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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.

Reuters recently released an article entitled “Cellphone calls alter brain activity: study”, discussing a study where 47 people were given brain scans while a cellphone was turned on next to their ear for 50 minutes. A control group with a cellphone next to their ear that was turned off was also scanned. The study was designed to investigate how the brain reacts to electromagnetic fields caused by wireless phone signals. The study found that “glucose metabolism (a sign of brain activity) increases in the brain in people who were exposed to a cellphone in the area closest to the antenna,” according to Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute of Health, whose study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Reuters)

Scientists that have analyzed these findings say that the study is inconclusive in proving in any way that the cellphone and wireless phone signals directly cause brain cancer, but that they do believe that they indicate that further studies should be done to better understand the brain’s reaction to wireless phone signals. A calming fact is that a person’s brain metabolic rate can normally fluctuate to even higher levels than found in study naturally, such as when a person is thinking.

The World Health Organization, the Federal Communications Commission, and the CTIA-The Wireless Phone Association, have all publicly stated since this article was published that the cell phone does not cause a public health risk. Funny enough, the scientist that conducted the study, Dr. Nora Volkow, has said that she isn’t taking any chances and now uses an ear phone to avoid having her ear directly next to her cell phone. At Opt It, we’re following the lead of the scientist, and we are sticking to texting whenever possible; now for more reasons than ever!

These days, there are numerous studies being conducted regarding our population’s technological usage. The vast number of studies regarding this topic is an indication in of itself of the popularity of technology in today’s world for communication.

The most recent study by Pew Research Center entitled “Generations and Their Gadgets” offers new, ever- growing insight into the gadgets that people use. Now 85 percent of American adults own cell phones, while 90 percent of them live in households where someone owns a mobile phone. In general, cell phone usage amounts depend on a person’s age. Ninety-two percent of 18-34 year olds own cell phones, and this number goes steadily down until you look at the 75+ age group, where 48 percent own cell phones. This number is astonishing- almost half of all grandmothers and grandfathers have cell phones. Five years ago this would have been a joke, but today it’s a reality; one that keeps evolving.

In terms of cell phone functionality, the younger generation uses its phones for a variety of functions that go far beyond just calling and texting. However, across the board, calling and texting are the two functions for which all age groups said they used their phones.

Comparing the cell phone to other gadgets, the technological tool that came closest to the 85 percent ownership of the cell phone was the MP3 device, which 74 percent of the American public own. At 70 percent, the laptop computer is in third place as a chosen tool for the general population.

The cell phone is the single most used and widespread device in the hands of the American public. It’s definitely worth a shot to deliver your important marketing message to it.

Opt It’s founders, Brian Stafford and Michael Lamb, will be on RSS Ray’s weekly radio show about online marketing this Wednesday, February 16th at 12:30 p.m. Central Time. RSS Ray’s weekly show conducts interviews online with business marketing experts about social media, search engine marketing, conversion optimization, email marketing, online retailing, performance analytics, and more. It has featured the likes of Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy, and Tim Ferris, author of “The Four Hour Work week

Brian and Michael will be speaking in regards to their text message marketing tool, Opt It Mobile 3.0, and why businesses should be using this powerful marketing tool to communicate with their customers. On the RSS Ray’s website you can read a short bio on both Brian and Michael and their responsibilities within the company. You’ll also get a peek at what these mobile marketing masters actually look like.

RSS Ray choose Opt It to be a part of its show because it recognized the importance of text message marketing within the mobile and online marketing world, and the truly unique offerings provided by Opt It Mobile 3.0.

Tune in this Wednesday to hear the Opt It founders speaking live about Opt It, how it fits into the current world of marketing, and how it can add value to your business.

The contents of a database are truly priceless, which is why many companies back them up on more than one server and why keeping the contents up to date and correct is essential. A mobile database, compiled of cell phone numbers, names, birthdates, zip codes, and personal interests, is extremely valuable and can help you reach your customers in a more effective way.

So how do you ensure you’ll get loads of people into your database and ensure the information you receive is valuable and correct? Great question. The answer is, by getting all of your employees on board with the initiative. They not only have to understand the process of taking the information, they also need to understand the VALUE of it.

Steve Madden’s recent mobile database success is a great example of this. They had a mobile campaign that encouraged consumers to text in JOINSTEVE to the Madden short code for the chance to win $100 Steve Madden gift card. When joining, consumers were prompted to answer questions regarding their interests.

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