What is Text Message Marketing?

If you are looking for something to cut through all the clutter that is marketing these days, then text message marketing, or SMS marketing, is your best bet. Consider this; 3.5 billion text messages are sent and received each day, 97% of all text messages are opened (83% within one hour), and people are almost literally tethered to their phones all day, every day. On top of this, SMS messages are regulated to the point where text messaging is virtually spam-free and is much more well recieved by the end user than traditional, interruptive marketing methods. In a way, text messaging has become the only way you can guarantee that your message will be seen by your customers. But before you get started with your SMS campaign, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.


Know the Rules

Recent regulatory standards have tightened the rules on text message marketing to better eliminate spam and unwanted ads through SMS, however, there are still some bottom feeders who try to cheat the system. One example is automated dialers. Automated dialers have the ability to hijack entire databases of mobile phone numbers and send out blasts of texts to these numbers randomly. DON’T HIRE A FIRM TO DO THIS FOR YOU! Not only will you annoy and drive away customers, but you will also be in big legal trouble for violating regulations and could possibly drive your company under with legal fees. You have no reason to spam your customers with texts. Know the rules so you don’t have to worry about the law interfering with your SMS marketing campaign.

Know Your Options 

You will first have to choose a service provider. The service provider you choose will depend on what exaclty it is you are trying to accomplish and how much money you are willing to spend. One of the cheaper ways to do this is hring a service provider that will automatically send text messages to anyone within the vicinity of your bricks and mortar store or restaurant. This method is very popular with neighborhood boutiques, local stores, and restaurants and costs as little as a few dollars a day.

Another option you have is to actually register for your own distinctive 5 or 6 digit short code. For example, during his Presidential campaigns, President Obama registered for the shortcode 62262, or OBAMA, so he could have free reign over the type of information he could solicit from end users. You get much more freedom with your own shortcode, but it is a bit pricier and you will have to wait for your registration to be processed and approved, which will take at least 8 weeks.

If you’re a small business looking to make a splash with text message marketing, then you will probably want to go with an off-shelf platform which allows you to share a shortcode. A shared shortcode gives you all the options that your own shortcode would give you, except that costs will be much lower and other companies will be operating on the same shortcode. You will also have the option of launching your SMS campaign by yourself, or by bringing on an ad agency that specializes in SMS, or text message marketing.


Integrate Your SMS Campaign Into Your Overall Marketing Campaign 

The most effective way to implement a text message marketing campaign is to integrate it into the marketing campaign you are already running. Jed Alpert, Founder of Mobile Commons, states, “If you’re a restaurant, you have tabletops. If you have a highly trafficked website, or are running billboards or radio spots, those are all good places to let people know about your texting campaign.”

Think about it this way, the more places that your shortcode and text messaging campaign is visible, the more people will opt into your campaign and grow your database, therefore increasing the number of sales you generate. Don’t let your SMS campaign just stand by itself, multiply its effect by integrating it with other forms of marketing!

Know How to Get People to Opt-In to Your SMS Campaign and Maintain Those Relationships

In order to be given permission to text people, you will first have to get them to opt-in to your campaign. If you text people without their consent, you are violating laws and you will quickly get caught up in legal trouble. You can get people to opt-in to your campaign a number of different ways. Keep in mind that the best way to get people to opt-in is let them know how it will be benefitting them. They won’t opt-in if they think it is just a marketing ploy. The best way to start is by giving them something or by letting them know that by opting-in they will be receiving special deals and discounts. This can be done by simply offering them something along the lines of “Opt-In to Shortcode 55555 and get a FREE hat from X company” or it could be something like “To receive great deals and discounts at X restaurant, opt-in to shortcode 55555”. Regardless of what you do, make sure you are offering the customer something, not just asking them to opt-in. That will seem spammy to them and your opt-in rates will suffer.

Text message marketing is, simply put, the most effective way to market to your audience in real-time, right where they are. It does not matter where your customers are, if they are opted-in to your SMS program, they are always accessible to you. Don’t fail to take advantage of such a powerful marketing medium simply because you think you do not have enough money or because you do not feel educated enough to launch one. The SMS ship is sailing, and if you don’t jump on, you and your company will drown.

How Can Mobile Marketing Help Your Company?

There are many ways mobile marketing can help your company. One way is that it will help you reach more of your customers.  For instance, if you own a restaurant, you can schedule text messages to go out to your customers about promotions that you have going on. If you are running a special for a normally slow night, you could send out a message letting them know that you are doing a promotion on buy one entree, get a second entree at half price. Almost all text messages are read within minutes of receiving them. By sending a text message to your clientele, you are reaching a higher percentage of customers than sending them an email or snail mail. Keep in mind that 97% of all text message are open and read, while only 5% of emails are opened and read. See the opportunity here?


If you know your customers and know you haven’t seen some of them in quite some time, you can send them a message offering them a particular special, such as, “We haven’t seen you in awhile, please show this message to receive 15% off your purchase today!”

Be where your customers are. The majority of your customers always have their mobile phones with them and look at them frequently. Make sure that you are using keywords that pertain to your business for your customers to opt-in to the campaigns.

Your company may be old school as far as marketing is concerned, but it should also looking for ways to attract new customers and make more sales from your current customers. You need to look at the marketing that has been working for years and as well as new marketing plans. Mobile marketing doesn’t have to stand alone, it can also be used in addition to your current marketing plan. In fact, it usually works better when your mobile marketing campaign is integrated into your overall marketing campaign.

Mobile Marketing works! Look at all of the “name brand” companies that run mobile marketing campaigns and are successful with it; i.e. Coca-Cola, Papa John’s, Jack in the Box, DirecTV, Dunkin Donuts, and McDonald’s for example. Now relax for a minute, I do hear and feel the hesitation here. Yes, these big companies have a lot of money to spend towards their marketing campaigns. I also understand that small companies and mom and pop stores do not have the large amounts of money to spend on marketing like the large companies. But if you were and are willing to try it, it will bring you more customers and more revenue to spend towards your marketing budget. In fact, mobile marketing campaigns cost pennies to the dollar when compared to larger, outbound marketing efforts that are continually becoming less and less effective over the years. Why is this? People are becoming inundated with advertisements, commercials, and marketing EVERYWHERE they go.

Mobile campaigns do not take up a lot of your time. If you know that you are going to run certain specials throughout the month, you can go in and schedule the messages to go out on a specific day and time. You can also always go back and edit your message before they go out. Let’s say you notice some items in your store that used to be big sellers and now they are not selling anywhere near what they used to. You can send a message out to your database letting them know that you are running a one day or two day special on these particular items. Once you get them in your store, you have the ability to upsell them.


As you can see, the benefits of mobile marketing are vast and numerous. There are already hundreds upon hundreds of companies who are already reaping the rewards of a mobile marketing campaign, and they’re doing this while spending considerably less money than if they were using traditional outbound methods. Jump on the mobile marketing revolution today before it’s too late and you are left in the wasteland of all the other companies who refused to integrate a mobile marketing campaign into their marketing efforts.

3 Reasons Businesses and Consumers LOVE Mobile Marketing

Lets start off by clarifying exactly what mobile marketing entails. Mobile marketing is a way businesses can directly communicate with consumers via handheld devices. These devices, usually smartphones and tablets, can provide information to customers by promoting goods, services, and ideas. There are several different approaches to mobile marketing. Today, we’re going to show you 3 ways mobile marketing is LOVED by businesses and consumers alike!



When it comes to reaching customers quickly, efficiently, and in a way that is convenient for them, there is no method that compares to mobile marketing. Consumers today have higher expectations for their devices and expect to find the information they need on their mobile devices instantly, without hassle. Consumers shopping for products and services often want to access the information in a mobile-friendly format while on the go. For example, an in-store shopper spots the latest laptop and is very interested. So the shopper pulls up the company’s website on a smartphone to get more details on the device. To help capture the sale, the retailer’s site should be optimized for mobile browsing, otherwise the sale could be lost. Businesses that are not accessible on mobile phones are losing to their competitors who DO have a strong mobile presence. Along with this, many companies are also using mobile apps to boost brand awareness. Mobile apps can be downloaded right to the home screen of mobile devices. People tend to download apps for things they do regularly or for things that tie into their lifestyle. For example, many smartphone users download the Facebook app instead of using the mobile version of the website because the experience is better. Convenience matters! Retailers who have an app available for their customers make it much easier to search for products and their customers appreciate them for this. Mobile apps and mobile website are both equally important because, based on reports, consumers are split on what they prefer with 58% preferring mobile optimized sites to mobile apps. Consumers have indicated that downloading and regularly upgrading applications is not convenient. However, mobile apps are still a great way to engage customers and create a loyal following. If you lack either a mobile app or a mobile optimized website, you are essentially cutting your audience in half.


Location, Location, Location

Location-Based Services (LBS) are informational services that utilize the geographical position of a consumer’s mobile device. Rarely will a consumer have their phone not within arms reach, so LBS applications can reach virtually anybody, at any time, regardless of where they are located. In mobile marketing, LBS applications are used as an advertising or marketing service that uses specific location information of customers to deliver the right message to the right person at the right place AND the right time. Consumers are happy to receive mobile marketing messages if they are relevant, personalized, and offer some kind of benefit or reward. SMS marketing is great way for businesses to make consumers feel special. Especially when they think they’re part of an exclusive group of people who receive deals and discounts via text message.


Social Media

Some of us can’t go a single day let alone a few hours without using our smartphones or tablets. Now if that isn’t enough, social media has also established a grip on our daily lives. Social media has played a huge role in how people interact with each other in today’s day in age and has actually revolutionized the entire social landscape. From a business perspective, social media, paired with a mobile marketing campaign, creates multiple new channels for your business to bring in new leads and customers. Social media is an important marketing strategy for businesses that provides a way for consumers to connect with businesses and brands via mobile. Companies can create social media fan pages that consumers can access and engage with to get information about upcoming events and specials. Businesses can also use this opportunity to convey the company’s voice and become a trusted source of information for consumers. Once you’ve established a trust with your consumers, you start creating relationships that can last a lifetime.

Social media on Smartphone

Mobile marketing can work so well for so many different businesses on so many different levels. On top of this, mobile marketing is much cheaper than any other form of marketing and has been proven to be equally, or even more effective than outbound marketing methods. Several companies have already seen the benefits of mobile marketing for themselves and have already implemented extremely successful mobile marketing campaigns. Don’t be one of the companies who fall by the wayside simply because you were too stubborn to adapt to modern marketing methods. Adapt and survive! Adapt and THRIVE!

SMS Marketing Overview: How It Works


In a nutshell, SMS marketing begins when a mobile user subscribes by sending a keyword as a message to a short code . This then places the phone number that sent the text into a database and triggers an auto responder that sends a text back to the consumer. After consumers send that first text message and are added to the database, they can be sent other marketing messages and alerts over time or until they unsubscribe.That’s it. It works just like that.




Keyword is synonymous with database and trigger. The keyword is what people need to send to the short code. It should be something short (two to six characters), easy to remember like the brand, or something related to the brand and should never be more than one word.


The code is the other half of what is happens in the first step. This code is like the phone number for the brand and allows for it to send or receive high volume text messages. The codes are registered with and leased from Nuestar and the Common Short Code Association (CSCA). Both short and long codes are nation specific and most can only send and receive messagesin the same country. There are ways to send messages to another country, but you will need to buy a code for that country or use an international long code from the UK, Germany, or Sweden.


There are two types of codes, a short code and a long code. The short code is a five to six digit number that is approved by mobile carriers to send and receive text messages. Codes that are 4 digits or less are reserved by the carrier for billing information and other communications with their own customers. A short code has the highest through put and is a larger investment. Common Short Code license fees range from $500 per month for random numbers to $1000 per month for a vanity number that actually spells out a word or brand name. CSCA short code leases must be paid in 3, 6, or 12 month increments and are non refundable.


After leasing your common short code, you must gain approval from the carriers prior to connecting. This process is known as provisioning.




This process is usually a joint effort between you (the CSCA listed content provider), your SMS Application Software provider, and the SMS Aggregator. The Aggregator submits your campaign keywords and message flow to the carriers for review. Upon approval of your messaging and campaign details, the aggregator works with the SMS Software Provider to connect the application between the short code and the aggregator/carrier connections. Once this is complete the carrier begins LIVE testing. During this process, they physically test your opt in and opt out keywords. Each one checking for exact match message flow and
compliance. It is during this time as well that they visit your website to make certain that your calls to action , privacy policy, and terms/conditions are compliant with Mobile Marketing Association Best Practices, Carrier Regulations, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.


Once all of this checks out to the “T” and “the comma”, they make the sign of the cross and you are LIVE. Remember though, this same process is conducted by EACH carrier. Provisioning can take from 5 weeks to 5 months or more and should be conducted under the consultation of someone whom has done it before to avoid unnecessary delays and associated costs.


The other type of code used is a long code. A long code is 10 digits, the same as a regular phone number. The number can be acquired a number of different ways and is much easier to get. Long codes can only send SMS one way. The long code is the choice of most spammers because the codes are less regulated and easier to get a hold of. It is as easy as purchasing a SIM card server and plugging in SIM cards to send from. The long codes are also cheaper to use, as low as $5 a month and quicker to implement. While long codes are usually the choice of spammers there are reputable ways to use them.




The hardest part is getting people to that first step, getting someone to text that keyword to the short code. SMS marketing alone is ineffective. It takes more than a keyword and a short code for SMS marketing to work. SMS works in conjunction with other marketing efforts. The other marketing efforts that are paired with SMS are how you let people know about the promotion and why they should take advantage of it. Imagine having a phone number but never giving it out to anyone, you would never get any calls. It is the same way with SMS marketing. If you never let anyone know what to text to what number then they never will. In
order to get subscriptions to your database they need to text you first and you have to tell them how. If you never tell anyone they will never know about and it will never be used.


People also need to be persuaded to take action. Before someone is willing to text the keyword to the short code they need a reason why. There needs to be a valuable Call-to-Action before someone will make that first step. This could be something like text the code to get a coupon, text the code to get something free, text the code to get valuable content; these are things that will give people a reason to use your keyword. Without a promotion of any sort with an external call-to-action no one will take the effort to make the text. You should also make clear your intent NOT TO SPAM THEM.


After that first step is taken though it is all smooth sailing. Everything rolls on from there. After the person has sent a text with the keyword to the short code, they have triggered an action at the software level; at the same time they have also opted into a database that has phone numbers from everyone who has previously texted the short code. The most common action triggered at the software level is an auto responder that instantly replies to the person who sent the text with 160 characters of awesome content. This information can be anything you want as long as it fits 160 characters; text, coupon, email, phone number, and website links.


After they receive the response text the process is over, they answered your call to action and now their phone number lives in your database to be used at a later time for SMS nurturing, other automated messages, real time alerts, and text blasts.


Mobile Marketing History | A Brief Rundown

Mobile marketing’s history has taken a long and interesting course. In the bginning, mobile marketing was considered any form of advertising that was mobile. This included bilboards on the back of trucks, advertising on buses, etc. Today, mobile marketing is generally considered to be any advertising that is on mobile electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets.


Listed here are some important dates that have impacted the course of mobile marketing over the years.

1993: The first mobile phone is mass produced and can send and recieve texts.

1994: QR codes are first invented and used for tracking Toyota production throughout its production process

1999: It is now possible to send SMS texts to users across different mobile networks

2005: The first major SMS campaign by Nike and Pontiac is launched.

2007: Apple Releases its landmark iPhone in the United States which marks the first major touch screen phone with internet capabilities.

2010: QR codes begin to be used widely used for mobile marketing to bring users to a specific mobile website.

2011: Mobile platforms reach an unprecedented $14 billion worth of consumed media on mobile devices.

Mobile marketing today is made up of QR codes, SMS texts, mobile apps, native apps, and mobile websites among others. Modern mobile marketing as we know it began with the iphone when it was released in the U.S. 2007. This is when apps and moblie websites started to take off. In 2011, mobile platform consumers spent about $14 billion on digital media that was available through mobile devices.


QR codes (or Quick Response codes) allow a user to access a URL by scanning a 2D picture, similar to a bar code, that automatically enters in the URL instead of the user having to manually do it. These QR codes were invented by Denso Wave for tracking automobile parts in Japan. QR codes are have been catching on in Europe and Asia but are still slow to catch on in the United States. However, there have been several large scale campaigns based around the QR code by major companies and celebrities in the U.S.

In-game mobile marketing has also been catching on lately. With the growing number of apps being sold that are games, it is only fitting that people start to see marketing within the video game realm. Games are being sposored and and advertisements are being placed by companies to drum up more buisness through these games and apps. This is how apps that gain alot of support from users become so valuable. If an app has 1 million users, then the advertisment that is on that app will been seen by every single one of those users.

Push notifications came along with the invention of the iPhone in 2007. Then they were further popularized by the Android system when it came along. Push notifications allow application owners to more directly communicate with the users in a more efficient and effective manner. Push notificaitons are also relatively cheap in the long run compared to SMS marketing. In the short run, it can be expensive due to application development. However, once the application is developed, it is essentailly free because the only thing it will require is internet bandwith.

Proximity systems, or proximity marketing, relies on SMS-CB to allow messages to be broadcast to all the users of a specific network in a geographic location. This is gaining alot of support, especially in the Philippines. It is used by select government agencies for data gathering and processing for community based programs. It is also used for a commercial service called Proxima, which is a GSM based system that allows users’ mobile devices to be tracked through a shopping center. They can also send out advertisements through a users’ mobile device based on what stores customers stop in and how much time they spend there.

To this day, mobile marketing continues to evolve and grow with the continued refinement of mobile websites and apps being able to produce marketable content and selling this content within the app. This means that this is a growing market and there is alot of money to be made in this evolving $14 billion dollar market per year!