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Long Code vs. Short Code Texting: Which is Best for Your Business?

Before Deciding Long Code vs. Short Code, Why is Texting Important?

If you’re a business looking to meet today’s mobile-centric consumer demands, you may wonder if you should use long code vs. short code in your SMS text messaging strategy. You’re not alone. Business texting is fast, effective, and convenient. Besides, everyone is doing it. Consider the following stats:

  • Most smartphone users (98%) text regularly, yet less than a quarter of businesses send text messages to their clients.
  • When a company sends a text message, its customers are more likely to open and respond than when it communicates over email.
  • The open rate of SMS messages could be as high as 98%.
  • Business communications via text messages can help companies reach out to customers more frequently and more efficiently.

According to Tech Jury, “SMS will continue to expand in the marketing field in the next few years. By 2023, subscribers will be 8.998+ billion. Stats on text message marketing show 5.9 billion people worldwide will have access to SMS technology. This means SMS marketing will continue to be just as relevant in the future as it is today (if not more).”

This presents a massive opportunity for your business to differentiate your brand from your competitors by engaging with your customers and in a more personal and effective way. Did you know that 75% of consumers are ОК with receiving SMS messages from brands after opting in?

Before your business starts texting with customers, you have to consider the differences between long code vs. short code numbers. They both enable you to text customers, but there can be legal compliance issues, cost considerations, and, of course, providing an excellent experience.

As with anything you do in your company, you must have a goal in mind when thinking about texting for external (customers, suppliers) and internal (employee) communication purposes. By clearly understanding your needs, you can make a better decision when determining when to use long code vs. short code.

Related: How Text Messaging Improves the Customer Service Experience

What is Long Code Texting and When Should You Use It?

SMS Long Codes are traditional 10-digit phone numbers (Ex. 512-501-5940), primarily used to send and receive text messages between personal mobile phones.

There are a variety of ways businesses are using long code phone numbers to text with their customers. Smaller organizations sometimes use their personal mobile phones, but this approach is not ideal because it is inefficient and difficult to manage, not to mention unprofessional.

Instead, companies that use texting as a part of their communication strategy often rely on SMS texting software to send and receive text messages to and from customers and employees. Recipients see a business phone number instead of an unknown personal number, and business owners can keep track of every text in one place, no matter which employee sent it.

With a texting solution, you can purchase a long code phone number to use for SMS purposes. Additionally, some texting providers can enable texting on your existing business landline phone numbers, making it easier for your customers to recognize the number texting them.

When Should you Use Long Code Numbers for Texting?

When considering long code vs. short code, keep in mind long code texting is best when used for personal, 1×1, or 1xfew communications with both internal and external audiences. Long code text messages are not the best medium for contacting a large group of people, mainly because they have a one-message-per-second limit, slowing delivery.

There’s also the problem with spam. If you try to send a long code text message to hundreds of people a day, most of them will not receive the text because cell phone carriers will likely flag your message as spam.

Common use cases for long code texting include:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Payment reminders
  • Customer service
  • Employee-specific notifications
  • Birthday and anniversary messages
  • Order and shipping confirmations

In summary, the purpose of long code numbers is for you to communicate with customers and employees on a more personal level on a channel they are most likely to use regularly. They should never be used for mass marketing as there are stricter regulations regarding consent for receiving messages. 

If you’re interested in using SMS texting in your marketing strategy, short codes are a better option.

Related: How to Use Enterprise Text Messaging Software (with Tips)

What is Short Code Texting and When Should You Use it?

A Common Short Code (or simply SMS Short Code) is a traditional five- or six-digit phone number (Ex. 370370) businesses use to send and receive bulk text messages. Short code programs offer a fast, efficient, and reliable way to communicate with a mass audience.

The keyword here is “mass.” As stated earlier, long code text messages are best for one-to-one communications and have a limit of one message transmitted per second. Your choice of long code vs. short code may come down to how many people you want to send messages to at the same time.

With short codes, you can send and receive hundreds of messages without issues, as they are pre-approved by cell phone carriers to have a higher transmission capacity at around 100 messages per second. Almost all major US wireless providers support short code programs, enabling you to send bulk text messages with little restriction.

When should you use short code numbers for texting?

Short code texting is best when you want to communicate a broad message or an emergency alert to many people at once. And no, this does not mean you should spam people with a “special offer” every day. You should place each text message into your general communications strategy as another tool to help you achieve your business goals.

Although short codes enable you to reach more people, they also come with tighter opt-in regulations. To comply, you must have proof of opt-in consent from recipients stating they are willing to receive text messages from your organization.

 Some types of opt-in consent for short code texting can be:

  • Sending a keyword to opt-in (for instance: “Text JOIN to 123456”)
  • Checking a box on a website form that includes such consent (as an example: “I agree to receive text messages from XYZ Brand.”)
  • Filling out a consent form (for example, “Enter your number to subscribe to alerts.”)

You also need to correctly document customer preferences in your business records. This ensures you can prove consent should someone decide to take legal action claiming a text message is spam. 

Secondly, you should always include an opt-out message in every short code text you send, giving people a chance to exit the list at any time (for example: “Text STOP to Unsubscribe.”)

Common use cases for short code texting include:

  • Marketing and promotional messages
  • Company news and product updates
  • Job postings
  • Emergency alerts
  • Contests
  • Polls and surveys

How To Make Good Use of SMS

There is no doubt text messaging is becoming one of the main channels for communicating with your customers, prospects, and employees. Instead of worrying whether long code vs. short code is best, consider using both. You may want to use a long code for personalized communications with certain people and a short code for mass texts with large groups of people. 

By leveraging the benefits of both types of codes, you can expand your SMS texting strategy to reach the right people at the right time with the right type of communication. 

It is vital to partner with a top texting provider with enough experience in both long code and short code texting. They can provide you with proper guidance and guaranteed compliance with the best solution for your organization and scale as your goals continue to evolve.

Engage in one-to-one conversations at scale by sending text messages with TrueDialog. Its unique unified thread of short and long code messages gives each team member a clearer picture of every message sent and provides them with a better understanding of the goals to come. Rather than clunky or frustrating interactions, TrueDialog keeps the context of each conversation while routing specific issues to the right agents for fast customer service. Get the best enterprise-grade texting solution. Contact us today.

Disclaimer: Please note that this advice is for informational purposes only and is neither intended as nor should be substituted for consultation with appropriate legal counsel and/or your organization’s regulatory compliance team.

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