Short code or long code – what’s better for me?

Short code or long code, both are amazing add-ons to SMS marketing and are vital if you want your customers to be able to communicate with you via SMS.

There are benefits to both, and both can be used to allow customers to enter competitions, enquire about your services or products, or communicate with your business.

Some businesses use both a short code and a long code, some just need a short code and vice-versa. We know you may not need both, but we also know that you might not know if you need either of them, and without knowing what a short code and long code are, how will you know if your business needs them?

Below we will explain what a short code and long code are, why you may need them, and how much they cost.

Short code or Long code
What is a short code?
A short code is short number that allows people to text you. They are used in conjunction with a keyword, and are most commonly used for competitions, for example, ‘Text WIN to 88802 for a chance to win a car’ Our short code number is 88802 and in this example the keyword is WIN.

So when businesses are looking to purchase a short code, they tend to mean the keyword that goes along with it. The short code is something that SMS providers own, 88802 is ours, and the keyword is something that you, our customers can purchase to be able to use our short code.
How much does a short code cost?
Our short code is free for you to use but we do charge for specific keywords, however, all accounts come with a free keyword. There are two options for purchasing a keyword, you have a choice between a Standard Keyword and a Value Keyword.

Standard Keyword – Any word you choose, for example, ‘FOOD’, ‘HOLIDAY’ ‘SHOES’ for £25 +VAT a month.

Value Keyword – Any word you choose with a number in front, for example, “2FOOD”, “4HOLIDAY”, “6SHOES” for £5 +VAT a month.

We do not tie you into any long contracts and you can cancel your keyword at any time.

What is a long code?
A long code, or virtual mobile number, is an 11 digit mobile number. It is used to allow customers to reply to SMS messages businesses send them, meaning two way conversations. An example message would be, “Your appointment has been scheduled for 11.00am on Tuesday 5th September 2017 at Clean Dentists. To change or cancel your appointment, simply reply to this message”. By using a long code, it will appear in the recipients’ phone as a normal text message from a normal mobile number.

Why do I need a long code?
Some business just want to send marketing messages to their customers with big offers and can set the sender ID as their company name, but some require the customer to reply.

If you set your sender ID to your company name, then the networks don’t know where to route the replies to, as it is just seen as text.

If you would like to give your customers the option of replying to your SMS message you will need to send the message using a long code, or as we have called it, a txtUs number. Using our txtUs number allows you two-way conversation, just like sending a text from your mobile phone.
How much does a long code cost?
All accounts come free with a long code, which allows replies to an email address, but if you want to be able to see those messages in your Message Box account you will have to purchase a dedicated virtual mobile number, pricing at £10 a month with no minimum contract.

Need more information?
Both have their benefits and both can really help boost your SMS campaigns, allowing customers to interact with you and make your business more personable.

If you want to know more about short codes have a read of our blog on why you should be using short codes or visit our short code page.
If you want to find out more about long codes visit our virtual mobile number page.