Long Code Vs Short Code: Which Is Your Best Option For SMS Marketing?

by | Nov 11, 2019

The SMS message inbox is one of the least-saturated, most-effective marketing channels available. With open rates as high as 98%, more and more businesses today are turning to SMS messages for marketing or customer engagement.

Businesses can utilize between short code or a long code for interaction with subscribers. However, before you set up your call to action for your campaign, before you even start thinking of the keyword to use, and before you decide on the most perfect offer, you need to first decide: short code or long code?

To do so, first you need to understand the difference between the two. Here is what you need to know about long codes vs. short codes to help you understand which option makes the most sense for your business so that you’re ready to make an informed decision about your SMS marketing program.

What Is A Long Code?                                                                                                                                                   

This is a 10 digit phone number used for communication between two or more individuals. It is allocated to a user or business to send SMS messages from.

Long codes are a fine choice for a business for a few reasons. First, a long code is an actual 10-digit phone number, which can be appealing if your company is local. Second, long codes are a good choice when a company would like to reach customers internationally. Third, long codes are typically free or very inexpensive to use.

How Can You Use Long Code SMS?

Whether you are setting up a customer support ticketing system or automating event invitations for an end of year party, long code SMS is your perfect solution.

Below are a few examples of how different businesses and organizations can utilize Long Code SMS

  • Meaningful two-way communication
  • Gathering customer information
  • Providing targeted, relevant content
  • Appointment reminders and confirmation
  • Sending out alert notifications i.e. Banking alerts, Shipping alerts, Billing alerts
  • Troubleshooting product or service problems

Benefits of Long Code SMS

  1. Minimal set-up time: You can get a long code number up and running within a few hours.
  2. Cost-effective: users are charged standard SMS prices
  3. Dedicated number: There is the option to allocate a private phone number for your brands
  4. International access: If the correct country code is entered with the long code, the number can be accessed from many different locations across the globe.
  5. Two-way SMS: Long code supports replies from recipients so you’re able to have personalized and seamless two-way conversations.
  6. Contact database: It’s easy to gather client information through triggers and keywords, including an opt-out option.

What Is A Short Code?

A short code is a shorter than most standard phone numbers usually with 5 to 6 digits. Short codes enables users to text in a keyword to automatically opt-in to a business’s database.

This type of messaging is ideal for mass, impersonal, one-way communication. If you’re thinking of launching an SMS marketing campaign, you should use a short code, not a long code.

There are two types of short codes, shared and dedicated and depending on your SMS needs, you can opt for either of the two.

Shared Short Code – A shared short codes is a short code that is used by multiple users. Shared short codes limit what keywords users can use, because other users might already be using that keyword. An example of this would be if someone created the keywords “OFFER” or “DEALS”, then no other users on that short code would be able to use these keyword.

Dedicated Short Code – A dedicated short code is a short code that can only be used by a single user. The short code can be specifically chosen by the user, much like a custom license plate. They also have the option to use any keyword they want, removing the limit of only using one keyword per code. Because of these features, dedicated short code normally cost more and take longer duration to be ready.

Both shared and dedicated short codes can be billed in three different ways. These type of billing include:

  • Toll Free also known as Zero Rates billing is normally free to the end user i.e. the subscribers. Subscribers are never charged whenever the send or respond to SMS messages.
  • Premium billing is whereby the subscribers are charged for every SMS message they send. This type of billing provides businesses with the opportunity to sell content to subscribers and in return generate revenue.

How Can You Use Short Code SMS?

  • Bulk messaging
  • Marketing promotions
  • Sending out billing information
  • Sending out alert notifications like weather updates, security notifications
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Lottery and Contests
  • Mobile voting
  • Mobile coupons and discount codes

Benefits of Short Code SMS

  1. Dedicated number: With dedicated short code, there is the option to allocate a private phone number for your brand.
  2. Memorable: A shorter number makes it easier for recipients to remember and text in.
  3. Better brand recognition: A personalized contact display number or name ensures your recipients know where the message is coming from immediately and identifies who is messaging.
  4. Two-way SMS: Short code supports replies, triggers and keywords from recipients.
  5. Freedom to choose your keywords: When you have a dedicated short code, you aren’t limited by other people already using similar keywords which gives you creative freedom to run your campaigns how you want.
  6. Total control and security: If you work in an industry like the financial services, healthcare, or the government, then having a dedicated short code allows you to have complete control over what is sent and will give you a higher degree of privacy and security.
  7. More functionality: If you have a dedicated short code you can do things that shared short codes can’t do, like run a text-to-win campaign for your subscribers.
  8. High volume: A high volume of messages is less likely to be flagged as spam even if it contains marketing content as the account is registered with short code.

Create an account with Beem today and set up your own Long Code or Short Code SMS messaging solution. Contact us for more information on how to setup, get started and the costs for each service or visit our website www.beem.africa or come by our offices for an in depth discussion to see how you can leverage on our long code and short code services.

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