Thursday, 29 December 2016

Background noise may benefit your concentration

If you're in Australia over summer, there seems to be a constant background noise that's almost as bad as tinnitus.

It's called Cricket broadcast on television.

Staying with cricket-mad in-laws over Christmas always means having a constant crowd cheering in the background..ambient noise from the TV. Most of the time nobody is even watching it!

But there may be hope for us non-cricket fans...

According to an article on  Zapier, ambient background noise may actually help you sleep better:

The article is here

This may explain why so many people like to have the radio on when they fall asleep.

...and yes there are apps and youtube videos for creating background noise!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Domain Name Scam Letters

Getting emails or letters that look like invoices for re-registering your domain name/s is nothing new.

Dodgy companies have tried it on for years with inflated prices...we get them here too.

But there's a new batch of complete scam letters being received for renewing a domain name you don't even own.

The letters look official so it's easy to see how people get confused and pay them.

The ACCC says the letters may be from “Domain Name Corp Pty Ltd”.

But if you're not sure if a renewal letter is legitimate, call your domain name host (which may also be your webhost if you have a domain/hosting package).

Do not ring the number on the letter as it's the scammers!

There's more info here at SmartCompany

Friday, 9 December 2016

Beyond the selfie drone

It won't be long before drones are everywhere. Not just delivering pizzas or taking selfies from a great height either.

Drones have the potential for the movie industry too.

This is an interesting article from The Australian about the drones' potential in a modern society.

I didn't know you could get pocket drones, but i did know there was one that would squirt water at people...noisy neighbours beware!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Malware found on older Android phones

Unfortunately, mobile phones are now seriously vulnerable to hackers and this article on Smart Company reveals that over 1 million Google accounts have been breached due to users accidentally downloading malware:

http://www.smartcompany.com.au/

It seems to only affect Android phones with older operating systems, but if you have Google accounts linked to your phone, there's a site where you can check if your account has been breached.

The site is Checkpoint and you can click here to go there.

It's also a timely reminder to update your passwords, and have different passwords for different accounts.

The longer the password, the better. And try to make it complicated by adding capital letters, numbers, and characters.

Some great time management tips

If you've ever sat there and wondered where the day has gone, and whether you'd actually done any meaningful work, this article may help you.

The author of this terrific article almost lost his business due to bad productivity.

It's an interesting read. View it here:
https://www.sitepoint.com/how-the-pomodoro-method-skyrocketed-my-productivity-saved-my-business/

If you find the idea of using a stopwatch a bit weird, then maybe you can set yourself little goals with small rewards. For example:
" finish this blog post then I can make a cup of tea"

It works for me!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Sending Images Via SMS- thanks to iPhone

I reckon this is a game-changer and will make expensive and unreliable MMS unecessary for business to consumer marketing via SMS...



iPhones now preview images from SMS links!


You can now send a text message from the SMS Express platform containing a URL (website address) to people with iPhones with iOS10 installed.


The iPhone will show an image preview IN THE SMS. 

This is very exciting for you because now people can get a sneak peek at your wares right from your simple text message. Yes this only applies to iPhones at this stage, but the URL will still render as a clickable link in Android phones..but we're tipping Androids & Windows phones won't be far behind with this!



See more info here on our website

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Bizarre iPhone bug with Custom Sender IDs

One of our customers, Peter, uses SMS Express' platform to send appointment reminders to his clients.

Peter customises the Sender ID (like the Caller ID) to show his businessname. He doesn't need replies and preferred not to use our 'shared numbers'..and that's perfectly fine.

But Peter called with an odd support question..."what is this phone number that shows up on my iPhone when I look at the Message Details?".

I tested on the Galaxy..nope. Couldn't see it. But on the iPhone, yes we could  replicate the issue!

To illustrate, I sent a test SMS to my iPhone using the SenderID iphonebug. Here's 2 screenshots from my phone:









Above image is the SMS received on my iphone "from" iphonebug" SenderID.

And below is what iPhone thinks the "underlying" phone number is when you click the info icon:



...and if you convert the numbers 474663284 into their letter equivalent, it spells out iphonebug !

You learn something new every day!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Excel tip - How to tidy up a dog's breakfast of names

Do you have a list of people on an excel spreadsheet, but the names are all over the shop?

So you have names like:
TERRY
Jane
BRONWYN
FredDY

Sending an SMS to TERRY, BRONWYN or FredDY looks unprofessional...you want to all look like Jane.

You want all the names to be in Proper Case (as opposed to UPPER or lower)

We've posted a quick how to tidy up names in Excel, in our Help Centre.

Check it out..

Excel Tips - How to tidy up peoples' names in Excel column




Monday, 29 August 2016

Does my mobile number get used to send SMS?

This is a question we get asked from time to time.

Quick answer is NO. Not unless you want it to.

We only ask for your mobile number when you first register for your account in case we need to call you about your account. 

But it does not appear on any SMS unless you specifically want it to...let me explain.

Our platform uses 2 "shared" numbers which allow text messages to be sent TO your people, and allow them to reply back into your account.

You can BYPASS the reply process by setting up a Custom Sender ID. This means you CAN make your messages come from your number if you wish (and replies come back to your handset). 


Or you can use a word (11 characters)..note if you use a word then you cannot get any replies..but people can still optout using our Opt Out placeholders therefore keeping you spam-compliant. There's more info on Sender IDs here

Monday, 1 August 2016

You are never too old to text!

Found this great article about young NZ students teaching seniors how to text:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/82518994/elderly-flock-to-cellphone-tutorials-in-bid-to-come-to-grips-with-terrifying-technology


Getting Rid of Time Stamps "00:00:00" in Excel

Have you uploaded your contacts list into your SMS Express Group, only to discover this weird 00:00:00 has suddenly appeared in your list?

It's called a Time Stamp, and Excel thoughtfully adds these in a cell if there's a date in the cell.

If you want to use a Date as a Value/Placeholder (merge) field, eg a member subscription date, in your SMS broadcast, you don't want these zeroes appearing in your SMS.

Here's how to get rid of those zeroes:


Monday, 4 July 2016

SMS from political parties - is it spam?

You may have received a text message from a political party over the last week, thanks to the Australian elections.

I certainly got one, and it was using a word Sender ID and it did not contain a way for me to opt-out (reply STOP etc).

...and this brings me to the point of this post...how can political parties just send spam and not get into trouble with the Spam Act?

Simple answer is, they can. Under the Spam Act 2003, political parties, charities and religious orgranisations do not need consent to send emails or SMS ("electronic communication" under the Act).

You and me, as commercial businesses and organisations need to get consent before sending an SMS and provide a simple way for people to optout.

It's not very often that a charity or church will send unsolicited SMS. Firstly, it costs them money to send text messages to strangers, and secondly, it annoys people and is usually a waste of time and money. For these reasons, they tend to only contact their current members, and try to gather a bigger database of opt-in members the right way by getting people to subscribe via another channel such as a website or form.

For politicians? Well thankfully the "spams" only happen every few years..and whether they work or not would indeed be an interesting study!

...and I also got this weird "robo call" from some odd-looking number (sender ID) asking me to "hold while we connect you into Greg Hunt's live speech".

After a few seconds I was then hooked into some speech by the Liberal MP....it seemed like he was halfway through it and I had no idea what he was talking about...so I hung up.

I was embarrassed for them at how clunky and amateur the whole thing was.

Message to political parties' promotions people....unless people have given you consent, just don't. It doesn't endear you to anybody and it makes you look ridiculous and desperate!


If you need more info on how to give your customers an easy way to opt-out of receiving SMS, your SMS Express cloud account has 2 ways: See this article in our Help Centre

Friday, 17 June 2016

The FAST way to reach consumers


Tatango has published a survey of consumers who listed the fastest ways to contact them.

Via text message was a clear winner:


  • Text Message – 78%
  • Email on Mobile Phone – 48%
  • Push Notification on Mobile Phone – 32%
  • Email on Computer or Tablet – 27%

    Here's the link to Tatango page

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Updated Auto Forward SMS for Android app launched

We've made a couple of changes to our app Auto Forward SMS for Android.

Auto Forward SMS is a time-saving app for Android phones, which can forward specific SMS text messages you receive numbers and forward to your selected people or Groups in your phone Contacts.

Now we have added a new function: automatically forward ALL incoming SMS to another number plus option to only forward SMS which contain certain keywords.

You can view the app here: http://autoforwardsms.com

And the updated video is here:





Auto Forward SMS is a time-saving app for Android phones, which can automatically forward ALL incoming SMS to another number, or forward specific SMS text messages you receive numbers and forward to your selected people or Groups in your phone Contacts.
Auto Forward SMS is a time-saving app for Android phones, which can automatically forward ALL incoming SMS to another number, or forward specific SMS text messages you receive numbers and forward to your selected people or Groups in your phone Contacts.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

The power of the Google...and telephone!

Funny, but true story..

A new Italian restaurant opened up near us, and one Saturday night we decided to call and make a reservation.

When we arrived, both owners greeted us, and there was maybe 10 other diners...not surprising for a brand new restaurant that had not promoted itself.

One of the owners told us we were the first telephone call they'd had....they'd been open for around 3 weeks.

We were a bit surprised, and asked him if people just turn up without booking.

Turns out that he had an argument with Google over getting the phone connected.

He didn't want a phone as he firmly believed that "everyone" uses emails and people would simply email them for bookings, which we thought was a little naive. But Google wanted to list him in the Local Search but could not do this without a phone number.

Personally I never email restaurants as many do not email you back..plus there is something nice about speaking to a human when it comes to fine food!

Anyhow, the Google Local Search team finally persuaded him to connect the phone. 10 minutes after he'd given them the new number for publishing on Local Search, we called to book.....thus proving Google right!

The owner thought it was Google or the "phone man" checking the connection...he was a bit shocked we were real customers, and the number had only been on Google  for 10 minutes!

He asked how we found the number, and of course "we Googled".

I was impressed that Google actually pursued him to do this, when you hear stories of how some businesses have to almost beg the mighty Google.

But when you think about it, Google wants to stay #1, and local search is very important. It would not be a good look for Google if they didn't have the hottest new restaurant on their search platform.

It was a very interesting, and amusing story. And their food is fabulous...and we usually call to book.

But I think it was a good lesson for the owner too, to realise everybody is different. If we couldn't find their number on Google, we most likely would have assumed they were closed and forgotten all about them.





New SMS Express Help Centre

We've completely overhauled our Help Centre and redone our How-to videos.

We have a new page for the Help Centre, and it will open in a new window for you so you don't need to lose your spot if you're logged in.

The Help Centre has a fabulous search engine, making it easy to lookup articles by typing in a few words.

Also, you'll see we have created different categories, making it easy to look up content, such as our Getting Started section.

The new Help centre is HERE

Also you may have noticed a little blue lifebuoy icon lurking down the bottom right of the control panel when you're on SMS Express. That is live help  search.

So if you need a quick answer, you can click the lifebuoy and a search window pops up with the relevant article. If you can't find what you're looking for, you can email us right there, without leaving your current page.

It's so much easier for you to find things. We hope to add new articles along the way.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

SMS Scams - be careful

Unfortunately there's a lot of scammers using SMS to send a text message in response to classified ads.

What happens is, scammers compile a list of mobile numbers plucked out of classified ads..usually CarSales, Gumtree or Ebay.

Their modus operandi is, scammer sends a text to the advertisers expressing interest in the car or boat for sale. They use a false phone number and ask that the seller only respond to them via email.

The email address is a "normal" looking name like johncitizen99@gmail so they are getting clever.

These horrid scammers try to convince you they are interested in your item and usually ask you to pay some kind of "shipping fee" via Western Union or Money Gram.

Of course these scammers do the rounds of the SMS companies and try to setup accounts and abuse free credits. Or they try to buy credits with stolen PayPal details (usually from a phishing scam) and then try to send their scammy texts...double-dipping scammers!

A colleague from Europe told us the scammers are really hitting Australia now because we are perceived as being a very rich country.

We've got a strict protocol of security steps with our SMS Express platform for all new account signups,  which you would have experienced after signup. We know it's an extra few steps, but we don't muck about with security.

Good thing is we manage to catch scammers and get rid of them and report them to PayPal.

But if you advertise on Gumtree or any of the classified sites, please be careful. Might be an idea to accept cash, and anybody who says they cannot view the item or has poor spelling and grammar, and the whole conversation looks a bit odd, just hit delete or do a Google search on the email address. The scammers tend to use the same emails for a time until they get caught too many times.

Here's some more info on these scams:
https://info.ebayclassifieds.com/helpcenter/?article=179

https://www.paypal-community.com/t5/Access-and-security/SELLING-CARS-ON-GUMTREE-SCAM-TO-WATCH-FOR/td-p/631754?profile.language=en-gb

Monday, 25 January 2016

Marketing Approaches by a new pizza restaurant

At SMS Express, we are very fortunate to be in a great suburb, spoilt when it comes to food choices.

So when new places open up, I'm always keen to check them out. And it's not only the food, but the way new businesses market themselves to the surrounding area that fascinates me no end.

Prahran in Melbourne is an extremely competitive place for a cafe or restaurant. You have to be good to survive, so it's interesting to see how they approach their marketing....and a note...I admire people who start businesses in hospitality. It is HARD work!!

In our street, one of the long-vacant retail spaces was finally leased. To our delight, a sign went up a few weeks after the LET sign came down..."Pizza and Wine".

We could hardly contain ourselves and eagerly awaited the opening.

Just after Christmas on a Friday night, there was a lot of action in the new shop, and I popped my head in to see when they were opening.

The owner said "we're having a locals night from 6 til 10pm tonight to introduce ourselves to the neighbours..come along. Free pizza and beer. We want you to try our pizzas for yourself and we'll get to know everyone..and we know you'll love our pizzas..see you at 6!".

Well count us in! The manager also put up some signs written in texta saying "Come in and try us. Free for locals.".

Needless to say, the place was packed from 5.50pm.

A couple of us ventured over around 7pm. It was fascinating watching the locals do a double take at the big texta signs, and most of them came in....and why wouldn't you?

I'm well aware of the law of reciprocity, but the test was...are these pizzas really THAT good?.

To our delight, yes they were very good and we've ordered 2 lots in 7 days..and from what we can see, they have been busy from day 1.

I do hope it lasts, as their welcome was amazing, their product walks the talk...and yes we'll be asking them about their database collection and pitching SMS to them asap!!

The try-before-you-buy concept is certainly one that we offer at SMS Express, and while I can't offer you a super-hot thin crispy Marguerita pizza, I can promise you quick and friendly service.

But on a serious note, if you are a startup business, I do encourage you to collect customer data if appropriate. If you have a great product, customers won't hesitate to join your mailing list. Even if you don't use SMS Express to send text message updates, make sure you keep in touch with your clients in a way that they're comfy with, and gets results for you!

Friday, 15 January 2016

How to export your contacts from an iPhone to your computer

Clients have asked us how they can transfer their Contacts from their iphone to a spreadsheet so they can import into their SMS Groups in their SMS Express account.

If you have an icloud account you can easily access your contacts and send these to a PC then export a CSV file.


We've just posted a new youtube video on how to export contacts from your iphone to your PC so you can import into your SMS Express Groups:

Check out this video for step by step instructions:

https://youtu.be/TPH1ooDnRQg

We also have a permanent link ti this in our Help Centre:
http://smsexpress.com.au/help.html .

As always, please contact us if you need help. 1300 668 287 or browse here: http://smsexpress.com.au/contactus.html