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How to Get Short Codes for Text Messaging

Elevate your text message marketing strategy with our expert insights and resources on SMS short codes for your business.

Sample text message over a bar/lounge setting background
May 22, 2024
David Kovacs
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Congratulations! You’ve decided text marketing is a game-changer for driving sales and engagement for your business, and now you have to put together a plan.

But how do you actually get a short code? And what do they cost? Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

 

How to Purchase an SMS Short Code

Technically, you lease (not buy) short codes from the U.S. Short Code Administration, the governing body of all short codes available to businesses and brands. You first have to apply for approval when you purchase a short code, and different short codes have different rules. But it’s not complicated with EZ Texting.

1. How to Get a Vanity Short Code or a Random Short Code

If you want a vanity short code, you’ll have to apply for one. When you use EZ Texting, our expert support team works with you through a white-glove process of provisioning a dedicated or vanity short code and getting it approved.

 

2. How Long it Takes to Get a Vanity Short Code or a Random Short Code

The approval process for dedicated short codes and random short codes usually takes several weeks. Our experts will help you navigate potential roadblocks that can slow down approval.

Ready to start conversations with EZ Texting?

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SMS Short Code Examples

Here’s a quick primer on short code types with additional resources you can use to determine which one is right for your business.

Dedicated Short Codes

Dedicated Short Code Example

  • Used and paid for exclusively by one brand
  • Gives your brand the ability to choose any keyword and use it exclusively
  • May spell out a word related to the business
  • Must be approved through a cellular network before being used

Dedicated Short Code Features & Pricing

 

Random Short Codes

Random Short Code Example

  • Truly "random" and cannot be reviewed in advance
  • Can be less memorable, like 82637 or 98253
  • Lower code lease costs than dedicated short code

 

Text-to-Donate Short Codes

Sample Text Message
  • Used for facilitating mobile donations to organizations, charities, or political campaigns.
  • Provides a quick and easy way for supporters to contribute without the need for a lengthy online form or phone call.
  • Short codes and keywords are promoted through various channels, such as social media, emails, and advertisements, to maximize visibility and encourage donations.

Learn more about text-to-donate strategies.

 

Campaign Update Short Codes

Sample Text Message
  • Allow supporters to receive timely news, updates, and information directly from your political campaign.
  • Use the short code to manage event RSVPs, enabling supporters to confirm their attendance at rallies, town halls, or other campaign events.
  • Some campaigns may enable two-way communication, allowing supporters to engage with the campaign by responding directly to messages or asking questions.

Learn more about Campaign Update Short Codes

 

Event RSVP Short Codes

Sample Text Message
  • Allow supporters to receive timely news, updates, and information directly from your political campaign.
  • Use the short code to manage event RSVPs, enabling supporters to confirm their attendance at rallies, town halls, or other campaign events.
  • Some campaigns may enable two-way communication, allowing supporters to engage with the campaign by responding directly to messages or asking questions.

 

Short Code Basics

Remember, all short codes are typically five to six characters long and often paired with a simple Keyword phrase, like DEALS, SAVE, or SUBSCRIBE.

Short Code Example Signage

There are two types of short codes: shared short codes and dedicated short codes. Shared short codes are being left behind by the carriers to strengthen consumer protection and message deliverability. On the other hand, dedicated vanity short codes offer more security, brand-building opportunities, and message deliverability.

 

Start texting today with EZ Texting

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