Marketers today have more ways to reach customers than they ever have before. So choosing the right communication channels for your business is no easy task.
However, one of the easiest decisions you can make is to start texting.
The text message inbox is one of the least-saturated, most-effective marketing channels available.
With open rates as high as 98%, more and more businesses are using SMS marketing to reach their customers.
Texts can be sent through either a short code or a long code. The difference between the two can seem confusing at first but is actually pretty easy to understand.
Let’s walk through the advantages and disadvantages of both to help you decide which option makes the most sense for your business.
If you own a pizza restaurant, for example, you may have customers text “CHEESE” to 35344 to receive discounts.
There are two types of short codes: shared and dedicated. They work in almost exactly the same way, but there are some important differences.
A shared short code, like 35344 or 900900, is a number used by multiple businesses. If you use a shared short code, you’ll be limited in what keywords you can use. If another entity has already claimed a keyword, you won’t be able to use the same one.
Even more problematic is that the very future of shared short codes is uncertain: in October of 2018, AT&T announced its decision to discontinue most shared short codes.
A dedicated short code is a number that only you can use. You can get a randomly generated short code or select a custom vanity short code. For example, a spa may choose the custom code “73529” which spells out “RELAX.”
Dedicated short codes have several advantages:
These benefits come with additional costs. Dedicated short codes are leased monthly starting at $1,000 per month and also require a one-time setup fee. (With a shared short code there’s no overhead as you only pay for the messages you send.)
One last thing, a dedicated short code can take up to a few weeks to provision.
An SMS long code is a standard, 10-digit number. Just like a short code, it can be used to send SMS messages.
With a long code, your company can use the same number to send SMS messages and place calls.
It can be helpful to establish a consistent channel for all forms of customer communication. Our business texting service even lets you text-enable an existing landline or VoIP line.
Plus, a message that comes from a standard, 10-digit number feels like it’s coming from a person, not a bot. That makes long codes perfect for providing a personalized customer service experience.
With a long code, you can only send one message per second. Therefore long code text marketing does not work if you want to message groups of more than 200 people.
The other disadvantage of long codes is that they’re longer. This makes it more likely that a user may enter the number wrong on their phone.
Even though there are a few disadvantages, a long code is still the right choice for many businesses looking to bring SMS into their communication strategy. Here are a few instances in which long code comes in handy:
We know what you’re thinking. What if you want to get started in minutes and send mass campaigns and have a 10-digit number? Don’t panic. There are two options we haven’t touched on yet.
With our toll-free texting service, you can text-enable your existing toll-free number or get a new one. There are many benefits, including:
Think of a toll-free number as a hybrid between a long code and short code. All SimpleTexting accounts come with a complimentary toll-free number.
One option that is beginning to roll out is 10DLC or 10-digit long codes. 10DLC is a messaging solution that allows businesses to send a high-volume of SMS from a local number. You can learn more about 10DLC here.
By now you should have a solid understanding of the difference between short codes, long codes, 10DLC, and toll-free numbers. The good news is we offer all four number types.
If you still have questions, our team of SMS marketing experts would love to help. We’re available 7 days a week. Give us a call at (888) 992-8418 or use the chat at the bottom of your screen.