Short Code Texting: 4 Easy Steps to Running a Campaign Like a Pro

23 Oct

Short code texting has become the preferred outreach channel for marketers because of its ease of use and extraordinary open and engagement rates. The average open rate for text message marketing is a whopping 98% (compared with just 21% for email).

And, to make the decision to pursue short code texting even easier, marketers find that it is the simplest of all marketing campaigns to execute for several reasons:

  • Text messages are necessarily short, so there's very little writing to do.
  • Short code texts don't require a lot of targeting strategy. Just select a segmented group of contacts and go.
  • Text message delivery is not dependent on a mysterious 3rd party algorithm, so you don't have to worry about search or social optimization.

In this post, we'll show you just how easy it is to run a short code texting campaign and blow your marketing goals out of the water.

short code texting graphic

How To Use Short Code Texting In 4 Easy Steps

There are just a few basic things to grasp as you start using Short Message Service (SMS) texts to market your organization's products or services. Once you understand the terminology, how to build your contact list, and the steps to deploying your first campaign, you'll be well on your way to short code texting success.

What is Short Code Texting?

A short code is a five or six-digit number that people send a text message to in order to subscribe to a texting campaign or to take part in a survey. Short codes and keywords are often used in combination as an opt-in method for text message marketing.

For instance, a retailer might offer an in-store discount by displaying this message near the entrance of the store: "Text 'DEALS' to 313131 to get $5 off your order." In that example, 'DEALS' is the Keyword and 313131 is the short code.

Short Codes vs. Long Codes

Put simply, short codes are meant for 1-to-many texting, while long codes (traditional 10-digit numbers) are designed for 1-to-1 communication. In fact, only one message can be sent per second with a long code.

Short codes, by contrast, can be used to send 100 messages per second. Carriers approve all short codes ahead of time for mass usage, so messages will not be filtered for heavy traffic.

Long codes can be used in conjunction with a text message service provider for chat sessions such as customer support. To learn more, read Short Codes vs. Long Codes for Text Marketing.

Dedicated Short Codes vs. Shared Short Codes

Shared short codes are, by definition, shared among many organizations in an effort to reduce cost and minimize time spent administering code licensing. Dedicated short codes can be expensive to rent (often over $10,000 per year), so most companies opt to use a shared short code which has been purchased and provided for free by a bulk text message service like EZ Texting.

Because keywords can be used only once in combination with each short code, marketers usually need to add an additional word or phrase to the basic keyword. Basic keywords like 'DEALS' or 'ALERTS' are usually already taken by other organizations using shared short codes. So, marketers will often use the organization name or abbreviation along with the basic keyword ('JCDEALS').

Marketing agencies have been able to successfully leverage dedicated short codes for clients that wish to use more basic keywords.

According to the US Short Code Directory, EZ Texting's 313131 shared short code is the 7th most popular short code, just behind Google, and first among bulk text message service providers.

How To Build Your Short Code List

Short code texting is a permission-based marketing activity. You can't text a contact without getting their permission specifically for text message marketing.

If your current list includes contacts who have not yet opted in to receive text messages, use other marketing channels to promote your texting program. For instance, send an email to your email contacts with an incentive to opt-in for text message marketing. Or use regular promotions on social media to grow your text message list through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Many marketers have found success by using printed signage with keyword-based offers in their stores and places of business. EZ Texting also offers website widgets (simple sign-up forms) which can be customized and embedded on your website or social media pages.

To get a jumpstart on exploding your text contact list, download our free EZ Guide to Growing Your SMS Marketing Campaigns.

The 4 Simple Steps of Short Code Texting

Short code texting is astonishingly simple. Here are the four easy steps to the process. (If the process isn't simple with your text message service, find another provider.)

Step 1: Upload Contacts

You can upload contacts to your text message marketing software in a couple of ways.

If your contact list is a few hundred or smaller and doesn't include a lot of information, just copy and paste contact information into the bulk upload field.

If your list is long and includes many contact fields with information such as birthday, website visit data, conversion information, etc., you'll want to upload the CSV or XLSX file as a whole.

Make sure to use groups, when possible, to segment your contacts by purchase history, location, demographic data, or other relevant information.

Step 2: Compose Your Message

Composing your message involves only two tasks. First, choose which textable number you want your contacts to see when your message goes out. Second, compose your message of 160 characters or less, or use Multimedia Message Service (MMS) features to attach images or compose longer messages. Make sure to take advantage of the personalization features (such as first name, purchase history, etc.) so that the message feel less like a mass send and more 1-to-1.

Step 3: Schedule Your Message

Next, carefully proof-read and send the text immediately or schedule your message to go out at a later date. You can also use recurring message functionality to deploy reminder campaigns to customers like appointment and payment reminders, birthdays, and customer anniversaries.

Step 4: Analyze Results

Finally, use the reporting functionality of your short code texting service to monitor results and replies in real-time and analyze the data to optimize future campaigns. Make sure that the text marketing platform you choose offers versatile reporting features to ensure that you get the most out of your campaigns.

Short Code Texting: Take the Next Step

As you can see, short code text marketing is easy and effective. But before you jump in and start texting your whole database, get some more pointers on text message marketing from the pros to make sure you get the most out of this powerful channel. We've produced a valuable guide to help you master the art of text marketing. Download our free Text Message Marketing Guide to learn how to:
  • Grow your contact list
  • Increase engagement
  • Create successful text marketing campaigns

Download Now

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