Short Code Texting

[ The Basics ]

Short code texting is an application of SMS text messaging that allows people to take advantage of retail promotions, opt into bulk text messaging services, or reply to bulk text messages using an easy-to-remember keyword and a five- or six-digit “short code” number.

Shortcode texting is most often used by retail companies as part of their mobile marketing strategy. Typically companies will advertise a special deal via an alternative media (billboard, TV, magazine, side of bus, etc.) and invite consumers to send a text to take advantage of the special deal. For example:

  • Text “offer” to short code 313131 to get a free beverage with your next pizza order.
  • Text “discount” to short code 313131 to receive a discount voucher for your local store.

Shortcode texting can also be used by other commercial and non-commercial organizations to share information or engage with an existing database of members. Some examples of how short codes for texting are used in these scenarios include:

  • Text “house” to short code 313131 to find out more about a home you have seen advertised.
  • Text “donate” to short code 313131 to contribute to your church´s charitable work.

How Short Code Texting Databases are Compiled and Used

When a person texts a keyword to a short code number, they are added to the organization´s short code texting database of contacts and “opted in” to receive future bulk text messages. People can opt out of the bulk text messaging any time they choose, usually by texting “stop” to the same short code.
Once an organization has compiled a short code texting database, sending their members a bulk text message is simple. Users log into a bulk text messaging platform, upload the group(s) within their database they want to send a message to - or all of their database - compose a message, and click send.
The benefit of sorting a short code texting database into groups is that the organizations can save money by only sending bulk text messages to people for whom those messages are relevant. It can help also avoid the scenario in which people opt out of the service because they are receiving too many texts.
The simplicity of short code texting helps to make bulk text messaging one of the most effective ways of communicating with large groups of people simultaneously. Its speed and ease-of-use encourages individuals to engage with and respond to text messages far more than any other channel of communication.

Using Short Code 313131 to Create Groups

If an organization has - or is likely to have - a large short code texting database of contacts, one of the easiest ways to sort the contacts into groups is by using short code 313131 with different keywords. (Please note that the reason we keep referring to “short code 313131” is because it is one of the shared short codes used by EZ Texting clients. An explanation of shared short codes follows below).

For example, a large retail store offers a selection of keywords to its prospective customers and asks them to text the keyword most relevant to their interests. The retails store´s database would be automatically sorted into groups by keyword, enabling simpler management of the database and ensuring that sports enthusiasts are not bombarded by texts relating to interior decorating.

Different keywords can also be used to conduct polls among an organization´s short code texting database. A restaurant could, for example, ask its database to text its favorite pizza topping from a choice of “pepperoni”, “mushroom” or “ham” to short code 313131. The exercise of conducting a poll not only generates engagement, but the results can be used to shape future marketing campaigns.

There are Different Types of Short Codes for Texting

There are two types of short codes for texting - shared short codes and dedicated short codes. As the name suggests, a shared short code is shared among the clients of a bulk text messaging service provider. Dedicated short codes for texting are unique to each individual company or organization, but they are expensive.

“Random” dedicated short codes for texting are any random five or six digit combination of numbers and can cost in excess of $6,000 per year to rent. “Vanity” dedicated short codes for texting - codes such as short code texting number 313131 that are easy to remember - can cost more than double for a year´s rental.

Vanity short codes can have their uses for brand awareness if your organization has a name or marketing message that can be typed out on a cellphone keypad in six or fewer digits. For example, a restaurant with the name PIZZA-X might benefit from renting the vanity short code 749929. Vanity short codes may also be ideal for larger retail businesses running multiple or geographic-specific promotions.

What is a Direct to Consumer Short Code?

Because the majority of clients of a bulk text messaging service provider are using a shared short code, there has to be a way of distinguishing one client’s customers from another. This is done by monitoring which client is using which keyword and then transferring inbound text messages with specific keywords “direct to consumer short code” or directly to that client’s database. 

Therefore if one of our clients were running a marketing campaign with the keyword “offer”, and another were running a marketing campaign with the keyword “deal”, we would know whose customers are whose, and add them to each client’s database or “direct to consumer short code” accordingly.

Keywords are typically rented by the month or included in a subscription package (you can check out EZ Texting´s keyword pricing options here). This means that if we have more than one client wanting to use the keyword “offer”, it may be necessary to wait until the keyword becomes available before a second client can launch their marketing campaign. Alternatively, the second client could select an alternative keyword such as “bestoffer” or “offer1” to use in their campaign.

Find Out More about Shortcode Texting from EZ Texting

If you would like to know more about shortcode texting or have a question about short codes for texting that is not covered on this page, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Client Success Managers, who will be happy to guide you through how direct to consumer short code transfers work.

Alternatively, you can sign up for a free EZ Texting account that includes a free demo keyword and the use of one of EZ Texting’s shared short code texting numbers. By trialing our free service, you will be able to see how beneficial a keyword and short code texting number could be to your business or organization.