A mobile keyword is a single term, ideally as short as possible, that you encourage users to send to a shortcode.
Text ‘PROMO’ to 12345 to get the latest deals sent to your phone.
When the user does this, they have effectively opted into your mobile list. PROMO is the mobile keyword and 12345 is the shortcode, with the latter typically being a 5 or 6 digit number. This is the most common way to build your list.
ONLINE AND OFFLINE PROMOTION
Potential subscribers must know about both your mobile keyword and your shortcode in order to opt in. Promoting these two critical pieces of information can happen both online and offline.
Some strategies may include:
Advertise on social media
Feature prominently on your website
Send a message to your email list
Run influencer marketing campaigns
Promote as a coupon code
Utilize as a contest/giveaway entry method
Include on printed materials like brochures and flyers
Display signage in-store and at events
You will need to register for a shortcode in order to run any of these campaigns. A number of providers offer that service, much like domain registration for websites. In addition, just like website domains, many shortcodes are already being used. These shortcodes can also be shared under certain circumstances.
In the United States, the U.S. Short Code Administration is the governing body. Generally speaking, when you use SMS software like SMSEdge, the tools are already in place for acquiring or leasing a shortcode you can use for your campaigns. These companies, which usually also function as SMS aggregators, can also handle the possibly more complex process of short code provisioning.
In addition to mobile keywords, another tactic for growing your mobile database is to ask customers to add their mobile numbers to their online profiles under account information.
It’s important to note, however, that while this provides you with their phone number, they haven’t necessarily opted into receiving text messages from you. This needs to be made explicit, to comply with regulations.
Particularly as it pertains to building your list, it’s important to be aware of any legal regulations that govern how text message marketing can operate. These regulations can vary from country to country, so be aware of any rules not only in the country where you are based, but also where your customers and subscribers are located.
In the United States and in most other parts of the world, you are not allowed to send any marketing communications via text message (SMS) to someone until they have provided specific consent to receiving these messages. The consent must be in writing, and the records of the consent -- including time, date and location -- must be maintained.
What this means is that while you may be able to access third-party lists for sending marketing materials via email or phone call, you cannot do this with SMS. The user must opt-in first.
Similarly, subscribers must have an easy and obvious way to unsubscribe from your list. The most common method, and the one used by the vast majority of companies, is to send a text message informing the user that they can text the word STOP in reply to opt out of SMS marketing messages. These instructions can be sent as a separate text message or they can be included at the end of one of your marketing messages.
If a customer asks to opt out through other official means – e.g. via email or online chat – you must also honor this request. You must then send a confirmation message to indicate that the opt-out request has been received and completed. “You have opted out and will not receive additional messages” or some variation should be included in the confirmation message.
Some challenges you may encounter while building and maintaining your list may include:
Active Number Validation
Validating new and existing contacts to ensure that they are still correct and in service.
Creating and managing targeted lists based on a number of possible criteria, including nature of response (click, lead or sale).
Choosing the best SMS gateway and route to deliver your messages in the most cost-efficient way possible.
Optimizing delivery and reach
Deciding on the best routes for the fastest and most reliable delivery with the least number of potential errors or failed attempts, all while maximizing click-through rate.
When phone numbers are added to the list, but are not actually valid recipients of your SMS marketing messages.
Many, if not all of these challenges can be swiftly and suitably overcome when you utilize a robust SMS marketing platform. The system can automatically seek out and remove invalid contacts, for example.
In the case of SMSEdge, artificial intelligence is leveraged as part of a proprietary scoring algorithm. The system can then intelligently split test routes, ads, offers and lists, choosing from over 50 different communication providers to find the best possible path, thus optimizing delivery and reducing costs.
By default, the normal sender ID that a recipient sees is the long reference number generated by the SMS gateway. It indicates who is sending the message, just as the recipient would see when you receive a personal SMS message.
This reference number can be replaced with custom text upon request. A common usage is to replace the sender ID with the company name. However, this type of change is not allowed in the United States and in South Africa due to the mobile network provider policies in these countries.
Segmenting Your List
Building a sizable list is a major priority, but it is equally important to optimize and segment the list to maximize your return on investment (ROI) as well. This achieves two critical goals.
First, you are not overwhelming your subscribers with too many messages that they may feel are irrelevant. Second, you are reducing your overall costs as you are not paying to send messages to recipients who are unlikely to open, engage, and convert on them.
List management, including segmenting your list into as many sub-lists as you desire, can be accomplished through your SMS marketing software.
Possible criteria you may utilize when segmenting your list:
Country and other location information
Expressed interest in particular product categories
Drip and sales funnel directed
Nature of response, having clicked on a previous message, resulted in a lead, or generated a sale
Customer lifetime value (CLV) estimate
Current customer status, like premium subscriber vs. free user
Split-testing message copy styles
Pre-campaign performance level
Typical time of engagement to optimize delivery window