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Mobile Monday: Week 6 – Keywords

Welcome to Mobile Monday, our weekly blog posting dedicated to providing readers with useful mobile marketing tips from Bob Bentz’s newest book “Relevance Raises Response.”shutterstock_283022702 (2) Every Monday ATSmobile continues to grant readers a brief passage from one of the most essential marketing books available for purchase today.

For our sixth week, we’re focusing on “Keywords”where Bentz discusses SMS Strategies and the downside of auto-correct.


An SMS keyword is the word that a consumer sends to a phone number, usually to receive immediate information back, and often to opt-in to a database to be marketed to in the future.

In the previous example (Text RESULTS to 84444), the keyword is “results.” The customer would put the short code number (84444) in the space where she would normally insert the phone number. Then, the customer would insert “results” in the area where she would normally insert the message.

Choosing a keyword is an important step in your text message marketing strategy, because the keyword offers branding for your product offering. When it comes to choosing a keyword, a business should follow these tips, by choosing a keyword that:

  • brands the business or promotion.
  • is easy to remember to gain the viral pass-along effect from customers and employees.
  • is just one word to avoid problems with auto correct.
  • is easy to spell.
  • is not an acronym.
  • does not include numbers.
  • is as short as possible.
  • is not some “clever” spelling of a keyword.

The primary keyword that a business will want to reserve is its own name. This keyword will be the master keyword that is used continually for generating opt-ins. This permanent keyword should be printed everywhere–on business cards, literature, t-shirts, outdoor signage, menus, and anywhere else that makes sense. If the business name is difficult to spell, clever, or contains multiple words, it may be best just to go with a single word keyword that best identifies what the business does. If a business wants to understandably reserve its difficult to spell brand name as a keyword, it should also consider reserving the potential misspellings of that keyword.

Choosing the primary keyword is one of the most important things that a business will do in establishing its text message marketing plans. Often, businesses have common names and the keyword that the business wants may not be available. A second choice may be to pick the primary product that the business sells, but a keyword like “pizza” is likely not going to be available at an online shared short code provider. If the primary keyword a business wants is not available, it is possible for the business to choose an adjective that describes the business such as “tasty” or “hungry.”

In addition to the primary keyword, businesses are going to want to use different keywords for various promotions. Some of these promotions may be short-lived and the business will be able to retire those keywords after using them for the short term promotion. Others may be annual events and the business will retain those keywords in their online accounts, because if they are released, another business may pick them up. The advantage to using new keywords is that it will get your regular customers participating in your texting program again and a business can place those users into a different database which may be helpful in segmenting for future promotions.

One of the great things about an SMS strategy is that there is a tremendous viral advantage to it. If a person knows that their friend likes to get their coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, they will pass along the keyword and short code to that friend. It is not unusual for a business to get 15-20% of its mobile coupon redemptions from viral sharing. But, the consumer may not remember to do so if the keyword, and the short code, is not easy to remember. So, it is always best to keep things simple when it comes to choosing a keyword and it is also best to use a memorable (vanity) short code.

Words that are compound words or two word keywords are also not good choices as keywords. A business might have the best cheesecake in the world, but “cheesecake” is not a very good keyword. That is because some people will spell cheesecake as two words (cheese cake) and some will intend to spell it as one word, but autocorrect “fixes” it for them. Automated SMS response systems cannot detect the user’s intent, only the exact spelling, so picking the wrong keyword could result in lost opt-in opportunities.

One memorable SMS promotion was a sweepstakes that gave away a trip to Hawaii. The advertiser chose the keyword “Hawaii.” Although a wonderful place, Hawaii is not a particularly easy word to spell. Moreover, some people include an apostrophe when spelling it. Hawaii was not a good choice as a keyword, because of the difficulty in spelling it. Acronyms such as “ATS” don’t make for good keywords either. That is because of that damn autocorrect which will inevitably try to change the acronym of your business keyword into a real word. Avoid numbers in keywords as well. It is confusing to think of texting a number to a number. But, more importantly there are that zero and “oh” thing. When it comes to texting, consumers don’t recognize what is a letter (O) and what is a number (0)!

Typing on a mobile phone is not easy. There are a lot of misspellings on the smaller screen of the mobile phone than on a desktop computer. Fat-finger misspellings are common problems on mobile. That is why using a short keyword is far better than a long keyword; there are simply less chance of a misspelling on a keyword with less letters.

Another poor idea is to use a clever use of a word as your keyword. A restaurant called “Finger Lickin’ Chickin’” may be a snappy name, but using “chickin” as a keyword is not a good idea. That is because a customer’s auto-correct is likely going to correct that word to the proper spelling of chicken.

One of the questions that is often asked is in regards to capitalization of keywords. Using caps or lower-case letters has no impact on the keyword so don’t worry about it. To make the keyword stand out, the best way to write a keyword in your advertisement is to use all capital letters, but if somebody uses lower case, the interactive text message will still work properly.

Some keywords are not available to a business. That is because the carriers have reserved those keywords already and they are not available on short codes. Keywords such as STOP, HELP, INFO, END, CANCEL, UNSUBSCRIBE, QUIT, and others are taken before the short code is activated in the marketplace.


SMS text interaction helps collegiate enrollment directors engage with students

In our ongoing discussions with higher education administrators in admissions departments around the country, the same message reverberates from staff members at schools of all sizes; the challenge is greater than ever to successfully attract, recruit, and retain students on their respective campuses.

Whether it’s the ongoing turbulent economic landscape, continuing demographic shifts, or the greater use of technology to provide online alternatives to individuals seeking college degrees, it’s a consistent challenge facing those responsible for enrollment management at schools nationally. 

If there is one common denominator for (virtually) every individual on campus, or for the future students that these educational professionals are eying to become the newest members of the next freshman class, it’s a mobile phone. 

Ever see a student without one?

There’s not a better way to disseminate a specific marketing message than directly to the desired recipient, no matter where they are. 

Utilizing options for text messaging or downloading apps on a smartphone provided an easy entree for ats Mobile to build out a SMS text-based engine that disseminates questions and answers to build towards a cumulative point total, while allowing its client universities to engage their brand with a host of targeted groups including prospective and current students, and alumni.

The SMS text game titled U-Mobile combines the options for learning, information gathering, and quizzing, wrapped up into the fun of playing an interactive mobile scavenger hunt with a prize, such as a steep discount at the bookstore, attached as an incentive. 

Compete, have fun, win, and connect.  It all adds up to a unique way to brand your school, help achieve your department goals, and it’s wrapped around a mobile game.

Entrants to any U-Mobile event are listed in the real time program dashboard allowing schools to simply log in to know who is interacting and by date/time, and by securing opt-in permission from a consumer can simultaneously send broadcast text messages to all members of a specific list from the same dashboard.

U-Mobile, another mobile tool available to higher education administrators to assist in enrollment management. 


We Don’t Just Create Clicks, We Create Calls

One of the most powerful opportunities with mobile is that the mobile user is much closer to the buying process than a desktop user is.  Along the path to purchase, a convenient Click to Call button on an app or mobile website makes it easy for the mobile user to simply touch the phone and generate a lead for your company.

Willingness to Use Click to Call

Across various verticals, consumers have differing reasons for using a click to call.  The most common reason is to check on the business hours and the second most common reason is to schedule an appointment or make a dinner reservation.

click to call reasons


3 Great Mobile Promotions Using Geo-Targeting

One of the tremendous advantage of mobile ad buys is the ability to geo-target your ad.  No other medium has this precise ability to geo-target advertising like mobile advertising does.

Consider just a few of the promotions that ATS Mobile has done for its customers in being able to precisely target a mobile ad  buy using geo-targeting and geo-fencing.

  • A trucking company interested in attracting new drivers was able to geo-fence its mobile ad buy directly at the places where truckers frequent most — truck stops.  We found a list of truck stops in Illinois and Wisconsin and only served ads to consumers stopping there.
  • A yogurt shop identified its best customers as high school and college students.  So, we were able to draw a geo-fence around the local school campuses within a 3 mile radius of the stores.
  • A mall in Canada did a great promotion where we pinpointed a small 4 foot by 4 foot part of the mall floor.  If you walked into this square with your mall app on, you won free lunch at the food court!  What a great way to promote downloading the app for the mall!


geo-targeting mobile ad buys

90% of advertisers now use geo-targeting for mobile ad buys.


Marketers Have Big Plans for Mobile Apps in 2013

2013 is the year of the mobile app! According to Chief Marketer’s 2013 Mobile Marketing Survey, 20.7% of marketers plan to launch a mobile app in 2013 and 27% already offer one or more mobile apps. Compared to 15.3% of companies who have a mobile specific website, it is obvious that marketers are making a push for mobile apps. These marketers claim that they hope to build frequency and engagement, offer rich content and build buzz for their brands through their mobile apps.

Marketers are planning for mobile apps in 2013.

Marketers are planning for mobile apps in 2013.

For more information on developing a mobile app for your business, visit ATS Mobile.



Webinar: “Pizza Pies for Mobile Eyes”

In this interactive webinar, ATS Mobile Marketing Executive, Brad Bierman, explains how mobile marketing can help you to maintain and increase sales in the highly competitive pizza business! Bierman focuses on mobile websites, text message marketing, apps, custom QR Codes, mobile ad buys, and mobile SEO to maximize the mobile presence of your pizza restaurant.

For more information on integrating mobile into your marketing strategy, visit ATS Mobile.


Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Apps: Which Is Better For Your Business?

One of the biggest debates in the world of mobile marketing revolves around the choice between mobile websites and mobile apps for businesses.  Ideally, all companies would take an integrated approach and have both a mobile website and a app vs. sitemobile app. Unfortunately, this approach is not always possible, especially for small business, because of factors such as budget.

For the companies who must make the difficult decision between mobile apps and mobile sites, it is important to take into consideration the benefits that mobile websites and mobile apps, individually, hold for a business.

Here is list of the advantages of both mobile websites and mobile apps that will hopefully aid you in developing the best mobile strategy for your company.

Mobile Websites: Advantages

  • No Download Required
    • Mobile sites can be accessed via a browser immediately. No download or installation is required for users to access content.
  • Simpler Design
    • Mobile websites are designed with simplicity in mind so that it is easy for users to navigate and find information on the mobile site.
  • Cheaper to Develop
    • Mobile website creation is 85% less expensive than mobile app development.
  • Quicker to Market
    • Not only are mobile websites more cost-effective, they are also more time-effective. It takes considerably less time to develop and market a mobile site than it does a mobile application.
  • Easier to Update
    • The content and design of mobile sites can be updated immediately. There is no need to push for updates like there is in mobile apps.
  • Compatibility
    • The same mobile site can reach all mobile users, regardless of what type of device they are using. All iPhone, Android and other smartphone users access a single mobile site.
  • Reach a Larger Audience
    • Mobile websites allow businesses to reach essentially 100% of their audience. Mobile sites are available to anyone who has Internet access via their mobile devices.
  • Search Results
    • Mobile users can easily find a company’s mobile site via search engine results.
  • Google Analytics for Mobile
    • Businesses are able to track who is visiting their mobile sites via Google Analytics for Mobile and other mobile analytics programs.
  • Opportunities for a Viral Audience
    • It is easy for users to share mobile sites with friends via a link and through social media such as Facebook and Twitter posts

Mobile Apps: Advantages

  • Ease of Use
    • It is very easy for users to navigate through and interact with mobile applications.
  • Usable Offline
    • Users do not have to be connected to a network or wireless connection to use mobile applications.
  • Customizable
    • Once users download a mobile app, they are able to personalize the app based on their preferences and general use of the app.
  • Easier to access data about users
    • Marketers are able to access a wide variety of data about mobile users such as demographics, psychographics and geo-location through mobile apps.
  • Apps can be integrated with smartphone features
    • Mobile apps can be integrated with smartphone features such as the camera, microphone, geo-location and phonebook.
  • Power of the Apple Store
    • Apps are sold through the vast Apple Store.
  • Speed
    • Mobile apps run faster than mobile websites.
  • “Cool” Factor
    • Mobile apps are one of the most recent innovations in mobile technology. Mobile apps also tend to have “cooler” visuals because mobile apps allow for more innovative graphics and effects.
  • Allows you to reach a more affluent audience
    • Mobile apps are generally used by a more affluent audience. According to a study performed by the Shullman Research Center, mobile apps are used by 90 percent of U.S. consumers with a household income of $250,000 or more.
  • Complex Calculations 
    • Apps allow you to take data from a user and manipulate it using complex calculations at a quick speed.

When making this decision, it is also important to consider the vertical or industry that your business is competing in. For companies within specific industries, mobile apps often hold an obvious advantage over mobile sites, and vice versa. For example, radio stations would do much better with a mobile app compared to a mobile website because it is much easier and quicker to stream music on an app. On the other hand, restaurants would probably prefer to use a mobile site because it would be much easier for them to update their daily specials and make any menu changes on a site.

For more information on developing your comprehensive mobile marketing strategy, visit ATS Mobile.

Follow Caitlyn Foster on Twitter and connect on Google+.


Cool Mobile Apps: Chok, Chok, Chok

You can do some pretty amazing things with apps and we’ve done some amazing things here at ATS Mobile.  Technologies like GPS and Near Field Communications offer some very interesting options and we are prepared to offer them to your business through our mobile marketing agency.

If you want to see something really cool, check out this mobile marketing promotion by Coca-Cola from Hong Kong.

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