. If you’re looking for text messaging solutions like live voting, live polls, or SMS surveys, contact us. We’re happy to help.

How much does it cost to develop an iPhone apps? Hint: It’s more than most people think.

“It only takes 5 1/2 hours to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.” I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard people say this and I believe I even said it once myself. “Well, without traffic or cops and with minimal stops.” Huh? When is there no traffic in San Francisco or Los Angeles? The truth is, it really depends on where in LA you’re going, but I’d argue most destinations are beyond the 5.5 hour mark.

I was reminded of this SF > LA drive-time claim when a colleague sent me a stack overflow thread today entitled “How much does it cost to develop iPhone applications?” It’s worth taking a look at, most interesting is an answer suggesting around $10,000 ($50/hr for a Developer and $50/hr for a Graphic Designer x 200 total hours), which the stack overflow community quickly jumped on, providing insight and information to back up a more realistic $50k-100k (and some say $200k) price tag.

At Mosio, naturally we get asked about mobile applications from clients all the time. I love my MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad, but Apple has spent plenty of money in advertising to convince us all that “There’s an App for That.” They even spent money trademarking the phrase and that’s fine, they benefit by doing so. The craziest thing about the mobile apps hype is that it caters to less than 1/3 of the mobile subscriber market. Consider recent research about Mobile Content Usage for the month of July 2010 in the image below from Wireless Week:

Among all U.S. mobile subscribers ages 13+:
31.4% Used a Downloaded App
33.6% Used a [Mobile] Browser
66% Sent a text message to another phone

Why, then, do people think it’s so inexpensive to develop iPhone apps?
I’m not exactly sure, but my guess is that it’s a combination of people wanting to believe it costs less (much like we don’t want to believe it actually takes 6.5-7 hours to drive to LA) combined with the misinformation from people selling shoddy development services or app workarounds trying to capitalize on the hype. And before those of you developing “affordable” iPhone applications start flaming me in the comments, consider the fact that by saying it’s inexpensive and cheap, you’re essentially selling yourselves short, commoditizing your expertise. The misinformation hurts your skills and service.

And for those who claim a drive from San Francisco to LA is 5 1/2 hours? They’re simply remembering it better than it truly is, or convincing themselves that it’s quicker than it really is. It’s more beneficial psychologically to believe it, but it doesn’t make it the truth in practice.

Text Messaging is Used by Consumers Twice as Much as Mobile Apps

Text Messaging Use in Business Has Never Been Bigger

4.1 billion+ text messages are sent daily in the U.S.

99% of mobile phones are SMS-enabled out of the box.

95% of mobile customers have text messaging plans.

While much of the mobile industry is focused on apps, location based services and more recently tablet devices, many mainstream consumers are just now catching up to text messaging in the U.S. It’s becoming as ubiquitous as a phone call with plenty of personal reasons when and why to use it instead of calling.

I was recently interviewed by Rob Woodbridge @RobWoodbridge on UTETHER.tv in a piece he calls “Text isn’t dead, it’s just underrated but that’s about to change.” In the interview we talk about how my Co-founder/CTO, Jay Sachdev, and I got into the mobile business, a little bit about our first product “Text a Librarian” and head into our new mobile messaging software for mobile workforces, FieldForce Mobile.

While consumers are obviously doing a lot more texting, more and more businesses are looking for ways to communicate with them via interactive, two-way text messaging software like Mosio. But more exciting is bigger business interest we are seeing via internal communications and FieldForce Mobile is quickly picking up steam.

Some of the uses, functions and industries where we’re seeing two-way text messaging interest or used:

  • Sales and Marketing Representatives
  • Field Technicians
  • Franchises
  • Employee Dispatch
  • Field Rep Support
  • Pest Control
  • Alarm Company Technicians
  • Nationwide Remodelers and Repair
  • Field Service Agents
  • Couriers and Bike Messenger Companies

Our mobile messaging platform was built for any company with a nationwide, regional or city-wide mobile workforce interested in deploying mobile communications using the equipment they already have, without the need to buy new hardware (phones) or download mobile apps.

Texting isn’t dead. Far from it.

Special thanks to Rob for the fun interview. If you haven’t checked out his site, there are some great interviews in the mobile industry.

Video embedded below: