Today, there are three items that people bring with them when they leave home: their keys, their wallet (purse) and their cell phones. However, because businesses (like Starbucks) are permitting patrons to pay using their cell phone and car companies are creating applications that let car owners start their cars from cell phones, all but the cell phone may be obsolete in a few years. The best way to reach these mobile phone users is via text messaging on their phones, which reaches your prospects no matter where they are.

Text messages (also known as SMS) are short. At only 160 characters, the message is just a bit longer than a Tweet from Twitter. More than 72% of cell phone users in 2010 send and receive text messages, and over 95% of those messages are opened and viewed within 10 minutes of receipt, with a redemption rate (conversion rate) of 20-30%. In comparison, most email broadcasts have an average open rate of 15-20% these days, and most conversion rates for either email marketing or direct mail marketing are in the 1% range.

In order to be effective, however, your text message must follow this formula:

Step 1: A compelling headline
Step 2: Answer the WIIFM (What's In It For Me) question (i.e. what does the cell phone owner receive as a result of participating in your request?)
Step 3: Call to Action
Step 4: Info on who is sending the text

Most importantly, you need to have your prospect's permission to send a text message. You never, ever want to spam a mobile phone user, as many are charged a fee for every text message they receive.

How can you as an online business owner take advantage of the 24/7 texting phenomenon? Here are 5 ways you can use text messaging to get more clients online:

1. Use a short code to drive prospects to a landing page. When you're out and about at a networking event, or even when you're speaking before a group of people, you can give your prospects your "short code" to get them the info that they need. A short code is a phrase that is texted to a number (i.e. text "ABC Company" to 72727, for example) that results in a desired action. Perhaps you want people to add themselves to your text list or your email list or send them to a video that would provide them with more information.

2. Remind prospects of appointments. If you schedule regular appointments with your clients, many will appreciate a text message to remind them of the date and time of their appointment.

3. Promote a sale or special event. If you're offering a sale or some kind of special event, text your customers with the details. Retail businesses use this strategy to drive sales to their stores, and I think that virtual businesses can employ the same strategy to drive customers to their web sites.

4. Promote a series of tips. You can create text message autoresponders just like you create email marketing autoresponders, only the text-based ones are much shorter. Keep your series succinct, relevant, and valuable to your prospect.

5. Poll your customers to seek feedback. Creating polls asking customers their opinions about various aspects of your business is a great way to gain valuable feedback that will enable you to improve your customer's experiences with you.

Text message is an inexpensive yet highly effective method of getting prospects to do business with you without having to decipher an advertisement, as your text message is short and to the point.

Author's Bio: 

Discover how to stop the client chase and massively increase your online visibility with my free ebook, Turbocharge Your Online Marketing, at