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How Avista Products is using SMS to bring a community together

Carl Booker is a man on a mission. As the founder of Avista Products, a design and media firm, Carl publishes San Antonio’s newsweekly Black Life Texas, as well as an annual 300-page guide to Black businesses and activities titled Blackbook — plus other guides to healthcare providers, churches, and real estate for the local Black community. As a booming tech industry spurs San Antonio’s growth, Carl’s goal is to provide resources and community for current Black residents as well as new arrivals.

The challenge: Keeping his audience engaged and attracting advertiser support

Avista Products’ print publications are available in 85 locations throughout San Antonio and will soon expand into Austin. But Carl wanted a way to directly engage with his audience and deepen his connection with readers. That engagement would also be key to attracting more advertiser support — securing funds necessary to keep his publications going. Unfortunately, Avista Products’ email campaigns were only getting a 15% open rate. For someone with Carl’s ambitions, those results just weren’t good enough.

The solution: Connect with his readers via opt-in SMS

After doing some research, Carl discovered SMS solutions from MessageMedia. Beginning with Black Life Texas, Carl encouraged his readers to opt-in for SMS communications to receive surveys, updates, and publication announcements. As his subscriber list grew and matured, Carl experimented with different approaches to messaging. He also allowed his advertisers to use the channel for free, as a value-added benefit of supporting Avista Products’ publications.

The results: A highly engaged audience (and happy advertisers)

“The engagement on our SMS campaigns is phenomenal,” Carl said. His SMS campaigns are earning open rates as high as 95% — a stunning increase over the lackluster email performance. His advertisers appreciate it too, since that high engagement rate helps them connect with Carl’s readers, many of whom are new to the city. “I’m excited we’re a piece of the puzzle,” Carl said. “We’re helping bring people together.”

Text messaging has been a game changer. We’re a small organization, but it helps us do more than the major publishers in our city.

Carl Brooks, Founder, Avista Products

MessageMedia also has integrations with over 85 platforms, including HubSpot, Salesforce, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Zoho CRM, creating a seamless turn-key customer engagement solution for small and medium-sized businesses.

“The engagement on our SMS campaigns is phenomenal.”

Carl Brooks, Founder of Avista Products, says text messaging has been a game changer in helping them achieve their goal of bringing people together. Ready to give it a try?