Back to the Basics: SMS Marketing Terms

Back to the Basics: SMS Marketing Terms


SMS marketing is perfect for businesses wishing to promote products or services, provide incentives and increase customer loyalty. Now that you know that, what do all those terms actually mean?


Short Messaging Service is a text message-based form of instant communication.

SMS is the fastest growing mode of communication today. Ideal for companies to directly connect to customers, and is great for business-to-business (B2B) communications.


5-6 digit telephone number specifically used for SMS communications.

Dedicated Short Code

Though more expensive, a dedicated or "vanity" shortcode is very much like a personalized license plate: you stand out from the crowd and it is easy to remember.

Vanity short codes are great for companies that way that little extra staying power with their SMS communications, and can usually customize the shortcode to reflect the company name or featured service.

For example, a company called, say, ABC Tuxedo, can customize their shortcode to ABCTUX. Some companies may find the added value of a vanity code, regardless of the added expense.

Shared Short Code

A shared short code is one that different companies use simultaneously. However, each company sharing a short code with another company doesn't share the same keywords.

So, if the shared short code is, say, 983645, then to differentiate between them, companies pick different keywords. If ABC Tuxedo and Bella Salon both use the same short code, then ABC Tuxedo's keyword may be TUX and Bella Salon's, SPA.

There isn't a concern about crossing "wires," so to speak, with a shared short code.


A keyword is a customized word that customers use to respond to your company. Like in the tuxedo example above, you may prompt customers to text "TUX to 983645 for a 20% off mobile coupon."

In addition, customers may text "HELP" to a short code if they have questions about your product or service.


In a similar vein as Twitter, SMS messages are limited to 140 characters.


As a "subscribe" feature, an opt-in is a customer's confirmation that they do indeed want to receive your company's SMS. Opt-ins are as simple as texting directly to the short code or signing up for SMS on a website.

Double Opt-in

This is a reconfirmation that the customer is, in fact, a human, but also provides you the confirmation that they do want to receive your SMS.

Double-opts also let the customer know that their mobile carrier may charge for each text sent and received.


Also known as "unsubscribe," this feature is vital to any SMS marketing campaign. You need to give your customers the option to end your SMS relationship whenever they choose.

The easiest way to have a customer opt-out is to set up a feature that allows them to text "STOP," "UNSUBSCRIBE" or some other variation directly to your short code. Also, include an opt-out feature on your website, so that they can stop receiving SMS messages.

SMS Alert

A single SMS sent to a customer that doesn't necessitate a response. SMS alerts are a great way to let your customers know about special promotions, up-coming events or industry news.

Now that you are an expert on SMS marketing, terms, why not try out SimplyCast's SMS marketing service? It is easy to use and comes with a free trial period.

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