How to Choose Text Marketing Keywords for Your Next Campaign

In the world where SMS and mobile marketing have become vital to the success of small businesses, optimizing those campaigns has become critical. Due to the speed in which these messages are delivered, mistakes are no longer tolerated and getting it right the first time is more important than ever. One area that marketers can use to optimize these customer exchanges is with text marketing keywords.

SMS marketing keywords can help better define the customer journey and allow for businesses to truly make a difference with their mass text marketing campaigns. In this blog post, we will review the purpose of text marketing keywords as well as best practices for choosing the keywords for your next campaign. With these tools under your belt you will be able to better engage your audience and improve their overall experience. Let’s take a look.  

text marketing keywords

What are text marketing keywords?

Text marketing keywords, sometimes referred to as SMS short codes, are relevant terms or phrases that can be used by SMS marketers to engage in 2-way conversations with their customers. For example, “Text HELP to 55555 for more information.” This sort of message has a clear call-to-action and an easy path for customers to follow, leading to increased engagement.

These keywords have been used for quite some time by SMS marketers, but only in recent years has their full potential been revealed. When text marketing keywords are used correctly, they can be plotted out through the entire customer journey to optimize every step along the way. By doing this, your customers will come to know and trust your brand when they receive these tailored SMS messages.

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Why do we use them?

Now that you understand the ‘what’ of text marketing keywords, let’s talk about the ‘why.’ In short, text marketing keywords are a very simple way for small to medium sized businesses to get involved in marketing automation. Since full business automation is typically only reserved for large companies with more capital, SMS marketing is an effective and inexpensive option to help them get started.

However, there is more to it than just that. Text marketing keywords are engaging simply due to the fact that it feels like a conversation to customers. These sort of two-way communications can solidify the relationship marketing approach that keeps customers coming back to a brand again and again. For any business that wants to show their customers that they care, text marketing keywords are a good way to do exactly that.

Choosing keywords

All that being said, it is one thing to talk about this in theory, it is another to do it in practice. For small businesses trying to use text marketing keywords for the first time, it can be difficult to know which keywords to choose, when to target customers, and best practices for getting the most out of the campaign.

Thankfully, we have that experience from working with businesses to optimize their mass text marketing and are here to provide those tips and best practices. When you are choosing these keywords, you need to think about them from three different perspectives: relevancy, convenience, and logic.

Choosing keywords


This first approach is rather obvious, but by using keywords that are relevant to you and your business, not only are customers more likely to remember them, but use them as well. As an example, let’s say you own a fitness studio, keywords like EXERCISE, WORKOUT, or FITNESS would be relevant to your users. Now, what those keywords relate to is up to you, but making them relevant to your business will only serve to increase customer engagement.

Although this makes sense, it is important that you not stray too far from relevant terms in your keyword selection. Taking your customers out of the experience with wacky keywords is one of the quickest ways to lose subscribers, so make sure and avoid doing so for best results.


Another aspect of picking a good text marketing keyword for your next campaign is finding keywords that are convenient for your customers to use. Think of when businesses used to include their name in their number like 1-800-GET-CASH. By keeping your keywords succinct and to the point, customers will be more likely to use them.

A good rule of thumb here is to use the phone number example when deciding on keywords, meaning keeping the keyword length to 4-7 letters. Imagine two campaigns where everything is the same, but one uses the keyword “HELP” and the other uses “HELPYOURSELFBUYANEWCAR.” Obviously one of these will work much better than the other.


Finally, the last piece of advice for choosing your keywords is to use logic and data to find the best keywords for your campaign. While this means that you will have had to run a previous campaign, once you have the first one under your belt you will be able to utilize user engagement metrics to craft even better messages.

A best practice that should be used here is A/B testing. For instance, sending out half of your messages using one keyword, half using another, and then reviewing which performed better. By constantly doing this, you will be able to consistently improve your text marketing keywords and campaigns.  

 user engagement metrics

Goal: Increased engagement

Now, so far we have been talking about why we use text marketing keywords and how best to do so, but what is the overall goal of doing this? Like most customer-focused strategies, increased engagement and therefor retention are what we are after. Due to text message marketing’s powerful ability to reach an audience, combined with the interactive nature of text marketing keywords, these sort of campaigns can be revolutionary for small businesses.

When you combine this with the relative ease of use of a text marketing platform, not to mention the low costs, it’s a no brainer for any businesses that are looking to boost repeat visits, increase customer loyalty, and engage customers in new and exciting ways. All we have left to as is: what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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