How to Use Text Messages As a Business Engagement Tool

The business of mobile marketing is to move mobile users to do something – move them to a location, move them to click through on an offer embedded in a received message, move them to do an action that’s immediate and responsive. This is the key benefit of the mobile device – communications transmitted are received almost immediately and viewed almost that quickly. Given such immediacy, of the device, of message consumption, you can and should use text messaging as a business engagement tool.

Steps to initiate a text messaging campaign are essentially as follows:

1) Obtain a shortcode, shared or dedicated, or a long code from and to which text messages will be sent. A shortcode is a 4, 5 or 6 digit number; 4 digit numbers are usually reserved for use only by mobile carriers. A shared shortcode is one that is used for a number of texting campaigns that may be going on at the same time. In contrast a dedicated shortcode is one that is used simply for a specific campaign or brand, but to which an unlimited number of keywords can be attached. A long code is basically a ten digit telephone number.

2) Decide on the Keyword or Keywords you want to use with your shortcode. A Keyword is a single word that is transmitted to the shortcode in the body of the text message. For instance, a call to action on an advertisement may say “Text BUDDY to 56789 for information on Golden Retrievers” – the word BUDDY is the keyword and 56789 is the shortcode. Keywords should be kept short and easy to spell in order to minimize losses due to transposition and interpretation errors.

3) Determine the call to action – this is the reason that a person is motivated to text the Keyword to the Shortcode, and is usually associated with some benefit or incentive. As an example a call to action for an automobile dealership could be “the first 100 people to text AUTO to 00000 will receive a message on how they can save a thousand dollars on their next car”. Calls to action are usually integrated with print, radio or television media, and should contain reference to terms of use related to the campaign, as well as whether the person texting will incur any charges in sending the message.

Notably, one of the biggest frustrations in using text messaging for marketing is that many mobile marketers do not understand the necessity to grab a prospect’s attention and convey their message in the space of 160 characters or less. What’s required is λŒ€λŸ‰λ¬Έμž copyrighting specifically relevant to the mobile medium – elements of grabbing interest, explanation, moving to action and effecting a result, all in a sentence or two.

Text messaging campaigns seek to initiate, reinforce and mine the relationship with the mobile user. This means that in the terms of use related to the campaign is usually a provision by which the user permits the marketer to have ongoing contact with them by sending text messages in the future. The originating message from the user to the shortcode is therefore commonly referred to as an “opt-in” message. The list of telephone numbers to which the marketer can then send their messages to is then referred to as the “opted-in list”. These mobile users can, however, opt-out of the opted-in list at any time by simply sending a STOP request to the shortcode, which is a reason why communications coming from a mobile marketer should be relevant and not overdone else they run the risk of being regarded as spam with a resulting op-out request.

The aspect of Opted-In List Building is most important and usually occurs throughout a text messaging marketing campaign. Once opted-in the mobile user obtains the benefit of being part of the “special” community and accordingly welcomes the marketers communications and calls to action for involvement.

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