3 differences between long code and short code in text message marketing

 SMS text message marketing is a powerful tactic in any company’s digital marketing strategy.

Not only do about 59 percent of consumers respond to their text messages within five minutes, but nearly 100 percent of people at least open all of their text messages.

But as you’re entering the world of text message marketing, you begin your efforts with a very important decision: whether to use a long code or short code.

Long codes and short codes merely refer to the type of number you’re sending your text messages from. Long codes are a standard 10-digit phone number, while short codes are an easier-to-remember 5- to 6-digit number.

The following are three differences between long codes and short codes so that you can decide which is best for your company and goals behind text message marketing.

Capabilities

Long codes can be used for more than just text messaging. They can also be used for faxes and making calls. Short codes can only send and receive text messages.

Typically, long codes are used for customer service-related communication, such as:

  • Informing a customer that his or her package is out for delivery.
  • Updating customers with their account balance.

But companies often use short codes for mass marketing, security and emergency communications in text message marketing, such as:

  • Sending ads, coupons and other promotional information. For example, customers can opt in for a discount or other type of loyalty program by texting a keyword to the short code number.
  • Two-factor authentication for security purposes.
  • Alert notifications, such as hurrican warnings or flight delays.

While long codes can work worldwide, they don’t support delivery receipts. But there are still ways to know if delivery was successful when using particular SMS messaging platforms, such as DailyStory. However, short codes are considered to be the most reliable from both a technical and legal standpoint.

Volume

Of course, a big difference between long codes and short codes is the speed and volume of sending text messages in your text message marketing.

Long codes limit sending to one message per second, so companies typically use them for person-to-person communication. Short codes, on the other hand, can send 40 messages per second, so companies often use them for high-volume messaging, such as voting on TV shows.

In addition, according to carrier regulations, the ratio of inbound-to-outbound text traffic should be better than one-to-three for long codes. Short codes do not have this restriction.

Learn more about carrier violations and how to avoid them during SMS text message marketing.

Cost

Short codes can be much more expensive than long codes. The cost of a short code, for example, can begin at $500 per month in addition to any set-up fees.

Long codes are considerably more affordable.

In conclusion

The decision whether to secure a long code or short code depends on your budget and your intended uses for SMS text message marketing. Keep in mind that technology continues to evolve, and 10DLC is something to explore as well.

Check out our 10 best practices for SMS text message marketing.

As you’re deciding on whether to use a long code or short code, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation, powerful SMS text message marketing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

4 tips to grow your SMS text message marketing subscribers

With SMS text message marketing continuing to grow in popularity, every business should work it into its digital marketing strategy.

But with strict opt-in procedures required, you can’t leap into your first text message campaign before you have a confirmed subscriber list (regardless of how many contact phone numbers you might already have simply through conducting business).

The good news is that about 91 percent of consumers would opt-in for text messages from brands.

Assuming you’re already prepared to use best practices for your first text message marketing campaign or program, the following are four tips to help grow your text subscribers the right way.

Advertise your text program on all channels

This likely sounds obvious, but it cannot be overstated. How can your customers and potential customers opt into your texting if they don’t know it exists or the value it offers?

It could be as simple as including a line everywhere you can about texting a keyword to a phone number to receive exclusive deals. It also can be a full-fledged promotional campaign.

You’ll want to think about how you can raise awareness about your text program on your:

  • Website, where you can include an online sign-up form
  • Social media accounts, where you can use compelling visuals and direct users to your online sign-up form
  • Emails, where you can dive into all the benefits of signing up and include a link to do so (a great way to convert your email subscribers into text subscribers)
  • Analog paper (such as fliers, posters, even your receipts), where you can either use a QR code to make signing up online easy or offer paper sign-up forms

Use a memorable keyword

We mentioned that potential text subscribers could text a keyword to a phone number to opt in.

The more memorable you can make that keyword, the better. Don’t overthink it. Just put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would make sense for your brand, reflect the point of the texting program and be easy to remember if a customer doesn’t act immediately?

Offer an incentive to text subscribers

To help grow your text subscribers, consider offering an incentive for signing up. After all, you’re asking for direct access to their most-used device. Opportunities include:

  • Offering a discount on a first purchase
  • Giving away a free swag item (or some other product that makes sense to give away)
  • Hosting a contest or giveaway (just keep it legal)

Be upfront about your texting frequency

To avoid the risk of looking like spam, it’s best to be clear about how often you plan on texting subscribers.

You can include the expected frequency in your advertising. Of course, we recommend including it in your confirmation message when text subscribers do sign up as well.

It’s best to be as upfront as possible in any texting program.

In conclusion

Any successful SMS text messaging campaign or program should include a component to help grow your text subscribers.

DailyStory can help. Our platform offers dynamic audience segmentation, automation capabilities and other features that can level up your text message marketing, email marketing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

What is 10DLC? Plus, 4 reasons why you should use it

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, SMS text message marketing has only increased in popularity.

This resulted from overall increased texting among consumers. In fact, about 50 percent of people sent more texts during the height of the pandemic.

Of course, pandemic or not, the value of text marketing is clear. Almost 100 percent of people read all their text messages. Compare that with the average 18 percent email open rate businesses aim to hit.

If you’re beginning to consider SMS text message marketing for your own business, you’ll want to understand 10-digit long codes (10DLC).

Let’s dive into what 10DLC is, as well as four reasons why you should use it in your own text marketing.

What is 10DLC?

In a nutshell, 10DLC is the long-code solution for application-to-person (A2P) business messaging in North America.

Also known as commercial long codes, 10DLC is just a standard 10-digit phone number that supports high-volume messaging that’s required by businesses.

The first version of 10-digit A2P messaging years ago could only handle very low volume and simple one-to-one communications. Demand has helped push for its evolution.

10DLC versus short codes and toll-free numbers

To better understand through comparison, there are three types of numbers:

  • 10DLC
  • Short code, which is a 4- to 6-digit number used for non-consumer (A2P) messaging globally
  • Toll-free long code, which begins with an 8 and is available for voice calls but also has been enabled for texts

Each type supports different business needs and desired outcomes. 

10DLC best supports a localized, smaller customer base, with typical uses including chat, event-based interactions, service updates, appointment reminders and more. While traditional local long codes send at a rate of 1 message per second and only support sending of a few hundred messages per day, 10DLCs should be capable of sending around 100,000 text messages per month with a send rate of between five and 15 text messages per second. Keep in mind that support for 10DLCs is exclusive to the United States and Canada.

Short codes support an enterprise-level, large-scale customer base, with typical uses including marketing blasts, one-time passwords, fraud alerts, transactional and more. While short codes are appealing, their lease rates are the most expensive and can range from $500 to $1,000 per month or more. Short codes feature unlimited throughput and volume. For example, you can use them to send millions of text messages per day and at rates of up to 500 per second.

Toll-free long codes support either enterprise-level or localized messaging volumes, with typical uses including customer service chat, customer feedback, notifications and more. Its volume capabilities can be more limited, though. Toll-free long codes can only send at a rate of 3 messages per second, though, with the capability of sending a few thousand texts per day.

Short codes do not have voice capabilities, while 10DLC and toll-free do. But 10DLC does not include delivery-receipt capabilities, while short code and toll-free do.

Why use 10DLC in your SMS text marketing?

Low-cost option

When compared to short codes, 10DLCs are far more affordable for small businesses. They typically cost only a few dollars per month. Granted, if you have the budget to use both short codes and 10DLCs, definitely do since they both serve different purposes and have different benefits.

Local phone number recognition

10DLC enables businesses to reach customers individually or in mass with a local phone number. This vastly improves user experience and then customer engagement as a result. Think about your own experience as a consumer. Are you more trusting of a local number being used by a nearby restaurant?

Both text- and voice-enabled

10DLCs support voice, which means customers can send and receive text messages on the same number they call you on. Again, this contributes to a better, less-confusing and more-seamless user experience. The better the experience, the better your results.

Higher messaging volume (but not the highest)

10DLC numbers feature a higher messaging volume than traditional long codes and toll-free numbers for about the same cost. They can’t compare to the volume that short codes feature, but depending on your SMS text messaging goals, that might not matter to your business.

In conclusion

SMS text message marketing is a powerful tactic that businesses should be using in their overall digital marketing strategies.

And 10DLCs can help you drive results. Plus, check out our eight tips to write a text message that won’t get ignored. Just make sure that you’re avoiding all carrier violations so that your texts deliver to customers.

DailyStory can help you get started with SMS marketing. Our platform features dynamic audience segmentation, automation features, text carrier violation checker and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

MMS marketing: Using images in your text messages

Using images in your text messages (otherwise known as MMS marketing) is a great way to convey brand identity and other important content in your text message marketing.

It is often said: “A picture is worth a thousand words,” which can help you communicate more than the typical character limit for a standard text message. Plus, using MMS can also help avoid carrier violations!

But, as great as it sounds, it’s not as simple as just picking an image and sending it. There are important considerations for the type of image and implications surrounding delivery.

Check out our eight tips to write a text message that won’t get ignored.

The following are some tips and recommendations to get the most out of your MMS marketing messages.

What is a MMS text message?

As defined by Wikipedia, a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a standard way to send messages that include multimedia content to and from a mobile phone over a cellular network.

Examples include: images, video, JSON and more. For the purpose of MMS text message marketing where hundreds or thousands of messages may be sent, we’re limiting our discussion to images.

Use JPG or GIF file formats

MMS supports many image file formats, but we recommend staying with a more standard and common format.

Unfortunately, not all devices you are sending to will support all the newer formats, and the goal is to always maximize deliverability.

For images, we recommend using JPG or GIF, but only use GIF when sending animated images.

Image resolution should be less than 640 pixels wide

The image used should not be wider than 640 pixels and no taller than 1,138 pixels. This ratio (9:16) is a portrait ratio and is optimized for viewability on mobile screens. However, you can use other ratios, such as a square, while staying within these dimension constraints.

Larger, high-resolution images will not be as easily viewed on a mobile device. They also will cause the file size to exceed the recommended 300 KB, and carriers will reject the message if the image is too large.

Image size should be less than 300 KB

Image size, or how much storage space your image uses, is important to consider.

Generally, images that are larger than 300 KB should be avoided.

While the newest specification for MMS allows for larger formats when sending marketing text messages, we typically recommend the smaller the better.

You can easily find the size of an image by right-clicking and selecting properties. Below is an example from Windows for the MMS Image Dimensions image (used above) that is 36.7 KB. Well under 300 KB!

Images that are too large will not be supported by all devices. Staying within the preferred size will prevent carriers from rejecting messages for MMS file sizes being too large.

What to include

We typically recommend using imagery associated with your brand — as this helps people identify who the text is coming from. You can also include text, too.

Using text in the image is one way to work around carrier restrictions for certain words or phrases.

For example, the text phrase “20% OFF” would get flagged by carriers as part of their carrier violation score. However, the same text used in an image can bypass this restriction.

An MMS text can still include additional text content, too. We recommend including the standard “Reply STOP to opt out,” but other content can also be included. We recommend limiting the text content to no more than 320 characters, though.

What not to include

Don’t take one of your large images used on Instagram or your website and just downsize it to use for MMS. The image quality will suffer and most likely the content will be unreadable.

Keep it simple and always design for MMS, just as you would design specific assets for social media channels like Instagram.

Sounds great, but … it’s triple the cost

Text message marketing isn’t free. Carriers charge based on the number of characters sent. For example, a “segment” consists of 160 characters. Billing is calculated per-segment times the number of messages sent.

MMS text messages are no different. They effectively cost 3 segments and may go over that depending on additional text (varies by carrier).

Therefore, sending an MMS is effectively triple the cost of a regular text message.

MMS deliverability

The No. 1 concern with any text message is deliverability. And, while MMS text message marketing is a way to enhance your messages, it, unfortunately, doesn’t guarantee delivery. The tips above will help, but they can’t prevent carrier violations.

Additionally, all mobile phones do not support MMS. For example, pay-as-you-go phones have limited support for text messaging.

Use audience segmentation to generate leads

A segment is a grouping of your audience who share common attributes. Segmentation helps you get the right message to the right people.

Examples of segments include people in a 30-day trial who have not completed a purchase or customers whose membership expires next month.

Once you identify a segment, you can target the segment with specific messages using the channels most appropriate for that segment. And, using personalization, content is uniquely targeted at each individual.

The end result is each person receives content targeted and personalized to them, through the channel (email, text messaging, push notification, etc.) most appropriate to them.

Sounds great. But where do you start? With data.

Collecting customer data

You have more data than you realize and countless untapped opportunities to collect it. One of the biggest challenges we see with our customers is how to aggregate customer and prospect data together.

Aggregating data from multiple systems and applications is not easy, but when done, doing so creates a rich trove of data for segmentation.

Customer segmentation data sources may include:

  • Basic demographic data: age, gender, title and more
  • Website activity: What pages did the customer visit?
  • Past purchase history: What purchases has the customer made previously?
  • Submitted form data: What data has the customer submitted through forms?
  • Sales profiles: Information obtained from systems, such as Salesforce (for example)
  • Mobile app engagement: Data from mobile app usage
  • Customer location: What time zone is the customer in?
  • Customer communities or other applications: Pulling data from sources such as a Telligent community or other customer management systems.

And those are just some examples! In addition to the data you have, you can also augment data from external sources.

Augment customer data

In addition to the data you already have about your customers, this data can be augmented.

Examples include:

  • Converting addresses to geographic latitude and longitude for proximity-based groupings, such as people within so many miles or kilometers of a location
  • Average income and home value groupings (by using public and private sources this data can be derived from geographic information)

Building customer profiles

Now that you have some customer data, what do you do with it? How do you consolidate all the data into a unified customer profile?

DailyStory solves this by enabling you to extend DailyStory’s built-in customer profile.

For example, adding custom fields to your contacts, such as Membership Level, Expiration Date, Customer Groups and any other data type you can think of:

Next, you can update DailyStory contacts simply by uploading a spreadsheet. Including your own customer profile data.

While these two concepts aren’t unique to DailyStory, the ability for any customer profile data to be used for segment creation is unique. And, for those segments to automatically update themselves as data changes using Dynamic Segments.

Once you have your customer data aggregated together, you can start building your segments.

Building Segments

We recommend starting with large, “macro,” segments of your audience. Then, build smaller “hyper” segments.

What’s the difference?

Macro segments

Just as it sounds, a macro segment is a large segment, such as millennials, previous customers, current customers, customers in the U.S., people who use your mobile app, customers in Washington state and so on.

Macro segments describe a large group of your audience.

A macro segment typically represents about 10 percent to 30 percent of your total audience base.

For example, if there were 10,000 contacts in our list, we would expect 1,000 to 3,000 to be customers or previous customers.

Once you have established your macro segments, you’ll want to build smaller hyper segments.

Hyper segments

A hyper segment is a much smaller group and typically combines multiple macro segments along with other criteria.

An example of a hyper segment is millennials living within 5 miles of New York City that are previous customers.

Whereas a macro segment represents 10 percent to 30 percent of your total audience base, a hyper segment should represent about 5 percent or less.

For example, if there were 10,000 contacts in our list, we would expect 300 to 500 people to fit into a hyper segment.

Why are hyper segments so narrow?

Hyper segments are purposefully narrowly targeted.

Because the target audience is so specific, using personalization along with the most appropriate channel and message yields a higher engagement rate.

You can measure your overall engagement rate through opens, click and conversions.

Fit the channel to the audience

In marketing-speak, we say “channel” in reference to how we’re delivering our message: email, text messaging and push notifications are several examples.

  • Push Notifications:  Messages sent to people who installed your app. The message size is limited but represents an engaged audience.
  • Text Messages: Messages sent to people for whom you have both a mobile number and have opted-in to receiving text messages from you. Similar to push notifications, the message size is limited, but text messages see a much higher engagement rate than email.
  • Emails: Messages sent to people who have opted-in to receive emails.

When it comes to channel selection, use push notifications first (when/if available). When targeting younger audiences, use text messages. And email is the constant fallback if no other channel is available.

Once you select the appropriate channel, personalize the content to better target the recipient.

Personalization and content targeting

Personalization is your ability to use the data you have about your audience to understand how your content best fits their needs or interest. This ensures visitors and customers get messaging tailored to them.

In DailyStory, any profile field (including custom fields) are available for personalization. This includes basic personalization, such as addressing the recipient by his or her first name, or more complex personalization that selectively includes content.

The primary purpose of personalization is to make the message as targeted and as relevant to the recipient as possible. It goes hand-in-hand with the power of segmentation.

The more personalized your content, the higher the engagement rate you will see.

In conclusion

Properly segmenting your audience, choosing the most appropriate channels and personalizing your content will yield higher engagement rates. As an example, one of our customers achieved a more than 40 percent open rate on a campaign that used these techniques.

As you’re exploring audience segmentation strategies, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.