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When you send someone a text message, it is only natural for them to reply to it, even if it’s only a simple “k, ill b there.” For this reason, we at Opt It felt it was absolutely necessary to make our short code work the way you need it to. We have been working 24/7 to craft a new, intelligent, and fast algorithm that automatically routes replies directly to your Inbox. This way, if you send out a message asking who can make it tonight, someone can reply “I can! I’m bringing Joey,” and this message will appear in your Opt It Mobile Inbox without the need to enter in your keyword first.

Messages will be sorted in your account as usual, and you’ll have the ability to export this data or sort it based on any particular field. This way, it is very easy to keep track of your messages and responses per person while also having the ability to update each of your customer’s preferences within the software.

There are a number of ways in which this new feature benefits you, as well as creates new opportunities for your marketing mix. First of all, the tool is now better than ever for use amongst employees, making it easier to communicate with everyone on your staff, yet still allowing for individualized responses. This acts as a great motivation tool in terms of feedback. On a day when one of your employees is performing particularly well, send them a quick text stating a job well done (this type of message can also easily be sent to an entire team!).

In terms of customer interaction, this new feature provides you with a multitude of new ways to engage. You can use the replies tool as a market research or quick survey and receive individualized responses. You can receive RSVPs to a guest list or ask questions regarding the location of an event (which you can now answer directly!). You can also ask a big group for feedback on a particular experience, and get individualized information.

In addition, users can now use the “@” symbol to reach your Inbox directly. Users can text “@KEYWORD this is my message” and this message will reach your Inbox directly. Again, this is a great way to gather data and communicate with your members.

Log into your account today and try it out!

Alexander Graham Bell is probably looking down at today’s world thinking about how ungrateful we all are for his wonderful invention from so many years ago. After all, he gave us the power to transmit voice across oceans and have conversations with people who are not standing next to us.

Nowadays, things have changed. Does anyone even remember what pay phones are or that back in the day, you had to return home to make a call on your landline? Not really, and especially not if you’re a tweens, teens, or young adults. Conversations take place via Facebook chat, BBM, instant messaging on Gmail or MSN messenger, or by text messaging. Along these lines, the Today show ran a recent story entitled “The death of the telephone.”

Since 2007, the length of a call has been steadily declining and is half of what it used to be. Voicemail? It’s pretty certain that if you leave a voice message, it will not get checked. Why is this? That’s a great questions and one that the Today show decided to investigate. They questioned three twenty-something college students who said that they liked that you can control your conversation better through this communication medium. With text messaging, they can take their time to reply and strategize as to the best possible answer to a tricky question, whereas when on a call, they would have to respond immediately. One of the participants even commented that he thinks he sounds “better” via text.

Times are a’changin’, and since the young are an indication of trends to come, this is one trend that is not stopping. We suggest joining the massive conversation taking place via text messaging as soon as possible.

Recently many companies have created marketing campaigns that include QR codes. These are literally bar codes that people can scan in order to receive a coupon to their phone, connect to a website, or show a picture. Sounds very good… in theory.

There are limitations with QR codes for many reasons. People must have a phone that has the capacity to hold applications, which is still only about 30 percent of the US market. Text messages are a much more common method of communication with 1.1 trillion SMS messages sent in 2010 in the United States, according to Informa. Nielsen reported this year that 90 percent of Americans send and receive messages. It is quite clear that you can reach a much larger portion of the population via text.

Another disadvantage within the application space of QR codes is that there is a lack of standardization. For example, if you were to create an application you would have to create several for various platforms. For example, Microsoft Tag only allows their users to access applications on their system. So your customers would need to understand which reader to use to be able to read the QR code, as well as which application to open, and when.

Since SMS has a wider reach, is easier for the greater population to use and is faster to access, it is a much more convenient way to communicate your marketing message to your target population.

A recent Ball State University study found that 97 percent of college students send and receive text messages, and that texting is the #1 form of communication for this studious crowd. Only about a quarter of college students say that they still use instant messaging or email, making texting the natural communication method parents, professors, school mates, and businesses should use to reach them.

Text marketing, or just text communication, makes a lot of sense on a college campus. Many universities have already integrated text into their grading systems, and allow students to text in a keyword to see their grades. A professor might have a text list for a particular class, and can send out a last minute cancelation message if they get sick, saving many students a long commute to a canceled class. Students can enroll for class news and updates, keeping them informed of new materials assigned and allowing professors to send out a prescheduled assignment reminder, keeping everyone on their toes and on track for the course. Professors are able to run practice exams via text, that include students texting in responses to questions, and the teacher texting back the percentage of students that were correct.

For university sports fans, a text list can be created to send out quarterly highlights and score results. This list could add a commercial aspect by sending out a half time mobile coupon or list of specials going on at the concession stand. Or, this list could be used as a tool to engage the crowd, asking fans to text in their pick for MVP of a game, or to win a free concession.

A text list might also be used as the official voting tool for class president; offering a quick, easy, and cheap way of gathering and tallying results, which would likely increase the amount of people that vote.

With 97 percent of university populations’ texting, there is a clear need to embrace text marketing tools and use them creatively to engage and communicate more frequently with students. If students are texting, the entire university should be texting.

Here at Opt It, we’re always throwin’ around vocabulary related to text message marketing, and we commonly hear the question, “What’s a short code?” Since this blog’s purpose is to inform and converse with our customers, we’re glad to explain this concept to you in more detailed, every day terms.

The full name of the term “short code” is Common Short Code (CSC). A common short code is a 5 or 6 digit number for the use of text messaging marketing campaigns. Think back to the last time you watched American Idol and you were asked to text in your vote to a 5 digit number- that was a short code!

Opt It’s official definition of a short code is as follows: A short code is a 5 or 6 digit number used to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on cellular networks. Companies that use short codes are approved by the carriers to send text messages into their networks. When you sign up for the Opt It Mobile service, all of your messages will be delivered using short codes, ensuring that your message is received by the cellular carriers and delivered to the intended recipient.

The way that people join your short code is easy. They will text a keyword into your short code number. The keyword is a word that you have chosen as your account or list name. There can be hundreds of different keywords under one short code. So, your keyword is sort of your account name that specifically identifies you within the short code. Every time customers receive a text from you, this keyword will show up, an indicator that this message came from you, so it’s important that this keyword says something about your business. (For example, if you are a restaurant that serves pizza, your keyword could be PIZZA.)

Using a short code versus a regular phone number offers many advantages. Your customers control whether or not they are on your list at all times. They can text in to join your list, and they can also text to be out of your list by texting the word STOP to your short code. This is advantageous because it empowers customers with making the decision of whether they are on your list or not. This way, you will only have people on your list that truly want to be there.

Also, you can watch for trends in the opt in and opt out rates. If you see a lot of opt outs, you can evaluate sent messages and offers to ensure they were applicable and appealing, and then update future messages accordingly.

You can text people one-on-one with a short code as well. If people have specific questions, you can answer them via this system. Using a short code also allows you to sub categorize your list of participants. (Check out the blog post entitled “Intro to Sub Keywords” for more details) This will allow you to send more individualized messages to specific target groups within your list.

Basically, a short code is a number within which you set up your text message marketing campaign to facilitate your mobile marketing campaign. It allows for a more seamless and efficient communication link between you and your customers.