SMS: What are the benefits of long code and short code number when sending SMS Messages?

Long Code

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.

 

Short Code

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

  1. Bulk Messaging
  2. Marketing Promotions
  3. Two-Factor Authentication
  4. Billing Information
  5. Mobile Coupons
  6. Alert Notifications: Weather updates, Traffic updates, and Security Notifications
  7. Sweepstakes and Contests
  8. 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.

SMS tips to make sure your message is not reported as spam

What to do:

  • Indicate where the message is coming from. What organization you are sending from or sending on behalf of.
  • Indicate nature of your contact reason in question, possibly the account/invoice # or any other information that will indicate this is a legitimate contact.
  • Confirm that intended recipient is at the indicated number. “Is ------ at this number?” “We are looking to contact -------”
  • Use the Odyssey blacklist, Do not message contacts if they opt-out of messages. Have language in you message to allow recipients to opt-out.
  • Only text contacts who consented (Opted in) to being messaged.

 

What not to do:

  • Do not, use of public URL softeners or links to questionable websites or domains that do not match your official website. These can appear as spam to many people receiving such messages.
  • Do not, use outdated customer databases where phone numbers could have new owners who did not opt in or are not the target of the content.
  • Certain phrases or style choices may set off spam filters. This can include ALL CAPS, Unicode characters (such as emoji’s) sent in large quantity.
  • Avoid using phrases such as “Exciting opportunity” or “Important Business Matter”. These can be used by spammers to grab attention and due to this are automatically flagged/blocked by many SMS service carriers.

Other things to note.

  • Some wireless providers may block A2P (Application to Person) messages from ten digit long code numbers.
  • Sending the same (or similar) messages from many numbers may cause a carrier blockage. If the content is flagged as spam by a carrier, it can affect any recipient using that carrier.

Why Odyssey’s SMS service can help you regularly communicate with your remote team

Some common feelings of remote workers are that of being isolated and the lack proper communication. They want to feel more connected to their office and team.

Likewise, businesses depend on remote workers doing their tasks effectively to be operational, and being able to get questions rapidly answered is key to this relationship.

SMS can be an excellent communication method for this purpose. Most people can more immediately answer a text to the phone they carry at all times, than an email or group chat.

With Odyssey, you can individualize a mass text sent to your team so that each SMS recipient gets a unique response based on their personal requirements.

1. Reach out instantly for a situation that needs immediate attention.

2. Touch base in a way that feels more personal to the recipient.

3. Keep everyone updated on recent accomplishments and growth.

4. Read all SMS replies in a single place.

You can use text in conjunction with other communication streams to ensure your message will be read, even on the trip for morning coffee!

Improve your internal organizational communication with Odyssey SMS

Organizations, and the teams within them, often have scheduled meetings to get all of their members on the same page – these can occur weekly, monthly, quarterly or as required.

With more and more teams working remotely, coordination is essential. Odyssey SMS can be used to send a group message to the entire team, with the ability to personalize the meeting link, time, date and other important details for different departments in a single send. 

SMS can be used as a quick reference rather than sorting through the countless emails one receives on a daily basis.

Using Odyssey Merge tags, you can input information in one single “list” that is unique to each team or even an individual recipient you would like to contact. Sending one SMS “job” to multiple teams simultaneously, improves efficiency, organization and time management.

Here are a few examples of personalization that can be achieved in a single list with varying information.

 “Hello [Department] team, our quarterly meeting will be held on [Meeting date] at [Meeting time] please click this link [Meeting link] to join.”

“Hey [first name], it is time for your performance review. Please meet with me on [Meeting date] at [Meeting time] and use this link [Meeting link] to join.”

The 3 steps to a successful communication plan

Medium or Message?

The Medium or the Message? Which is more important and where should we focus our efforts?

There has been much discussion, and confusion surrounding this subject. The answer is simpler than you think: Both!

In today’s world of multiple communication platforms and mediums, we tend to get swayed or confused on where we need to place our efforts. Which medium? How do we format our content to fit each medium? Must we communicate all messaging across all mediums? What demographic content is right for which medium? With so many questions, where do yous tart?

There has been no other time in history where we have had such a barrage of communication methods available to us. It seems that we just get used to one method, learn how to use it effectively, when something new pops up and the discovery starts again. WhatsApp, Snap Chat, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, iMessage, to name just a few. And let’s not forget the existing older methods of communication: Email, fax, paper mail, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and the phone. Are these still even viable or accepted methods to communicate  and do they provide a given return on the investment of time, effort and money?

Let's look at this from a different perspective. The following 5 questions are the first step in our quest to determine which method and medium is the right one to use:

Step 1

  1. What do we want to accomplish?
  2. What is our desired end goal?
  3. Where are we now?
  4. What’s available to us currently?
  5. What else is out there that we know or don’t know?

These questions lead us to the next step. Here are 6 reasons why we communicate.

Step 2

  1. Generate awareness of who you are (Enables you to be found, person or company)
  2. Get your message to resonate (Create a connection)
  3. Generate a sense of trust (Create a conversation)
  4. Create a relationship (Validate your brand)
  5. Sell something (End goal)
  6. Sell something again (Start another process which includes some of these steps above)

Now we have a starting point. Now don’t get me wrong, this is by no means easy, however getting these questions answered is vital and results in the creation of our roadmap.

Let’s take these 6 reasons and look at what we should know or do before we begin the task of creating a communications plan. Believe it or not, the information you have just derived from this process will begin your strategy.

Step 3:  The T5 of your communication plan.

  • Theme- What is the overall look and feel? What is the demographic? Who is the ideal target? What is the ancillary audience? What is measured, providing what information and for what purpose? What is the knowledge derived and what power can you gain?
  • Tactics- How are you going to bring action to your plan, and what are the milestones? What technology will be used? When and how will they be utilized?
  • Technology/Tools- What technologies do you have at your disposal and what can be used to provide some automation, repeatability, and scalability? Which messaging or communication platforms will be used in this plan?
  • Term- What is the period or length of this communication project? There must be a defined end.
  • Talent- What do you have available and what do you need to source? Think about marketing execution, content creation, and process development.

So, what do we know? We know where we are, we know where we want to be, what we want to do and we know what we have available to us (technology/tools/talent). Also be aware that at this stage, we don’t know some things. These will only be revealed as we progress in our plan. This must be allotted for and allowed to occur, as nothing ever follows precisely as planned.

So, what does all this have to do with the medium or the message? Everything!

It tells us that we need to think about how our world is communicating today, and what is the best medium for direct communication. It also tells us that once we figure out the medium, we need to understand how that medium works and what is accepted and what is not! It tells us that we must be clear about our message and the content of that message. Does the message provoke a positive response? Does it provoke an action?

A stone tablet and a chisel, or carrier pigeons were once the prime way to communicate, however we don’t see them in use today.

SMS-Voice-Email, and others; all mediums serve a purpose or we would not still be using them. When we find a better way to communicate, we adopt it and dispose of lesser none useful ones. In summary, when you build out your communications strategy, keep in mind these steps to create success:

⇒ Understand, plan and create a strategy on how you want to use technology

⇒ Technology is great, but it’s just a tool.  It is highly sophisticated, but a tool none the less

⇒ Use  a  medium  that  fits  your  message,  and  then create a  message  that fits  your  medium 

⇒ Think about how and when you would use specific mediums