The Haiti earthquakes have put a lot to the test over these past several weeks. And as a nation, we’ve been called to help in any way that we can, as quickly as we can. To that end, the American Red Cross and many other supporting charities are leveraging mobile technology to fuel their relief efforts. Mobile has certainly proven itself, with more than $30 million raised to date for Haiti disaster relief efforts through SMS text calls to action.


haiti11By texting HAITI to 90999, consumers receive an immediate thank you text message for their donation with a confirmation that $10 has been added to their next phone bill. The simplicity and success of this effort vividly demonstrates the opportunity and promise that mobile holds for brands. While the American Red Cross effort might be considered an unconventional application, there are three practical reasons why brands should have a “short code” . . .

  1. Personal: Short codes offer the ability to communicate directly to consumers on their mobile phones and, as such, can represent a brand’s phone number. Today’s consumer is media saturated and inundated with advertising messages – giving them your number is a great way to break through the clutter and create a more personal interaction.
  2. Timely: We live in a fast-paced society that thrives on instant gratification. SMS text short codes allow brands to deliver instant gratification to their consumers. Brands don’t have to rely on consumers remembering the call to action when you can provide them a simple tool to “act now”.
  3. Interactive: A short code opens a channel of communication between a brand and a consumer. Brands need to plan on keeping the channel open once it’s established. After texting a donation for Haiti Relief, the American Red Cross asks consumers if they would like to receive future updates from them. Research shows that many consumers will want to hear more from brands. Opt-in rates for mobile SMS text campaigns range anywhere from 10 – 25%.

Short code campaigns are rapidly growing among marketers because they’re easy to implement. For brands that have not undertaken mobile projects in the past, it’s easy to get up to speed quickly and Empower MediaMarketing can help.

Getting Started:

  1. Plan Ahead: Determine the type of short code that will represent the brand – it’s like picking your domain name. Short codes must be leased through the CSCA (Common Short Code Administration) and provisioned across all wireless carriers. Next, a communication schedule should be plotted out. Remember to think beyond one message in order to keep the channel of communication open. Think long-term and encourage consumer feedback.
  2. Integrate: Incorporating short codes into other media channels has proven to be highly effective; increasing response rates, consumer appeal, measurability and overall return on advertising campaigns.
  3. Think Cross Platform: Think deeper engagement. Start consumer engagement with SMS text and use other channels to complement the campaign. Executed correctly, this holistic approach offers a bigger opportunity to engage consumers by crossing multiple media channels.

This approach to integrating mobile into your marketing efforts will ensure a smooth transition. Brands should consider a short code as a unifying link that makes their media and marketing efforts more appealing and actionable to the consumer.

By: Kyl Boggs, Mobile Strategist


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