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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.


Mobile Monday: Week 5 – Mcommerce

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.” Every Monday ATSmobile continues to grant readers a brief passage from one of the most essential marketing books available for purchase today.shutterstock_283022702 (2)

For our fifth week, we’re focusing on “Mcommerce” where Bentz discusses responsive web design, online transactions and the smart phone becoming of greater use to people.


Everybody has heard of ecommerce, but considerably less people identify with mcommerce. Mcommerce is the selling and purchasing of goods and services through mobile devices, as opposed to traditional ecommerce which occurs on desktop devices.

To be clear, mcommerce is not a separate entity from ecommerce. It is actually a subset of ecommerce sales and it is calculated as part of ecommerce sales. Historically, if businesses could make a little extra selling goods on the small screen of the smartphone, that was great. Today, however, entire businesses such as Uber are mcommerce only platforms.

While mcommerce sales have a few years to go to catch ecommerce sales which make up two-thirds of all online sales in North America, the gap is clearly narrowing each year. There are several reasons for this.

  • Responsive and adaptive web design is now the norm for most mcommerce sites and this evolution has helped eliminate sites not being optimized for mobile — previously the biggest factor in making it difficult to shop on a smartphone.
  • Larger mobile screen sizes are becoming more commonplace. This includes not only tablets, but also phablets–the half tablet, half phone hybrid.
  • There is simply the greater use of the smartphone for everyday use and increased use of making purchases via mobile is one such use.
  • Over time, the public has shown increased confidence in making online transactions on a mobile phone.

Despite the increase in mcommerce sales, however, shoppers are still considerably more likely to make a purchase from a desktop than a mobile phone. This is not only true in overall purchases, but also in the percent of conversions from desktop compared to mobile. While the gap narrows every year, consumers are still more likely to want to make the actual purchase from a desktop.

There remains several reasons for mcommerce’s inability to match ecommerce sales figures. Consider the following:

The smaller screen and lack of a keyboard makes it more difficult to fill out a form and make a purchase. Just entering a 16 digit credit card number correctly without fat fingering any of the numbers is difficult to do on the first try.
A mobile phone is often not near wifi as opposed to a desktop which always has internet access.
Many mobile phones do not accept cookies so it is difficult to pre-fill some of the forms. There is one promising exception, however, as Safari mobile now offers pre-fill forms on its browser–an enhancement that should improve this factor.
Ecommerce sales offer credit card and Paypal payments. Mcommerce payments rely on mobile wallets which are still emerging in the USA.
Consumers have not been purchasing on mobile devices for as long as they have on desktop so there is still some reluctance to do so, especially by older customers.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to making purchases on mobile, tablets act more like laptops and desktops given their larger size. iPads convert best of all followed by Android tablets. Of smartphones, Androids convert to sales better than iPhones. This is surprising given the higher income levels of iPhone users, but Android also skews younger so that does give an edge to it when it comes to mobile sales conversions. In general, desktops tend to convert more often during working hours, but mobile takes over during leisure time.

When it comes to mcommerce, North America trails other countries in the percentage of online purchases made via mobile. In Japan and South Korea, more than half of all online transactions are made by mobile. Percent of purchases made by mobile in the United Kingdom are not far behind those of the Far Eastern countries. According to Forrester, it will take the USA until 2018 until half of its online sales are made via mcommerce. Japanese mobile consumers are over three times more likely to convert to a sale than USA consumers. If USA mobile conversion rates rose to those of Japan, the USA would account for over half of all mcommerce sales worldwide.

Opposite to what is going on in retail stores, mobile users visit online retailers more often and they buy more often, yet the average ticket sale is decreasing slightly on mobile. That is because mobile users are in a hurry when it comes to mcommerce and they are snacking on it often, but in shorter segments.


Purplegator Offers Recruitment Solutions For Hiring Nurses

Did you know that the nursing shortage will grow to up to 260,000 Registered Nurses by 2025? Check out the video below to see how Purplegator can assist in your recruitment search by utilizing social and mobile advertising.


Retail Store Uses Program Established By ATS Mobile

Check out this cool and informative video on SMS Text Messaging, a simple and effective marketing technique that can be utilized for many different companies or industries. In the video, Short & Paulk, a five retail store business in Georgia, is using a text message sweepstakes program to promote its business. The SMS text message marketing program was established by ATS Mobile.


Text Marketing: The Workhorse of Mobile Marketing

Ace Hardware SMS promotions

Text Message Marketing

SMS text message marketing is the workhorse of mobile marketing. It’s the pillar that holds up the mobile marketing building. If you can only do one thing in mobile marketing, it should be text message marketing.

That’s because text message marketing is inexpensive and offers the single best ROI of any mobile marketing tactic that you will employ. Whether you are a national retailer or simply a local Mom and Pop pizza shop, there is place for text message marketing in your marketing plan.

Opt-In Marketing

Text Message Marketing is opt-in marketing, meaning that you must have permission from your consumer before sending them a promotional text message. While getting permission may seem like a daunting task at first, it’s precisely why SMS text message marketing is so darn effective.

Until recently, you could send somebody a promotional text message if you had a previous relationship with that consumer. In other words, if you were a tire retailer and you had a list of consumers that had purchased tires from you in the past, you could send them a promotional text message.

That all changed on October 16, 2013 when new TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) laws came into effect. It caused companies to change the way they do business with text message marketing and in many cases, it required a new opt-in from consumers. Because not all previous opt-in consumers chose to re-opt-in, the new laws dramatically reduced the size of many companies’ opt-in databases. (If you’d like an attorney’s point of view on TCPA compliance, click here.

Now, in addition to numerous other requirements, you have to have “express written consent” to qualify a consumer as a legitimate opt-in to your database. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to have a signed paper for all of your opt-ins (although that is a legitimate qualifier for an opt-in), as an electronic signature is also permitted.

In most cases, a company obtains a legitimate opt-in via an interactive text message promotion. In other words, the consumer will:

Text RESULTS to 84444

Here’s another sample from the San Jose Sharks:

Text SJ to 742757

Once the consumer has opted-in to your database via an interactive text message promotion, you can now send them broadcast text messages in the future. It is the broadcast portion of the equation that is usually the big money maker for your business in terms of increased business.


Broadcast Text Message Marketing

Capturing the mobile phone number of your customer or prospect is very valuable indeed. In fact, one of our national retail customers has pegged the value of an opt-in to be $11 per month in increased sales. With a database well in excess of 100,000, you can see how this is significant.

But, we’re not the only one that sees a tremendous value in obtaining a mobile opt-in for text message marketing. Ace Hardware has pegged its value of an opt-in as being $183.60 lifetime!

The key to broadcast text message marketing is to send the consumers messages that are of value. That may seem obvious, but here’s why it’s so important. There is a fine line between your best customer (somebody who has liked your company to the point where they’ve ASKED to receive your advertising) and your worst customer (somebody who you have sent so much stuff to that they’ve opted-out of your text message marketing advertising).

Keep in mind that the laws regarding text message marketing require you to provide a convenient method of permitting the consumer to opt-out of your database. In most cases, the consumer simply needs to reply with STOP to opt-out.

Send too many messages that are not pertinent to the consumer and you’ll likely get an opt-out. If you’re Ace Hardware, you can see just how much that opt-out will cost you!

There’s no magical number of broadcast messages that should be sent each month. That really varies based on the product. If you opted in to the San Jose Sharks message above, you’ll see that the hockey team indicates that you may receive “5msgs./wk.”. That may seem like a lot when compared to a department store, but keep in mind that fans of a sports team are passionate about that team and they won’t mind receiving five messages per week. On the other hand, if you are a local pizza restaurant, five messages seems like it’s too much.


Short Code Marketing

Now, let’s make sure you understand some definitions. In the sample interactive text message promotion above, “RESULTS” is a keyword and “84444” is a short code.

A short code is an abbreviated phone number such as 84444.

In some cases, “long codes” are used for text message marketing. A long code is simply a traditional 10-digit phone number that does many of the same things that a short code number can do, albeit it’s not really intended for interactive text messaging. Some carriers frown on long codes, in part since they don’t make any money from them. That’s why I’ve only ever seen small, local businesses using long codes.

A keyword is used in most instances to provide the identifier for the opt-in. If your business owns its own short code, it then owns all of the keywords associated with that short code. In that case, the keyword will identify which promotion the consumer opted-in to.

But, most businesses will utilize a shared short code such as 84444. The reason why is that it is quite expensive to obtain and continue with a short code. A company that is in the business of text message marketing can amortize the cost of activation (about $3500) and the monthly cost ($1000 for a vanity short code such as 84444) over numerous businesses that use that same short code. The only major negative of a shared short code is that it is possible that the keyword that you wish to use is being used by another customer.


Why Text Message Marketing

If I can only leave you with one piece of information, it is this one:

“97% of mobile subscribers will read a text message, even a promotional one, within 15 minutes of receipt.” (Nielsen)

That’s why text message marketing is so valuable. You can reach your customers when they are most likely to buy! Moreover, your customers have opted-in, meaning that they WANT to receive your messages.

My company has done work for Subway in sending text messages for the Subway restaurants from Maine to Maryland. When does Subway send its text messages? At 11:30 AM when customers are in the office or out on the job site and starting to get hungry for lunch.

With text message marketing, you have the perfect storm for any type of advertising:

  • It’s your best prospects, because they’ve asked to receive your advertising.
  • You are almost 100% sure that they are going to see your message. Can any other medium make that same claim?
  • You can reach your customer when they are most likely to buy! If you buy radio advertising, you don’t know exactly when your advertisement will run and if you buy newspaper advertising, you have no idea when your advertisement will be seen.

Text Messaging for Retail, Radio Plus International, MMS, Text to Landline

Want to know more about text message marketing?

The following three videos will give you an idea of how text message marketing is still the go-to mobile marketing tool for businesses.

Interviews by Brad Bierman.

Our Newest Product Offerings: International, MMS, Text to Landline

In the first video, Bob Bentz talks about how ATS Mobile wisely chose the same short code in both the United States and Canada.  What that means for you is that your text message marketing will work the same in both countries and you won’t have to change your advertising creative to accommodate both countries.  In addition, Bentz discusses some recent enhancements to its messaging services which now include:

  • International Texting
  • MMS Picture Messaging
  • Text to Landline — we can now soon offer you the ability to send a text message to your landline phone.


Text Messaging for Radio Stations

In the second video, ATS’s Steve Gonzalez discusses the importance of a mobile marketing messaging strategy to engage radio station listeners.


Holiday Texting Tips for Retailers

Finally, Scott Bronenberg discusses the upcoming holiday season and the importance of text message marketing for retailers.


Want to watch more videos from our Mobile Marketing Knowledge College?  Click here to watch last month’s videos.


4 Expert Videos on Text Message Marketing

In October, the focus of the Mobile Marketing Knowledge College interviews were on text message marketing.  ATS Mobile’s Brad Bierman, a qualified expert in this field himself, interviewed key staffers to get their insights and advice on how to best utilize text message marketing in an overall mobile, digital and traditional marketing plan.  Discussion topics include: retail; apartments; restaurants; strategy.

Listen to our mobile marketing consultants give advice on SMS marketing.


Text Message Marketing for Retail Stores

by Scott Bronenberg



Text Message Marketing for Apartments

by Barb Breeser

Text Message Marketing for Restaurants

by Kevin Campbell

Text Message Marketing Strategies

by Bob Bentz



Text Message Marketing for Gyms in Canada

Did you know that we also provide text message marketing in Canada?  And, that it works really great for health clubs, gyms, and mixed martial arts training centers?

One of our customers liked it so much that she didn’t just make an ordinary testimonial for us, she made a video testimonial that really kicks ass.


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