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The mobile world has changed dramatically since June 29, 2007—the day the first generation iPhone was released. No one could have predicted the massive change this device would usher in, or how drastically the landscape would change over the next six years. Six years ago, the BlackBerry was the dominant device and operating system, and today they’re fighting to stay alive. Six years ago, Android wasn’t on a single consumer’s mobile device, and today, it’s the most popular operating system in the world. There is, however, one thing that has remained constant: Text messaging was—and is—the world’s most popular form of communication. Furthermore, utilizing text messaging within your marketing presents the biggest—and potentially most profitable—opportunity for businesses to engage the mobile consumer.

First, let’s examine the viability of text messaging as a marketing medium. Since 2007, the volume of text messages sent annually within the U.S. has increased from 362.5 billion to 2.19 trillion. In addition to being the most popular form of communication here in the U.S., it’s estimated that globally, more than 80 percent of all mobile subscribers use this application on their devices. Text messaging, unlike third-party native applications, is standard across device types and carriers. Text messaging is also relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of traditional marketing at an estimated average price of only $0.11 per message globally. And it has a direct and quantifiable ROI associated with it.

I recently caught up with Adam Brown, senior vice president of The Real Estate Book, a premier industry publication that began using text message marketing within their magazines in 2011. Brown summarized their use of text messaging by saying, “The incorporation of text message lead generation within our magazines has added substantial validity to the argument that not only is print alive, but better than ever. Our advertisers, on average, are receiving five times as many leads from text-message inquiries as they are from online. The sheer volume, combined with the fact that these leads are inherently more valuable since they provide the opportunity to represent both sides of the transaction, goes a long way toward reaffirming to our advertisers the ROI of our printed pages.”

Text message marketing can be incorporated in all forms of traditional advertisement, such as print, mail and signage, to increase the tangible ROI of those mediums. And consumers flock to it. Firms such as The Real Estate Book and Patterson Schwartz Real Estate are generating 3-5 times as many leads via text message as they are online. These leads are always valid, as they have a consumer’s mobile phone number associated with them, but they’re also valuable, as they allow a real estate agent the opportunity to represent both sides of the transaction when a consumer texts-in for information on their listing.

With the way in which consumers are using their mobile devices to access information, text messaging provides the perfect consumer engagement tool. Real estate firms that are not taking advantage of this medium are missing out on what is, by far, the biggest and most profitable opportunity within the mobile space today.

Join us next month as we conclude our four-part series.

Seth Kaplan is president of Mobile Real Estate. For more information, visit