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Everything You Need to Know about SMS Short Codes for Texting

What is an SMS short code?

On average, Americans check their mobile phone about 344 times a day! SMS short codes might be one of the reasons why.

SMS short codes are used for creating a connection between a business and its customers by having them opt-in for SMS messages. A customer would send a text message to a five or six-digit number (a short code), and that text is submitted to wireless carriers in order to receive a reply from the company.

Compared to remembering a 10-digit phone number or a long code, customers will be able to connect with service providers or local businesses easier with just a 6 digit phone number to remember. 

In this article, we will review the types of short codes, how they work, and how companies can benefit from using these codes for their business.

Signpost is used by thousands of small service businesses to send text message campaigns to their customers. Let’s show you how our texting software works.


Different Types of SMS Short Codes

Text messaging is one of the most popular features of a cell phone service. When it comes to marketing automation and advertising, SMS short codes are an easy way to get customers’ attention from afar. An SMS short code is similar to a phone number, but shorter.

In order to send an SMS marketing campaign, you’ll need a short code that acts like a virtual phone number for your business. When people text that short code, it’s routed to your SMS gateway and forwarded to your customer support agents or directly to your pre-determined message. Keep in mind you should abide by local texting laws and allow customers the option to unsubscribe. 

Here are the different types of short codes you should be aware of.


Random short codes

Random short codes are the most common short code type. They are non-vanity short codes that are assigned randomly by the provider when they are not already taken by another business.

Random short codes are less memorable (like 85736 or 27976), but also tend to have more affordable pricing than vanity short codes (which are assigned based on what number you choose). So if your business is on a tight budget, using random short codes for SMS marketing can really help.


Vanity short codes

Vanity short codes are premium-priced short code numbers that can be used for marketing purposes. As the company gets the choice to customize the number, they are charged a premium fee by the U.S. Short Code Registry, which is in charge for short code administration.

Vanity short codes tend to have some sort of aesthetic appeal (like 007007, 411411, 12345) and are oftentimes easier for customers to remember. A campaign can be created around a vanity short code that includes a unique keyword that prompts people who enter it into an SMS contest or poll. The best part about these campaigns is the branding it enables.


Dedicated short codes

Dedicated short codes are a specialty code that can be used for marketing purposes. They look like a regular short code number but route to a special, dedicated monitoring system that allows companies to create targeted campaigns and surveys. 

With your own dedicated short code, you could alert customers with notifications, send a text message about an upcoming sale to customers in your area, then use the same short code to find out how many people responded. You’re getting something specific out of it—whether that’s just the data or if it’s purchasing something as well.

With a dedicated short code, the company has complete control over the SMS they receive and how they respond. However, they account for additional short code costs. The setup fee may be more extensive. 


Shared short codes

Shared short codes are ones that can be split between different companies or businesses. However, these are no longer available in the market. They were banned as of the end of 2021.

In the past, however, shared short codes were opted for by some businesses who wanted to share the short code service cost with nonprofits or even other companies.


Benefits of Short Code Text Messaging

Whether you’re running a busy home service business or have a lot of customers in your local area, short code text messaging is a simple, fast way to stay in touch with them. Here are the greatest benefits you’re missing out on if you haven’t started using short codes yet.


Control your messages

Today’s business landscape is a jungle of new and exciting ways to communicate with your customers. With short code messaging, you don’t have to worry about your messages getting lost in the noise of a crowded inbox. Today’s consumers are bombarded with emails and phone calls—all vying for their attention and many of which they’ll never even open or respond to.

But with a short code text message, you can get right to the point: put the right content into the right place at the right time and actually be seen. The dedicated SMS control also offers total control over the type of content you share and are a cost-friendly option compared to some other options.


Select your own number

One unique advantage of short code text messaging is that you can select your own number and customize it for branding purposes. This number acts like another extension of your brand. It makes it an excellent option for companies who want to make support easier for customers or clients. For example, an easy-to-remember short code like 077077 will make it easier for customers to reach out for support since they will remember the short code.

When your customer sees your number in the context of your brand name in a text message, there’s no mistaking that it’s originating from you and not another person or business. It also makes it easy for customers who need support at any time of day or night to access it conveniently without needing to fumble around with lengthy email addresses or website addresses.


No keyword restrictions

If you’re incorporating the use of keywords into your text campaigns, the good news is that you can use as many of them as you want in a dedicated short code program. You can go with high-volume keywords or even niche ones without worrying about deliverability being affected in your mass text messaging campaigns.

So if you want to align your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy with your text message marketing and content strategy, short codes give you that chance.


Upgrade your SMS marketing with Signpost

Short codes are a great way to turn your phone number into a marketing tool.

With Signpost’s text message marketing tool, you’ll be able to take advantage of all of these possibilities and more.

You can invite new customers to subscribe by texting a keyword to a short code, and then using the keyword in subsequent messages will cause them to be sent directly to their phones. Getting new customers this way is hugely valuable because they’ve already expressed interest by subscribing via text message, so they’re more likely to engage with your business.

Our service also allows you to create automated messages that can be triggered by replies from your customers. You can also schedule these messages ahead of time. So if you want to send a “thank you” message to a customer after they’ve agreed to a service from you, you can schedule that message ahead of time and have it sent automatically whenever someone complete that action. That means less work for you, and it’s much more personal than an automated email.

Sounds interesting? Try a free demo of Signpost’s text messaging software today!

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