Short Code

A short code is a five or six digit number that businesses and organizations use as a key element of their text message marketing campaigns. Usually a short code is the number to which keywords are texted in order to take advantage of a promotion, donate to a worthy cause, or - if you are a client of EZ Texting - request technical support (i.e. text “answers [insert question]” to 313131).

There are three different options for shortcode numbers. Most businesses manage perfectly well with a shared short code, but some prefer to have a dedicated short code to take advantage of the wider availability of keywords. Others like to have the numbers on a keypad spell the name of their business (i.e. the short code used by Target is 827438), and these businesses invest in a vanity short code.

Which might be the right solution for your business? This is likely to depend on the variety and volume of text message marketing campaigns you wish to run simultaneously, and the importance you place on the branding of your business name. This article should help you with that decision, or you can contact our team of Client Success Managers for further information and advice.

Shared Shortcodes

Shared shortcodes are numbers that - as the name suggests - are shared by multiple clients of the same group text messaging service provider. A shared short code is ideal for a small to medium enterprise with a limited marketing budget, as use of the shared number is usually provided free of charge by the service provider as part of a subscription package.

Using a shared short code can have advantages. For example, if a florist, a restaurant and a department store in the same town are using the same shared short code, the number can become familiar to potential customers. Typically shared shortcode numbers are already easy to remember (for example, one of EZ Texting´s shared shortcodes is 313131), but seeing it more often makes it more memorable.

In order to distinguish between clients using the same shared short code, newly opted-in contacts and responses to text message marketing campaigns are placed into each client´s database according to the keyword used. Naturally, this means different companies sharing the same short code cannot use the same keyword in their mobile marketing, which is why some businesses opt for dedicated shortcodes.

Dedicated Shortcodes

When a business wants to have unlimited access to specific keywords, it has two options - either rent the keywords long term, or lease a dedicated short code in order to have access to whatever keywords it wants, whenever it wants to use them. Dedicated shortcodes are typically five or six random numbers and are particularly useful for businesses focused on using marketing-critical keywords.

The process of applying for a dedicated short code is quick and easy, but it also has to be approved by each of the cellular networks to ensure it does not go against any of their regulations - for example, if the random five or six digit number spells a prohibited word on a keypad. It is also important to provision and test the dedicated short code before final approval is granted.

Despite the effort involved and the cost of leasing dedicated shortcodes (usually upwards of $600 per month), plenty of businesses (Google, Amazon, and Capital One, for example) choose this option because of the opportunities it provides. Also, random dedicated shortcodes are not necessarily memorable. Consequently many businesses opt for vanity shortcodes.

Vanity Shortcodes

As described above, vanity shortcodes are those that typically spell out a word related to the business´s name or one of its products. Not all are as simple to work out as Target´s. Toys “R” Us uses the vanity short code 78697 (spells RTOYS), while clothing company Old Navy had to drop the “A” from its name in order to take advantage of the vanity short code 653689 (spells OLDNVY).

Vanity shortcodes can also comprise of numbers that are simply easy to remember. Walmart uses 40303, Twitter uses 40404, and 7-Eleven gets top marks for acquiring the vanity short code 711711. However, some innocent combinations of numbers will not receive approval if they inadvertently spell a different word on a keypad - for example, the number 37847 can spell both “FRUIT” and “DRUGS”. 

Typically, vanity shortcodes cost upwards of $1,000 per month to lease, and businesses have to go through the cellular network approval process before being able to use the number in text message marketing campaigns. Whether the effort and extra expense to obtain a vanity short code is worth it will depend on the ambitions of the business and what it aims to achieve with group text messaging.

Which Short Code Will be Right for Your Business?

When businesses and organizations start using group text messaging as part of their mobile marketing strategies, they usually begin with a shared short code and upgrade to a dedicated or vanity short code if it becomes necessary or desirable. EZ Texting can provide any of these options for you and - with more than ten years of experience behind us - help you with a decision to upgrade when the time is right.

If you would like to know more about short code options and the services provided by EZ Texting, do not hesitate to contact us and discuss your requirements with one of our friendly team members. We will be happy to answer any of your questions and explain how best to optimize your mobile marketing strategy with group text messaging from EZ Texting.

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