SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing Primer

Lesson 1

What is SMS Marketing?

As a small business owner you may be familiar with sending emails and email newsletters to your customers. SMS marketing, or text messaging is another marketing channel that works along the same lines. You invite your customers to sign up for your messages and periodically send them promotions, offers, information and more.

The goal of using marketing channels like email and text messaging is to build a database of your customers to increase customer loyalty. While email is still an important channel for communicating with customers, SMS has that sense of immediacy that is hard to ignore. According to Forbes, 76% of consumers say that they are more likely to read a message sooner if it’s an SMS/text message than if it’s an email, so SMS marketing should be part of your marketing mix.

Understanding the Lingo 

In this first part of our five -part SMS Marketing Series, before we delve into the details of how SMS marketing can help you, it’s important for you to learn the lingo of text marketing. Here are a few common terms you should know.

Short codes 

Short codes refer to short phone number i.e. comprising of 5 to 6 digits. These numbers can be used for sending SMS messages and MMS messages only. You’ve probably seen them and they look like this: “Text ‘WIN’ to 56789 to enter our contest.” Most providers use a common short code that is shared among all of their clients. While short codes are ideal to send high volumes of text messages at once, your choice of keyword is limited since many other businesses are using the same 5 or 6 digit number and you can’t have duplicate keywords sharing the same short code.

Long Code 

A long code is a 10-digit number like a regular phone number where you can send and receive text messages. Many feel that a message that comes from a standard, 10-digit number feels like it’s coming from a person, not a bot. That makes long codes perfect for providing a personalized customer service experience. While a long code can’t be used to send high volumes of text messages at once, the number is unique to your business and can be used for two-way communication.


A keyword is a unique word or phrase a customer may send to your number if they wish to opt in for messages. For example, if you owned a pizzeria you might choose the keyword ‘pizza’ to use with your SMS number. If you are using a service that uses common short codes, keywords are necessary to distinguish your business from others that are on the same service.A message can be set up that’ll automatically be sent to the person who sends the keyword to your short code.


This is the process that a customer uses to give their permission for you to send them marketing text messages. When a customer texts your keyword to your number they are giving you that permission.


This is the process that a customer uses to revoke their permission for you to send them marketing text messages. You must always give you customers a way to stop receiving your messages.

Call-to-Action ( CTA )

This is a prompt or an instruction to the reader to act on the message that was received.   The action could be to click a link, send a mobile text, call a phone number, or other types of actions.


Prescheduled SMS or MMS messages that will be automatically sent to the people selected by you on the date and time you have selected. 

Although this list of SMS marketing terms is far from exhaustive, knowing these will get you started “speaking the lingo.” SMS marketing does not have to be confusing and we’re here to help you get this started for your business.

Next in our SMS marketing series we’ll have a look at how to use SMS for lead generation.

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