Lesson 7

Inbound SMS Messaging

Learn how to build new contact lists via an opt-in campaign.
Lesson 7
Inbound SMS Messaging

7.1 What is Inbound SMS Marketing?

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

  • Sending an SMS to a virtual number or shortcode
  • Subscribing from a website with a permission checkbox 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

7.2 Keywords

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 autoresponse 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.


An autoresponder can be used in a variety of ways, such as delivering links to mobile websites 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 valuable prize, 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 the 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. Opt-out reply STOP.

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.

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. Online SMS services like Burst have built-in URL shorteners that businesses can use.

With built-in URL shorteners that create unique links for each recipient, it can help identify the user that clicked for each campaign. This gives huge advantages in tracking conversions and gathering real leads from an SMS campaign.

Lesson 6
Outbound SMS Marketing
Lesson 8
SMS Reporting