There’s a high-potential marketing platform that’s slowly and surely attracting corporations, small business owners, advertisers, and marketers alike. Observers say that this is a big one – an avenue through which one can reach a good portion of billions of consumers.
It’s called SMS. You know: text messaging.
No, you’re not reading an article from our 1998 archives. This is 2010 all right, but you know what? In the age of tablet computers, flashy apps, smartphones, and social media, SMS marketing has indeed become one of the most viable and important platforms for businesses today.

Here are some numbers:

  • An estimated 3.5 billion text messages are sent and received every day.
  • 57 percent of all cell phone subscribers use SMS on a regular basis.
  • According to the New York Times, 97 percent of text messages are opened, and 83 percent of these are opened in less than an hour.
  • Despite the explosive growth of smartphones and mobile technologies like the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android-enabled devices, etc., they still only comprise about 15 percent of all cell phones in the United States.

These numbers only serve to show that SMS is here to stay. It’s been here long before we’ve had touch-screen on our phones – and it’s still here, amidst all these new trends and techs, opening a world of marketing possibilities at the click of a button.
Here are the top reasons why SMS marketing is something that you might want to keep paying attention to:
Sheer numbers: So Facebook has 500 million users? Well, how’s this for a global consumer/target market base: 3 billion. That’s how many people use SMS/text messaging. It’s twice the number of people who use the Internet. Succeed in getting a portion of that pie, and you’re instantly engaged with people in a way that not even the biggest player in social media can provide.
It’s intimate: It has been described in a recent story on Mashable how the mobile phone is perhaps the most intimate technology for people. Have the right information for the right person at the right time – and you’re getting through a unique barrier and straight to the hearts and minds of an audience.
Speed of delivery: SMS marketers have a unique advantage: the speed at which their messages can be delivered – within mere seconds, that is to say. Regardless of the size of your market, this speed is going to play an important role in helping you gain a competitive advantage. Have an exclusive offer? Deliver it real-time to your customers, and then allow them to redeem it right then and there from their cell phones.
Rate of readability: As mentioned above, 97 percent of text messages are read. Unlike popup ads on a computer screen, they’re rarely ignored; unlike E-mails, they’re rarely immediately trashed without being opened first. In fact, according to Opus Research, SMS marketing generates two to 10 times higher responses than do display ads on the Internet. So imagine the kind of response you’re going to get with a few lines of compelling copy – or a unique, highly engaging message – for your SMS marketing campaign: the higher the rate of readability, the better the response rate.
Easy integration: By its very nature, mobile marketing via SMS can be easily integrated with your other campaigns, such as E-mail, social media (Facebook and Twitter), location-based apps (like Foursquare), online advertising, and even traditional media like TV commercials, billboards, and print ads. All you need, really, is an opt-in number (think American Idol voting procedures) to spark engagement – and then promote this number through your other campaign platforms.
Wealth information: The SMS is also a highly effective platform that allows you to send and receive information – such as valuable customer feedback, personal opinions, votes, and even customer inquiries. Some businesses even use SMS to conduct polls and surveys, which are easily tracked, monitored, and reported.
Great for retention: Trying to keep your old, loyal customers while winning over new ones? Give SMS marketing a try: it’s great for increasing your retention rate (subscribers have only to opt in to receive updates), and it requires minimal work. At a time when everyone’s having privacy concerns with Facebook, and when few have fully adopted Twitter, it seems that there’s (still) no better way to stay in touch than good ol’ text messaging.