In the context of mobile marketing, a “keyword” is not merely a search term, as it is when one thinks of Google and how potential customers find a commercial website on the internet. Rather, the use of mobile keywords, by contrast, is a simple and highly effective strategy for engaging with consumers who have mobile phone access – by persuading such consumers to “opt in” to your consumer database (for future marketing), while simultaneously allowing consumers to take the lead in a conversation with you about your products or services.
Texting Keywords to Shortcodes
Here's how mobile keywords work: A company specializing in hair care products, for example, runs an advertisement for a product that aims at making hair more shiny and bouncy. One thing that this particular advertisement does is to invite consumers to text the keyword “shiny” to what is called a “shortcode” phone number, using their mobile phones (texting the keyword to, say, the phone number 12345). In return, the customer is told that she will receive a mobile coupon, which she may redeem simply by showing the message she's received to the cashier at the point of purchase. Thus, thanks to the mobile keyword campaign, not only has the consumer made a purchase; by initiating the text exchange, she's also agreed to “opt in” to the database of customers who have given permission to receive future promotions from the company.
What the Consumer Gets
When employing a mobile keyword campaign, the text response that the customer receives can be a coupon, as in the previous example. However, it could also simply be a message that gives more information about some aspect of the company's services or products that connects to the chosen keyword – which should be a maximum of 25 alphanumeric, non-case-sensitive characters.
For instance, some colleges and technical schools have found it useful to get the attention of interested individuals by running ad campaigns asking prospective applicants to text a word like “info” or perhaps even just the name of the school to a shortcode. In return, potential applicants may receive information about a location-specific recruiting event—since automated responses may be customized by geography, for example, using GPS—or a link to a website that contains information about programs of study and how to apply.
The Return on Investment for Companies
One of the greatest things about mobile keyword marketing campaigns is the long-term return on investment that such campaigns offer. By waiting for consumers to respond to a specific invitation to initiate dialogue, businesses eliminate the risk of offending potential customers through more intrusive techniques, such as telemarketing, and thus lay the foundation for a positive rapport.
Once a consumer has “opted in,” his or her phone number is available not only for future marketing campaigns but also for ongoing follow-up, which may, for instance, involve sending the same customer a series of related messages after a certain number of days or months have passed. In much the same way that people today keep their mobile phones always nearby, thanks to mobile keyword marketing campaigns, your business need not ever be far from a customer's mind, either.