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What is an SMS Keyword?

Updated: Jan 5

A memorable SMS keyword (or text word) is critical as one method of building your text list.

SMS keyword

Your keyword, the word or phrase customers text to your unique toll-free texting number to subscribe to your SMS program, should represent your brand. If it’s too vague, consumers may not recognize it as your opt-in SMS program. Opt-in keywords for the Age Texting platform cannot include spaces.

Not sure where to begin?

  1. Start with simply considering your business name. Business names are the most common keywords. With the Age Texting platform, each customer is provided with a unique toll-free texting number exclusively for their texting service. This allows you to create any keyword—as long as it is 2 or more characters.

  2. Create your keyword reply. This is what your subscribers receive when they text in your keyword. You can include up to 160 characters in your keyword reply—excluding emojis. A common response might read: Age Texting: You're on the text list! Stay tuned for new product announcements and SMS marketing tips. Follow us : Msg&DataRatesApply. Txt STOP to STOP.

  3. What to include in your opt-in reply?

  • Your business name

  • What you will be sending to your subscribers (marketing promotions, updates, new product announcements)

  • Estimated number of text messages per month

  • Standard message and data rates may apply (Msg&DataRatesApply)

  • How they can unsubscribe to text alerts ("Txt STOP to STOP" is defaulted at the end of each text in our platform, unless you deselect it when creating your keyword autoresponder.)

When you have secured your keyword, consider all the print material you use to promote your business. Add your keyword to short code, keyword to 10 DLC, or SMS keyword QR code to a prominent location on all your marketing and communications collateral. Restaurant marketers might also consider printing table tents or napkin holder signage.


Secondary Keywords

The Age Texting platform offers unlimited keywords that you can use to create an unlimited number of segmented groups.

How to use secondary keywords

  • Create a panel for feedback from your subscribers/ customers. Send a message to all subscribers with a keyword that moves them into a unique group to receive short surveys for feedback and suggestions. For example, send a text that reads something like this: We value your feedback. To participate in our quick monthly surveys, reply POLL. Then, you can send quick survey questions to the POLL group.

  • Provide additional details about your business. Examples include contact/ hours. A message to all subscribers might read: For our contact info, reply CONTACT. For our hours, reply HOURS. The auto-reply can include those details in the text or direct them to a URL.

  • Text to Win Contests—Hold a contest for your subscribers that opt in with a unique keyword. Announce your contest in a message to all subscribers that might read: We're excited to announce our holiday giveaway exclusively for our loyal customer. Reply PICKME to register for a chance to win a $50 gift card. We will contact the winner on 12/15/23.

  • Gamification/ Trivia—Send a trivia question to your subscribers with a one word answer. If they text back with the correct answer, send them another question. Create a fun experience for your subscribers.

How to use your keyword to grow your database

SMS keyword on table tent and coffee mug on wooden table

QR Code: Easily generate a QR code using the QR code generator built into Age Texting's platform. Just choose the group you want the new subscribers to be added to.

When a user scans the QR code, their phone opens the texting app with your keyword pre-filled as the message and your texting number as the send-to phone number. The mobile user sends the text to opt into your text service. Include your QR code in print ads and onsite marketing signage. If you are an online retail business only, print stickers and put them on the packaging or add them to your invoice template. Do you own a restaurant or pizza shop? Place stickers on delivery and takeout boxes as well as tabletops.

Create a mobile clickable two-tap opt-in link with your keyword. Attach your SMS mobile opt-in link to a mobile banner ad or Facebook or Instagram stories. When a mobile user clicks on the link, their SMS app opens a pre-filled text with the opt-in keyword and texting phone number.


Keywords are sometimes also called “text words”. Whatever you call it—they are a "key" component to building a quality text list and the functionality of a keyword opt-in ensures that the number is valid and can receive text messages. Age Texting offers multiple opt-in methods.

Contact us today for ideas on using keywords to grow your SMS database.

Updated 11/25/23

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