SMS Keywords: Beware Autocorrect And Other BPs

An SMS keyword is the response a customer texts to your short code in order to take the next step: get a coupon, enter a contest, subscribe to email or SMS, or download a whitepaper. Naturally, you want to make it as quick and easy as possible. One-letter responses -- e.g., “text Y to opt in” -- are fine.  

Some companies want to be clever with their keywords, using a key phrase for a product or marketing campaign. Be sure to check the word on iOS and Android to see what autocorrect does to it. Take the popular retail buzzwords for Buy Online, Pick-up In-store: BOPUS or BOPIS. They are autocorrected to books and bop is, respectively. Your user either has to delete the suggestion or retype the word to get the phone to accept it. If we all paid close attention to our texts, there wouldn’t be sites like

If you are hellbent on a keyword that autocorrects, you can also accept the autocorrected keyword. In the example above, you would accept “books” as well as “bop is.” 

After launching a keyword campaign, check your error messages. What customer responses preceded an outbound error?  Customers may have common problems that you can address -- either by drafting a more helpful error message or accepting keywords that are common autocorrect substitutions.

Capture the source of your keywords in a central corporate location that will not disappear when your SMS manager moves on to another position. If you have an email program, I guarantee you have source codes that are a complete mystery. This is the time to set your SMS program on the right path!

Add as much detail as needed to give future marketers a clear picture of what was promoted, when and how. For example: BOPUS, in-store promotion, June 1–September 30, 2016. Include a visual wherever possible: a screen cap for online or email promotions, a picture of the on-site signage or a slide at the end of a PPT presentation. If the offer is announced on IVR or store intercom, capture the copy.

This will be invaluable for evaluating your promotions. What was it about the timing, placement, offer and call to action that contributed to the success or failure of your campaign?  

Don’t reuse your keywords. This allows you to gain the insight described above and evaluate the longevity and social pass-along of your keywords. One retailer is still seeing opt-ins for keywords that have not been promoted in years, but are being passed around on deal and social media sites. If an unending supply of new opt-ins is valuable to you, this is a good thing to know.

Master mobile messaging -- it’s growing and changing, along with your career.

1 comment about "SMS Keywords: Beware Autocorrect And Other BPs".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from, network, August 2, 2016 at 5:05 p.m.

    The author of this insightful and informative article deserves a five "A-ha!" rating.  I learned a lot from it.

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