Marketing in the 21st Century: The Benefits of SMS

In the new digital age one thing is certain; most Americans never leave home without their cell phones. Once a novelty for the well-to-do, cell phones are now in the hands of Americans from the age of 12 all the way up to 80. Cell phone technology may be the fastest evolving technology on the Earth right now, after all we are constantly bombarded with commercials for the latest and greatest phone just weeks after the last version came out. There is no better time than now for businesses to take advantage of this new direct marketing tool. The best way to do so is through SMS marketing.

SMS and MMS marketing is the newest trend in direct marketing that can help small business cast their nets wider and attract more customers. SMS and MMS stand for Short Message Service and Multimedia Message Service, respectively. In laymen’s terms, SMS messages are simple text messages exchanged from mobile phone to mobile phone with nothing more than characters. MMS messages are text messages that include multimedia such as pictures and videos.

Small businesses have a lot to gain by embracing SMS marketing strategies. A quick peek at some staggering statistics will show why this marketing tool should not be ignored. First off, 80% of cell phone users do not leave their homes without their mobile device, meaning these individuals can be reached at anytime, anywhere. Second, 94% of text messages are read by recipients which means your message will get out to the masses.

Younger generations are often the most coveted in marketing, whether it is a television show grabbing ratings or a business trying to get their name out. The smartphone market is particularly popular among the most coveted generations. According to The Nielsen Company the smartphone market as of early 2011 is dominated by three forces. Google Android OS claimed 29% of the market, Apple iPhone OS grabbed 27%, and RIM Blackberry OS also nabbed 27%.

Within the slice of the pie owned by these three giants, the younger generations dominated the usage breakdown. Within each of these company’s market segments, younger generations account for the following:

- Google Android: 18-24 = 6% 25-34 = 8%, 35-44 = 6% (of 29%)
- Apple iPhone OS: 18-24 = 4%, 25-34 = 8%, 35-44 = 6% (of 27%)
- RIM Blackberry OS: 18-24 = 4%, 25-34 = 7%, 35-44 = 6% (of 27%)

Now that it is clear who is using smartphones the most and how often, it is time to consider why SMS marketing will work for your small business. SMS marketing can increase sales, create new revenue streams, be used for mass alerts, and even help send out reminders. Consider the following:

- SMS messages can be sent by local and national retailers to promote products and services, provide incentives to customers, and build loyalty and retention.
- SMS marketing can create new revenue by developing a Premium SMS service that allows paying customers to receive special offers and incentives.
- SMS messages are the perfect tool for providing customers and subscribers with news alerts or updates about your products and services

The uses for SMS marketing are almost limitless. This marketing venue allows businesses to launch at-will services such as promotions to drive business on a slow day. A simple text saying “Make a purchase in the next X hours and receive discounts as high as Y%.” Other options include using SMS marketing to announce new products, the opening of new stores, and even upcoming special events.

Share your thoughts or ask a question below.

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2 Responses to “Marketing in the 21st Century: The Benefits of SMS”

  1. Robert Clayton, Jr August 23, 2011 at 11:11 PM #

    You make a great argument for mobile marketing. It does make a lot of sense to advertise where your customers are spending their time. I can think of about a dozen e-mails I didn’t read today before trashing, but I read every text message I received. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    • Zachary Smith August 31, 2011 at 12:54 PM #

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks you for your comment. After voice, text messaging is the most used feature of mobile phones. The character limit of text makes it easy for anyone to glance at. With email, I get so many every day and many are so long I frequently only have time to read and respond to the most important and skip the rest.

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