SMS Marketing Best Practices · Video Lessons

4 Tips for Text Message Marketing Beginners

In this post, we explain what you need to know if you’re just starting out with text message marketing. Here are 4 tips that can lead to SMS marketing success.


1. Short Codes for Text Message Marketing

If you’re going to do text message marketing, then you first need to know what an SMS short code is. Short codes are phone numbers that have either four or five digits. Brands use these codes to contact consumers and customers.

There are two different, non-shared SMS marketing short codes that you can use as a brand. You can either lease a vanity short code for $1,000 per month, or a random short code (also known as non-vanity or generic short code) for $500 per month.

The main reason why a vanity short code lease is more expansive than a random five-to-six digit phone number lease is because of the fact that it allows you to choose your own number (if that number is available). In the case of a random short code, you will receive a randomly generated phone number.

Most brands choose a vanity short code over a random short code, because it often looks better, is easier to type, and easier to remember.


2. The Use of Keywords in SMS Marketing

The second important text message marketing element that you need to be aware of is the SMS keyword. An SMS marketing keyword is a word or long/short phrase that consumers need to text to a short code number. When they do this, the keyword will trigger a messaging experience for them.

Let’s say, for example, that you choose the keyword “JOIN” for your text message marketing campaign. You can then ask consumers to text this keyword to your short code (for ex. 12345) in order to sign up/opt-in for your SMS marketing campaign.

Another SMS keyword example can be the word “DOWNLOAD”. Your public advertisement to people could then say something like “Text the word DOWNLOAD to 12345 to download our mobile shopping app.”

As you can see, SMS keywords can trigger various messaging experiences, but their overall purpose is to start a text conversation between a consumer and a brand.


3. Be Aware of the Text Message Marketing Rules

Another important thing to be aware of are the various rules that apply to text message marketing. This is very important, because there can be disastrous consequences if you do not follow the rules.

When it comes to rules, you need to follow those of the CTIA trade organization. Together with the wireless carriers, the CTIA makes sure that brands use their SMS short codes appropriately.

Fail to follow the CTIA and wireless carrier rules and you risk a suspension or even termination of your short code. Customers will then no longer be able to text you, and you won’t be able to send them any messages. This is clearly a situation you want to avoid.

A second situation you want to avoid is breaking the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which is a federal law. It states that you cannot send SMS messages to consumers who have not given their consent. This means you cannot purchase a list of phone numbers and randomly start to send messages to those numbers.

Consumers first need to opt-in to your SMS campaign and provide their phone number before you can start to message them, otherwise your messages are spam.

Sending text message spam is a TCPA violation which could cost you $500 to $1,500 per send text message if consumers decides to sue your brand in court. These kind of lawsuits can become really expensive if you’ve send out a lot of unlawful spam messages.


4. The Difference Between SMS and MMS Messages

The fourth and last text message marketing element we want you to be aware of is the difference between SMS and MMS messages.

SMS messages have a maximum limit of 160 plain text characters, links, and phone numbers. MMS messages allow you to do more. They can have a subject line, and brands that use the Tatango software can put a maximum of 5000 characters in their MMS messages.

What’s more, MMS messages can also include experience enhancing rich media elements like videos, images, and GIFs.


More Information About Text Message Marketing

Hopefully, these 4 tips for text message marketing beginners will give you a good start on your brand new mobile messaging journey. If you want to learn more details about the discussed topics, then also check out the Tatango videos below, or get in contact with our customer support team.

Jump to Content