Sent.ly goes high fashion

Fashion Design Council of India’s Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week

Being at a fashion event in India was a great experience for Sent.ly. 124 of India’s top fashion designers participated in the event. FDCI decided to go high tech and introduced the FDCI WIFW mobile app platform powered by Sent.ly Notify as the Offficial App for the event. The app aims to connect designers at the event with Buyers, Media and other myriad visitors.

sample   designers   005-Profile-Details

The app was used during the event to broadcast live streaming YouTube links for the various shows which were, incidentally, AMAZING!

We managed to catch some of them… Pankaj & Niddhi wowed us with their “Vintage Closet” theme. The clothes were just… scrumptious!

We also got to see Masaba’s show which combined fashion with dance to create a wonderful experience for the audience. Her theme of “Patakha” or fire-crackers was aptly reflected both in the design of her clothes as well as the styling of the models who wore firecrackers in their hair in the place of flowers.

The GRAND finale by Rohit Bal at the Quli Khan tombs at the Qutub Minar was, possibly, the best show ever. The clothes, which bore a Kashmiri theme, were elegant and combined elements from traditional Indian dress such as Zari, Zardozi and Brocade.

To add a further element of perfection to the show, the voice of Shubha Mudgal (live) enthralled the audience throughout the show. We were swept to another time and place in a collective reverie led by Rohit Bal’s vision.

It is indeed an honour for Sent.ly to be associated with a show of such a stature.  As the technology partner for the FDCI WIFW platform, Sent.ly hopes to take the engagement with designers further by working closely with the FDCI and them to add even more value to the offering and grow the platform.

Dunkin’ Donuts – A delicious SMS Story

There is nothing quite like pair of donuts along with a cup of coffee in the morning. But it takes some smart marketing moves for those donuts to be sold to a select target demographic. With big players in the market, Dunkin Donuts in the US had to go that extra mile via SMS marketing to gain attention of the audience with text messages.

Dunkin Donuts

At the price point in which donuts are available, Dunkin Donuts hit the nail by identifying their target audience correctly which mainly comprised young adults. They decided to harness the power of mobile and garner subscribers keeping in mind that fresh ideas would appeal to youngsters. They took to on-air promotions via local radio personalities and mobile internet ads which aroused a lot of interest and it end up being on forefront on people’s minds.

The next advantage that they got was the word-of-mouth because of the friendly approach that they took on their SMS campaigns. They tapped the sharing potential of youngsters by asking them to share or forward the message to their friends and family. They automatically gave the option to the customer to spread awareness and this ended up being a brilliant case of opt-in marketing.

Taking a light note on making their sharing and purchase details align had a massive impact and the resulted numbers were there to prove their SMS marketing success. They found a 21% increase in their in-store traffic and 17% of forwarded messages traffic which creates an extended network of influence.

When you are writing your own recipe for success, it really does pay to ask nicely! Dunkin Donuts eventually managed their resurgence with a savvy SMS campaign.

Launch your own successful campaign!

Game over for SMS?

We have all noticed the explosive growth of the chat applications. Most likely you already do most of your messaging via WhatsApp, Line, Kakao, Viber or some other chat application. Personally I use WhatsApp – the statistics of my today’s message count stand at: 12 received and 2 sent. By comparison my today’s SMS stats are; 0 received, 0 sent.

Over the past few years the usage of chat applications have exploded and, like me, most people use a chat application instead of SMS when messaging friends and family. So where does that leave SMS? With most people installing chat applications in favor of SMS you would expect to see a significant drop in the number of SMS messages being sent. But that hasn’t happened. In fact the global SMS messaging volume is increasing.

Power of SMS

The reason for this increase is called A2P messaging or Application-to-Person messaging. While Person-to-Person SMS messaging volume is falling, the A2P SMS volume is rapidly rising. Examples of areas where A2P messaging is useful:

  • Confirmations and notifications
  • Passwords and IT security
  • Customer Service
  • Marketing
  • Delivery logistics

These are in many cases business critical functions (Like passwords or delivery notifications) where the sender needs to be absolutely sure the intended recipient receives the message. While chat applications have hundreds of millions of users they are still not able to offer practically 100% coverage like SMS does. If your phone has a SIM card connected to the network it will be able to receive SMS, but it may not have a data plan and the right chat application installed. As more and more services get automated the growth of A2P messaging is predicted to continue.

In fact the predicted increase in A2P messaging more than makes up for the drop in P2P messaging so the total global SMS volume is still set for growth in the coming years. The overall growth will be modest but if you look a bit closer at the numbers you will see that the modest growth is the result in a significant shift in what SMS is used for. Instead of being the standard for messaging between people it is becoming the standard for our interaction with technology. With the emergence of internet and a multitude of smart devices, this trend is not set to stop any time soon.

So SMS is absolutely not dead, in fact SMS is more alive than ever.

Know more about SMS?

SMS Vs. Email Verification for your Smartphone App

sms verification is better for app

Thanks to the boom of smartphones in the market, the app world is pushing to bridge the information available online to the real world interests of customers. The use of your phone number is critical to determine your identity and verification is sought for consent. This results in spam blockage and system abuse prevention. Instant, secure and reliable – SMS is the most inclusive data delivery and interactive tool of communication.

3 SIMPLE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD USE SMS AND NOT EMAIL

  • SMS IS INSTANT
  • Email exhaustion is real. An average person has to deal with at least 4 email inboxes at a time and most people rarely, if ever, check their spam/junk folders, where auto-generated OTPs usually end up in.

    On the other hand, all phones have a SMS feature and whilst your smartphone is always within arm’s reach, the same cannot be said for your email, especially if your email can only be accessed in the office.

  • SMS IS SECURE
  • Email credentials are also much more at risk of being compromised as user passwords are far less secure an authentication method.

  • SMS IS RELIABLE
  • Finally, human beings are generally impatient and you do not want to lose them to bad customer experience. SMS is super reliable and will allow customers to finish the verification process in the fastest, easiest and most convenient way.

Simple Pointers to Win Customer Loyalty with SMS Marketing

Today’s mobile phones are hubs of personal information and mobile marketers need to understand changes in customer behavior. Customer interaction on a personal level is important as the attachment of a person to his/her mobile phone cannot be underestimated. For SMS marketing to be a vector in customer loyalty, it should make a “There’s something about this message that makes it personal” statement that ensures guaranteed reading of the message.

Personalized customer segmentation

SMS marketing customer segmentation

The information you assimilate about a particular customer are like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. The more information that you have about your customer, the more helpful it will be for you to tailor out specific offers for the customers. The instant when you can remember something more about a customer than just his/her name, there is a brand connect. E.g. Birthday messages, sales offers catered to their interest levels. Remember the market is all about gaining the right customer at the right time.

Make it worth their time

Making Marketing Worth Customers Time

SMS as a communication channel has one of the highest chances of being read as it gets delivered right onto the customers’ mobile phones. Hence it becomes important for the content of the message to be simple, brief and worth the customers’ time. A good indicator of appreciation of the customers’ time would be to offer something of value likes discounts and time-limited deals. Loyalty programs can be offered to returning /subscribed customers.Something as simple as a message in the end of text stating “Thank you for your time, click [here](http://www.sent.ly/) to know more about us” could go a long way in customer engagement.

Add value with reminders and alerts

Add value to reminders and alerts

When customers feel appreciated and important, they can act as your brand advocates. This can be done by reminding them of their personal appointments and schedules in a timely manner. The best part about reminders is that information captured from them can last from before the customer experience your brand to the feedback stage. Feedback is effective to demonstrate to the customer that you care about their opinion and this helps in building long-term loyal customers.

Recap of Makan@Work II

Makan@Work

Makan@Work startup pitches

Last Thursday, we had our second instalment of Makan@Work. This time round we modelled the event after the reality TV show, Shark Tank — 5 innovative start-ups were short-listed to present to 3 expert panellists, and we were honoured to have in the expert panel, Chiradeep Gupta from Unilever, Colin Wan from StrawberryFrog & Ryan Pham from PropertyGuru, to comment on the business pitches.

Makan@Work buffet reception

A big THANK YOU to the over 60 participants, start-up entrepreneurs and industry experts for coming! We are always looking for ways to bring to you a bigger and better experience at Makan@Work and would appreciate your input here.

See you guys again at our next digital themed Makan@Work, the lunchtime networking seminar for marketing professionals. In the meantime, you can view more pictures from the event here. Remember to follow us on Facebook or Linkedin to be in the know!

Check out how Maybank ensure PDPA compliance!

Our team noticed recently how Maybank was using SMS Shortcodes to accept opt-in subscriptions by customers to marketing from the bank.
See how Maybank is using SMS short-codes to allow easy opt-ins. This, more than anything, shows the vitality and relevancy of SMS as a marketing medium for even large companies.

Countless companies have spent large chunks of their marketing budget to develop mobile apps even while average app usage figures are plummeting. Email marketing effectiveness is being suppressed by increasingly sophisticated spam filters. In sharp contrast, there is probably no mobile app more used than SMS, and no filter in the world that can get between you and your customer.

Maybank PDPA Compliance screenshot

To be absolutely fair, there is no reason to choose solely SMS over mobile apps or email. All have a part to play in a comprehensive and effective marketing plan. However, the relatively diminished recent stature of SMS is out of all proportion to its importance. The hype surrounding mobile and email is blinding marketers to the rich promise of conversions carried in the tiny packet of data that is SMS. Anyone over the age of 30 is well acquainted with the use of SMS from their youth. In fact, the older you go, the more they prefer it. The level of trust that the consumer has with SMS is incomparable with mobile and email. And justifiably so. Email is notoriously prone to phishing (identity theft), and the way mobile apps use the internet opens them up to some of the same risks. SMS is safer, and are almost always read by recipients. Make them an essential part of your marketing mix to reap the benefits.

Let us help you get started on SMS marketing. Set up your in-house marketing software to utilize SMS shortcodes and receive consent from customers to contact them. We can provide you with the SMS shortcode of your choice, as well as the engineering help to ensure that your system works correctly.

Call me CTA

Is Your SMS Marketing Campaign PDPA-Compliant?

Despite the boom of social media in recent years, SMS as a traditional media remains the most effective medium of engagement, with studies showing that more than 90% of text messages are being OPENED and READ within 3 minutes.

The launch of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) this year has however ignited a frenzy amongst the marketers. Should we continue exploring SMS campaigns as a marketing medium? Are we and how do we ensure that we are PDPA compliant? These are questions of real importance, and here we compiled a cheat sheet for easy reference.

CHECKLIST
  • Obtain clear & unambiguous consent from your customer for the purpose for which it will be used
  • Check the rest of your data against the DNC registry if it has not been done so in the past 30 days from your campaign
  • Make sure there is a procedure readily available for personal data access & correction, as well as withdrawal of consent
  • Appoint a data protection officer to conduct regular data housekeeping and ensure the quality and security of your data

The PDPA was passed precisely because text messages really are a high impact medium for communication. Smart marketers have by and large learned to respect that and use it for more intimate communications like identity verification, scheduled reminders and such. However, all effective marketing channels eventually reach saturation point, in what is known at the LSCT law. What has hurt the credibility of marketers in general are the unsolicited and unsophisticated sms marketing campaigns initiated by peddlers of everything from real estate to health supplements. In truth, once these noxious marketing campaigns are eradicated, SMS will once again regain its reputation as a high trust medium of marketing.

With the act in place, consumers can be expected to be more receptive once more to SMS due to the customer-led nature of the policy, allowing businesses to reach out and continually engage their most important pool of existing loyal fans. Are you keeping your mailing list sanitized? Making sure that only consumers who wish to be connected with you receive your messages? It is a constant struggle to keep your marketing efforts beyond reproach. Don’t tarnish your good name because you didn’t cross check your list with the national Do-Not-Call Registry. Let us put your mind at ease with a thorough check.

I want to check my mailing list against DNC Registry!

SMS for fleet management with Fleetsmart

This is the first of a series of posts about how customers are using Sent.ly. By sharing with the world about how Sent.ly is being used in new and innovative ways, we hope to expand the horizons both for Sent.ly as a company, and also for potential new customers like you to discover ways that SMS can help increase sales or reduce costs.

fleetsmart-logo

The humble SMS has more than 1 trick up its sleeve. One of Sent.ly’s first clients is also one of it’s most innovative. FleetSmart is a British fleet management company for trucks and cars. With their vehicle tracking service, owners can see on Google Maps precisely where their vehicles are and the route they took to get there.

For the tech-savvy among us, the technology behind this is trivially simple. Some sort of cheap Android handset with GPS and a data connection will be sufficient to feed periodic updates to a server recording the vehicle’s long journey across the country. Except that it isn’t.

The biggest stumbling block to having a smartphone app regularly updating the server with its location is the availability of data connectivity. Even in the most connected countries in the world, there is no guarantee of data coverage on a dark and lonely stretch of highway a thousand kilometres from any city. However, thanks to the ubiquity of cell towers, we can send and receive SMS practically everywhere. This is the secret sauce – a smart device that doesn’t require the most popular feature of smart phones, a data connection. Instead, Fleetsmart’s version of a smartphone, their tracking device, utilizes GPS to figure out where it is in the world, and SMS to let the central server know it’s coordinates. It’s worth mentioning that GPS on our smartphones actually doesn’t require data to function. We only require data to download and render maps on the phone screen. Since Fleetsmart’s vehicle tracking system doesn’t need to display a map, it can skip this requirement.

The solution is simple, cheap, and vastly more reliable than 3G. With this information, we can plot vehicle journeys on maps, enforce safe-driving practices like driving within speed limits, and reward drivers accurately for taking mandated breaks, working overtime and so on.

SMS is more than just an outdated version of Instant Messaging. Talk to us to explore how SMS can bring more sales or reduce costs for you.

Customer support over SMS with Uservoice & Sent.ly

Overview

Whenever end-customers can’t access or won’t read emails, the customer support workflow slows down significantly. With Sent.ly, your Uservoice support helpdesk becomes even more responsive.

Just advertise a mobile number your customers can message, and your SMS helpdesk is live. Incoming SMS creates a ticket in your help-desk. All agent replies to the ticket are sent out as SMS replies.

Completely seamless on both the customer’s mobile phone as well as on your help-desk. Get started today!

Set your Uservoice account up

We need to set up a web-hook for Uservoice to call Sent.ly, as well as an API permission for Sent.ly to call Uservoice back.

Setting up a web-hook

  • Go to the admin console on your Uservoice helpdesk

  • Click the Settings menu at the top right corner and select the Integrations option

  • Click on the Service Hooks option to create a web-hook

  • On the next screen, click on the Sent.ly logo!

  • Click Create

Adding an API client

  • Go back to the Integrations page by clicking the Settings menu again.

  • Click on Uservoice API to set up an API client

  • Click Add API client

  • Name the API client ‘Sent.ly’
  • Set the API client as Trusted
  • Click Register

  • You should see the API listed now
  • Copy the Key & Secret and save it for later
  • Ensure that the API listing is marked as Trusted

Setting Sent.ly up

Log in to your Sent.ly portal for the final setup.

Setting your Sent.ly account up

  • Add a device to your account if you haven’t already. Skip to the next section if you already have a device added to Sent.ly.
  1. You’ll need an Android phone (Android v2.2 or later – if you don’t know what version you’re running, don’t worry, you’re probably running the right version.)
  2. Search for ‘Sently’ on the Google Play Store
  3. Download and install
  4. Login on the app with the username & password you used to sign up with on Sent.ly
  5. Your device is ready!

Setting the integration up

  • Within your Sent.ly portal, select Integrations

  • Click on the ‘Setup’ button under the Uservoice integration to bring up the configuration dialog

  • Input your Uservoice sub-domain (yoursubdomain.uservoice.com) as well as the information saved (key & secret) from the Desk.com portal
  • Click ‘Save’ to start your integration evaluation

Setting up the inbound message processing

  • Within the Sent.ly portal, select Inbound SMS Handling
  • Click ‘Add Rule’
  • Set up the message matching conditions
  1. The ‘starts with’ rule matches starting phrases within the SMS message
  2. The ‘from number’ rule matches the mobile phone number
  • Select ‘create Uservoice ticket’ as the action item for the rule
  • Select the device you’d like to implement this rule on if you have multiple phones in your Sent.ly account, or leave it be to have the rule active on all phones