Mobile marketing is the wave of the future. From proximity to your audience to high open rates, there is a long list of reasons to integrate SMS marketing into your business playbook.

Given that 90% of all SMS text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt, it’s clear that mobile has the most expansive reach. While mobile open rates are a huge bonus, it’s engagement and action that makes a real difference.

As your message is literally within arm’s reach, increasing open rates is a simple task. Your audience hears a beep in their pocket or purse, and looks to see what it is. It’s pretty much a Pavlovian response.

Engagement and action is a whole other beast. However, when you observe and steal from the most successful marketing campaigns, you’ll attract a motivated audience who reaches for their credit card quite often.

Brace yourself—this mobile marketing case study is a little unorthodox.

A senior citizen with unkempt hair inspired millions with mobile marketing.

Yes, we’re talking about Bernie Sanders here. Normally, a major candidate for the world’s largest political party would already have millions of supporters ready to engage.

However, if that candidate is not a household name, and manages to provide a serious challenge to a juggernaut opponent, there’s a strategy worth observation. Bernie’s success comes in large part from his mobile marketing initiative.

SMS messaging turned a no-chance presidential candidate into a grassroots superstar who gathered a legion of dedicated, enthusiastic followers. Politics aside, small businesses want a similar dynamic.

If you’re thinking mobile marketing was a small portion of the success equation, we kindly suggest you reconsider that position. SMS marketing by itself sent 30,000 individuals to a Sanders rally. That enthusiastic action is worth paying attention to, but the question is…

How did Bernie’s SMS marketing team do it?

Many of their SMS messages focused on time-sensitive and location-dependent marketing. For small business, this is good news. Local/independent retailers and service providers alongside companies who leverage offers with expiration dates can use mobile marketing the way Mr. Sanders did.

Use the following information to your advantage.

19% of voters reported that text messaging is the best way to reach them.

Data provided the springboard for each successful endeavor. We’re just speculating here, but it’s likely that the 19% is actually much higher. When people report that one way is the best way to contact them, they might not realize how attached they are to their phones.

Knowing that voters (in your case, customers) always have a phone or tablet near by enables you to connect with them.

The Sanders campaign had a 50% opt-in rate.

Ask and you shall receive. If your constituents agree to receive SMS marketing from you, they are vastly more likely to convert once the sales offers start rolling in.

Make sure that you have an opt-in form on your website. If you invite your web traffic, you’ve already reached warm prospects that are more likely to buy or otherwise engage.

SMS marketing was used for multiple purposes.

SMS marketing was used to take a volunteer headcount, not just for donations or to invite people to vote and/or attend a speech. Using a multi-faceted approach allowed Sanders’ marketing team to organize their endeavors and forecast success.

You can do the same. From segmenting the audience based on interest and purchase history to keeping a tally on foot/web traffic, SMS campaigns allow you to personalize your marketing and streamline your operations.

Mobile marketing brings the people to you.

Sanders’ SMS marketing created successful live events. For example: by collecting  zip codes during opt-in, the campaign team mobilized supporters based on their location.

Case in point, after supporters in the area received a text message, over 27,000 supporters turned out for a Los Angeles campaign appearance.

If you’ve run a local business, SMS marketing is your new best friend. Try sending a time-sensitive QR coupon to increase foot traffic or simply let people know that you’ll be attending or presenting at an upcoming event.

Bernie’s campaign combined SMS with MMS.

We’re living in a visual world, something that the Sanders camp took full advantage of. Not only did Bernie’s marketing team use his ideas to excite voters in word form, but the SMS messages also utilized videos, photos, and gifs.

Variety is never a bad thing in marketing. Switching it up gets your message across to users who did not engage with the original SMS alerts.

Sanders’ volunteers utilized mobile marketing, too.

Local teams utilized SMS marketing to rally local voters to events, phone banking opportunities, and canvassing. This is actually very important to you as a small business owner, as this facet illustrates the power of affiliate marketing.

As JV partners provide you with a brand new list of engaged prospects, splicing in a mobile campaign only serves to double your results.

Sanders campaign tweaked the formula.

While a rock-solid marketing plan provides a path from point A to point B, there will be a need to check on the status of operations. The Sanders marketing team was well aware of this fact, as they went in to integrate changes when it proved advantageous.

Our advice: go with what works, but make sure your plan always functions at full capacity.