You’ve probably seen short codes on your TV screen but didn’t know it has a name. When TV contests like “America’s Got Talent” asks you to vote for your favorite performer, you will see a 5-6-digit mobile code to send your votes to.
For example, “To vote for Ava, text AVA to 12345.”
What are short codes?
A mobile short code is a unique digit sequence that is used to send and receive text messages regarding promos, announcements, reservations, and so on. There are two types of short codes: dedicated and shared.
Dedicated short codes are generated specifically for one customer only. It costs around $15,000 to $30,000 per year and it will take approximately two months to get it made.
Conversely, shared codes are cheaper and it’s best used in sending and receiving text messages to-and-from targeted customers.
Where do I get my own mobile short code?
US mobile carriers have a central registry for short codes. SMS marketing service providers or SMS aggregators can rent those short codes on a client’s behalf for an affordable price. It is usually included in a text marketing package you will find on an aggregator’s subscription plans.
But if you want a dedicated short code, you have to pick between vanity and random codes. Between the two, vanity or hand-picked codes are pricier at $1000 per month, while random codes only cost around $500.
Overall, vanity codes are ideal for large businesses that want to have a branded short code like MCDO, COKE and FBOOK. Alternatively, random codes are ideal for business owners on budget.
What are the other things I need to know about short codes?
You can complement your short code with a keyword. For example, if you operate a pizza parlor, customers can agree to receive offers from you by texting a keyword like “PIZZA” to your assigned number.
You can lease such keywords from your SMS aggregator as well. Often, these companies offer an all-in-one package where you can have a certain number of keywords and a random code.
It is important to get your mobile short code from a reputable service provider only. There are websites that can generate what is called a long code for you but the accuracy in receiving or sending a text message with it isn’t a guarantee.
Know your limits in what kind of content you’re going to share to people via SMS. The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) prohibits companies to transmit messages with “political marketing (news is acceptable), religious, pornographic, prostitution/escort, gambling, hate, alcohol or drug related content.”
You also have to abide by the rules and regulations of mobile carriers otherwise say bye-bye to your short code. They can cut you off and the fun is over.
Use your SMS marketing campaigns responsibly and your customers will love you!