If you’re new to the world of bulk SMS marketing, you might be wondering, what is a shortcode, anyway?
Well, it’s simple. SMS shortcodes are short phone numbers, usually 3-8 digits, that can be used to offer opt-ins to customers. Once the customer has opted in, SMS can be used to send promotions, offers, text message coupons, and other information to customers. In order to take advantage of the deal, all the customer has to do is return a message to the same shortcode, and the deal is done.
One of the great things about using shortcodes is that they can be advertised to prospective customers in a number of ways. You can send them to the customer online or directly in your physical store. Alternately, traditional advertising channels like print, radio, and television can be used to get your codes out there. This opens up a wide range of channels that can be used to broaden your customer outreach.
When you set up a shortcode for a particular SMS campaign, you’ll also need to include an SMS keyword to accompany it. This is a simple, direct word that lets the SMS provider know what SMS campaign is connected to the code. As soon as the customer sends a return message, the SMS marketing software processes the code and sends a confirmation text to the wireless subscriber.
Shortcodes can either be shared or dedicated. The difference between a shared shortcode and a dedicated one is just as it sounds. Shared shortcodes are used by multiple brands to interact with customers. Dedicated shortcodes, on the other hand, are used by only one business. The main determining factor when choosing between a shared or dedicated shortcode is the cost. With shared shortcodes, a bulk SMS service provider will often own the code itself, and provide several customers individual keywords that are used to route the message to the specific business. This is a great way to make use of shortcodes on a budget.
Now that we’re clear on what a shortcode is, we can get down to business. What’s the use? Why would you want a shortcode for your SMS marketing strategy?
There are several benefits to using SMS shortcodes, some of which have been mentioned above. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best reasons o use shortcodes:
- Easy to remember
Rather than using a URL or a full phone number, customers only need to remember up to 8 digits, often less.
- Wider reach
Shortcodes can be delivered to your customers through a variety of channels. Billboards, television, radio, printed ads, the list goes on. So, you reach a much wider range of prospective customers than through most other methods.
- Targeted promotion
Since shortcodes allow customers to opt-in, they have control over whether they receive the information. They can see what they want to see. This naturally targets your offers to the customers interested in your products or services.
- Constant access
Shortcodes are active 24/7, every day of the year. Regardless of office hours or holidays. More access means better customer engagement and more potential conversions.
- Immediate action
Since SMS deals are billed through the wireless service provider, a shortcode lets your customer accept an offer immediately. So, if the interest is there in the moment, they can take advantage of the deal directly by responding to the message. No waiting, no loss of interest, and no matter whether the physical store (if you have one) is active at the time.
- Client phone lists
Shortcodes are a great way to collect a list of telephone numbers from interest clients and prospects. By opting in, they are giving permission for this information to be gathered and used to send deals in the future.
- Cheap global access
Since shortcodes enable SMS, they can be used to reach mobile devices across the globe. This gives access to different markets worldwide at a fraction of the cost that would be required to reach them in other ways.
- VIP options
Shortcodes are a simple and inexpensive way to market special deals and promotions to VIP customers and loyalty club members.
- Built-in analytics
With any marketing, you want to focus your time and energy on what works. Shortcode campaigns can be measured directly through the web management platform. This gives you an idea of what’s successful and what needs refinement.
Although this is a compelling argument for the use of shortcodes and SMS marketing, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to know more about bulk SMS marketing, shortcodes, virtual phone numbers, or a wide range of other mobile marketing services, feel free to contact us.