For marketers, beginning an SMS text messaging campaign can be daunting and confusing. But with over 2 Billion mobile subscribers worldwide and 230 million in the US alone, you have to get in the game. It’s time to start texting!

The best way to build your campaign is to think of ways to keep your new or existing customers engaged with your brand via this medium. You can’t (and shouldn’t!) market to individuals who do not have a relationship with you. Texting is an opt-in service, since many end-users will be charged for the message if they don’t have an unlimited package. Think of ways that you communicate with your customers now and determine what is the best way to add this channel to your marketing arsenal. 

3 Benefits of Texting and SMS Marketing

1. Instant gratification – for you & the customer! The message goes directly and 97% of text messages are read instantly. For you, one of the benefits is measurable response - since you are able to direct them to an action, with a specific code or URL, and track immediately the response from the campaign.

2. Inexpensive – the cost associated with sending or building an SMS text campaign is minimal and allows you to flip out a message to your customer base quickly.

3. Building your customer database – by gaining more communication channels from your customers, your database becomes stronger. A mobile optimized web page that lets customers choose how they would like to hear from you – text, email, phone, mail – gains you more knowledge, and a more loyal customer by communicating in their chosen channels. 

The first step is determining who you can communicate with, and who you want to communicate with via SMS. Many national brands are capitalizing on SMS opportunities by asking customers to opt-in to text campaigns while in store or on their website, and then giving the customer an offer or discount for the action. Give a little – get a lot! In-store signage, billboard campaigns, events and more – there are a lot of ways to gain your customers’ attention and gain another communication channel for them.

I’ve referenced a lot of communication opportunities from a promotional perspective, but personally I have had a great relationship with my own local dentist via text. I get appointment reminders and confirmations via text. So much faster than the phone call or voicemail that then makes me pause to record the appointment in my calendar.  With a quick reply “Y” for yes and a check on the calendar – this menial task is complete for me and for them, in mere seconds. I also don’t mind getting “your bill is ready” reminders from my mobile service provider. We all get busy – being reminded is quick & efficient and saves me time and costly late charges. And for the company, it can save thousands of dollars in costly call centers and collection efforts. 

So regardless of whether you’re a service provider reminding customers of their upcoming bill or a retailer who is trying to increase sales, text messaging can be a cost efficient and useful tool to have in your toolbox. It was stated in a recent study by Portio Research, that 9.6 trillion messages were sent in 2012 alone, so I ask you now, is it time to text? I say YES! 

Cathy Crone is SourceLink's Corporate Marketing Director. Cathy has over 16 years of marketing experience, specializing in direct and database marketing, and is a passionate advocate for direct mail as a channel of choice in a multichannel strategy. Cathy enjoys travel,  music, and spending time with her two boys. Reach out to Cathy at ccrone@sourcelink.com .