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A Gr8 Way 2 Win Customers Get into your customers' pockets with SMS advertising.

By Catherine Seda

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Fifty-six million American adults are texting on their cell phones, according to a month-long field survey conducted in June 2006 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And advertisers are getting in the game.

You have probably seen text-to-win or text-to-vote contests on TV. Popular shows like American Idol, The Apprentice and Deal or No Deal have persuaded millions of cell phone users to text in. You, too, can promote an SMS contest through your marketing channels, but this isn't your only option. In addition to getting consumers to text you, you can text them.

Mobile-marketing companies such as Cellit, MobileStorm and Movo can help you create an opt-in mobile marketing database. You'll tap into your existing offline and online marketing channels to invite consumers to sign up (for example: text JOIN to 12345). Using their cell phones, consumers will type in a keyword (which customers select) followed by a common short code, which is a special phone number. Or consumers can subscribe on a website and receive an opt-in confirmation request via their phones. Once customers respond, they've opted in.

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