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The Long and Short of a Long Codes Texting Service

August 2, 2015 9:48 pm by

Different texting services offer different features to clients. One of the major differentiating factors is whether a company is a short or long code texting service. Many businesses only offer short codes, but several are starting to use long codes instead of or in addition to the short codes. Before you choose your texting service, it’s important to understand the differences between the two – especially the benefits long codes offer.

Short Codes vs. Long Codes

Long codes are similar to traditional phone numbers.

Codes are the numbers used for both sending and receiving messages. You are probably most familiar with short codes, which are typically five digits long. This was the initial code type used for text message marketing services. It is becoming more common to see long codes, which are usually ten digits long (or the same as a traditional phone number.)

Why Choose Long Codes?

Long codes offer more functionality than short codes.

Short codes were developed for text messaging purposes only, but businesses that choose long codes get a service that can do so much more. Because a long code is similar to a traditional phone number, it can also support any and all incoming communications, including faxes, phone calls, and more. Long codes can also easily integrate into emails and alternative voice communication methods. By having one single number for all communications, it can streamline and simplify your campaign. Companies that want to have regional numbers can create multiple long codes, each one associated with different markets rather than different channels of communication.

Increase Coverage while Reducing Costs

Many companies are choosing long codes over short codes because they can increase the coverage while reducing the costs of a texting service. Short codes typically cost between $500 and $1000 and can only be used for texting with affiliated wireless carriers. To reduce the cost, many companies choose to share short codes. Long codes on the other hand are basically a VOIP-based telephone number, which has a much lower cost, making it easy to create your own unique number. Additionally, long codes can typically be used by all wireless customers, similar to any other phone number. Short codes may have geographic or carrier restrictions.

Increase the number of people who can receive your messages.

Faster Service

While short codes can take many months to create because they need to be approved by the various wireless carriers, you can get your long code up and running much faster. Most long codes can be implemented immediately or within a matter of days. This also gives you more flexibility to create additional numbers to reach different customers.

Customer Response

Many customers have started to associate short codes with unnecessary or spam messages. Although the FCC regulates short codes, customers still associate these five-digit codes with potential spam or unwanted messages. It is clear the text message is coming from a business, not a person.

People will be happier about receiving your text when it comes from a long code.

Alternatively, when a customer receives a message from a long code, it seems more personal, rather than an automated message system. This can help increase the likelihood that they’ll actually read your message. Additionally, you can use long codes in the same geographic area as your customer base, which also increases the chance they will read and take action on the text.

Potential Problems

Some marketers in the US avoid long codes because of recent attention about the lack of authorization by the carriers, according to Mobile Marketer. One of the most important things is to ensure that your business remains compliant with the FCC’s regulations against spam. This means that even if you use long codes, you must have your clients opt-in to your campaign. If you have permission and take action to protect your customers’ data, you will avoid many of the problems associated with long codes. Additionally, you can look for a service that is certified by as many carriers as possible, which also helps you remain compliant.

Whether or not long codes or short codes are best for your business depends somewhat on the goals of your campaign and other features of your company. But for many companies, long codes offer several benefits, especially the ability to easily integrate all communication channels. If you are ready to start using long codes, try Group Texting for free.

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