Keywords: The What & The How
A keyword is a unique term (letters and/or numbers) that people can use to communicate with you via a short code (which we’ll get to in a moment). A particular keyword is unique to a particular short code. In other words, you can (and often do) see the same keyword used across multiple short codes.
Keywords work when they are paired with a short code, which is a special five or six digit phone number. Mobile phone users can send a text message to a short code. Most people use the simple phrase short code, but you might see Common Short Code or CSC. These all refer to the same thing. The common means that every short code is common to all wireless carriers in a particular country. So, a short code can power a relatively inexpensive national marketing campaign.
Now, there are two types of short codes that you can choose between when launching a mobile marketing campaign – shared short codes and dedicated short codes. You can read our EZ Guide To Shared & Dedicated Short Codes for a thorough discussion of the differences between the two, but for the purposes of this paper, we can contrast them succinctly. A shared short code belongs to a mobile marketing firm. EZ Texting shares our short codes, by allowing our clients to rent keywords on them. A dedicated short code belongs exclusively to a client. If you have a dedicated short code you can create as many and whatever keywords as you like. Renting keywords on a shared short code is inexpensive, whereas it will cost you thousands of dollars a month to operate your own dedicated short code.
A simple way to think about the relationship between keywords, dedicated short codes, and shared short codes is to compare them to domain names and subdomains. If you purchase your own domain name, you can create as many unique subdomains (subdomain.mydomain.com) as you like. Each one will take visitors to a particular page or service. You can think of a keyword as similar to a subdomain. If however, you do not have your own domain name, some website hosting companies will allow you to rent a subdomain, as long as no one else is using it (mycompany.myhost.com).
When it comes to short codes, the differences in cost are far greater. Domain names can be purchase for a few dollars a year, which is why the vast majority of companies own their own domains. As we already mentioned, dedicated short codes cost thousands of dollars per month to maintain. At EZ Texting, you can rent a keyword on one of our shared short codes for only $25 a month. Because of the great difference in price, thousands of our customers choose this option. If this sounds like the right option for your company, you can open a free trial account and quickly check to see if the keyword you want is still available.
To review, pairing a keyword to a short code allows your customers to communicate with your company. Placing your keyword in front of a message they text to our shared short code identifies them to us, so we can route the message to your Inbox. For example, if you wanted to entice customers to join your store’s monthly sale notification list, you could add a Call To Action to your signage such as: Text Jewelry to 313131 to receive monthly sale alerts before anyone else!
In the following section we’ll go over many different examples of keywords in action, showing how they can power different types of campaigns in different industries.
Uses & Examples Of Keywords
As we said, keywords are an extremely powerful tool when it comes to building a successful mobile marketing campaign. The best way to understand what keywords can do is to look at some examples. We’ve set up three keywords on 313131 that you can text into right now, to see how easy it is for your customers to work with keywords.
The following three keywords are active examples. You can text them to 313131 right now. Our text messaging system will automatically reply to you with the text shown:
EZ – This is the EZ Texting demonstration keyword. We use it to give our clients unfamiliar with keywords an idea of how they work – ‘Wasn’t that EZ? Collect #s, run contests, polls, surveys & more! Supercharge your current promotions & get your own keyword today! Reply STOP EZ to end’
2FOR1 – This is an example of the power of mobile couponing. When you encourage your customers to text in to receive a coupon, you also collect their phone number, which you can use for future marketing campaigns (with permission) – ‘Thx for joining our VIP text club! Show this to your server and get 2-4-1 appetizers all night. Reply STOP 2FOR1 to end.’
JEWELRY – This is an example of a marketing alerts campaign. Build loyalty by letting interested customers know about specials before everyone else – ‘Welcome to David's Jewels preferred customer program. We'll send you exclusive invites to trunk shows to attend before the general public! Reply STOP JEWELRY to end.’