SMS and Common Short Codes, Using Text Messaging for Mobile Marketing Campaigns

Using Short Codes for Mobile Marketing (SMS and Text Messaging)I’m sure some of you reading this blog post are asking, “What’s a short code?” I’m also sure many of you reading this blog post watch American Idol. What’s the connection? Well, at the end of the each performance and each show, Ryan Seacrest gives you a 4 digit code that you can use to text message your vote for your favorite contestant. For example, text “Vote” to 5706 to vote for Jane Smith. Well, 5706 is a short code. Although TV has made short codes famous in the US, it’s still not as popular as in other parts of the world. In my opinion, its popularity will begin to grow in the US, and sooner than later… Common Short Codes (CSC) are basically the domain names of the mobile age, yet many marketers still don’t know much about them, which is crazy, since Mobile Marketing will be an important element in your marketing mix in the near future. My hope is that after you read this post, you’ll agree that SMS can be used creatively to enhance your marketing campaigns. I’ll explain more about this later in the post.

Basic Information and Definitions About Mobile Messaging and Short Codes:

Let’s define SMS – It stands for Short Message Service and it enables you to send text messages on your mobile device. When you hear people talk about “text messaging” or “texting”, they are referring to SMS.

Let’s also define Common Short Code – A short numeric code of 5 or 6 numbers that can be used in place of a longer phone number for messaging. Since the codes are shorter, they are easier to remember and utilize, especially for marketing purposes. i.e. Text “Vote” to 5706 to cast your vote…

How to Obtain a Short Code and How Much Do They Cost?

You can visit the Common Short Code Administration’s website and review the process for obtaining a short code. In a nutshell, a “select” short code, or vanity code, is $1000 per month and a random short code (random numbers) is $500 per month. Both must be paid up front and you can lease a short code for 3, 6, and 12 months. A select short code (or vanity code) would be something like COKE, IDOL, JEEP, etc. Once you obtain your short code, then you’ll need to gain approval from the wireless providers for routing your common short code (CSC) throughout their network. Then, in order to implement your CSC, you’ll probably want to get in touch with an application provider and connection aggregator that already have relationships with the specific providers. Think about it in normal web terms, you can register a domain name, but what does that really get you?? You still need a website built and way for visitors to do something on your site, right? You can talk more with a connection aggregator about what you’ll need in place for your campaigns.

OK, Use Short Codes for Mobile Marketing…But How?

There are literally dozens of ways to creatively use short codes for marketing purposes from voting to contests to rewards programs to wom to viral marketing. American Idol made using short codes for voting famous and you can use SMS marketing for the same purpose. That’s definitely a natural fit (especially for your customers who have used SMS for voting in the past…) You can also use short codes for lead generation. For example, include your short code in an advertisement and have people text the code to learn more about your service or product. You can use short codes for subscriptions purposes. For example, have people text your short code to sign up to receive notifications when your product or service is updated. Are you ready to launch a viral marketing campaign? Use short codes within your viral campaign to give customers access to additional information, media, ringtones, etc. How about organic word of mouth marketing (WOM)? Maybe you set up a short code that your company evangelists can use to post updates about their latest word of mouth experience. i.e. They just spoke with someone on the train into Manhattan about your product, so they quickly message your short code with the details. Running a rewards program? Enable your members to text their latest promotional codes to your common short code to increase their rewards points. I can keep going here, but it obviously can be an extremely useful tool for a smart mobile marketer. You just need to think creatively and keep mobile in mind…

Glenn Gabe and the Internet Marketing Driver, Mobile-Style

OK, so I couldn’t resist… I asked a mobile marketing friend of mine to set me up with a short code for my blog. Here’s the deal…if you want to receive notifications from me on your mobile device when I update my blog, then follow the directions below:

Simply Text IMD to 23907 now. You’ll receive a text message from me immediately.

Reply YES to the message if you want to receive alerts on your mobile phone when I add new blog posts or update my blog. I may also message you now and then with internet marketing tips and tricks. You can always opt out at any time, so it’s worth a try to see how it works. Go ahead, try it now!

In closing, I hope this post helped you gain a better understanding of common short codes and how mobile marketing can be a part of your marketing mix. If you haven’t thought of using short codes for marketing purposes, my recommendation is to start thinking about it now. Actually, your desired vanity short code may be registered already! Don’t get caught like many did with domain names…get your short codes sooner than later.

Now, have any of you already worked with short codes as part of your marketing campaigns? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Post a comment now!