Shortcode: What is a short code and how does it work?


A shortcode is a 5 to 6-digit number associated to your brand through which your customers can contact you easily. It is useful for campaigns related to building a contact list and increasing customer engagement.

For example, if you want to create a single point of contact for people who might want to join your SMS list, you can assign a specific keyword and short code for it.

“Text ‘STREETSTYLE’ to 12345 to receive exclusive deals and discounts.”

Make sure to promote this opt-in campaign on your website, social media, windows, chalkboards, etc.

Other uses of short codes include text-to-vote, text-to-redeem offer, text-to-win, opt-out, text-to-donate, and survey campaigns. So if you’re ready, here’s how you can get started.

Choosing a shortcode

For every business, there’s a unique short code. You can choose to buy a random or shared shortcode or a dedicated short code. It is not uncommon for big brands like Google, Amazon, Pizza Hut, or McDonalds to have their own short code which is obviously more expensive than shared short codes.

Only choose a dedicated short code if you want to personalize everything about your SMS marketing campaign, from keyword, short code to content. Or, you can just settle for a shared short code if you don’t mind other brands using the same code as yours.

You can look up a few samples on the US Short Code Directory and find out which ones are still available for lease and/or sale.

Choosing a keyword

Choose a keyword that best describes your business to boost your brand visibility. For example, if you own a burger restaurant, use “BURGER” as the keyword. Your target customers will text the keyword to a shortcode (e.g. 12345) and receive an opt in auto reply message instantly.

However, don’t get too fancy with the keywords you’re planning to use for your campaigns. Some people may misspell it and it will result in a delivery failure. Hope we answered your what is a short code? questions and just remember to keep your keywords simple, short and catchy!