Texting with Tatango

image Recently, I published an article in which I maintained that text message or SMS marketing is the future of advertising. I even went so far as to declare that there has never been a more powerful marketing tool ever invented.

Today let me share with you a great way to get started in mobile marketing or just keeping in touch with a group through texting. Allow me to introduce you to Tatango.

Tatango was invented by some fraternity brothers who needed a way to keep the brethren apprised of meetings and activities which was always a daunting task. They came up with an application that allowed them to send out a text message to all the guys’ mobile phones simultaneously, and it worked like a charm.

Now, a few years later, the system has been funded by venture capitalists, and it is available for public consumption. The good news is that it is free, so it makes a great way to get started with the power of texting.

It can be used simply as a group communication tool for a soccer team or a church group. It can also be used my MLM junkies wanting to keep in touch with their downline. It can also be used as a recruiting tool by allowing people to text into the system requesting to be included on the distribution list.

There are two elements to SMS or short message service communication. First is a short code consisting usually of five digits instead of ten, making it easier for users. The second aspect is a keyword used for identifying the group and the appropriate response for the server to send back. Accordingly, suppose you were a realtor and you had a texting panel on your for sale sign. It would say something like “text mls12234 to 34567.” This instructs a prospective client to send a message to 34567 with the code mlm12234. This tells the computer to include this customer in the database and to return information about the particular property in question.

The beauty of SMS marketing is that that customer must request to be sent information on an opt-in basis. Recipients may opt-out at any time by merely texting the word STOP. They are automatically removed from the database. Ideally this is how it works and is mandated by the FCC. However, there have been instances of abuse by foreign servers over which the FCC has no authority. There will always be some people who abuse the system.

There are four ways for people to join your group. You can send an email invitation to an individual or list with instructions. You can send a text message to a mobile phone number with instructions. Tatango offers a widget that can be embedded in social networking sites such as MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, a blog or Website that enables people to sign up for your group. This is a terrific tool for expanding your marketing list.

As I mentioned, this is a free service. However, the free service is supported by advertising. This means that each message contains a short ad from a sponsor. This may be tolerable for members of a team or a social group looking for an inexpensive but efficient means of communication. But it would hardly do for a professional association or for business marketing efforts.
Accordingly, Tatango has different levels of service ranging in price for varying numbers of ad free messages ranging from 200 for $9.95 to 3000 for $99.95.

You receive from one to 5 keywords depending on account level. Keywords may be used to identify different groups or different marketing campaigns. For instance, suppose you owned a pizza restaurant, and you wanted to identify vegetarians from meat lovers so that you could segment future marketing strategies. You could offer different specials with keywords identifying each group.
While Tatango is a great way to get started with texting for a group for free, I would not advise using the free service for a business. You will turn your customers off with the ads in the messages. If you want to use this service for your business, you would certainly use a paid plan that is ad free. The only ads you want in a message are yours.

Check out Tatango at www.tatango.com. Get a free account to see how it works. See if Tatango’s paid services will suit your needs. Keep in mind that there are other, more sophisticated service providers available that you may wish to investigate before making a commitment to a sustained mobile marketing effort.

If would like to learn more about mobile marketing, please visit my SMS Blog.

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