Is Your Code Dialed-in to Text Marketing?

30 Mar 2015
by Guest Poster

Do you want to boost customer engagement and get your message in front of more people?

Text marketing is a cost efficient and direct way to make sure your messages get seen. With a 98% open rate, text messages help you ensure that your customers see what you have to say – and if you craft them carefully, your text messages will encourage the response you want. When it comes to using text messaging in your business, you’ll need to choose between long numbers and short codes.

So just what are the pros and cons of each and which should you use in your SMS marketing efforts?

What Are Long Numbers and Short Codes?

A long number is simply a phone number that you can use to make and receive calls and text messages.

Long codes use the widely-recognized form of 123-123-4567. Short codes on the other hand have five or six digits, making them easier to use and memorize.

When choosing between long numbers and short codes for your business, you’ll need to weigh up some pros and cons.

marketing-word-10098505Long Numbers – The Pros and Cons 

Some of the pros of long numbers include:

  • Lower cost. The main thing that draws businesses to long numbers is the lower cost compared to short codes;
  • Easy set up. Long numbers can be up and running in minutes, where short codes cannot;
  • More versatile. Long numbers can be used to make and receive calls as well as text messages, whereas it’s not possible to phone a short code.

Some of the cons of long numbers include:

  • Not legal. This is the biggest con of course. As the article “Which Code to Choose” points out, using a long number to send messages over a carrier network isn’t technically legal;
  • Hard to remember. Long numbers are much more difficult for customers to remember;
  • Limit on message numbers. The limit on number of messages per second makes long numbers a poor choice for text marketing campaigns.

Short Codes – The Pros and Cons 

Some of the pros of short codes include:

  • Legal. Short codes need to be registered and carrier-approved before use, meaning you can relax knowing everything is above board;
  • Memorable. The short nature of short codes makes them much easier for your customers to remember than long numbers;
  • Message volume. Short codes can be used to reach thousands of customers at a time.

Some of the cons of short codes include:

  • Cost. Short codes can be expensive for businesses, with fees of around $500 a month for a random code, or $1000 a month if you want a custom-picked code;
  • Length of time to set up. Setting up a short code and getting it approved can take a few weeks, which is frustrating when you want to get up and running;
  • No voice capabilities. Short codes are useful for SMS marketing campaigns, but they are limited when it comes to their lack of voice capability, meaning customers can’t use them to call you.

On balance, it’s clear that short codes are the only legal and above board way to mass market to your customers.

And that’s not a bad thing – short codes take an investment, but they’re ideally suited to text marketing campaigns.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including branding, social media and text marketing.

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