The Times West Virginian

December 29, 2013

Seed Mobile Marketing grows businesses via text messaging

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

WHITE HALL — Seed Mobile Marketing is helping build businesses one text at a time.

Co-owners Shahram Shafii and Drew Paton started this text message marketing company in November. Its motto is “planting seeds, growing business.”

Paton explained that the company works to get the message of business owners out to their clients via text. Every time a business wants to share information, a text is blasted out to customers who have opted to receive messages by texting a specific code.

Shafii said this service could work for any industry. Seed Mobile Marketing can accommodate businesses of all sizes, from small mom-and-pop operations to large corporations.

“Every business owner has a need of reaching out to clients,” he said. “The neat part about it is it’s immediate. It’s instant.”

While people may not get email messages instantly, they can get texts on their cellphones right away. Now, the majority of cellphone users have smartphones, and they want accessibility and convenience, Shafii said.

Text messaging is the biggest use of cellphones, and then shopping comes next, which is where business owners come into the picture, he said. The goal is that after customers receive texts from businesses, they will next go online to see what is being offered.

Some business owners feel a little bit uneasy learning to use new technology, Shafii said. Seed Mobile Marketing won’t just leave customers with software that they don’t know how to use, but will cater to their needs and provide service that fits.

“One of the things that separates us as a text message marketing company is we’re service-based,” he said. “With us, not only do we give them the software, but we sit down with them one-on-one and try to fix their problem, and then we build whatever we need to build for them. We’re doing the work for you.”

Shafii said another nice feature of Seed Mobile Marketing is the fact that these text message services connect well with other methods of marketing. Business owners can see their return on their investment because they can measure how many people respond to the key words in their text messaging campaigns.

Bigger companies in the food industry are already involved in text message marketing to offer specials and discounts because they see the low-cost, high-impact value, he said.

Paton said he and Shafii had talked about starting Seed Mobile Marketing for a while. After testing the market and talking to businesses, they determined that there was an interest in text message marketing. They felt that Christmas was a good time to kick-start their new company.

Oftentimes, email accounts are overrun with junk mail, which is why many emails aren’t read today, Paton said. Seed Mobile Marketing doesn’t use those spam tactics in text messaging.

“There’s no spamming involved,” he said. “It’s really just targeting people that want the message.”

Businesses aren’t locked into using Seed Mobile Marketing for a certain period of time, Shafii said. Owners are welcome to try out the services for a month and see what they think.

“There’s no commitment; there are no contracts,” he said.

However, Shafii believes customers will be satisfied with their experience.

“We know once we build a plan for you and get it going, the pennies you’re going to spend for the dollars you’re going to make, it’s all worth it,” he said.

Seed Mobile Marketing’s costs are very friendly budget-wise, Paton said.

He said Seed Mobile Marketing has a customer service professional located at a rented office space in Fairmont, and sales representatives are stationed throughout the county.

Seed Mobile Marketing is also expanding and looking for representatives in the North Central region, Shafii said.

For Christmas, Seed Mobile Marketing offered a fun feature in which children could text Santa Claus, which Shafii said the kids really seemed to love. He thinks this Christmas offering will have an even greater response next year after the word spreads.

Paton said some of the proceeds from texting Santa went to the Boys & Girls Club.

In addition to devoting a lot of time and energy to Seed Mobile Marketing, Shafii and Paton both operate other businesses. Shafii owns Donut Connection, which opened in White Hall in September 2012 and added Rommie’s Frozen Yogurt this August. Paton is the owner of Paton Insurance Group, which has been in business in Fairmont for seven years.

If people are interested in finding out more about Seed Mobile Marketing, they can text the word “seedmobile” to 71441, and the company will reach out to them. Information is also available online at seedmobilemarketing.com.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.