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Saying Goodbye To Shared Short Codes and Welcoming Toll Free Texting

Posted by Justin McIntire on Jul 10, 2019

toll free texting


Whether your business is using text messages for marketing, customer engagement, or streaming automation, it’s no surprise why so many businesses are implementing SMS into their daily operations. However, carrier’s have recently cracked down on the most popular short code option, shared short codes, charging SMS service providers to move their customers to the superior number option: Dedicated Short Codes or Toll-Free.

If your business is still using a shared short code, now is a perfect time to explore the ins and outs of various number options that best suits your needs.


What Are Short Codes?

A short code is a convenient 5 to 6 digit number that enables users to text in a keyword to automatically opt-in to a business’s database. They are ideal for mass, one-way communication and what makes SMS marketing so effective. Other examples can include alert notifications, mobile coupons, and promotions.

There are two types of short codes, shared and dedicated, but shared short codes are on their way out as carriers are ending support for them in 2019. But why?


The End of the Shared Short Code

Carrier’s discontinued shared short codes because of their ability to be misused. Because multiple businesses share a single short code, if one business decides not be compliant to the TCPA & CTIA, the entire shared code shut down, potentially affecting thousands of users and businesses who are using that particular shared short code. Shared short codes also limit what keywords users can use, because other users might already be using that keyword. 


The First Alternative: Dedicated Short Codes

A dedicated short code is a short code that can only be used by a single user. The short code can be specifically chosen by the user, much like a custom license plate. They also have the option to use any keyword they want, removing the limit of only using one keyword per code. 


Advantages of Dedicated Short Codes

  • Better Brand Recognition: A short code can be as recognizable to your customer as your twitter account or website address.
  • You Choose Your Keyword: When you have a dedicated short code, you aren't limited by other people already using your SMS mobile keyword, which gives you creative freedom to run your campaigns how you want.
  • You Control Your Message: When you have your own dedicated short code, you can be in total control of how your messaging campaigns are seen by your customers, which helps you maintain a consistent brand image.
  • Better Security: If you work in an industry like financial services, healthcare, or the government, then having a dedicated short code allows you to have complete control over what is sent and will give you a higher degree of privacy and security. It also lets you enable two-factor authentication if you’d like to do so.
  • More Functionality: If you have a dedicated short code you can do things that shared short codes can't do, like run a text-to-win campaign for your subscribers.


Uses of Dedicated Short Codes and Toll-Free Numbers

  • Bulk Messaging
  • Marketing Promotions
  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Billing Information
  • Mobile Coupons
  • Alert Notifications: Weather updates, Traffic updates, and Security Notifications
  • Sweepstakes and Contests
  • Mobile Voting

The Newest Number Options: Toll Free

Toll-Free numbers are 10-digit numbers that begin with the prefix 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833. This new number give their users the presence of a large, national company. Toll Free is great because they give you the power and flexibility of dedicated short codes, but at a fraction of the cost. Since shared short codes are being phased out, Toll-Free numbers are the best option for users who were using a shared short code. But why?

Toll-Free SMS provides that better user experience by allowing your customers to have the conversation on their terms. Whether it’s texting with a member of your team, giving a quick reply to a message on the go, or calling your business to have a more direct interaction, Toll-Free SMS enables your customers to interact with you how they’d prefer and all from one easy to remember phone number.

Toll-Free numbers will work essentially the same as a dedicated short codes, including being able to send mass messages and work with Trumpia’s advanced features, like our automation. The differences between the two include:

  • It will be a 10-digit number rather than 5-digits short code number.
  • MMS will be supported on Toll-Free numbers by the end of 2019.
  • You may be able to provision to receive phone calls as well as text messages on your Toll-Free number.

In the Near Future: A2P Long Code

While wireless carriers and aggregators are not planning to support these numbers until later in 2019, this channel will use local 10-digit phone numbers that are provisioned to send mass messages for commercial purposes. They will essentially work like dedicated short codes, including compatibility with all of Trumpia’s features, but will cost essentially the same as inexpensive but retired shared short codes.

Whether you decide to use a dedicated short code, a Toll-Free number, or a long code for  texting for your business, sending SMS messages is the most effective way of developing strong relationships with your customers. Looking for a texting provider that can help you find the right number option? Click here to talk to one of our experts today!

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