Before you can legally text your contacts, you need express written consent that they want to receive your messages. One way to get this special permission is through SMS keywords.

Keywords are memorable words or phrases that people can use to receive your text messages.

You may have seen this before when a brand says to text a word to their number (ex. "Text SUMMERDEALS to 888-459-2034").

Keyword Opt-in Compliance Checklist

Part of your responsibility when using keywords is to advertise them properly. Your advertisement must clearly disclose that:

  • The messages received will be marketing/promotional in nature

  • The messages will be sent via an autodialer (the TCPA legalese for SMS platforms)

  • The agreement to receive the autodialed promotional text messages isn’t a condition of any purchase

To comply with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association’s guidelines, your ads must also include:

  • Your campaign purpose

  • Message frequency

  • Information about message and data rates

  • A link to your terms and conditions and privacy policy.

How to Set Up Keywords in SimpleTexting

Don't have a keyword yet? Setting one up in SimpleTexting is quick and easy.

Choose Your Keyword

Keywords can be 3-20 characters, containing numbers and letters and no special characters. The shorter, the better.

The most important thing is that you keep your keywords on-brand and memorable. They could be your brand name or something related to a specific promotion.

Creating Your Keyword

1. Navigate to the Keywords panel.

Click Keywords on the left-hand panel of your dashboard. Then click the blue New Keyword button.

2. Enter your keyword name.

When you click Save, it will let you know whether the keyword is available. If it’s not, we’ll give you the option to try a new one.

3. Assign contacts to lists.

You can either assign people an existing contact list or create a new list for the people that use this keyword.

4. Enter your auto-confirmation message.

Next, type out your auto-confirmation message. This is the first thing your contacts will see when they join your keyword. It’s kind of like a welcome message.

Note: When you create your message, you can select either SMS or MMS. If you select SMS, you can use up to 160 characters. Any attachments sent with SMS will be delivered as links.

If you select MMS, you can attach media like photos or video clips within the body of your message. You can also include up to 1600 characters of text. Note that MMS messages cost 3 credits to send while SMS costs 1 credit.

5. Customize the compliance message.

This message is sent free of charge to each new contact to keep your opt ins compliant.

Adjust your message frequency. This auto-populates into the compliance message. It’s an estimate of how many times per month you plan to message your contacts.

You can adjust the frequency by clicking on the + and - buttons. It’s not set in stone, but it's best to keep your estimate as close as possible to your actual monthly message volume.

6. Select additional parameters.

Under Additional Parameters, you have some customization options.

  • Send auto-confirmation message every time a keyword is texted. Check this box if you want contacts to receive your auto-confirmation message every time they text in your keyword. Keep in mind, this will use 1 message credit each time it’s texted. Most users leave this unchecked.

  • Notify me about each new subscriber via email. Check this box to forward opt-ins to an email. If you check this box, the specified email for your account will receive an alert each time someone joins your list.

  • Notify me about each new subscriber via SMS. Check this box to forward opt-ins to a phone number. This is a great feature if you need to know right away when someone joins. It will use an extra message credit with each opt-in because it’s sending a message to the new contact and to you.

7. Add triggers.

These are optional, but they allow you to customize some additional messaging after the initial keyword is texted. Triggers cannot contain any space.

8. Click Save.

You can use our free Graphic Generator Tool to create an image for advertising your keyword on social, email, and other marketing channels.

Filling Out the Toll-free Verification Form for Keyword Opt Ins

If you're submitting the form to register your toll-free number, Step 6 is where you'll enter information about your keyword opt in.

Here's an example of how someone with a keyword opt in might fill out the form.

  1. When asked how people will give their consent, select Text to Join.

  2. When asked how you're collecting phone numbers, describe when a contact will encounter this keyword (ie. whether they'll find the keyword online, on signage in a physical location, etc. Be as specific as possible).

  3. For the opt-in URL, enter the web address of your site where you advertise your keyword. Or, if you don't advertise it on your site, you can share a link to the keyword edit page in your SimpleTexting account. Navigate to Keywords and select the keyword from your list. Copy and paste the URL to the edit page into the form field.

  4. Next, upload an image of where to advertise your keyword, whether its online or on printed materials.

Opt-in Resources

Explore more types of opt-in methods:

Other helpful links:

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