One of the strengths of mobile marketing is that it allows you to measure the effectiveness of all your existing offline marketing; for example newspaper ads, yellow pages ads, directory listings and magazine ads. The best way of doing this is to add a mobile ‘call to action’ to your advertising.
Despite the media frenzy surrounding QR codes, SMS short and long-codes remain the best way of achieving this, because every phone can receive and send SMS text messages. With smartphone adoption only at around one third, why eliminate two-thirds of your potential responses?
What’s an SMS Shortcode?
An SMS Shortcode is essentially a five digit number on which you can set up a keyword. When somebody sends a text containing your keyword to the five digit number, a response is triggered – for example a mobile coupon can be sent back.
Having a Shortcode then as part of your call to action then could be ‘Text DEAL to 81234 for 20% off your next [haircut/sandwich/food bill]”. You can then monitor how many people text DEAL to 81234, so you now know how effective your offline advertising truly is. To see an example of a Shortcode in action, text 10TIPS to 88802 .
Bonus tip: Set up a different keywords for each type of offline advertising, so you can monitor what media is driving the responses.
What’s an SMS Long code?
An SMS Long code works in a similar way to a Shortcode, only (as the name suggests) a Long code is a full 10 digit number that your customers can text, but not ring. The advantage of using a Long code is that the Long code is unique to your business (only you use it), meaning you can set-up as many different keywords as you like for no additional cost.
Short codes on the other hand are provisioned carrier by carrier, making it very expensive to operate your own Shortcode For smaller businesses, it is more common to rent a keyword on a Shortcode that already exists. This means you pay per keyword , and if another business is already using a term you cannot have it. This makes popular terms such as FREE or SALE difficult to get.
Which to choose?
Short codes are most effective when the person responding does not have a lot of time to remember or write down your number. For radio or TV ads, this is really the only option. Customers are slowly becoming more familiar with responding to Short codes, as programmes such as ‘X Factor’ now take the majority of votes by text.
Additionally, while Long codes can handle around 1000 messsages per hour, Short codes can handle 1000 messages per minute! If you are anticipating a big spike in response, go for a Shortcode.
For an SME on a tight marketing budget, Long codes can be excellent value of money, particularly if you want to set up a large number of keywords.
Finally whether you decide to use short or long codes, remember that the success of the campaign will be determined by the offer you are making. Remember, the quantity (and relevancy) of the offer are always more important than the technology! Think about the things your customers are most likely to respond to, and you response rates will increase regardless of the length of the number.
You can find more examples of SMS campaign best practice on my website Smsgatewayhub