How much time on average do people spend on their smartphones every day? The answer varies widely from one study to another, but estimates range from 2.5 hours to five hours. In short, the answer is a lot.

All that time spent on smartphones presents tremendous opportunities for marketers to get their messages heard and establish deeper connections with their audiences. And while we might first think of people checking their email or scrolling through social media on their phones, there’s another activity that is often overlooked as a marketing opportunity – text messaging, also known as SMS messaging.

SMS is one of the fastest marketing channels available today. With no spam or other email filters to contend with, messages arrive on mobile devices within a few seconds of when you hit send. And, according to research from SAP, 76 percent of people report that they will open text messages before emails, making them an especially good fit for time-sensitive information.

So, how do you realize marketing success with SMS messaging? Here are six tips:

1. Have permission. First and foremost, before you use SMS marketing with anyone in your CRM database, ensure that they have opted-in to receive such messages from your organization. Not only is this a best practice for marketing in general, but without permission, you can run afoul of many laws and regulations. Be sure to also provide an opt-out option to your subscribers.

2. Get to the point. With SMS messages, you are limited to 160 characters in a single message, so brevity is a must. That means there’s no room for nonessential information. Make sure your message is concise while also including all the key details someone needs to be interested in your message – who, what, when, where and how are all great points to cover.

3. Be clear. You may be tempted to abbreviate words in your message in order to fit within the 160-character limit, but avoid that temptation. Abbreviations, slang or jargon can be easily misunderstood, rendering your message ineffective. Ask a colleague or friend to review your message to ensure that it’s clear and easy to understand.

4. Have a strong call to action. Make it clear to your recipients what you want them to do. Whether it’s showing a text for a discount, clicking a link to sign up for something, responding to your message or a number of other actions, ensure that recipients know what to do and that it’s easy for them to do it.

5. Focus on timing. Be careful not to send SMS messages too early in the morning or too late at night, and be aware of how different time zones will impact that timing. Also, take advantage of the immediacy of text messaging when planning your campaigns. If you’re using SMS to tell customers about a special promotion that starts on Friday at noon, for example, send the text exactly when the promotion starts. No matter what you’re conveying via SMS, tap into its potential for real-time communication by telling your recipients what is happening right now or in the very near future.

6. Grow your subscribers. To maximize the reach of your SMS messaging, you need to increase opt-ins. Your customers may not be aware that SMS is an option for communicating with your business, so ensure they see that message across channels. Promote via social, your website, email marketing campaigns and any other channels you regularly utilize. If they aren’t opted-in already, ensure contacts that you have a phone number for receive a simple opt-in text message to further grow your list.

Happy Marketing!