Lesson 7

Inbound SMS Marketing

Last Updated: September 2019




What is Inbound SMS Marketing?

Inbound SMS Marketing refers to building new contact lists via an opt-in campaign. In order to send somebody a commercial SMS in Australia you must have permission to send it to them. The process of gaining permission is called opt-in. This can be achieved with the following methods:

  • Sending an SMS to a virtual number or short code

  • Subscribing from a website with a permission check box which is not pre-selected

  • If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that you would be contacting them by SMS, and they ticked a box indicating they would like you to contact them.

  • Customers who have purchased from you within the last 2 years.

  • If someone gives you their business card and you have explicitly asked for permission to add them to your list, you can contact them. If they dropped their business card in a fishbowl at a trade show, there must be a sign indicating they will be contacted by SMS about that specific topic.

To get people to join a marketing list there are different ways to incentivise them. Some examples are:

  • Run a competition with a prize

  • Run a survey and share the results

  • Offer future sale and discount information

  • Promise and deliver useful, relevant and valuable information




A keyword is a string of characters that can be texted into a virtual number or shortcode to trigger a specific response. They are popular for auto response information and competition entries. SMS keywords are a simple way to allow people to opt-in to your lists as well as a powerful and immediate communication method. 

Auto Responder

An auto responder can be used in a variety of ways, such as delivering links to content such as forms or instructions with more keywords to process surveys or votes. 

* Eg. Text the word to DEAL to 0459 333 444


Text-to-Win campaigns are a great way to incentivise people to join your mailing list. If you are running a competition with a prize of over a certain value you may require a permit. Check with your local gaming authority.

* Eg. Text the word WIN to 0459 333 444

Using a Disclaimer

A courtesy disclaimer should generally be displayed next to your keyword/number combo. This should contain cost of the text, as well as what they will expect by joining your list. 

Eg. *SMS costs your standard messaging rate. By texting in you agree to receive no more than one message per month. Reply STOP at any time to opt-out.

SMS Links to Mobile Web Pages

With the advancement of the mobile web and responsive websites, links in text messages have become a primary conversion point for SMS campaigns. Mobile landing pages are now a prerequisite for added interactivity for an SMS campaign.

Landing Page Services

There are hundreds of quick set-up landing page services that you can use. Popular services include Unbounce and Lead Pages.

Link Shortening

For SMS the most difficult thing with links is the length and getting them to be active within the message. Depending on the device some links with certain country extensions are not active within messages.

As only a limited number of characters are available in a text message, marketers employ what is known as a URL shortener. For SMS the most popular service is called Bitly.

A big bonus for Bitly is the fact that the .ly domain extension is widely recognised on mobile devices and therefore can be added in its most simple format to be a live URL. With Bitly custom extensions can also be created to make a friendly URL.

Link Tracking

The drawback with Bitly is that it cannot track unique users. It can give you a full report of how many times the link was hit in your campaign but not the individual person.

Recently some companies have been developing systems that create a unique short URL for every message sent from a campaign. This URL when clicked identifies the user and their campaign. This gives huge advantages in tracking conversions and gathering real leads from an SMS campaign.