CAL FIRE Ready for Wildfire App

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) fights over 5600 calfireiconwildfires that plague California annually.  CAL FIRE has a new weapon in their arsenal to combat wildfires, it’s their new mobile app called CAL FIRE Ready for Wildfire.  The app is currently available on both the iPhone and Android platforms.  The app has three primary functions:

  • Providing Educational Content on how to prepare for wildfires
  • Notifying citizens of wildfires
  • Providing Information on California wildfires

Education

The main purpose of the app is to help educate the population in high risk areas on how to prepare for wildfires.  The app has a series of checklists that is broken down as follows:

  • Ready (Maintain Defensible Space and Hardening Homes)
    • Create Defensible Space
    • Harden Home
    • Prepare for Bark Beetles
  • Set (Create a Wildfire Action Plan)
    • Wildfire Action Plan
    • Emergency Supply Kit
    • Design a Family Communication Plan
  • Go! (Evacuation Guide)
    • Pre-Evacuation Guilde
    • When to evacuate
    • What to do when trapped

Cal Fire education

The app has 9 separate check-off lists that also provide educational material in the form of articles and videos.  The videos can be viewed as part of the check list or in the video library.

Notifications

The user can sign up to receive wildfire notifications via push notifications and/or SMS messages in their profile.   The notifications can be based on zip code or counties.

Push Notifications

Push Notifications require the user to have the app.  What’s interesting about the push notification is that in addition to sending out a notification based on the user’s profile, it can also be triggered by the user’s geographic location.  So for example, if the user is in a location where CAL Fire has identified a fire, the user will get a push notification that there’s a fire in the location even if it’s not identified in their profile.   The push notifications are generated using integration with Urban Airship.

SMS

The user can also opt to receive text messages about latest wildfires.  The advantage of using this option is that the user doesn’t need the app to receive the notification.   The SMS messages are generated through integration with Twilio.

CAL Fire alerts

 

Information

Basic information from CAL FIRE can also be found on the app.  The app has embedded CAL FIRE’s mobile website and there’s a feed from CAL FIRE’s Twitter account.  In addition, there’s a Google Map that displays all the active wildfires in California.

Cal Fire Info

CAL FIRE plans to promote the app in February in advance of the 2017 wild season through a sweepstakes administered by iHeartRadio.  The CAL FIRE app was developed through a partnership with Sagent Marketing and Apptology.

SMS (Text) Marketing: An Effective Way to Reach Your Customer Base

In continuing my series on the  three pillars of a marketing strategy, the second pillar is SMS (Text) Marketing.  SMS stands for Short Message Service and  it’s  one of the primary ways  people now communicate.  To illustrate the change in communication, my cousin was complaining to me that her  kids (who are in their 20’s) never  responds to her emails.  When I talked to her kids, they laugh and basically said that they primarily text or  Facebook and that no one emails.

95% of text messages are read within 15 minutes.  Compare that with emails which has a 3% read rate.  Email use is declining and consequently, the effectiveness of email marketing.  However, I still feel that email marketing is still effective for B2B but if your business is more B2C, you really should look into SMS Marketing.

A&W SMS Campaign

A&W SMS Campaign

Here are some case studies that show the effectiveness of SMS marketing.  A&W burger chain was able to increase their revenue by a staggering 20% by using Text Marketing.    In similar fashion, Jamba Juice was able to increase their in store traffic by 10% with their Text Marketing campaign.

As a pillar to mobile marketing, SMS Marketing offers an effective means to market to your clients and if you business model is B2C, I highly recommend that you look into it.  (Shameless plug, Apptology does offer SMS Marketing packages).

In my next blog, I will look go  over the  third pillar of mobile marketing, Smartphone Apps.

The Three Pillars in Developing a Mobile Strategy

Three Pillars of a Mobile Strategy

Three Pillars of a Mobile Strategy

In developing a mobile strategy to promote your business, I believe that there are three pillars to consider:

Mobile Friendly Web Site:  If you have a web site for your business, this not so much a marketing strategy, it’s an action item that you need to add to your to do list.   40% of Internet Time  is done on a mobile device and  if you’re site is not mobile friendly, you may be losing customers.

SMS (Text) Marketing:  If your business model is primarily B to C, you really need to look into SMS Marketing.  This has become an extremely effective method to communicate and market to your client base.

Smart Apps:  Apps is the high end solution among this group.  Apps can be used for branding purposes or it can be  used to develop into a new business process in interacting with your customer base.

In my future blogs, I will go into these pillars in greater detail.

—Rich Foreman