Next time you’re walking through a mall, take a look around you. What do you see? The odds are you’ll find flocks of people gripping their phones for dear life–texting, talking, or simply staring at the screen–unwilling to let their mobile lifelines out of their sights.

Yes, we live in a cell phone-obsessed culture, which some may view as a bad thing. When it comes to marketing your hotel, restaurant, or night club, however, this captive audience provides the perfect opportunity to advertise your brand, win new clientele, and break away from your competition.

Very few people can resist the temptation of reading a text. Whether they are beckoned by a symphony of voices singing “You’ve Got Mail” or a loud whistle, it’s impossible to ignore one’s trusty little buddy, the phone.

According to the “Quick Guide to Nightclub Marketing,” unlike e-mails, texts are usually opened within two or three minutes of receiving them–making them a highly efficient marketing tool.

Now that you’ve captivated your audience’s attention, what do you want to do with it?

It is not a stretch to say that a lot of people think of their smartphones as a friend. After all, it holds their valued contacts, social media accounts, treasured photos, and it’s there to help them out should an emergency arise.

Because of this personal attachment to their phones, it is important to keep in mind that you are contacting them on a highly personal device. That’s why it is important to ensure that your messages nurture a personal relationship with your brand.

Show You Care

Your messages need to be focused on your customer’s needs and not on your own. “Mobile Marketing: A New Frontier for the Hotel Industry” advises that rather than pushing information out, pull information in to learn how your customer wants to be interacted with.” You also need to learn about what type of content appeals to the customer’s needs, future wants, and personal tastes.

Personalized service and understanding your customer’s individual needs in all aspects of customer service–yes, even when it comes to marketing–are the key ingredients to creating a long-lasting customer relationship and winning their loyalty.

Don’t Be an Unwelcomed Surprise

No one wants to receive sudden and unexpected texts from a business that they have had no prior communications with. Make sure that you do not send messages to customer cell phones without receiving permission to do so.

Always make it clear when you are asking someone to opt-in to your text marketing campaign and provide them with concise instructions to enable them to opt-out. In fact, the “Top 20 Secrets to Success in Hotel SMS Mobile Marketing” recommends asking customers to register their preferences such as how often they would like to hear from you and what topics interest them most.

Be of Service

Text messaging can also be used to provide excellence in customer service during and after a client’s visit. A thank you text can be sent shortly after departure. You could also contact them about special events occurring on your premises during their stay, any safety concerns that arise, to inform them there is a message for them at reception, or to let them know if they have left a forgotten item behind. Texting is an ideal option for deepening your relationship and nurturing brand loyalty.

Customize Your Offers

According to “Text Messaging Marketing Tips for Your Hotel,” 4.1 billion texts are sent daily in the United States, alone. The odds are that your customer’s cell phone is quite busy. The best way to ensure that your text message outshines the rest is to ensure that you are making an offer that your customer couldn’t possibly refuse.

Simply sending out mass texts without ensuring that they meet the receivers’ needs is a waste of time and may send your potential clients racing to opt-out. Sending a message, however, that meets an individual’s needs and floats their proverbial boat, is much more likely to increase business.

Thanks to a growing attachment to the cellular phone, marketing specialists now have access to their customers twenty-four, seven. It is an advertiser’s dream come true. Don’t waste another minute and get started on your text marketing campaign, but remember. With great power to reach the masses, comes great responsibility. Text wisely.

Have you ever taken advantage of a deal sent via text messaging? Why or why not?

This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer and avid marketer.