Call it text messaging. Or call it SMS. Or just send a text, maybe without using periods.

Actually, you want to send a text.

A friend of mine just redesigned his company’s mobile app to embed text communications. He figured out what a lot of businesses have been slow to understand: text messaging is a great way to stay top-of-mind.

Let’s look at why SMS matters and how your business might use it to connect with customers and prospects.

Text is a mobile-native platform.

Text messaging was built for mobile. It’s intuitive, and it even works without a smartphone. Unlike most apps, messaging doesn’t require a data plan — and doesn’t eat up a user’s data allowance. With most carriers (at least in the U.S.) offering unlimited voice and text, text has taken off as a means of chatting between friends, family members, and coworkers. We use it, and we’ve gotten more accustomed to giving out our mobile numbers for this purpose.

People read their texts.

Text messaging works

Consumers have gotten very good at tuning out email marketing. The volume of messages flooding our inboxes is going up. Click-through rates are going down. It’s getting harder and harder to get people to read commercial email. Plus, we’re gotten smarter at filtering emails into “other” folders and creating email addresses just for all the retail & marketing mails we don’t really want unless we’re in the store or online now looking for a bargain.

People don’t delete their texts. Instead, we open them — and read them. We’re getting trained to do this by the immediacy and intimacy of our personal texts and the urgency of platform texts as we rely more and more on SMS for 2-factor authentication. It’s chat + utility.

Texts get prime real estate.

How many home screen notifications do you enable?

Me: 2.

Primary inbox and text messages.

I get both an aural cue and a visual one. I peek. I sometimes read the emails. I always read the texts.

Right now I receive almost no commercial texts. I decline to allow most brands to send me texts. The coupons aren’t worth it to me. But — there are exceptions.

You now have my mobile number.

My friend who redesigned his mobile app recognizes that a text message means a direct line to a potential or current customer. It’s the one device that we carry with us everywhere. Many of us grab for our smartphones first thing in the morning and check them late in the night.

Plus, once you have my mobile number you can always call me to follow-up.

So how can you use SMS in your business?

8 ways to use text messaging to reach your audience.

8 Uses for Text Messaging

So far, I’ve talked about SMS mostly in the context of traditional marketing. But so much of that ignores text messaging’s seamless integration into our digital lives and the broader business imperative to provide value and solve customers’ problems.

Here are some ideas to think about implementing in your business:

  • Add a share-to-SMS button for your content
  • Create a text-to-register option for subscribing to your mailing list
  • Develop audience-segmented “get updates by text” options for subscribers
  • Enable product renewals via SMS
  • Enable event registration via text message
  • Enable donations via SMS
  • Provide a “tip of the day” to stay top-of-mind
  • Offer exclusive, text-only specials for your customers

Have you deployed a text messaging strategy?