How to Get Short Codes for Text Messaging

Short codes have quickly become one of the most effective marketing tools out there, largely because they encourage users to reach out to you rather than the other way around. With a short code, a customer will simply text a chosen keyword to a five-digit number. 

These smart codes are typically automated and will feed pre-programmed information to the user. This could take the form of anything from information on your store to entry in a VIP program to coupon or promo codes. Finding the right balance of reward is integral to getting a short code marketing campaign off of the ground, but you won’t get very far if you don’t know how to get those short codes in the first place.

Where to Go

Fortunately, short code management is handled by a single organization. The U.S. Short Code Administration is in charge of these codes and leases them out to brands for private usage. That keeps all of the key short codes from being taken, and it makes sure that there’s fair accessibility to businesses of any size. That said, it is a bureaucracy, and that means that getting the paperwork you need can require jumping through hoops.

Using a Third Party

If you’re trying to lease short codes as part of your larger marketing campaign, your most sensible choice might be to go through a third party. SaaS solutions like TextSanity can handle the practicalities of applying for a short code, but that’s just one service in a whole suite of them. The main reason to invest in software like this is to automate the process of handling a text marketing campaign. The easy ability to register for a short code is just a nice perk, but software like this will be necessary for almost anyone who wants to use those short codes effectively.

What to Look For

The main question you need to ask yourself when applying for a short code is whether you want a generic or vanity code. The former costs less but is randomized. The latter costs more but allows you to pick the number you want. 

That gives you a lot more leverage to come up with a number combination that’s catchy or tied into the general theme of your company. As short codes are becoming more widely used, they’re becoming more widely tagged by phone service providers as spam. That means that using a third party is more important than ever before since they can help make the process smooth and reduce the risk of your messages being blocked by certain providers.

What You Can Expect to Pay

In terms of the boost it can provide to your business, the cost for a short code isn’t all that great. A generic short code will generally cost $500 to license for a month, and you can expect to pay double that if you want a vanity code. It’s not an especially large cost, but it can add up over time. That’s why it’s important to plan out your marketing campaign far in advance. Managing multiple different codes for your different marketing campaigns and shifting between them to get the maximum results can have a major impact on the efficacy of your marketing.

If you’re serious about SMS marketing, short codes are simply too good of a resource to pass up on. Fortunately, they’re routinely included as part of larger email marketing platforms. They can help you figure out how to get short codes for text messaging, but that’s just scratching the surface of what they have to offer.

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