As much as I’m a self proclaimed champion of apps, I must admit that they remain largely a first-world phenomenon. SMS still provides back-end services for enterprise marketing and communications, such as real-time alerts, interactive polls, banking among others.

Admittedly, there are a ton of Over-The-Top (OTT) players that are vying to beat SMS, including: instant messaging services like BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), VoIP services like Skype, Apple’s iMessage, FaceBook, Twitter and, most formidably today, WhatsApp, Viber and WeChat.

Personally, I don’t believe it’s apps versus SMS. You need to have all channels covered. You can’t do it all with in-app notifications. The only truly ubiquitous form of communication is voice or messaging, and SMS is the most prevalent.

SMS is a great way to notify customers of important events. Of course, rules of etiquette apply. Companies thinking about their marketing and communications strategies should consider SMS an important part of the mix for many years to come.If you plan on using SMS to enable your on-demand business, consider the following.

#1: Get permission

People guard their phone numbers like they do their social security numbers, so make sure you get permission before sending text to any customer. Be clear about what information you will be sending and allow your customers to opt out at any time.

#2: Don’t abuse the privilege

Most people who get a text message will stop whatever else they are doing to read that message. (That is why SMS is so effective.) If you are interrupting someone with a text, make sure the message you are sending is an important one. Otherwise use email or push notifications.

#3: Be clear about what you are saying

Similar to Twitter, SMS forces you to keep your message brief. At the same time, you also want to make sure your message is clear and unambiguous. Messages that leave readers scratching their heads defeat the purpose of instant communication.

#4: Stay in business mode

Your text messages are a reflection of your business, so keep your SMS professional. Above all, unless you want your customers to think your business is run by a group of secondary school goers, stay away from using abbreviated slangs such as ‘gr8’ or ‘4u.’

#5: Only use SMS for messages that are time sensitive

Whenever you send a text message, make sure it’s something a customer needs to know right away. Otherwise, for non-time-sensitive information, such as changes to account information, product updates, or long-form messages, email is the better option.

When your business is happening in real-time, fast delivery of communications is critical. SMS is a great way to keep customers up to date on services, even when there is delay in those services. As more businesses are learning, an on-demand world is an SMS world.

  • Good article! SMS marketing is powerful, only if it is done the right way