While mobile internet access is the biggest change that’s a result of the growth of iPhones and other smartphones, it’s not the only thing that’s changing. More people than ever are also using text messaging to communicate.
Text messaging has been around for a long time, but until the widespread growth of smartphones many people didn’t use it. Tapping out a text message using the number pad on older cell phones was an exercise in futility for most people. But the keyboards that are part of all smartphones have made the process so much easier.
As a result, far more people are using this technology and it has become an alternative to email for marketing purposes.
You’ve probably seen ads that say something like “Text the word ‘PLAY’ to 54321 to enter the contest.” When someone enters the contest, they’re actually opting in to receive text messages from that company, sports team or whomever is running the contest.
Much like email, there are autoresponder style text services that will respond instantly with a text message. They can then send text messages to that person whenever they want, until the person unsubscribes at least.
You can send whatever you want in the text message (within the limits of length of course) but usually you’ll send a promotion of some type. There are a couple of significant advantages to text messages compared to email:
1. It has a much higher open rate. Because most people have their phones with them at all times, and the phone notifies them when a text comes in, they typically read it right away.
2. There’s virtually no “noise” in people’s text inboxes. There’s no spam, far fewer promotions and just a lower number of texts overall. So they are more likely to see your message than they are when they process email.
Because text messages tend to get read right away, you can send time-sensitive promotions and expect that many of the people who receive them will read them almost instantly.
Compare this to email where people may not see your message for a day or two (or more) if they don’t keep on top of their email all the time.
If you are currently building an email list for your business, you should consider doing the same with cell numbers. This will give you an additional way to reach your customers at a relatively low cost.