Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Using text messaging (SMS) in your marketing

And why not? Nearly everyone has a cell phone and I would be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn't at least take note of a specialized text message sent to your cell phone encouraging you to take part in a poll or visit a website to win a prize.

The trick is learning some of the rules of etiquette involved in this emerging marketing method. It's also crucial to grasp the most appropriate uses of the technology. Among the common possibilities most experimented with, SMS is becoming popular to accomplish a number of objectives:

  1. SMS advertising,
  2. SMS competitions,
  3. SMS polls,
  4. Product/service branding,
  5. Promotion of specials and offers,
  6. Customer loyalty initiatives
  7. Chat engines to encourage immediate feedback on a recent company initiative
  8. Bulk distribution of SMS messages to your existing lists

Mobile marketing provides retailers the opportunity to reach customers with a reminder or incentive anytime, anywhere. More often than not, it is outside of the home, which allows for the opportunity to impact customers while they are out making shopping decisions or in transit.

Text messaging is a very targeted, private medium. Because a cell phone number is a unique identification number associated with an individual person, marketers must be respectful of the privacy and preferences of users. In essence, when a person gives someone their cell phone number they are providing an opportunity to be contacted on a device that is carried in a purse or pocket, which makes for a very direct, personal communication channel.

In the example of CollegeRecruiter.com , SMS messaging was even used to a targeted list of graduating university students. An article in Media Life Magazine has described how a Minnesota-based Campus Media Group is helping its clients target the college population by sending advertisements and other text messages to the cell phones of those students. Click here to see the article.

If you're up for something that will set you apart from the rest, SMS is sure to be a technology to watch.

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly PR & marketing tips newsletter by visiting www.actionstrategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.

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