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What Are SMS Keyword Campaigns and Why Do I Need Them?

“Text MMMM to 555-TACO to get a free taco during your next visit.”

It’s impossible to miss advertisements like these posted at your favorite retailer, restaurant, and more. And as a dedicated customer, you know which businesses you want to receive text-based promotions from.

As a business, you too can (and should) capitalize on the endless possibilities of SMS keyword campaigns. With text marketing receiving ultra-high open rates at 98%, SMS keyword campaigns can catapult your marketing and engagement to new levels. Even better, keyword campaigns can help you better identify, segment and target your audiences in a more effective way.

What are SMS Keyword Campaigns?

So what exactly is an “SMS keyword campaign?” SMS keyword campaigns incentivize customers to text a specific keyword (like PROMO, DISCOUNT, etc.) to a designated phone number. This keyword triggers an automated response or action from the business.

Besides sending promos, deals and discounts, keyword campaigns can be used for a wide variety of purposes and across industries. From customer surveys to exclusive content, to dispatch and concierge tools, keyword campaigns foster interaction and keep your company connected with your leads and clients.

Benefits of SMS Keyword Campaigns

Empower Your Customer

One of the biggest benefits of keyword campaigns revolves around enabling your customers to choose to receive messages from your business. By sending the advertised keyword to your designated number, customers demonstrate a clear interest in your brand or product and are actually initiating communications with your company.

Your automated text replies should always include an opt-out, so customers know that they can discontinue communications at any time. If you practice excellent text etiquette (i.e. offering valuable discounts and content, while not spamming or overwhelming your recipients) you can also nurture longer-lasting SMS subscriber retention.

Convenience and Ease

SMS keyword campaigns are straightforward and convenient for both businesses and customers. Customers only need to send a text message with the assigned keyword to instantly engage with the campaign. This ease of use increases participation and allows businesses to reach a wider audience.

Exceptional Engagement

With SMS marketing and keyword campaigns, customers don’t need to subscribe to an email list, open their inbox, and then miss your email because it’s buried in their SPAM folder. Text messages have incredibly high open rates, with most messages read within minutes of receipt.

91% of customers actually prefer to communicate with businesses via text. With keyword campaigns, businesses can pique their leads’ interest and keep their audiences’ attention driving higher engagement compared to other marketing channels.

Targeted and Personalized

SMS keyword campaigns enable businesses to organize their audiences and deliver offers based on customer preferences and interests. Most SMS marketing platforms, like String, include basic to advanced segmentation tools, like tags and notes. By tailoring messages to specific keywords, businesses can offer a more relevant and personalized experience to customers.

Generate Leads and Gather Insights

While we don’t celebrate the idea of mindlessly capturing or exploiting customer data, business developers know the value of marketing to the right audiences. There’s nothing worse than spending large sums on ads, and missing the best audience for your brand. (Ok, there are probably a few worse things, but nobody loves the sinking feeling of money lost to ineffective marketing campaigns.)

Besides building your customer contact list through SMS keyword campaigns, businesses can attain valuable customer information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, or demographic information useful for gaining insight into customer preferences and behaviors. Tailoring future marketing initiatives around these insights can help catalyze more effective engagement and conversions.

Immediacy and Action

Because recipients receive useful and motivating information directly and instantaneously, SMS keyword campaigns can invoke a sense of urgency, influencing your recipients to take immediate action. From BOGO’s, to time-sensitive promotions, to simply confirming an appointment, keyword campaigns that land in the palm of your customer’s hand can efficiently help jumpstart your customers’ response time.

Versatile and Cost-Effective

With high engagement and the rapid nature of SMS marketing, SMS marketing is typically more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods.

SMS keyword campaigns can be adapted for various purposes, such as marketing promotions, surveys, feedback collection, and customer support. Because of the flexibility to tailor keyword campaigns across industries for a plethora of audiences and purposes, SMS marketing also offers a competitive return on investment.

Streamlined Workflow 

The extensive and intuitive automation tools offered by most SMS marketing platforms can significantly streamline your workflow and expedite your customer outreach and communications.

With desktop and mobile access, you and your staff can schedule campaigns, create auto-reply templates, and even reply to individual texts directly from your desktop. You don’t have to interrupt your workflow by grabbing your cell to reply (avoiding a rabbit hole of other distractions.)

How Do SMS Keyword Campaigns Work?

Setting up your keyword campaigns will vary depending on the SMS marketing software or platform you choose to use. The overall components will typically involve:

  • Selecting a Keyword: Choosing a unique and relevant keyword is the first step in creating your keyword campaign. If you want to invite your customers for a BOGO on tacos for instance, you could use the word “TACOS.”
  • Obtaining a Designated Phone Number: You can usually purchase a designated phone number from most SMS marketing platforms or service providers. Some companies, like NumberBarn, allow you to purchase a custom vanity number, port it to your preferred provider or software (such as String,) or integrate it with hosted messaging via another SMS marketing platform.
  • Advertising the Keyword: Promote your keyword and designated phone number at your POS, through social media, in-store signage, email marketing, website and more.
  • Engaging the Customer: When a customer sends a text with the keyword to the designated number (e.g., texting “TACOS” to 760-8-COMIDA), the campaign is triggered and you can begin interacting with your customer through additional keyword campaigns (unless they choose to opt-out.)
  • Setting the Automated Responses: Once the customer sends the keyword, they receive an automated response (also called an auto-reply.) You can include a variety of information, like promotional offers, links, product details, etc. in your reply (but make sure to keep it concise and avoid anything sounding spammy.)
  • Continued Outreach and Analytics: Many SMS marketing platforms, like String, offer tools to organize your contacts with notes, tags, lists, etc. This is crucial not only for continued outreach and engagement, but also for observing and analyzing the effectiveness of your campaign strategies.

Get Unlimited Keywords Today!

Effortlessly create automated keyword campaigns with String SMS marketing. Get robust and intuitive tools for contact segmenting, personalization fields, auto-reply text messages, visual voicemail and more. Build as many keyword replies as you want with String’s unlimited keyword autoresponders. Multiply your marketing, boost your engagement and add superpowers to your phone number with String!

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