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How Researchers Used Text Marketing to Study Homeless Teens

By: Brian Mikes


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This is an example of an absolutely fascinating way to use text message marketing.

I was surfing the internet the other day… just killing time.

That’s when I came across a very cool article about a professor studying homeless teens.

How Researchers Use Texting to Study Homeless Teens...

Professor Kimberly Tyler was struggling to get the data she needed.  So, she started thinking about the best ways to connect with homeless teens.

The solution she came up with was absolutely amazing.

Professor Tyler distributed 150 prepaid cell phones to the homeless teens… then she texted them a few times a day, asking specific questions.

The teens were able to easily respond to the 11 daily texts.

Better still, Professor Tyler got her data!

The data she gathered was critical for her study, which was sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Learn more about them here)

The study looked at homelessness in teens and uncovered correlations between victimization and the consumption of alcohol.

One of the graduate students working on the problem noted how difficult it was to get data on this part of the population.

“This population is often one that is difficult to reach,” said Colleen Ray.

11 different texts asked homeless youth to answer various questions. The same 11 questions were texted out every day.

“I came up with the idea to use prepaid phones and SMS texts, reasoning that youth like technology and like to text,” Tyler said. “So, getting youth to respond to SMS texts to gather data seemed like an idea that would work well with homeless youth, especially since they are a highly mobile population.”

Professor Kimberly Tyler noted, “During the follow-up interview, we found that youth enjoyed participating in the study… Their participation made them feel important and that their participation mattered.

The hope is that this study helps better understand teen homelessness.

I find it amazing researchers are using texting in these types of studies… It’s an amazing way to connect with people.

My takeaway is simple. Nonprofits and businesses can learn a big lesson from this study.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your group.  People are always willing to help and respond… you just need to ask.  And it shows how easy it is to use texting for asking questions and surveying users.

You can read the original article here:  UNL professor studies homeless youth through texting

Published: January 4, 2021

Source: Reprinted with permission from Betwext.com

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Brian Mikes

Brian Mikes runs marketing at Betwext.com. Betwext provides a software platform so small businesses can better communicate with their prospects and customers through Mobile Marketing by sending individual and group text messages. You Can Start Mobile Marketing today—with $10 and 10 minutes you can be on the path to mobile marketing success! If you're looking for more information on mobile marketing, download our free guide: The Ultimate Guide To Mobile Marketing For Small Businesses.

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