What’s in a keyword? Three rules to using keywords in SMS marketing

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What's in a keyword- Three rules to using keywords in SMS marketing

You’ve probably seen keywords used in marketing text messages you’ve received. They’re short, easy to remember words you can type into a text message reply. A common example you’ll see is something like “reply STOP to unsubscribe” at the end of marketing text messages. STOP is the keyword.

But they really could be any words right?

Technically yes, but some are better than others.

Just think about what you want to use a keyword for. They are a mechanism you provide your customers, clients, or members to reply to your text message. Now consider that your customer is typing their reply on a small keyboard on their mobile phone. Even those who excel at texting (almost anyone under the age of 18) don’t want to have to type in a long word. So keeping it a short word is the first rule of keyword choice.

Beyond using simple, short keywords to instruct your customers (like “STOP”), you can use keywords to help track marketing campaigns. Whether you are running a contest, promoting a sale, or looking for feedback, choose a unique keyword for each campaign. This will let you determine which campaigns are the most effective. The second rule is use as many keywords as needed. Imagine you are an electrical retailer running a discount campaign using SMS messaging. You could have a single keyword such as “BARGAINS” for the customer to access a list of prices for all items but wouldn’t it be better to break the list down? How about “TV” for televisions, “HIFI” for music systems and “CAMERA” for photographic. Response rates and conversion rates will benefit by sending prospects straight to their area of interest.

Many of the text messages I get use different keywords. For example, a music venue frequently sends me texts asking me to reply in order to win tickets to a show. They could simply ask me to send the keyword “Enter” or “Yes” in order to enter the contest. But they don’t. For each musical act, they use a keyword related to the artist: their name, portion of the name, or a song title. This helps me know, or realise in the moment I’m texting, what exactly it is I’m agreeing to in my reply. And that’s the third rule, make the keywords make sense. For brands this might mean using a product name, or  the brand name itself.

Bear in mind also that you can use keywords in conjunction with either SMS shortcodes or VMNs (Virtual Mobile Numbers). For a fuller explanation of these click here.

Following these three rules of keyword choice should help you in creating effective text marketing campaigns. You can always learn too, from the marketers texting you. Have you received any awful keyword choices? Please share with us in the comments.

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