4 Ways to Prevent Text Message Coupons from Being Abused

text message couponsFor many businesses text message coupons and offers are an integral part of their SMS marketing.  While sometimes overuse of these offers isn’t discouraged there are other times when redemption amounts need to be controlled.

Here are four ways to prevent your next SMS coupon or offer from getting out of control:

1. Use expiration dates

It’s easy to include an expiration date in either an outbound text message or a campaign auto-response.  For example, “Text OFFER to 12345 for 20% off your next visit.”  The message the user gets back could contain a “use by” date.

But what if you want that date to always be a certain number of days from when they text-in?  That can be done too with dynamic date insertion.  The user will always have a designated number of days to receive the offer.  You can even set a start date so they can’t use the offer the same day they text-in.

2.  Make the offer time-sensitive or limit the uses

Another really easy way to prevent abuse is to limit when the offer can be redeemed (today only!) or how many times it can be used (for the first 50 people!).  Limiting the offer to a certain number of people can often times increase the redemption rate as well.  Nobody likes to be left out!

3. Train staff to look for “from” number

There’s always fear that the people in your mobile database will forward the offer they get on to other people who are not on the list.  The easiest way to combat this is to train your staff to look for the number the message comes from.  If it’s not from the shortcode you’re using then they’re not on the list.  If you’re sending them an offer code they can use on a website have them input their phone number first to make sure they’re in the subscriber database.

4.  Deliver the coupon via email or mobile web page

If you must track redemption using a bar code scanner sometimes it’s best to use text messaging as the delivery mechanism which either asks for their email address where the coupon will be sent or links them to a mobile web page where they can view and have the offer scanned.  Using these methods you are still able to benefit from text messaging’s tremendous read rate and ease-of-use, but also use other technologies to better restrict the promotion.

Are you considering SMS coupons?  Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact us if you have other questions.

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Informative post. Especially to get rid of these fake and unlawful coupons dealers. 

We all should be very careful while dealing with these people. 


Great tips!  I too try to explain these prevention of abuse methods to Biz Owners because immediately they think they'll get taken for a ride.  Luckily after showing them how we'll combat that, they relax!