Market with SMS Messages - dummies

Market with SMS Messages

The length of Short Message Service (SMS), or text, messages is limited to 160 characters, so your advertising message has to be short and sweet. These messages can contain links to websites or click-to-call messages: You click the SMS so that your phone places a call. SMS campaigns are much simpler to deal with than common short code (CSC) campaigns.

Companies such as the ones in the following list have lots of information on their websites about what you need to do if you want to run a large-scale SMS messaging campaign to market your site:

  • Clickatell: Clickatell claims to be the first online SMS gateway ― the first company to allow users to send SMS messages to mobile devices from desktop computers. It sends SMS messages to devices in more than 220 countries and territories around the world and also sells common short codes in six countries, including the United States.

  • txtwire: Originally created specifically to take advantage of mobile marketing, txtwire has branched out to also provide emergency-alert services for schools and local government. A smaller company than others on this list, it seems to be more open to working with small businesses.

  • TxtImpact: This diversified company offers SMS applications to let people vote, enter contests, play trivia games, and do much more. It also sells shared CSCs (ones that run only while your marketing campaign is running) as well as dedicated CSCs that would belong only to you.

  • iLoop Mobile: The company has slick templates for SMS marketing campaigns and aims its product offerings at large advertising agencies. Though not an SMS gateway, iLoop Mobile works with bulk SMS providers and bundles technical services with its professional consulting work in a way that may be attractive to people who want only a one-stop solution.

Make sure you understand what you’re signing up for before you start your campaign or else you can wind up with a much more expensive bill than you expect. Though most reputable companies charge 5 cents or less per text message sent, the rates these companies charge for advertising campaigns can vary wildly; some want as much as 50 cents per customer for every text message they send.

If you want to get your feet wet, the social media company Brightkite has rolled out a free service that enables you to send bulk SMS messages to as many as 25 people at a time. Brightkite was originally conceived of as a kind of location-based Twitter — a place where people can quickly and easily upload their locations and their activities.

Like many other social networking sites, Brightkite has expanded its range of functions; in its case, Brightkite’s services now include sending mass text messages and allowing the people who receive those text messages to then send text messages to each other (and you). This capability may be enough for a small business to stay in touch with its most loyal customers.