When many people think about SMS services, they typically picture SMS mobile marketing. SMS marketing is when companies or organizations message opted-in readers about everything from promotions to giveaways. However, others use another type of text messaging service, and it's entirely different than text message advertising. It's called SMS alerts.

Some use both SMS marketing and alerts to engage readers. Others incorporate just one type of service. In this article, we'll focus on companies and organizations that only use SMS alerts, and when you're finished reading, you'll see how these messages differ from SMS text marketing. Here are four common ways SMS alerts are used: 

1. Shipping
Have you ever bought a package online and tracked its shipping? You can usually do this on the company's website or through email, but it's more convenient if you track your packages with free SMS alerts. FedEx, for example, allows customers to opt into their SMS alert service, which lets them know if they have to sign for a package, if there's a delay and when they can pick up their item.

2. Emergencies
Many governments and schools use SMS alerts to notify readers of an emergency. These alerts may be lengthier than messages describing product shipment details.

3. Financial protection
Banks often send alerts to customers to update them on their balances and protect them from fraud. This type of alert system is especially popular with millennials. According to Salesforce, 75 percent use a mobile banking app at least sometimes, and 50 percent want their banks to text them. 

4. Calendaring
Those in the healthcare and auto industry know how important it is to be able to connect with customers quickly. Doctors and auto industry experts (salespeople and mechanics) can use SMS alerts to remind customers about upcoming appointments. This is especially important for doctors who need to ensure time slots are filled, salespeople who rely on sales to make commission and mechanics who need to keep their garage clutter-free of repaired vehicles.

If you're thinking about offering SMS alerts, talk to a third party who will first understand your business needs and then help you create the perfect alerts.