The SMS message inbox is one of the least-saturated, most-effective marketing channels out there. With open rates of over 90%, more and more businesses today turn to text messaging to reach their customers. There are few key things you need when you need to dive into SMS marketing, one of which is a phone number.
When ramping up SMS marketing, you’ll notice that you can send messages through a long code phone number and a short code. In this article, we’ll cover the technical fundamentals and differences between each option.
What are SMS long codes?
An SMS long code is a standard 10-digit phone number that is used to send SMS marketing messages.
What are the advantages of long codes?
At DojoMojo, we handle all SMS marketing functions through long codes because of the many benefits it offers for businesses. Advantages include:
Strong deliverability and flexibility
Long codes have stronger deliverability in the United States and give you more flexibility when in your customer communications.
If you use other communications channels, such as phone and fax, you could use the same phone number for a consistent customer experience.
Long codes are uniquely yours! You don’t have to share this number with other companies (unlike short codes). There’s no risk of your customers reaching another entity using your number.
A human touch
Messages from standard 10-digit numbers feel like they come from real people, not bots. That makes long codes perfect for providing a more personalized and human experience.
What is an SMS short code?
Short codes are an alternative to long codes–they are 5 or 6-digit phone numbers that brands use for text message marketing campaigns. Just like long codes, they can be used to send marketing text messages.
There are two types of short codes: shared and dedicated. Consumers can text a keyword to a company’s short code to subscribe to their SMS program.
What are the disadvantages of short codes?
Short codes are leased and rented out from a national registry. A dedicated short code lease starts at a whopping $1,000 per month, plus an additional $2,000 setup fee. So that means it requires several thousand dollars of marketing budget per month just to upkeep a short-code.
Needs carrier's approval and may require long-term commitments
Short codes need to be approved by carriers, so there may be a lag time before you can get your SMS marketing program up and fully running. Also, for companies who want to lease their own dedicated short code, there’s typically a minimum 3-month commitment.
Not unique and are shared with other businesses
Short codes are often recycled between entities (since they are leased, not owned). It’s possible that a single number may represent multiple entities.
Short codes are often not exclusive to one brand (unlike long codes or website domains). If you use a shared short code, other businesses will have the same phone number as you. Sometimes even competing brands are put on the same short code.
If a consumer subscribed to two different businesses who, by happenstance, share the same short code, both of their marketing messages will come from the same number. If that consumer opts-out of text messages from one of the brands using that short code, they will also unintentionally unsubscribe from all the other businesses tied to that shared short code.
Alright, so how do I get a phone number?
DojoMojo makes it easy to get a number by automatically assigning you a dedicated, toll-free long code when you manage and send messages from the SMS Marketing Suite.
Once you begin compliantly capturing SMS opt-ins through our SMS-enabled Solo or Partnership Sweepstakes, all you need to worry about is engaging and nurturing subscribers with personalized marketing messages.