Personalisation and Advanced SMS Features.jpg

Chapter 6:
Personalisation and Advanced SMS Features


In this chapter, we're going to go over how you can personalise your SMS campaigns with some of Burst's advanced features: custom variables and SMS keywords.

Personalised SMS messages help you get more conversions, build better relationships with your customers, increase your click-through rate, and decrease your unsubscribes.

It might sound cliché, but if your messages are too generic and irrelevant, your customers will simply unsubscribe from your list.

Custom Variables

At Burst, you have the option to add names and custom variables to your messages. Custom variables can be anything you want them to be: gender, age, hobby, subscription type, location, or purchase date. You can essentially pull any piece of information from your database, that is important to your business.

But there's a caveat. A single SMS message has a 160 character limit, so long variables may potentially cause your single message to become 2 messages, thus doubling your cost for that specific recipient. This won't however break the bank if your variable overlaps into multiple messages for just a few select recipients. Situations like this can be easily avoided, by leaving enough room in your message to accommodate the longest variable in the list.

Here's an example of a personalised campaign:
Words between asterisks (*) are variables.

Your message:

QWE Home Store

Hi *Alex*,

Thanks for purchasing the *Silver Cutlery Set*. Rate your shopping experience. Reply with a number between 1 and 5.

Opt-out reply STOP

Alex's reply:


Your auto-response SMS message:

Thanks for rating us a perfect 5! Use HOME25 for 25% off your next in-store purchase (expires 01/15/18).

We hope you shop with us soon!

Opt-out reply STOP

Check out this blog post for a step-by-step guide on how to create custom variables.

List Segmentation with SMS Keywords

It's tempting to leave all your contacts in one big list, but you're running the risk of more unsubscribes and spam complaints.

In other words, messages sent to a big generic list aren't targeted enough, and many of your contacts will find them irrelevant.

To get better results from your SMS campaigns, divide your list into smaller ones based on customer interests, demographics, locations, or industries.

CRMs are the best at segmentation, but if you already have a list on Burst and don't want to go through the trouble of using a CRM, try SMS keywords instead.

SMS keywords act as a prompt for replies and activate different functions, which include entering a competition, forwarding to an email or mobile device, sending an auto-response, and adding them to a new list. 

For example:

A sports retailer is interested in separating the football players from their master list of customers. They decide to offer football players a discount on boots and create a SMS keyword called "boots," which triggers an auto-response and adds the incoming number to a new list.

Your message:

"[Company Name] -  Football Boots Sale!

Text "boots" and get 30% off your next pair of boots. Offer ends in 48 hours.

Opt-out reply STOP"

Those that reply with "boots" will be added to a new list and will get an auto-response:

"[Company Name] -  Football Boots Coupon

Use "BOOTS30" in-store and save 30% on your next pair. Now until Nov. 30.

Opt-out reply STOP"

The result of this campaign is a win-win situation—customers get a discount on boots and the retailer gets a list of football players to send promotions to in the future.

How to create an SMS Keyword with Burst:

Log in and click on the Keywords tab.


Choose a Number, enter a Keyword, and select a list for Add Number to List field. Create an auto-response message with the coupon code and a call-to-action. You may ignore the other options but feel free to use them for more comprehensive campaigns. 


Now you're ready to send out your promotion. The keyword will automatically trigger when anyone replies with it.

Multi-level Auto Responses

We have been asked if SMS keywords can be used to create multi-level auto responses. The short answer is yes, but there are limitations.

SMS keywords are global—anyone one can trigger them at anytime by simply texting the keyword to your virtual number or short code. Most of the time, this is by accident.

But you can easily avoid these situations if your keywords are unique and special—meaning you should avoid generic keywords like 'yes' or 'no'.

Despite the drawbacks, it's very easy to set up. You just need to create keywords with auto-responses that have other keyword options. Have enough of them one after the other and you'll have an automated campaign.

Here's an example:

multi-level auto-responses example.jpg

What do you think?

Let us know if you have any questions about the features above. We're happy to help! The quickest way to reach us is with the chat box on the bottom right corner.