Dedicated Short Code Services

Before getting into the technicalities of securing a dedicated short code, it makes sense to decide if it works for your marketing strategy. Let’s start with what they are and how they can help you boost sales and simplify your outreach strategy. If you have any questions we encourage you to give us a call: 866-676-2180.

What are the Different Kinds of Codes Used for SMS?

There are three different types of codes:

  1. Shared codes - Used by multiple clients of a service provider.
  2. Dedicated "random" short codes – A random number that is exclusive to one brand or business.
  3. Dedicated "vanity" short codes - Can be customized by the owner; for example, Jimmy’s Pizza could get 74992 as their code, which spells out “pizza” on a numerical keypad.

What are SMS Short Codes?

This code is a five- or six-digit number that replaces a full-length telephone number in mobile marketing campaigns.  Usually, they’re an easy-to-remember number; in some cases, they can be customized to spell out the word of a business or brand when typed on a mobile phone’s keypad as in the example above. Consumers should have no difficulty remembering a good short code.  

What is the Cost of Shared Short Codes vs. a Dedicated Short Codes?

All short codes, shared, dedicated and vanity are managed by the Common Short Codes Administration, who simply provide the number. Each number comes with its own set of benefits, and the wide range of pricing options make them a powerful tool for communicating with customers.

  • A shared short code is the number provided free of charge by a solutions provider like EZ Texting.
  • If you'd like a dedicated short code, but don't care about customizing it, it could cost around $500 per month to lease.
  • Vanity dedicated short codes, where you customize the numbers, start at $1,000 per month to lease.

EZ Texting does not add any additional fees when we help you get a regular or dedicated short code.

The Limits of Shared Short Codes

We frequently get asked, “With so many companies using the same shared short code, how do you ensure that customers’ text messages end up in the correct mailbox?” The answer is keywords. While shared short codes are obviously shared, the keywords they use are unique. In the this example - "Text SUPERPIZZA to 313131" the word SUPERPIZZA is your keyword. When subscribers text the keyword to a shared short code they get auto-sorted into the right company.

A Little More About Keywords and Short Codes

While shared short codes are used by multiple businesses, keywords can only be owned by one company at a time. Keywords are phrases that are one word and between 2 and 12 characters long (a character is a letter, number, or punctuation mark). While Jimmy’s Pizza and Timmy’s Pizza might both be sharing 313131, it’s Jimmy’s use of the keyword PIZZAKING ensures that texts with that phrase will only go to his mailbox. All EZ Texting clients are initially provided one or more keywords, based on their service plan,. One additional note on keywords: they’re not case-sensitive, so it doesn’t matter if letters are capitalized or not.

When you search for a keyword with help from your service provider, you may find the one you want isn’t available. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay for a dedicated number. You could use alternate keywords in your marketing, acronyms or abbreviations. PIZZAKING not available? Try PIZZAKING99. Another option is to simply wait for a keyword to become available, though you might be waiting indefinitely.

Why Get Dedicated Short Codes?

Keywords can transform your marketing and customer outreach strategy, but if you want something super ordinary like "SALE" it probably won't be available on a shared short code. Dedicated short codes solve this problem; they enable you to secure a number exclusively for your use - and use any keywords you like.

How to Apply for a Dedicated Short Code

Unless you have a considerable amount of mobile marketing expertise, applying for, leasing, and getting approval for a dedicated short code can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the team at EZ Texting has years of experience helping our clients launch dedicated mobile marketing campaigns and we can assist you every step of the way.

As a Mobile Application Service Provider (MASP), EZ Texting maintains good relationships with the cellular networks who deliver your messages. We make sure our clients are fully aware of their compliant messaging obligations and follow the guidelines for mobile marketing as stipulated by the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA).

Complete Your Service Approval Form

Currently, dedicated random and vanity short codes are administered by iconectiv - a company appointed by the CTIA in 2016 to manage the USA´s Common Short Code Registry Services. The process of getting a dedicated short code starts with filling out a service approval form. Your Service Approval Form contains the details of your mobile marketing campaign. It has to be sent to each of the cellular networks who deliver your messages to make sure it is compliant with the networks´ regulations. This process can take several weeks, and while it’s not uncommon to be rejected the first time, it is common to be approved after revisions.

At the start of this process, and throughout the entirety of it, EZ Texting is with you to help answer any questions you have and consult as best we can. Businesses and organizations, though, are responsible for providing any user-specific information requested by any and all agencies.

Provisioning and Testing Your Short Code Number

After approving your mobile marketing campaign, each network will provision the dedicated short code number for testing. This means that the networks will be looking for the legally-required “HELP” and “STOP” options that enable a contact’s next steps. Provisioning and testing can take up to six weeks.

Obtain Carrier Approval and Launch Your Campaign

Once each of the networks has verified that your mobile marketing campaign complies with their regulations, they will issue a final approval. After it’s been received, you can launch your campaign. Just keep in mind that you might be waiting several weeks between the testing period and receiving final approval.

Why You Should Use a Short Code Service Provider

If the long approval time and added costs don’t prohibit you from launching a mobile marketing campaign, then as a best practice you should leverage the experience of a dedicated short code service provider like EZ Texting. A service provider will know how to check what numbers are available. They will help you  select either a random dedicated line, or choose a customized vanity number. They can also help you fill out the application to increase your chances of a first-draft approval, or consult on how to reduce the revision time. Enlisting the help of experts can shorten the waiting time and help you roll out your mobile marketing campaign with minimal waiting.