In recent years, it has been a common sight to see people with their eyes totally fixed on the small screens of their mobile phones, their fingers nimbly hammering away on tiny keypads in a bid to send a text message across town — or even across the nation. The use of text messaging, or what is also commonly called SMS or short messaging services, is a global phenomenon that has swept the telecommunications industry off its feet and changed the way people communicate with one another.

For business owners, learning how to leverage the allures of mobile marketing through text messages or SMS would be to their added advantage, eventually resulting in higher returns for the significant dollar investments they have allocated for advertising. The result would be a more cost-effective marketing campaign for their brand, product or services that has a better response rate and lesser vulnerability to SPAM than emails and other online tools.

An Outlook Of Text Message Advertising In The Current US Market

Text message marketing, in its most basic sense, is the sending of advertising or promotional information about a product or service through text-based messages sent through a mobile phone or a personal computer with an internet connection. Most mobile phones and networks have this built-in feature and service, while a wide variety of applications and providers make it possible for computers to send multiple text messages at the same time to various recipients.

There are approximately more than 2 billion people in the world that are using or have access to mobile phones, with over 270 million of whom reside in the United States towards the end of 2008. The use of text messaging for communication has been astounding, with over 300 billion messages sent for the year 2007 in the US alone. These figures grew at a staggering rate of 450% from subsequent years and have continued to balloon to an amazing rate of over 110 billion per month in 2008.

Mobile users are using text messaging 70% more than voice calls, with a typical user sending over 350 text messages per month as compared to only 200 average calls using the same subscription. This information are significant statistics that businesses can take advantage of, particularly with 80% of consumers keeping their mobile phones with them at all times and reading 94% of text messages within 15 minutes upon reception.

Surveys have shown that if given a choice, 37% of US adult consumers would be more receptive in receiving ads through text messaging than the traditional radio, TV or even email. The American public have seen the power of text message marketing have with successful campaigns such as the very popular American Idol voting process or the My Coke Rewards engagement campaigns from Coca Cola. Knowing these figures, it would be safe and wise to assume that it is now time for your business to jump into the text message bandwagon as well.

Why Use Text Messaging For Your Business?

Current research has shown that over 76% percent of marketers are still trying to gain the full earning potential in their relationships and engagements with their current customer base. In fact, 60% of businesses are striving to find or create new strategies how they can interact more with their customers towards a more relevant and engaging relationship. With text message marketing, businesses can now find the right tool that they can use towards this end.

A text message marketing campaign is more personal, compelling and definitely more effective in communicating and getting positive responses from your customer base. Most costumers would opt-in to this service, giving the business the permission to send short updates, alerts or promotions on a regular basis. The one-to-one component in these marketing campaigns gives businesses a better insight on the commercial behaviour and interests of their customers, resulting to a more personalized service.

On top of that, these messages are sent and received almost instantaneously, resulting to high read rate of up to 90% — way over the pathetic two percent read rates that email campaigns receive. Successful text message campaigns have an astounding response and conversion rate of 20 to 70 percent, which is far superior than the 1.5 percent average that other tri-media marketing campaigns have redeemed so far.

Businesses can also leverage the wide demographic coverage that text message marketing can reach, with the potential of creating a wide and diverse customer base from all the people having mobile phones and using text messaging. Businesses can send more up to date information about their products or services to their clientele — resulting in better customer loyalty, better responses to advertising campaigns, repeat purchases and more business potential from increased referrals.

Lastly, businesses can have a more cost-effective marketing tool in text message marketing with a faster and higher return of investment than any other marketing channels online or offline. Traditional media marketing is simply too costly with poor or even insignificant customer responses, online campaigns such as search engine marketing is slow, tedious and often uncertain. Businesses leveraging on text message marketing would simply do better and produce more results.

Making Text Message Marketing Work For You

The My Coke Rewards from Coca Cola is a good example of text message marketing gone right, resulting to a steadily increasing rate of 5 to 10 percent per month among new subscriber opt-ins to their SMS engagement campaign. Your business can have the same results by leveraging on the various mobile marketing tools available for you.

Mobile marketing solutions such as the ones offered from companies like CellForce through their ExCELLence platform can help your business gain more from your mobile marketing campaigns — and finally get the results you want. You can take advantage of the power of text or multi-media messaging for your marketing campaigns to give you more cost-effective results than using other channels like email and tri-media.

A Keyword Pull Campaign is one of the most effective text messaging campaigns where people can opt-in to and receive information about products, promotions and other updates they would most likely be interested in. There are two practical ways for your business to do this: a call to action using short codes through subscribers’ mobile phones or through an online registration via an interactive widget in your website with subsequent interaction via their mobile phones.

In a keyword pull campaign through mobile opt-ins, potential subscribers can key-in a keyword text (which they have read in a poster, flyer or your website), for example “UPDATES ON” composed of a keyword and a sub-keyword, which they would then send to a number designated by the business such as a 4-digit or 5-digit short code such as “12345”. A desired message or confirmation text is then received by the sender, who in turn will be included in your opt-in database. These people, now subscribed to your campaign, can now receive further updates or new promotions which can include: loyalty programs, mobile coupons, voting, alerts and notices, text or pic to screen, a WAP push with links to mobile content, and web-to-phone.

In a similar manner, potential subscribers can go directly to your website, click on a web widget which directs them to an opt-in page. From there, they can now register to a promotional campaign where they can receive updates, notices and further interaction through their mobile phones. This would be a good way to send information to willing recipients about new products, new store openings, promotions and other news and information about your business that these people opted-in to know.