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What is an SMS Keyword?

 

In the video above, Tatango CEO Derek Johnson answers the question, “What is an SMS keyword?” Prefer to read instead? No problem, please see the post below. You can also find answers to all of your SMS marketing questions in our Q&A video library; click here to browse.

 

What Is an SMS Keyword?

An SMS keyword is a word that people text to an SMS short code using their mobile phone, such as “PIZZA” to 33733. These SMS keywords are used to interact with a short code that corresponds to a specific mobile messaging campaign.

In SMS marketing, the process is simple. First, the keyword is texted to initially opt-in to a specific mobile messaging campaign. Then, as a result of the opt-in, the subscriber receives a text message response from the short code.

 

CTIA Required Keywords

While it’s up to you which keywords you choose to have consumers interact with for your mobile marketing campaign, the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) requires that you to reserve the following SMS keywords:

  • “HELP”: When a consumer text messages the SMS keyword “HELP” to your short code, your brand must return a text message that contains additional information about the campaign, how to opt-out, and how to receive further assistance.
  • “STOP”, “UNSUBSCRIBE”, “END”: When a consumer text messages the SMS keyword “HELP” to your short code, you must opt them out of any text message marketing campaigns that they’re currently enrolled in with your brand, and send back a text message confirming this action has been completed.

 

How Do Consumers Opt-Into an SMS Marketing Campaign?

There are three ways that consumers opt-into an SMS marketing campaign: via mobile phone, via website web form, and point of sale opt-in.

Keyword Opt-In via Mobile Phone

Perhaps one of the most common ways to opt-in in mobile marketing, a consumer texts a keyword to initially opt-in to a specific mobile messaging campaign. Then, as a result of the opt-in, the subscriber receives a text message response from the short code, confirming the subscription. The image below shows how consumers opt-into Champs Sports and Olive Garden SMS marketing campaigns.

To opt-in to Champs Sports text message program, users can text the keyword “HELLO” to the short code 88757. For more up to date information about the Champ Sports text message program, click here.

To sign-up for Olive Garden news and offers, users can opt-in by texting the keyword “OGNEWS” to short code 29002. For more up-to-date information about Olive Garden’s text message program, click here.

Opt-In via Website Web Form

Another way that brands and organizations advertise their SMS marketing programs is by including a web-form opt-in on their websites. Instead of texting a keyword to a short code, users can visit a brand’s webpage and enter their phone number to opt-into a text message program. Below is an example of a Home Depot’s Pro web opt-in form.

Point of Sale Opt-In

Lastly, brands and organizations opt-in consumers at the point of purchase via reward and loyalty programs. Typically, customers will sign up on the point-of-sale device, where their phone number is requested and opt-in language is shown for consent.

For our top tips on how to select the best SMS keywords, click here.

 

About Tatango

Tatango is comprised of a team of seasoned text message marketing experts located in Seattle. Our passion is to help brands and organizations solve their text message marketing challenges, build their SMS marketing campaigns, and increase revenue with the channel that consumers engage with most.

Need help solving your text message marketing needs? Contact us today!