Texting for your Organization: Short Codes vs. Toll-Free numbers

Being responsible for communicating with a large number of people can seem like an overwhelming task. Studies have shown that 98% of text messages are read (Source: Daily Egg) making texting the most effective way to connect to those who want and need to hear from you and your organization. Picking the right texting options to fit your organization's needs are important to make sure you are utilizing all the benefits of text messaging. The first question to answer before signing up with a texting platform will be which type of phone number is best for your organization. There are two different options to choose from: short codes and dedicated phone numbers. This article will discuss the difference between the two as well as the pros and cons for each.

What are short codes?

A short code is a 5 or 6 digit telephone number that's shorter than a full phone number that are used to send and receive SMS (Short Message Service) and MMS (Multimedia Message Service) messages to and from mobile phones. Most texting platforms will offer two different types of short codes; shared and dedicated.

What are the differences between shared and dedicated short codes?

A dedicated short code will be used exclusively by one organization or company, unfortunately, with costs starting at least $1,000 per month, dedicated short codes are expensive. This is due to how closely carriers monitor activity to prevent spam. They also take a long time to set-up – typically around six weeks, including a lengthy application process.

A shared short code is significantly more cost effective, however, other organizations are using the same code to send out their communications as well and that can lead to confusion for the folks who want to connect with your organization. Short codes also prohibit one-on-one communication with your subscribers, and a subscriber can't call a short code to connect with your organization via phone.

Most organizations utilize keywords for their subscription lists and social media marketing, if you are using a short code it is possible that the keyword you wish to utilize will already be in use by another organization. Another thing to consider with a shared short code is that another company could violate CTIA Short Code Rules that result in the unexpected suspension of the short code. Perhaps because of all these complications, major network carriers have announced that they will no longer support the use of shared short codes, however, a timeline for the support change has not been communicated.

What are dedicated phone numbers?

You can use a dedicated phone number to send out your SMS and MMS communications. A dedicated phone number is just that; a local or toll-free phone number that's used exclusively by your organization. Dedicated numbers are much more cost effective than a dedicated short code and provide consistency for your subscribers. With a dedicated number, you can not only use it for text communications but your subscribers can also call the number to reach your organization. With that type of consistency you can use a dedicated phone number in advertising and mobile campaigns.

What are the advantages of texting with a toll-free number?

You can use a toll-free number (1-8XX) to send out messages to mobile phones. With toll-free numbers, messages can be sent to large groups of people quickly and easily. Additionally, setting-up a toll free number is much faster than a short code – it usually happens instantly!

Even though short codes were created with the intention of being used for mass text marketing, only larger corporations were able to afford the price tags for dedicated short codes. With the ambiguous announcement that major carriers will no longer be supporting shared short codes, we believe that choosing a dedicated phone number is the best choice to connect with your subscribers via text. MojoTxt is proud to offer both local phone numbers and toll-free numbers for your texting convenience. Happy connecting!

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