What Is Long Code?
A long code is a 10-digit phone number used for communication between two or more individuals.
Advantages of Long Codes
One of the best things about using long codes is that there is very minimal setup time. In fact, you can get a long code number up and running within a few hours
With long codes, you can send SMS messages and make calls from the same number, so your customers don’t have to worry about reaching you via different points of contact. The same phone number can be used for voice calls, faxes, and texts, which establishes a consistent, familiar channel for communicating.
The biggest advantage of long codes is that businesses and customers are able to have personalized and seamless two-way conversations. Customizing your customer's experience is essential in today’s tailored-marketing world. Long codes guarantee that the sender is an actual person, not a random bot, so sending long code messages for personal information, such as billing purposes, ensures that your message is reaching a real individual.
Best Uses of Long Codes
- Meaningful Two-Way Communication
- Gathering Customer Information
- Providing Targeted, Relevant Content
- Appointment Reminders and Confirmation
- Alert Notifications: Banking Alerts, Shipping Alerts, Airline Alerts
- Troubleshooting Product or Service Problems
Disadvantages of Long Codes
While long codes have plenty of advantages, there are some disadvantages to this messaging method. One disadvantage of using a long code is the inability to send high volumes of text messages at once. The throughput rate of long code messaging is a mere 1 message per second, which can make blasting thousands of subscribers take hours instead of seconds. As a result, marketing through long codes is less efficient than many other methods. However, a platform such as Odyssey OMS can assign multiple long codes to accommodate high volume SMS sends.
SMS marketing messages through long codes is prohibited and will result in immediate shutdown of your long code. And there is no option to make these messages free to the end user, which can make customers dissatisfied by using up their data for unwanted messages. The content of your long code is also limited to SMS, so you are unable to send videos or picture messages.
Another disadvantage of long codes is they take longer than short codes to enter into your phone. Long codes are harder to remember, less convenient, and more susceptible to user error. While the setup and monthly cost may be cheaper for long codes, individual message fees are higher than short code text messages.
Long code messaging can also be subject to carrier-initiated surcharges in certain regions and countries. The receiving carrier can set a rate that will be charged for every recipient on your list that belongs to that carrier.
Unlike long code messaging, with short code messaging you can send large blasts of texts simultaneously to create an effective marketing campaign.
What Is Short Code?
A short code is a convenient 5 or 6-digit number that enables users to text in a keyword to automatically opt-in to a business’s database. Short code text messaging is ideal for mass, impersonal, one-way communication.
There are two types of short codes, shared and dedicated, which both have different advantages and capabilities.
Shared Short Code
A shared short code is a short code that is used by multiple users. Shared short codes limit what keywords users can use, because other users might already be using that keyword. An example of this would be if someone created the keyword “EATHERE”, then no other users on that short code would be able to use that keyword.
Advantages of Shared Short Codes
The main advantage of short codes is you’re able to send high volumes of text messages at once. Short codes are effectively used for marketing purposes, as it creates a memorable experience across a broad audience. With a high throughput rate, messages sent through short codes can be used for alert notifications, mobile coupons, and marketing promotions.
Short codes also give an option for businesses to pay the cost of sending the message up front, so the end user doesn’t have to pay, making short code texting the primary channel of communication for most marketers.
Dedicated Short Code
A dedicated short code is a short code that can only be used by a single user. The short code can be specifically chosen by the user, much like a custom license plate. They also have the option to use any keyword they want, removing the limit of only using one keyword per code.
Advantages of Dedicated Short Codes
- Better Brand Recognition: A short code can be as recognizable to your customer as your twitter username or website address.
- Freedom to choose your keywords: When you have a dedicated short code, you aren't limited by other people already using your SMS mobile keyword, which gives you creative freedom to run your campaigns how you want.
- Control what goes out: When you have your own dedicated short code, you can be in total control of how your messaging campaigns are seen by your customers, which helps you maintain a consistent brand image.
- Security: If you work in an industry like the financial services, healthcare, or the government, then having a dedicated short code allows you to have complete control over what is sent and will give you a greater degree of privacy and security.
- More Functionality: If you have a dedicated short code you can do things that shared short codes can't do, like run a text-to-win campaign for your subscribers.
Uses of Short Codes
- Bulk Messaging
- Marketing Promotions
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Billing Information
- Mobile Coupons
- Alert Notifications: Weather updates, Traffic updates, and Security Notifications
- Sweepstakes and Contests
- Mobile Voting
Drawbacks of Short Codes
Short codes are limited to communication between a business and their customer solely through 5 or 6-digit numbers, making the conversation feel less personal. Unless a dedicated short code is used, customers are unable to communicate back to the business in an interactive way. On the other hand, if you choose a provider who can capture responses, like Odyssey, then you can have an intelligent “interactive” text conversation with your customers, and you can also record their responses!
Whether you decide to use short code or long code texting for your business communication, sending an SMS message is an effective way of developing strong relationships with your customers.