Short Code FAQ  > What Is an SMS Keyword?

What Is an SMS Keyword?

SMS Keywords are words that are texted to an SMS short code. These SMS keywords tell a short code what mobile messaging campaign you're trying to interact with.
In SMS marketing, an SMS keyword is what a consumer uses to initially interact with an SMS short code on their mobile phone. The SMS keyword is sent in a text message to a specific SMS short code, which will return a text message response based on what SMS campaign that keyword is associated with.
To learn more about SMS short codes, click here.
In the example SMS marketing campaign below, the SMS keyword is "RICKS", where the SMS short code is "68398". There are no restrictions on SMS keywords, as they can be any length of characters, and be made up of any types of characters, including numbers, letters and symbols.

Short Code Directory - SMS Keyword Example

CTIA Required Keywords

While it's up to you which keywords you use to have consumers interact with your mobile marketing campaign, the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) requires you reserve the following SMS keywords.

  • "HELP": When a consumer text messages the SMS keyword "HELP" to your short code, it must return a message that contains additional information about the campaign, and how to opt-out and receive further assistance.
  • "STOP", "UNSUBSCRIBE", "END": When a consumer text messages the SMS keyword "HELP" to your short code, it must opt them out of any programs they're currently enrolled in, and send back a text message confirming this action has been completed.

If you're having issues receiving a help message, or stopping text messages from a short code, please click here for more detailed instructions and help.

SMS Keyword Examples

The following are different SMS keyword examples from well known brands. If you're looking for more SMS keyword examples, we recommend checking the U.S. Short Code Directory here.


Old Navy: The SMS keyword Old Navy is using in the photo below is "6046", and their SMS short code is 653-689. For more information on Old Navy's text messaging campaign using the short code 653-689, click here.

old navy sms keyword example

7-Eleven: The SMS keyword 7-Eleven is using in the photo below is "FLAVOR", and their SMS short code is 711711. For more information on 7-Eleven's text messaging campaign using the short code 711711, click here.

7-eleven sms keyword example

Chipotle: The SMS keyword Chipotle is using in the photo below is "RAINCHECK", and their SMS short code is 888-222. For more information on Chipotle's text messaging campaign using the short code 888-222, click here.
chipotle sms keyword example

Bed Bath & Beyond: The SMS keyword Bed Bath & Beyond is using in the photo below is "OFFER1", and their SMS short code is 239663. For more information on Bed Bath & Beyond's text messaging campaign using the short code 23663, click here.
bed bath & beyond sms keyword-example

Papa Murphy's: The SMS keyword Papa Murphy's is using in the photo below is "CIRCLE", and their SMS short code is 90421. For more information on Papa Murphy's text messaging campaign using the short code 90421, click here.
papa murphy's sms keyword example

Pizza Hut: The SMS keyword Pizza Hut is using in the photo below is "PIZZA", and their SMS short code is 69488. For more information on Pizza Hut's text messaging campaign using the short code 69488, click here.
pizza hut sms keyword example

Red Box: The SMS keyword RedBox is using in the photo below is "DEALS", and their SMS short code is 727272. For more information on RedBox's text messaging campaign using the short code 727272, click here.
redbox sms keyword example

Sonic: The SMS keyword Sonic is using in the photo below is "SONIC6512", and their SMS short code is 876642. For more information on Sonic's text messaging campaign using the short code 876642, click here.
sonic sms keyword example

Starbucks: The SMS keyword Starbucks is using in the photo below is "FLASHY", and their SMS short code is 22122. For more information on Starbucks' text messaging campaign using the short code 22122, click here.

starbucks sms keyword example

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