The possible uses for shared short code keywords are practically limitless. Although most frequently used to attract new contacts to your text messaging database or to conduct surveys among your existing contacts, shared shortcode keywords can also be used to sort your contacts into groups according to their specific interests, or geographical locations - or into whatever category descriptions you choose.
In this way, shared short code keywords can make management of your database much easier. They can save you money by eliminating “wasted” text messages - those sent to contacts who have no interest in their content - and can help prevent the scenario in which contacts opt out of your SMS short code service because they are receiving too many irrelevant text messages.
You do not need a deep understanding of shared short codes and keywords in order to use them or to benefit from them. However, in order to maximize the effectiveness of your SMS short code service, it is a good idea to know the difference between shared short codes and dedicated short codes, and how you can make maximum use of your keywords by using sub-keywords.
The Difference between Shared Short Codes and Dedicated Short Codes
A “short code” is a five- or six-digit number that people typically send a text message to in order to join an SMS short code service or to take part in a survey. Most people will have seen an advertisement inviting them to (for example) “text ´join´ to 313131”. The keyword in the advertisement is “join”, while 313131 is the “short code” - an easy-to-remember number that saves people having to write down a full ten digit number.
There are two types of short codes used by text messaging services - shared short codes and dedicated short codes. A shared short code is one that is shared among the clients of a service provider. For example, if a store, a realtor and a bar were using EZ Texting´s text messaging service, all three businesses´ shared short code would be 313131. Shared short codes are usually free to use, and we´ll explain how we distinguish one business´s contacts from another´s a little later in this article.
By comparison, dedicated short codes are unique to each individual business but expensive to rent. There are two types of dedicated short codes - “random” and “vanity”. “Random” dedicated short codes are a random combination of numbers (for example 468591), whereas “vanity” short codes are those which are easiest to remember (for example 112233). You could also use a vanity short code if your business had a six-letter name that could be spelled on a keypad (for example Costco = 267826).
How We Distinguish One Shared Short Code Service from Another
We gave the example above that a store, a realtor and a bar are using EZ Texting´s text messaging service and the same shared short code of 313131. So, how do we distinguish the store´s shared short code service from the realtor´s and the bar´s? The answer is keywords. We monitor which business is using which keyword so that when the shared short code 313131 receives a text message, we transfer the message to the correct database according to the keyword in the text message.
Obviously this means that all three business cannot be using the same keyword at the same time, but this is not usually a problem. Furthermore there are ways in which potential demand issues can be resolved with a little creative thinking. For example, if you were the owner of the bar and you wanted to use your shared short code service to promote a two-for-one drinks offer - but the keyword “2FOR1” was already being used - we would suggest that you use the keyword “BOGOF” (Buy One Get One Free).
As you will see in the next section, potential demand issues can also be overcome with the use of sub-keywords if you do not want to wait until your preferred keyword becomes available and you can start your marketing campaign. The only other alternative is to rent a dedicated short code but, as mentioned above, these are expensive. A random dedicated short code will cost about $6,000 per year, while vanity dedicated short codes start at $12,000 per year.
Using Sub-Keywords in a SMS Short Code Service
Whether you use a shared short code service or pay for a dedicated short code, sub-keywords are a fantastic way to maximize the effectiveness of your business´s SMS short code service. Sub-keywords are basically “second word” keywords and, once you have rented a keyword, you can have as many sub-keywords as you wish. You simply use your (paid for) keyword, leave a space, and then add your sub-keyword. Here is an example:
A real estate company called “Nice Homes” uses its SMS short code service as an inquiry service for potential homeowners who have seen a For Sale sign outside of a property. The company has rented the keyword “Nice” and uses a different sub-keyword on every For Sale sign (“Home1”, “Home2”, “Home3”, etc.). When a potential homeowner wants more information about a specific property, they simply text “Nice Home1” to 313131. They receive just the property information they requested, while their details are added to the real estate company´s database automatically.
It was mentioned at the beginning of this article that shared short code keywords can be used to conduct surveys or sort a database into groups. Sub-keywords can also be used for these purposes. For example, a bar called “Macs” could survey its customers on what beers they would like to see stocked in the bar (text “Macs Bud”, “Macs Coors” or “Macs Miller” to 313131), or a nationwide chain store called “Bonus Buys” could sort its database by location (text “Bonus NY”, “Bonus FL” or “Bonus TX” to 313131).
Try Our Shared Short Code Keywords for Free
At the beginning of this article we also mentioned that the possible uses for shared short code keywords are practically limitless, and this article barely scratches the surface of how you can easily and inexpensively attract contacts to your text messaging service by using shared short code numbers, keywords and sub-keywords.
However, every business has its own goals in operating a SMS short code service, so rather than fill the page with dozens and dozens of examples that may not be relevant to your particular circumstances, we would like to invite you to try out our shared short code keywords for free using our “Free and EZ” text messaging service.
“Free and EZ” is a fully-enabled shared short code service that includes a free demo keyword. You will be able to send bulk text messages to your contacts using the demo keyword and our shared short code number 313131, and track the success of your campaign on our industry-leading text messaging platform.
To find out more about this offer, or to ask any questions about shared short code keywords, do not hesitate to contact our team of Client Success Managers. Our team will be happy to guide you through the procedure for setting up an account and provide you with free website signup widgets so you can start building your database of contacts right away.