Why SMS messaging is more than a teen tool for marketers

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SMS is more than a teenage communication technology; it can and should be a critical part of the marketing communications mix. The direct and brief nature of SMS (each SMS message permits a maximum of 160 characters, including spaces), allows marketing teams to deliver concise, targeted messages that customers will actually opt-in to receive.

SMS/text messaging can boost sales and strengthen customer relationships. It can inform customers of possible fraudulent activity on an account, verify appointments, or notify customers of an approaching payment or due date. It can also facilitate customer surveys and increase the likelihood of a sale by delivering real-time incentives to encourage in-store or online purchases.

For marketers and organizations alike, the current economic environment has created a renewed focus on communicating with customers via the most direct and cost effective methods available. SMS allows customers to conveniently receive notifications from selected companies and view the messages when the time is right for them.

So why aren't more organizations using this technology? First, many companies don't have a program or method in place for securing customer opt-ins – a required step before an organization can begin sending messages. Second, the vast majority of companies are just beginning to look at adding direct, cross-channel interaction methods such as interactive voice and SMS/text into traditional marketing campaigns combining email, print, and television advertising.

Getting customers to opt-in can be easier than you think. For example, when a customer visits your Website and signs up to receive updates on sales, new products or services, offer the customer the option to receive updates via SMS in addition to, or instead of, email alerts. For those businesses or product lines with standard customer agreements in place, the consent to receive important updates and offers via SMS and other communication channels can be added directly to the customer agreement, securing an opt-in immediately upon the origination of the business relationship. By making SMS another vehicle to deliver key marketing messages as part of a cross-channel communication strategy (including interactive voice, email, print, and Web), a particularly powerful, convenient, and cost effective method can be deployed for reaching customers on their terms.

From customer care notifications, to customer acquisition and marketing, never before have companies been able to deliver so much value by saying so little.

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