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. To send somebody an SMS marketing campaign in Australia, you must have permission, and the process of gaining permission is called an 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
  • Completing an offline form like a survey with a detailed explanation 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 two 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.

To get people to join a marketing list there are different ways to incentivise them. For example, you can:

  • Run a competition with a prize,
  • Run a survey and share the results,
  • Offer future sale and discount information, or
  • 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 valued prize, you may require a permit before sending your campaign. 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 are a primary conversion point for SMS campaigns. Mobile landing pages are now a prerequisite for added interactivity for many SMS campaigns.

7.3 Landing page services

There are many mobile and responsive landing page services that you can use. Popular services include Unbounce and Lead Pages.

7.4 URL shortening

For SMS, the most challenging issues with URLs are its length and character on a message. URLs that are too long will look like spam, and some devices won’t support links with specific country extensions. They’ll appear as text instead of a link.

To avoid these complications, marketers employ what is known as a URL shortener. Online SMS services like Burst SMS have built-in URL shorteners that businesses can use, which can also integrate with their own domains for better recognition and deliverability.

Some carriers tend to block free URL shorteners platforms such as Bit.ly or TinyURL, so marketers are encouraged to use the built-in feature whenever possible.

Built-in URL shorteners create unique links for each recipient, which helps identify who clicked on a campaign. This gives considerable advantage in tracking conversions, customer segmentation, and retargeting.

Lesson 6
Outbound SMS Marketing
Lesson 8
SMS Reporting