Text Marketing: Short Codes Vs Long Codes

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When putting together an effective SMS marketing strategy, a commonly debated topic is whether organizations should use long-code or short-code messaging for inbound customer engagement. Both these techniques offer unique sets of advantages and a few limitations, which, if handled correctly, may be used to your advantage.

First things first: What are short and Long Codes?

Short-code services are typically five- to six-digit alphanumeric arrangements that customers can type into their mobile phones to start engagement with a business. For instance, if your business concerns requesting customers to vote for one of 10 possible candidates, each possible response would have its own unique short-code number. Consumers would select their option and send it in the form of a text message. With such information at hand, marketers can target future communications to their audience using SMS.

Long codes, on the other hand, are the same length as conventional telephone numbers. While marketers deem them less memorable, these services are often more cost-effective and functional.

Pros and Cons of Short Codes

Short codes tend to be easier to remember, especially if they are intelligently promoted on television, at large events and in print. They tend to initiate higher rates of response, resulting in impressive amounts of revenue for the business.

Having said that, these take longer to set up and are more expensive than long-code services. Customers are also forced to pay premium charges to send out short-code SMS. Also, this technique tends to be short-term since service providers lease them out only for a limited time frame. Another limitation lies in the fact that they cannot be used for international campaigns.

If your marketing strategy has a strong financial backing, you can efficiently leverage this technique to initiate high-volume responses that influence your bottom line favorably.

Pros and Cons of Long Codes

Long codes tend to be much more cost-effective as well as easier to obtain in comparison. They can handle high messaging volumes. A major advantage is that they may be used for international campaigns and have the ability to access VoIP-powered mobiles. Since they may be exclusively assigned to your business, they are perfect for long-term campaigns. Also, customers do not pay any premium charges to communicate via long code.

Unfortunately, long codes are not easy to memorize and, thus, result in relatively fewer responses. Even though this technique is cheaper, it does not generate a great deal of revenue for a campaign.

Short codes are ideal if your campaign involves use of media and voting. Long codes work best for call centers that cater to feedback and complaints. Your business can take advantage of both these solutions to optimize its mobile marketing strategy.

mVaayoo is a cost effective End-to-End Enterprise Mobile Messaging Service with high service level availability, that is unmatched in the industry. mVaayoo provides both 1-Way and 2-Way SMS communication including short code and long code services.

Photo credit: Håkan Dahlström

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