Short Codes, Long Codes And 1-800 Numbers
NOTE: We first published this blog post in early 2020… We’ve updated it for today’s ever changing SMS Marketing landscape!
You’ve probably heard the rumors… Shared Short codes are going away.
This time the rumors are 100% true.
In 2021, there are a number of changes happening to shared short codes and the entire texting industry. Carriers are making some big changes.
Here are the facts.
Over a year ago, AT&T came out and said they don’t like it when people share short codes. Especially businesses…
I guess their kindergarten teacher never taught them to share. 😉
The other big carriers jumped on that bandwagon too.
So, say goodbye to shared short codes!
But that’s not the only change…
Now the carriers are also imposing new fees.
These fees are being added to all incoming and outgoing messages at the carrier level. Hey, who said there wasn’t any inflation!
But that’s not all. Another big change is the carrier required registration process. Just to add a bit more bureaucracy, the carriers will be requiring a registration process.
Who needs to register?
Any business who orders a 10 digit long code (10 DLC) OR a dedicated short code number to text from.
If you’re a high volume sender… and by high volume, I mean hundreds of thousands or millions of messages a month… then reach out. I’ll help you get a short code all your own… think of it, your very own dedicated short code.
The reality is, shared short codes are going away… But high volume senders can apply for a dedicated short code all their own.
What if you’re not a “High-volume” sender?
There’s other ways, I’ve got two suggestions… actually three.
Sending Low Volume SMS
First, if you’re sending a very small number of messages… just get a single long code number. This long code number is also called a 10 DLC (10 DLC = 10 Digit Long Code). It’s a fancy way of saying a regular phone number!
Now the million dollar question… what’s a small number of SMS messages?
If you plan on sending under 3,000 messages per day, then this is perfect for you!
Quick note – a message is a single segment. So, if you use emojis, special characters, or your message is very long, it could have multiple segments. (Don’t worry about getting bogged down in the details, most people don’t have this issue.)
Simply signup for an account. You’ll be classified as a “starter” account. You’ll answer some basic questions about your business and the messages you want to send.
Then, “Bob’s your uncle”, and you’ll be sending messages no problem.
You’ll have your very own 10 DLC to send and receive messages from.
But, what if you need to send more than 3,000 messages in a day?
Sending Mid-Volume SMS
So, let’s say your business is growing… congrats!
You’ve now got more than 3,000 subscribers, what do you do?
First – my suggestion is to stagger your sends.
Do you really need to send everyone the same message at the same time? Maybe break your list into smaller segments, and stagger the sending out over a few days.
Remember the send limitation is based on a 24 hour window… so send one group their messages on Monday, and the rest on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Second, clean your list.
Don’t have a lot of people responding to your messages? Maybe it’s time to remove some people.
Send these prospects a quick note asking if they want to stay on your list – only keep those that respond. If you have a good active list you should have normal response rates of 10% to 40%.
I’ve seen some response rates over 70%
OK, you broke your list into segments… you’ve cleaned your list… and you’re still needing to send more than 3,000 messages in a day… what’s next?
Registering a STANDARD SMS Account
What’s a standard account?
A standard type account is a designation by the carriers. It’s right in between the Starter SMS account – where you send less that 3,000 messages a day – and the Short code account – where you provision your own short code and send tens or hundreds of thousands of messages!
What’s unique about a standard type account?
Nothing really. It’s targeted at businesses that send more than 3,000 messages a day, and can be used with up to five 10 DLC numbers. (Betwext has the technology to use multiple 10 DLCs in every account – Reach out to customer service for more details.)
To get a standard account, you’ll need to do a tiny bit of extra work.
You’ll need to provide a bit more information about your business – to prove everything is on the up-and-up. Plus the business verification process charges a small processing fee.
Nothing too crazy – right now – the fee is set at a couple of bucks.
Once your business is verified, you’ll be good to go. The process takes a few days, but that’s because it’s new. I’d imagine it will become almost instantaneous in the near future.
Oh – one other note – if you’re a charity (501c3), or sending emergency alert SMS notifications, there are different rates and discounts. Reach out to our customer support team if you’re in that special class.
See, lots of changes but nothing too painful.
Before you go – there is one other option…
Sending SMS From 1-800 Numbers
So we covered dedicated short codes for big senders, starter accounts with 10 DLCs for small senders… and Standard accounts with up to five 10 DLC numbers for mid-range SMS volumes.
There is one last option – that’s perfect for businesses working nationwide, 1-800 numbers, now called toll-free numbers.
As I write this, toll-free numbers often have better deliverability and less carrier filtering when used properly. Toll-free numbers also have 10X the sending power… PLUS, you don’t need to register your business and pay the extra fees.
The big phone carriers now allow us to send higher volumes with toll-free numbers.
They also allow MMS (images and videos) to be sent on toll-free numbers.
So, if your business is going to be using SMS messages to connect with customers and prospects, make sure you pick the best type of long code, short code, or toll- free number for you!
Anyway, I’m ready to help you pick the perfect setup for your text marketing needs… If you need some clarification, or just want to chat about your options, just reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll help you figure all this stuff out!
By the way, looking for text message marketing best practices?
We’ll help you figure out the best setup for your business.
The Ultimate Guide to Text Message Marketing
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