Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Having an engaged and growing email list is a small business owner’s secret weapon. Making sure you communicate regularly with your customers and prospects means you’ll be top of mind the next time they need the product or service you provide.

Getting people to join your email list has never been easier — especially now that Constant Contact and FireText have teamed up, enabling you to add SMS to your communication toolkit.

SMS is the most widely used mobile technology.

94 percent of SMS sent, are read within five minutes of receiving — making it perfect for time-bound campaigns. SMS can work hand-in-hand with any other forms of marketing helping you to build an opt-in database using a text keyword.

What is a keyword?

A text keyword is simply a word associated with your business or campaign which customers can use to easily get in touch via SMS on our memorable short code number 82228.

How does it work?

You choose a relevant keyword for your campaign.

Advertise this on all of your marketing material, your website, social media, and at events,– instructing customers to sign up for your mailing list by texting in your keyword followed by their email address.

E.G. “text MOBILE followed by your email address to 82228 to join our SMS and email mailing list.”

This customer is automatically added to both your FireText and Constant Contact accounts meaning you can start sending them all your exciting news and updates straight to their email or SMS inbox!

TIP: Set up an auto-reply so you can confirm user has been added instantly and showcase your excellent customer service.

Why is this useful?

Sending a text message is simple and easy for the customer, meaning they are more likely to join your email list.

Customers opt-in to both your SMS and email marketing lists with one message, meaning you have captured double the data.

There are no lists to upload or data to input into your systems as the text message adds all the details to both your FireText and Constant Contact account, instantly.

Where to advertise your keyword

If the question is where should you advertise your text keyword? The answer is definitely – everywhere!

Of course the more places you promote it, the more it will be seen but I’m going to go into a little more detail on just a few of the best places to promote your keyword…

  • Print Adverts & Flyers – if you’re already advertising, an SMS campaign will complement this. You already advertise your contact number and email address, simply add your keyword and wait for the text subscribers to start flooding in!
  • Radio/TV adverts – most people have their phones within arms-reach 24/7, however, if an advert is only 20 seconds long you don’t always have time to take down the number or web address from TV/radio adverts. Offering text as a call to action gives
  • Menu – customers spend a lot of time reading and re-reading your menu before deciding what to go for. Add your keyword and encourage them to sign up to receive further offers.
  • Shop Window – you’re not open and there’s nobody to answer the phone. Offer your keyword as an alternative way to get in touch. You can set up an auto reply to let them know their enquiry will be answered shortly providing them with an instant response.
  • Website / Social Media – encourage your online audience to sign up to your subscriber list allowing you to contact them in an instant.
  • Business Cards / Email Signature – provide a simple and instant alternative for customers to get in touch. SMS is still the most popular form of communication in the UK, let’s make sure we’re using it!
  • Company Vehicles – company vehicles are usually on the move so it can be difficult to take down details as they drive past. A keyword and memorable short code like 82228 are much easier to remember than a full mobile number.
  • Receipts – print your keyword on the back of till receipts, not only does every customer take one away with them but they usually hang around as well!
  • Event Stands – an event is a great place to network with existing and potential customers and sign them up to your email list. Traditionally it’s been done manually with customers writing their email address down and then finding the time to copy these into your system (if you can read the handwriting!) Ask them to text their email address to your keyword whilst you chat instantly adding them to your database.

Interested in learning more?

FireText has a wealth of FREE resources to help you harness the power of SMS.