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SMS Keywords Guide For Effective List Building
SMS Marketing 101

SMS Keywords Guide For Effective List Building

One of the most impactful SMS list building tools in your arsenal is SMS Keywords. So let's go over the best SMS Keyword approaches.

February 10, 2022

Best Approaches to SMS List Building with Customer-First SMS Keyword Initiatives

As traditional digital channels like email and social continue to be flooded with ads and branded content, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are harnessing SMS for more personalized audience engagement. SMS provides an opportunity for a two-way conversation between the brand and the digital consumer. 

For digitally-native brands who are unable to interact in person, SMS offers the ability to deliver hospitality and customer service that no other digital channel can. 

Voyage delivers dynamic options for boosting your SMS subscriber opt-ins and acquisition rates. One of the most diverse and impactful list building tools in your arsenal is SMS Keywords.

What are SMS Keywords?

​​An SMS Keyword is a word that someone can text to a short code or your business phone number. Like an email opt in, an SMS keyword submission triggers an automated text message that is tied to your campaign. 

SMS Keywords: Words or phrases that users text to your company short code to opt into receiving text messages from your brand. These different keywords interact with short code that correspond directly to specific campaigns and can help you track their effectiveness. An example is a brand advertising 'Text "newcandles" to 55555”.  This will opt-in users and create a targetable segment.

Check out Voyage SMS Glossary for More Terms and Insights

Keywords empower eCommerce brands to keep the line of communication open with their audiences, by easily engaging potential customers with targeted offers. 

They’re designed to be an uncomplicated and direct way for your audiences to opt in to your SMS campaigns, allowing you to easily build your SMS lists and segment opt-in types for more personalized brand experiences. 

Voyage SMS Keywords Guide

When starting with SMS keywords, there are a few key guidelines that Voyage recommends to navigate your brand to SMS success. 

Apply The K.I.S.S. Principle

Keep It Simple, Sailor! To keep your SMS keyword as simple as possible, try to stick with one word. While SMS keywords can technically be longer than just one word, it’s best to stick to 4-7 characters to make it easy to remember. Using words that align with the promotion, source, or products help make it obvious to what people are opting in for.

Avoid Special Characters

This one’s obvious. Special characters do you no good. If your customers get frustrated trying to sign up for your text program, they might skip joining all together.

Make It Memorable

Keep the keyword simple and relevant to the product or event. For general opt-in campaigns, align it to your general brand. If a specific campaign for a product or promotional event, using a keyword opt in that matches the main messaging will increase your campaign stickiness.

Be Creatively Simple

Be unique…but not too unique. SMS keywords should be easy to spell and remember. Avoid made-up words and unusual spellings. When in doubt, test out your keyword options.

Plan For Autocorrect

When an autocorrect failure happens between two people it’s usually something that can be fixed with a simple explanation. Unfortunately, when it happens while a customer is trying to opt-in it can result in a lost subscriber. 

Plan for inevitable autocorrect: setup commonly autocorrected words within your campaign, and avoid words that are autocorrected all the ducking time.

SMS Segments Strategy

When it comes to successful SMS keyword campaigns, use multiple keywords to segment your SMS lists. By adding secondary keywords to your SMS keyword campaign, you can easily segment your lists so you can directly target your audience with specific offers that align with their interests, which can boost your subscriber list retention.

Top SMS Keyword Tactics

Explore the top SMS keyword campaigns to help expand your lists and convert newbies to brand-loyal customers.

In-Store SMS Keywords: Take In-Person Experiences Digital

For those with brick-and-mortar locations, SMS keywords are a wonderful way to deepen your in-person customer interactions through digital. Make special in-store offers for signing up with location-specific keywords and create workflows designed to promote online engagement that will drive continued store visits for those customers.

On-Site SMS Keywords: Set Your Website Up for Acquisition Success

Capturing email subscribers on your site is already table stakes for eCommerce brands. Evolve your opt-in workflow to include SMS keyword campaigns, utilizing different keywords and incentives based on website location. Capture leads across various areas of your site.

  1. Footer: Use for a more general campaign like: “Text 'brand' to 71-023 for 10% off your order today"
  2. Checkout Success Page: Target your converting visitors to return, increasing LTV with campaigns including "Text 'brandvip' for early access to new products"
  3. Product Detail Page: User Keyword campaigns for exclusive lists such as product waitlists for new or backordered gear with campaigns like "Text 'productname' to 71-023 to get notified when this product drops"
  4. Custom Website Campaigns: Have a Loyalty program? Setup a keyword campaign for opt-ins or special offers on those exclusive pages. "Text 'Title' to 71-023 to get access to this recipe list"

Amplify Advertisements & Traditional Marketing Channels

Create custom keywords for advertising campaigns that you can segment and track for attribution. Include opt-in CTA on podcasts, billboards, signage, email footers, Instagram posts, TV, radio and more.

Social Media: Double-Down on More Personalized Cross-Channel Audiences

Setup keyword campaigns specific/exclusive to your social channels. A great use of social media is for fast promotions, limited time offers, exclusive promotions. They are great channels to use keywords for urgent promotion engagement. 

Pro Tip: In order to capture a lead, brands need to provide something of value to the user. The majority of successful opt-in offers use a 10-20% discount off the purchase. Discounts aren’t acceptable for every brand and not required.

Keyword List Building Incentive Examples

Incentives can be an engaging approach to list building, grabbing consumer attention with special offers or exclusives. 

With SMS keyword campaigns, offers are an enticing reason to sign up to such a personal channel. Successful campaigns often include early access to new product drops, free samples, or a free piece of content such as style guides or recipe lists. The offer should align with the SMS keyword being used, making it clear what they are signing up for.

For eCommerce brands that haven't discounted in the past, focus the offers on very specific older or slower moving products to not cannibalize sales from your best sellers. These incentives could be the little nudge needed to get the customer to opt-in.

Set your course for success in 2022. Explore how Voyage Compass can help your crew chart list-building success with keyword campaign support and services.
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