Let’s be honest. If you have a conversation about mobile marketing with most businesspeople, 90% of the time, they’ll talk about mobile websites, QR codes, mobile apps and other mobile tools before they’ll bring up SMS and MMS. That’s simply because those other tools are the bright, new, shiny objects in the mobile toolbox.

But the truth is, one of the easiest ways to get started in mobile marketing is by launching an SMS campaign. What makes SMS so effective? The simple fact that virtually every person carrying a mobile device uses texting on a regular basis. (You’ll recall that texting is the #1 most common use of a mobile device — even more common than using it as a phone.)

As Tim Miller, the CEO of SUMOTEXT pointed out to me, the growth and popularity of text messaging can be partly explained by its immediacy and brevity. But its rise to prominence is equally explained by its ubiquity. For more businesspeople, those characteristics are what make SMS an insanely simple tool to capture prospects and turn them into customers.



Okay, so we know that SMS is used by just about every person carrying a mobile phone. But, as a business person, what are the specific ways you can use it? In other words, how can you use SMS to capture your prospect’s attention and turn them into customers?

Glad you asked. Here’s a list of 12 crazy simple ways you can use SMS to connect with customers.

  1. Text-2-Join: This is perfect for non-profits, trade organizations, big brands (like Coke or The Home Depot) and just about any organization that wants to stay connected to its customers. Just encourage people to text their request to join a club, charity or other entity linked to a brand.
  2. Text-4-Info: These are keywords that reply automatically without a need for opt-in confirmation. For example, you could provide directions to different events at a trade show by using Text-4-Info.
  3. Text-2-Vote: Poll questions that ask users to respond to A, B, C or D. This is a great tool for B2C as well as for B2B. If you’re giving a presentation at a trade show, just ask people in the audience to text their vote — it’s a great way to keep them engaged.
  4. Text-4-Survey: This is more in-depth than Text-2-Vote. Best of all, this approach can change the poll questions based on the user’s previous answers. It’s perfect to get in-depth, segmented responses to surveys.
  5. Text-2-Win: A system that replies with “winner” and “loser” notifications based on odds of winning.
  6. Text-2-Give: The American Red Cross did a wonderful job with their Haiti campaign by allowing people to add $10 donations onto their phone bill by simply texting HAITI to a specific short code.
  7. Auto-Campaigns: These are timed messages that follow a subscriber’s opt-in request for information. So, for example, they get a message immediately after opting-in, then every 15 days after their initial opt-in.
  8. Targeted Messaging: This approach lets you schedule a campaign message to “ALL,” “GROUPS,” or “INDIVIDUALS.” It’s perfect for marketers who want to segment their campaigns.
  9. Personalization Tokens: This gives you the ability to personalize a message based on the person’s name, email address, location, etc.
  10. Alias Keywords: Create and “catch” alternate spellings and phrases and link that to the actual keyword.
  11. Location-Aware SMS: Create geo-fences and deliver custom message flows based on a subscriber’s location. Geo-fences can target people within a certain radius of your store, or people in a certain neighborhood.
  12. Facebook Tabs: These are custom tabs installed on Facebook pages that collect profiles and opt-ins.

SMS is more than just a marketing tool. It’s a data-collection tool, too. When people opt-in to receive your text messages, they can also provide you data about their purchasing habits. And most SMS providers have tools that allow you to enhance or append data, so that you can gain insights into your customer’s preferences with in-depth data.

Sure, there are other bright, shiny objects in the mobile marketer’s toolbox. But if you want a crazy easy way to dive into mobile, one of the first things you should do (after you mobilize your website), is to give an SMS campaign a shot.

Posted by Jamie Turner, Founder of the 60 Second Marketer and co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile.He is also a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.