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SMS Short Codes – What You Need to Know

A requirement for any business that uses SMS marketing to communicate with customers via their mobile phones is to have an understanding of SMS short codes. SMS short codes are the basis of a marketing campaign that utilises SMS.

What are SMS Short Codes and how do they work?

An SMS short code is simply a short phone number of just five or six digits that a business uses to allow customers to opt in to their SMS program. It is then used to send offers, promotions, vouchers and coupons to those opted-in consumers via SMS text messaging.

Consumers use the aforementioned short code by composing a text message and sending it to the number. SMS short codes are usually advertised by the business online or in-store, as well as via television, radio, and traditional print advertising.

As well as knowing the unique SMS short code to opt in to an SMS marketing campaign, the consumer will also need the unique SMS keyword for the particular business they are targeting. This identifies, for the business, which campaign the consumer is opting into – in the case of businesses that run numerous campaigns concurrently. The SMS message is routed by the service provider through the software and the subscriber who initiated the message receives a message of confirmation.

SMS short codes can send text messages, as well as being set up to send multimedia messages.

What Types of SMS Short Codes are available?

SMS short codes may be Dedicated or Shared. A Dedicated Short Code will be used by a single business, the code being specific to that business alone. Many large brands have their own dedicated short codes, including (for example) Pizza Hut and Burger King. Shared Short Codes, on the other hand, are used by an array of businesses, and here is where the unique SMS keyword becomes so critical so that it is clear which campaign a consumer is opting into.

Whether using a Dedicated or Shared Short Code, business don’t own but lease them.

Another variety of short codes are Vanity and non-Vanity short codes. Vanity short codes are specifically selected to be easy for consumers to recall – codes such as 911911 or 54321, for example. Non-vanity codes are randomly selected and these represent the vast majority of short codes.

SMS short codes are distributed by SMS providers, and they can help you determine if a specific short code is available. All codes are either five or six digits, within the range between 20000 to 99999 or 222222 to 899999. There are also legal requirements to the use of short codes and SMS marketing campaigns.

Contact Clicksend today to learn how we can make SMS short codes work for you and your business.