Thursday, 27 May 2010

Why Businesses Can’t Afford To Ignore SMS Text Message Marketing

Why you cant afford to ignore SMS Text Message Marketing
People all over the world at the moment are saying SMS Text Message Advertising is a new kid on the block, however, a little unknown fact is that SMS Text Message Marketing first came on the scene ten years ago in the year 2000, when a free daily newspaper headline service in Finland sent by SMS text messaging and was sponsored by advertising.

Until the past few years SMS Text based advertising was low on the marketers agenda, however with recent research showing SMS/MMS ads spending up 26% percent from 2008 to 2009 is showing that this ‘relatively new’ channel is finally coming into its own.

So why should businesses look at SMS Text Message Marketing?
Following on from my previous article, 67% of Brits want more SMS reminders, I went into the forum and asked what the members of 4N thought. Do you want to be text by your supplier / business contact?

All said they would love to receive more reminders and alert from suppliers and business contacts.

More Responsive
Bulk SMS text messaging is a new channel at our finger tips, but even more importantly, according to the Mobile Marketing Association, this channel is 5 times more responsive than direct mail, which the Internet Advertising Bureau UK with PwC says is due to its exceptional targeting, immediacy and return on investment.

That brings us nicely onto our second reason, Time efficiency. You could write, send, and have your target market receive an SMS in the fraction of the time it would take you to write and send a direct mail piece, and more importantly it takes less time for them to respond and frees up yours or an employee’s time to spend on more productive activities!

Affordability, Cost Effective and ROI
Affordability is a clear reason SMS Text Message Marketing is getting used more and more. Sending an SMS text message will cost businesses as little as 8p per text, a lot cheaper than printing packaging and postage costs of direct mail, and with response rates far better than email you’ll get a great return on your marketing investment.

Increase Attendance at Events and Create last minute appointments
A simple, yet very effective way of ensuring people attend events or appointments are through text message reminders.

If you work with appointments it can also help you refill last minute cancelations as you can easily and very quickly can send out a quick text saying “Late Deals at (company name), first person to book a treatment at 4pm will receive a 25% discount”. This will help you re-fill the time slot and make money where it could have been lost.

Increase Positive Customer Perception & Loyalty
Using a text message personalised to the contact can do wonders for your business. Sending out promotional material, vouchers and discounts or simply keeping them up to date with the latest news can be good for businesses but it’s the added touch that helps you achieve that perception and loyalty. Sending SMS Text Message Birthday messages for example, this could also include a time related offer. They will love you for remembering their birthday!

Vast Reach of a Text Message
A major benefit of a Text Messages is the vast reach as it can reach the contact no matter where they are. Latest stats show our mobile phones are with us over 80% of every day. By sending a text message to direct to their phone means that they can receive your message where ever they are, they don’t have to be listening to the radio, reading a newspaper, watching TV, near a computer or even in the country!

Viral Potential
One of the biggest things we want is our message to reach as many people as possible, hence the large amount of money spent on viral market each and every year. However, with the ease of which SMS Text Messages can be shared also increases the chances of your message being shown or forwarded to additional people at no extra cost to you or your business.

Green Credentials that saves you money!
Usually going green costs you money somewhere, but this actually saves you money from the start. SMS Text message marketing is a green way of communicating with your contacts. For every 10,000 pieces of A4 paper that your company uses, you consume 2.5 mature trees.

We all know we can not stop sending mail altogether, but using SMS in certain cases can save us large amounts of money. Think of it as sending a piece of information to 1000 contacts.

Through Mail
Cost to send 50p each (printing, postage and packaging)- Total £500
Average response of 2%
Cost per response = £25

Through SMS
Cost to send 8p each - Total £80
Average response = 10%
Cost per response = £0.80

Thats a great saving of £420 plus, a far better response rate bringing you cheaper response costs!

Even applying Mail Response at 2% you still get the £420 saving with a cost per response of £4

Wow factor whilst having a Competitive Edge
The SMS Text message marketing channel still relatively new in the UK and vast amounts of potential customers not yet seen it firsthand, which is great news for businesses likes yours!

Read More
So there are some great reasons why you cant afford to ignore SMS Text Message Marketing.

1 - Do my contacts want me to text them?
2 - What are the benefits of Business SMS texting?
3 - How to write effective business marketing text messages?

This article was first posted on PPD Computing website 9 Reasons Why Businesses Can’t Afford To Ignore SMS Text Message Marketing

Also visit: PRO-iPBX for additional products

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

How Voice over IP (VoIP) works

The concept of Voice over IP can be a complete mystery to many business owners and employees alike but once understood, then the technology becomes more easy to use. Furthermore its use can be implemented in such away so as to enhance your company’s presence and therefore used to your company’s advantage.

Visit the 4N networking site for an article on how Voice over IP (VoIP) works and how it can benefit your business.


Friday, 21 May 2010

Disabled customers and call centres

Ofcom has today published a good practice guide for call centres containing practical tips for communicating with disabled customers. The tips are based on advice we have received from disabled people and organisations representing them following issues they have experienced with call centres.

Ofcom has written to major telecoms providers, financial institutions, insurance and utility companies to encourage them to consider using the good practice guide. 

How Voice over IP (VoIP) works

The concept of Voice over IP can be a complete mystery to many business owners and employees alike but once understood, then the technology becomes more easy to use. Furthermore its use can be implemented in such away so as to enhance your company’s presence and therefore used to your company’s advantage.

Voice over IP and how it works: at a glance

With a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution, analogue voice calls are converted into data packets. These packets are then transmitted like any other type of data packets, over the Internet or any other private Internet Protocol (IP) network.

When using a Voice over IP (VIP) service, calls can be made to landlines or cell phones. Calls can be made computer-to-computer using headphones and microphone. These can be wired, wireless or even Bluetooth

During the evaluation of how Voice over IP works, it is worth noting that you can make or receive calls using existing landline telephones. To do this all you need to install is an analogue telephone adapter (ATA) that is connected to your network or to connect the phones to a router that has VoIP capability such as some of the Draytek range of routers. To ensure the very best voice quality and answer possible security issues, you should consider using your VoIP or other communications system on a private IP network.

How can Voice over IP (VoIP) Work for Your Business

By adding a Voice over IP service to a data network, costs will be reduced, improvements to productivity will occur, and collaboration amongst staff and between customers will improve..

You will be able to save money by consolidating networks i.e. having one network to manage instead of two. New extensions can be easily added, moved around, or changed. Extensions can be moved to locations or remote workers deployed all of which saves you money and gives your business more flexibility.

Due to the plug and play nature of Voice over IP phones and applications that can run on smart phones, staff can be connected to the telephone system and use it from home or whilst travelling. This allows for improved staff flexibility and means that you are able to make better use of your resources. It also allows for an element of disaster recovery to be built into the business. If you experience a major loss of power, or other problem in the office, staff can be moved to other locations quickly and communications with customers resume.

Conferencing facilities built into the PBX means that you can have team meetings with remote workers and customers alike .This translate into savings made on travel, a contribution made to the reduction in carbon emissions and staff are more productive due to the reduces wasted time incurred during travel.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Powerful Features and Capabilities with a Hosted VoIP PBX Telephone System

A hosted VoIP PBX With Powerful Features and Capabilities 

A hosted VoIP (voice over internet protocol) PBX phone system is a product rich integrated solution with built in powerful features and capabilities. This means that the business communications requirement of SME’s is easily catered for with the help of a hosted VoIP PBX telephone solution.

System Features for Efficient Call Management 

Moving your business communications to a Hosted VoIP PBX telephone system allows you to 
effectively communicate with your customers, business associates and suppliers throughout 
the working day. A hosted VoIP PBX phone system should be designed with powerful call management features and capabilities. These should include:

  • Call forwarding with find me, follow me options 
  • Auto attendant
  • Voicemail
  • ACD (automatic call distribution)
  • Call waiting
  • Call queuing
  • Voice to email
  • Fax to email
  • Caller ID (CLI, CLP)
  • Call conferencing services
  • Call recording
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

One feature, such as the auto attendant service manages inbound calls to the business. All inbound are answered by the system with recorded welcome messages that can either be recorded by you or professionally. You can have different queues for different numbers/services and your callers can even be presented with a menu of options to put them through to the right people or departments in your business. A hosted VoIP PBX telephone system can manage numerous inbound calls and perform call routing without sending out busy signals. Queue positions can be announced, product marketing recordings can be played; even information about the business to keep callers engaged while waiting to be put through.

Business Management Support for Remote Sites 
By using a hosted VoIP PBX, remote workers can be catered for in a number of ways:
  • Simply plug in a VoIP desktop phone
  • Use a VoIP enabled Smartphone (iPhone, Android etc) and connect to the system as if it were your extension.
  • Use find / follow me call forwarding options and have calls diverted to home or mobile numbers. This allows for the easy management of your business calls from other locations. Unanswered calls can be routed to voicemail where they can then be sent on via email as an alert or the message attached so that it can be listened to. The rich feature set of the VoIP hosted PBX phone system means that you can concentrate on your business without being concerned about missed and unanswered calls during business hours. 
Minimal investment costs 
A hosted VoIP PBX business telephone system that gives your business all the phone features that FTSE 100 companies take for granted, but at a fraction of the cost. Savings are massive compared to the cost of a traditional telephone system (70% plus saving), and when you look at the features and benefits delivered you will understand why business users are choosing hosted VoIP PBX solutions. Not only do you get a feature rich system at a fraction of the cost compared to other systems but you will get a solution that is always the right size for your business, allowing you to scale up or down to suit your business needs.

At the very minimum all that is required is a broadband connection, a QoS enabled router and IP telephones.

Visit the PRO-iPBX website for more information.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Smart communications using Hosted Voice over IP all wrapped up in a 30 day Customer Agreement

While trying not to state the obvious you cannot run a business without a telephone system that is suited to your business requirements. However today you do not need to restrict your options to expensive premise based telephone systems which will usually require financing, a nigh impossible tasks in these days of the credit crunch.

There are options in the market place today for a phone system such as using a hosted PBX (Public Branch Exchange) system where you purchase licences for each phone that is connected to it via the internet. This service is known as VoIP (voice over internet protocol), and is as simple as plug and play and start making and receiving calls.

However, do not restrict your options to traditional systems that cost a fortune. If you are still reeling from your last phone bill, think about switching to VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).A hosted VoIP telephone system uses a broadband service to connect to the hosted PBX and then onto the telephone network allowing you to talk to anyone in the world no matter what phone system they are using. They are also able to call you in return just as if you were using a traditional telephone line. 

VoIP phones come in a variety of flavours but they look “like phones and work like phones” and plug into your network or directly into your ADSL router. Depending on the number of users connected, you may need to have a separate broadband - one for voice traffic and the other for data. The good news is that you do not need to have your computer switched on unless you are using a Softphone such as Xlite or Bria from Counterpath.

The main benefits of using a Hosted VoIP PBX is that your business benefits from feature rich applications that can enhance the user and customer experience while assisting in making your business more efficient.

Benefits for your business of the PRO-iPBX Hosted PBX:
  • 30 Day Customer Agreement
  •  Reduced line rentals and call charges
  •  No maintenance or support costs
  •  Free calls between sites and businesses on the same network
  • Capital outlays are minimal
  •  Save time - integrate your business locations, employees can work from the office, home or whilst travelling. Wherever you go, the phone and all its features follow you
  • Scalable solutions, that grow with your company - upsize or downsize seasonally
  • Automatic system feature updates
  • Plug and play technology
  • Keep your existing telephone numbers
  •  Increased efficiency

Feature set:
  • Call Recording
  • Fax to Email
  • Voice Mail
  • Call Forwarding
  • Call Conferencing
  • Remote Working
  • Hunt Groups / Call Cascading
  • Interactive Voice Response IVR
  • Auto Attendant
  • Call Queuing
  • plus many more
Click here for a full range of features on the Hosted PBX