Short Code Text Messaging – What’s in it for Your Business?

When Ted Cruz announced for President he invited his audience to text “Constitution” or “imagine” to a Short Code. Cruz’s organization collects mobile phone numbers in this manner and can broadcast to the “list”, offering information and asking for volunteers and donations. More recently he did it again during an address at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He asked the audience to text “GROWTH” to 33733. According to Tatango, which powered the SMS (Short Message Service) program, there were 16,000 opt-ins during the speech. On the Tatango website one of the case studies describes an online cosmetics company using Short Code text messaging to create a database of mobile phone numbers that reached 5,000, from zero, in 24 hours. Interestingly, the number to which they were asked to text “JULEP”, the company name, was the same 33733 that the Cruz camp used last month. And here, my friends, is where it gets interesting. Large companies often choose to own a shortcode and will pay thousands of dollars a year for that privilege. But if your business can’t afford that rent, take heart. You can buy a share of a Short Code. Many users may share one simply by selecting a keyword no one else is using. So “text DriveNBuy to 33733” is separated from the campaign saying “text GROWTH to 33733”.

If you don’t have three minutes (and that would be sad) know that a shared Short Code could cost you $50 a month versus $500, plus far less costly message fees since hundreds or thousands of users sharing a Short Code makes for huge volumes of messages – and the greater the volume the lower the cost.
Dedicated Short Code vs Shared Short Code
So, what can you do with a Short Code? In London, drivers may purchase a ticket to bring a car into downtown by texting to a shortcode and saving the response to demonstrate that they’ve paid the fare. restuarant3But you’re just as likely to see a Short Code on a sidewalk sign outside a burger joint, inviting you to text for a coupon and bring it in.  If you’re wondering if this isn’t a lot like invitations to sign up or register with an email address you’re not wrong. This is an additional channel, not an exclusive one, and

 either direct mail or social media. And how likely is that percentage to increase? Nearly everyone has a mobile phone and entering a simple keyword trumps entering a name and email address on a tiny keyboard. This chart from Tatango sets out survey results:

Email-Marketing-vs-Text-Marketing-Statistics   In Canada, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) manages the assignment of Short Codes, leasing them at $500 per month to eligible applicants. Their site offers a FAQ that answers many questions a potential user might have. They also suggest that marketers use the term text message versus Short Code, because the former is broadly familiar. If you are interested in support in exploring the use of Short Code/text messaging in your marketing please get in touch.

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