Very simply, it allows your prospects or customers to contact you via their cell phones at anytime, from anywhere.
In return, they instantly get a text back from you that gives them what they want -- in most cases, a coupon or special deal.
Here is an example of how texting keywords to short codes would work: Let's say you owned a store that sold hammers.
On your print or broadcast advertisements, you could include, "To get our amazing 50% off introductory offer, just text the word HAMMER to 12345.
" Your prospects would then create a new contact on their cell phones.
Rather than a name or phone number, they would just make the contact, 12345.
In this instance, 12345 is just a fictional "short code" that, in effect, becomes your address in the text world.
Moreover, you would be the only one who owned the keyword HAMMER going to that short code.
As soon as your prospect sends the one-word message "HAMMER" (it can also be "hammer" since the keywords are not case sensitive) to your short code, they will receive the 50% off coupon that they can show the cashier in your store.
The coupon could be as simple as a text message, or if you want, you can send a more elaborate full color image.
There are several advantages to sending a text coupon.
First, if the ad appeared in a newspaper or print publication, they don't have to tear out a coupon and carry it around with them.
When they get it on their phone, they can keep it and use it when they visit your store.
Second, if they see or hear a broadcast ad, there are no coupons to keep in the first place, so having a text coupon on their phone is much more convenient.
Third, you can track the effectiveness of your ads by the number of people who responded via text.
And fourth, once your prospects opt-in, you can send them future coupons while continuing to build your text list.
Your list could end up being one of your most valuable assets.
Here are few more things to keep in mind: 1) Obtaining your own text address, or shortcode (which is a 5 or 6 digit number) can be costly and time consuming.
It could cost tens of thousands of dollars and months of filing paperwork.
99% of the folks who use short codes for text marketing, end up "sharing" a short code which is much more practical and very inexpensive.
So, in our example, you would own the keyword "hammer" going to short code 12345, while another business or organization might own the keyword "saw" going to the same short code.
2) You can get keywords and shortcodes from online text service bureaus who provide you with everything you need to get started.
There is no hardware or software to buy and you can being your texting program immediately.
These "gateway SMS (short message services)" texting services use the Internet as the "gateway" to send texts from your computer.
3) Texting can be a 1-way or 2-way form of communication.
You can text your customers and prospects and they can text you as well.
You can begin compiling your opt-in text list, by collecting numbers online at your website, or having your prospects text keywords to you.
You can also get numbers on hard copy forms that give you express permission to text them.
Overall, texting keywords to shortcodes will become the new marketing rage and you'll see investment in these services increase substantially over the next 2-3 years because of the results they produce.