Why Your SME Needs a Shared Shortcode
We’re all familiar with shortcodes without actually knowing what they are. Shortcodes are the 5 to 6 digit numbers that businesses use for sending and replying to their text messages. And while a dedicated shortcode can overcome the brand confusion and loss of subscribers that can result from using common keywords on a shared shortcode, and give your brand a memorable identity if you opt for a vanity code, dedicated shortcodes are also expensive and often beyond the reach of the average small business. To keep costs low and to get into the mobile space as quickly as possible, your small business needs a shared shortcode.
How Shared Shortcodes Work
Dedicated shortcodes are expensive, which is why many of them are shared across thousands of businesses which all bear a small portion of the cost. Though a number of organisations will be using the same 5 to 6 digit shortcode, there is a way to differentiate your messages from another user, and that’s by using keywords. It works like this:
- Your PC repair company shares a shortcode with Sue’s Salon, 87007
- You each have a keyword appropriate to your business – PCREPAIR and SALON
- You both send messages to your clients which they receive from the same shortcode, 87007
- When your clients reply they need to type the keyword, then a space, and then their message
- The message is sent to the appropriate business, so Sue’s messages go to SALON and yours go to your keyword PCREPAIR
Share & Go
The most obvious benefit of shared shortcodes, beside their affordability, is their immediacy. You can hit the mobile space running without the lengthy wait for dedicated shortcode approval. And the mobile space is somewhere every small business wants to be when you consider that:
- 2/3 of the world’s population now have a mobile phone, and every mobile phone has SMS technology on board – it’s mobile native, not an app
- 90% of all SMS texts are read within 3 minutes
- 63% of mobile users have their phone with them for all but 1 hour a day.
There’s no wonder that Coca-Cola have invested a reported 70% of its mobile budget on text message marketing.
Shared Codes are Flexible
Just want to test the water using shortcodes for a seasonal SMS campaign? Then you can rent a keyword from fastsms for £25 a month. There’s none of the hassle, long term investment or commitment involved in having a dedicated shortcode. If it works for you then you might consider using it long term. If it doesn’t, your shortcode experiment didn’t break the bank.
They're not Techie
Creating and choosing keywords is relatively simple and straightforward, and we’ve already blogged about some useful guidelines for choosing keywords that are memorable and easy to use. Once you’ve created the keywords that are relevant to your campaign it’s a breeze to start messaging them to your opted-in customers and clients.
Instant Response Times
Automate your shortcode replies and you’ll be responsive 24/7 to reach customers when they’re mobile. Why is that important? Because consumers are happy to keep responding to your messages if they receive a personalised response within 10 seconds.
Why Your Customers Love Keywords
Not only are shortcode keywords more memorable than phone numbers or website addresses, promoting brand recognition for your customers, but they make life easy for them too. Using a shortcode means that they can perform a number of tasks hassle free:
- Receive your discount and promo codes
- Request and receive more information
- Register their interest in your promotional campaigns
- Take part in a survey
- Donate money to charity
- Ask for a callback
Better Data Capture
It’s not just the customer-facing benefits of SMS shortcodes that are important for your business, but the data you can scrape from your shortcode responses. You can measure the effectiveness of your SMS campaigns accurately and immediately, and you can use captured mobile data from your customers to target your next permission-based campaign. Imagine being able to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns in real time, and how critical that can be for your future marketing strategy.
Shortcodes and keywords are also the failsafe way to build your database, which can be invaluable for a small business. It’s as simple as tweeting your shortcode and keyword asking potential customers to sign up for discounts and promotions on your goods and services. Shortcodes and keywords are one of the easiest and most effective ways to get an active opt-in from customers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Create Conversation & Engagement
Shortcodes are invaluable in starting a conversation and keeping it going while respecting the customer experience, so remember to keep it TRV – timely, relevant and valuable – throughout the customer journey.
Here’s an example: let’s assume you run a small business doing computer repairs and you have an appointment with a client at 10.00am tomorrow. You can send a pre-appointment and appointment day text message either asking the customer to confirm that they still require your services by texting YES or giving them the option to cancel by texting NO to your shortcode.
After the appointment, trigger feedback by inviting your client to take a short survey rewarding them with a discount code on completion.
Promote Your Ethical Side
For many small businesses, partnering with a local charity is becoming an ethical way to market themselves through positive exposure. However altruistic your motives, you’ll both benefit from the association. So how can SMS shortcodes and keywords be of benefit? Let’s say you’ve decided to run a marathon for your chosen charity. Using relevant keywords and your shortcode, you can recruit donors for your charitable efforts and leverage your existing database to make donations.
If you’re interested in harnessing the power of shortcodes and keywords for your small business, feel free to get in touch to discuss ways that we can help you become active in the mobile space. And please feel free to leave us a comment about the ways you’re using shortcodes and keywords in your business.
In a recent post I covered how to create urgency in your SMS marketing messages. It didn't feel right to leave out a few other key components - the U companions. In copywriting circles they are often called the 4-Us. They are: Urgent, Useful, Unique, and Ultra-specific. So to make sure I don't leave anything out, here I'll show you how to use the others in your SMS messaging.
SMS messaging took off in 2016. And that’s saying something for a technology that’s been around twenty-five years. Come take a look at the past year and see what we think 2017 will bring to the industry and how you can use it in your business.
Loyalty and rewards programs can help your business retain your best customers. But they only work if customers see your messages and can check their reward status. A new survey shows most people prefer companies use to SMS for loyalty programs. Find out why in this blog.
Is your social media struggling? Read this article to learn how businesses of every shape and size can use SMS messaging to drive social media engagement and generate revenue from increased brand exposure. Whether the goal is to support a one-off sales campaign or a long term drive to increase reach, SMS messaging offers an unparalleled opportunity to make your brand's voice heard in the increasingly noisy social media space.
SMS flies under many marketers radars when it comes to building an inbound marketing strategy. But if Buzzfeed's news app is to be believed, there are days when SMS generates the greatest percentage of shares on that channel, beating out Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and email. SMS share buttons are reported to have been used 4 times more than Twitter buttons. When you consider Twitter has 317 million active users, then SMS marketing has huge potential for a hotel business.
In our demanding, 24/7 world it is difficult to stay on top of your SMS marketing campaign but with scheduling you can ensure you are getting your message to your audience whatever the time.