What was the last text message you got on your phone? If you’re like many people, rather than a note from a friend or relative, that last text was likely a promotion from a company or a reminder to pick up a prescription. That’s because a growing number of businesses are finding ways to use SMS messages as part of their outreach, both internally and externally. In fact, SMS messaging is a convenient and effective business tool and, whether you’re the one planning the campaigns or on the receiving end, you’re sure to be seeing more of these messages in the months and years to come.

Marketing Basics

As noted above, many businesses use SMS messages as a marketing tool. They send promotional emails to alert customers to sales, and they encourage people to sign up for these programs with the promise of special offers that others won’t have access to – and it works because people like a great deal. Plus, SMS marketing makes sense because more people are shopping on their phones than ever before. Businesses want to deliver deals via a mobile platform because that’s also where sales are happening.

Internal Communication

On the other end of the spectrum from SMS marketing are internal SMS communications. More businesses are working to reduce their reliance on emails and meetings for brief communications and are contacting staff via SMS – and they’re reaping the rewards. People are more deeply engaged with text messages than they are with other types of communication, reading them more promptly and responding quickly than they do to emails or even other instant message platforms. SMS messages are keeping teams connected but minimizing communications overload, like we see with email.

A Research Tool

Every business wants to know more about their customer base, but getting feedback can be tricky. One way that businesses are seeking out quick responses today, though, is by sending out SMS surveys. Businesses like using SMS surveys more than some other approaches to market research because such outreach seems to reach a broader, more diverse set of people than other tools. For example, SMS surveys are more likely to reach Gen Z and Millennial consumers who won’t pick up a voice call, and as those groups gain earning power, their voices are increasingly important.

Stopping No-Shows

If you’re a doctor, a hairstylist, or provide any type of appointment-based service, no-shows are a problem for your bottom line. That’s why a growing number of businesses now use SMS tools to provide appointment reminders to clients. Not only does this minimize the number of people who forget about their appointments, but because SMS reminders can be easily automated and even integrated with CMS tools, they’re an efficient, time-saving tool for small businesses that don’t have a lot of staff to handle this work.

There are many other ways that businesses can use SMS tools to support operations, communicate with staff and customers, and expand their reach, and we’re all likely to be on the receiving end of these messages in the coming months and years. Less invasive than phone calls, less overwhelming than a stack of emails, and consistently cost-effective, SMS may be the perfect business tool – the simple answer to outreach that companies have been looking for all along.