The txtsignal Guide to Text Message Marketing

A keyword is a word that’s unique to an organization or business using SMS marketing. It’s what your customers (and potential customers) will use to opt-in to receive texts from you!

For example, your sign-up action might say “text BREWSKI to 43506.” The word BREWSKI is your keyword.
Each keyword is associated with one list. You may have multiple contact lists under your SMS marketing account- for example, customers can text “PUPPY” to receive alerts when you have a new dog up for adoption, and “KITTY” for alerts about cats! We’ll dive deeper into the power of list segmentation later on.

Choosing a Keyword

Choosing the keyword customers use to opt-in is a simple, but important decision. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up! With that in mind, follow these few rules to avoid confusion:

Make it memorable. Often times, customers will see your call-to-action to opt-in, but they’ll do so at a later time. In those instances, you want them to remember exactly what to text. The same goes for referrals! If someone signs up and loves what you offer via text, they’ll tell their friends. Make it super easy for them to remember what to tell them! That can mean using a word that makes a ton of sense, like “SATCHEL” if you own Satchel’s Sub Shop. Or, it can be something that really sticks out! Just keep in mind…

Keep it simple. Cleverness can be memorable, but it can also be confusing. When in doubt, opt for simplicity. Choose a keyword that makes sense, for your business and from the perspective of a customer. Also, avoid special characters. They only cause avoidable confusion.

One word. While you can use more than one word as a keyword, we don’t recommend it. You may open up room for error. Some users may text PUPPY TOWN, while others text PUPPYTOWN. Short and sweet is always better!

Failover Keywords

A failover keyword is a keyword that you set up to catch any subscribers who might mistype your main keyword.
Choosing a simple, memorable keyword will go a long way towards minimizing missed subscribers. That said, typographical errors will still occur. It’s always possible that somebody will text SATCHLE instead of SATCHEL, or KITTEN instead of KITTY.

That doesn’t have to mean you miss out on those subscribers! You can set up a failover keyword for any possible typos or misinterpretations you can think of. For example, you might use BREWSKI as your main keyword, but also set up BREWSKY, BRESKI, and BREWSKEE just in case.

With txtsignal, you get unlimited keywords, so you can set up failover keywords at no cost – as many as you think are necessary!

Double Opt-In

In some instances, it might be useful to use a double opt-in process. When a subscriber texts your keyword to the shortcode, they’re receive an autoreply asking the subscriber to confirm, either with a YES or a Y.
Why might this be useful? If you’re promoting specials at a bar, you can use this message to confirm that subscribers are 21+.

The double opt-in process also helps avoid accidental subscriptions, and ensures that everyone who subscribes is active and interested. Double opt-in isn’t required or a default, but consider whether it may be useful to you!