One group of realtors made a simple mistake with their text marketing… DON’T do the same thing!
I was in Hawaii… don’t you wish every story started with that line?
Anyway, about a year ago, I was in beautiful Hawaii for a little business, and a little vacation. A few days in, I was enjoying my breakfast in this beautiful land of paradise, and I picked up a real estate magazine.
We can all dream of owning a home in the Hawaiian islands… right?
I started flipping through the magazine, and of course I was sucked into the beautiful photography.
Then, a few minutes later, something caught my eye… it was a realtor telling me to text a code to to learn more about a particular house.
My first thought was… what a cutting edge realtor.
It’s not often you see people embracing text message marketing. It’s a hot new marketing technique and not everyone is willing to see how great it works!
After my shock wore off, I realized this realtor… and a bunch of others… were making a huge mistake.
As I flipped through the magazine I noticed most of the ads had a call to action, “TEXT “XYZ number” to this short code”. The promise was more information on the house.
First, it’s great people are using texting for instant communication… it’s hard to beat for speed, timeliness, and ease of use.
But there’s a problem with how they set it up.
I noticed EVERY realtor in this magazine used a shortcode!
Shared shortcodes are a big mistake.
A Shortcode, by the way, is a 5 or 6 digit number (like a phone number) that people can use to text a business… or in this case… text a realtor.
So, what’s wrong with a shortcode?
But shortcodes are expensive – depending on what shortcode you want to use, they can start at $20k a year!
Yep, $20,000 a year.
So, most realtors won’t be picking up their own shortcode… so they do the next best thing… they share one.
Don’t Share Texting Numbers
That’s a really bad idea. The major phone carriers all announced they would no longer allow people to share a shortcode.
If you share a shortcode, you may wake up one day and find your messages blocked, or your account banned!
That’s why we recommend using long codes or 1-800 numbers. A long code is a phone number that’s set up exclusively for texting.
Here’s another reason that dedicated phone numbers are important… you won’t be limited on what Keywords you can use.
If you share a phone number or shortcode, you can’t have two realtors using the same shortcode AND the same Keyword.
For example if you share a texting number AND two realtors want to use the keyword “Amazing” it will confuse the system. The system wouldn’t know which realtor or which house the keyword goes to!
This is why you’ll often see long codes used for texting specific Keywords.
Use Specific Keywords – It’s User Friendly Texting!
If you’re using your own long code… then there’s no limitation to what Keywords you can use… there’s no risk in someone else taking your Keyword!
If you want to use the Keyword “Great”… it’s yours!
Or if you want to use the Keyword “Home”, “House”, or “BUY”… with your own long code all of them are available!
So, back to my Hawaiian vacation… (AHH, the memories…)
How did these Hawaiian Realtors get around the shared shortcode and the limited use of Keywords?
They used a 9 digit code for each house! That’s right, they used a 9 digit alphanumeric code for each and every listing…
Text in the 9 digit code, and the realtors know what house you’re interested in. Ok that works, but it’s not very easy to use.
Here’s the Problem… we’re dealing with people… and people think better in words!
For example asking someone to text “Ocean” or “Blue” is easier than asking them to text the code “D9457298Z”
So user friendliness is not top of the list. That’s a big text marketing mistake.
Here’s the other problem…
Why AutoCorrect Is The DEVIL
Ever send a text to a friend and have auto-correct change your words – frustrating right.
Now imagine your customer trying to text you and your Keyword being something that the phone wants to auto correct! This happens all the time.
This is why I recommend using simple, easy to spell Keywords. Don’t make up a word… don’t use a code. Don’t be clever… and test your Keyword to make sure it doesn’t present problems.
If each realtor has their own long code phone number for texting… then they would eliminate another problem… someone texting in the wrong, mis-spelled, or mis-typed Keyword.
Consider this… if someone texts in a random Keyword that’s not in the system… who does the text message go to?
If you’re sharing a number, the message goes NOWHERE!
The system sits on the message, and the homebuyer is left out in the cold… never getting the information they want.
You as the realtor miss out on a potential transaction!
How much might that cost you?
With your own texting number, you’ll see these errant messages and you’ll still be able to reach out to these home buyers.
You can text them back requesting more info or a clarification… or with some digging, you can probably figure out what home they’re interested in.
One More Problem With Shared Texting Numbers
This is a big problem with shared texting numbers… you can’t communicate back and forth like texting a friend.
Shared numbers (short and long codes) are really meant for a one time only message.
With long codes, you can chat back and forth to your heart’s content!
If a potential buyer has a question… they can text you directly… And you can just text right back.
That’s not possible with short codes or shared long codes!
Like I said, it’s great these realtors are using text message marketing to get the word out. But sometimes even the smartest realtors are making text marketing mistakes!