How to Get a Short Code Number: A Step-by-Step Guide

By John Adebimitan

Getting a short code number is essential for any business looking to launch an SMS marketing campaign.

A short code is a five or six-digit number that allows businesses to send and receive text messages with their customers. Getting a dedicated short code number for your business is essential to ensure that your messages are delivered promptly and securely.

There are two types of short codes: random and vanity. A random short code is a randomly assigned five or six-digit number, while a vanity short code is a customized number that spells out a specific word or phrase.

Both types of shortcodes have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on your business needs and budget. In the next few paragraphs, we will discuss how to get a short code number and the factors you need to consider.

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What is a Short Code Number?

If you’re interested in SMS marketing or sending mass text messages, you’ve probably heard of short codes. But what exactly is a short code number?

In simple terms, a short code is a 5 or 6 digit phone number that is used to send and receive SMS messages. Short codes are commonly used for mass text messaging, SMS marketing, and other types of automated messaging.

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Short codes are different from regular phone numbers in a few ways. First, they are shorter and easier to remember. Second, they are designed to handle a high volume of messages, which makes them ideal for mass texting.

When you send a message to a short code, you are typically interacting with an automated system. For example, if you text a keyword to a short code, you might receive an automated response with more information or a link to a website.

Short codes are often used by businesses and organizations to send messages to their customers or members. For example, a retailer might send text messages with special offers or coupons to customers who opt into their SMS marketing program.

Overall, short codes are a powerful tool for businesses and organizations that want to reach a large audience with SMS messages. If you’re interested in using short codes for your own SMS marketing or messaging needs, there are a few things you’ll need to know.

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Types of Short Codes

When it comes to short codes, there are several types to choose from. Each type has its own unique characteristics that make it suitable for different purposes. Here are the four main types of short codes:

Dedicated Short Code

Dedicated Short Code

A dedicated short code is a unique five to six-digit number that is exclusively leased by a single business or organization. This type of short code is ideal for businesses that require high-volume messaging or have specific branding needs. Dedicated short codes are more expensive than other types of short codes, but they offer greater control and flexibility.

Vanity Short Code

A vanity short code is a personalized short code that spells out a word or phrase. For example, a pizza restaurant might use the short code “PIZZA” to make it easy for customers to remember. Vanity short codes are great for branding and marketing purposes, but they can be more expensive than other types of short codes.

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Random Short Code

A random short code is a five to six-digit number that is assigned by the SMS provider. This type of short code is typically less expensive than other types of short codes, but it doesn’t offer the same level of branding or memorability as a vanity short code. Random short codes are a good option for businesses that don’t require a specific number or branding.

Shared Short Code

A shared short code is a number that is shared by multiple businesses or organizations. This type of short code is more affordable than a dedicated short code, but it can be less reliable and less secure. Shared short codes are a good option for small businesses or organizations that don’t require high-volume messaging.

Shared Short Code

When choosing a short code, it’s important to consider your specific needs and budget. A dedicated short code is ideal for businesses that require high-volume messaging or have specific branding needs, while a shared short code is more affordable and suitable for smaller businesses.

A vanity short code is great for branding and marketing purposes, but it can be more expensive than other types of short codes. A random short code is a good option if you don’t require a specific number or branding.

To use a short code, you’ll also need to choose a keyword that customers can text to the short code to opt in to your messaging program. This keyword should be short, easy to remember, and related to your business or organization.

For example, a coffee shop might use the keyword “COFFEE” to make it easy for customers to opt in to their messaging program.

How to Get a Short Code Number

If you want to use a short code number for SMS marketing or other purposes, there are three main ways to get one: lease a short code, register a short code, or use a 10DLC number. Here’s what you need to know about each option:

Lease a Short Code

Leasing a short code is a popular option for businesses that want to use a short code number for SMS marketing.

When you lease a short code, you are essentially renting a number from a service provider. This option is typically less expensive than registering your own short code, but it comes with some limitations. For example, you may not have complete control over the number and may need to share it with other businesses.

To lease a short code, you’ll need to work with an SMS aggregator or a service provider like Twilio. These companies can help you find available shortcodes and set up your SMS campaign.

Register a Short Code

If you want more control over your short code number, you can register your own. This process involves applying for a number through the Short Code Registry and going through an approval process. Once your number is approved, you’ll have exclusive use of it.

Registering a short code can be more expensive than leasing one, but it gives you more flexibility and control over your SMS campaigns. You’ll need to work with an SMS aggregator, like Twilio, to register your number and set up your campaign.

Approval Process

Whether you lease or register a short code, you’ll need to go through an approval process before you can start using it for SMS marketing. This process is designed to ensure that your SMS campaigns are compliant with industry regulations and best practices.

The approval process typically involves submitting an application to the Short Code Registry and working with an SMS aggregator to set up your campaign.

SMS aggregator

You’ll need to provide information about your business, your campaign, and your compliance procedures. Once your application is approved, you’ll be able to start using your short code number.

In addition to short codes, you can also use 10DLC numbers for SMS marketing. These numbers are designed for businesses that send a moderate volume of messages and don’t need the same level of exclusivity as a short code. To use a 10DLC number, you’ll need to work with an SMS aggregator and go through a registration process.

Cost of Short Codes

When it comes to getting a short code number, one of the most important factors to consider is the cost. Short codes can be a valuable tool for businesses looking to engage with customers through SMS marketing campaigns or other messaging services. However, the cost of leasing and maintaining a short code can vary depending on a few key factors.

Setup Fee

One of the first costs you may encounter when leasing a short code is the setup fee. This fee is typically charged by the short code provider to cover the initial costs of setting up the code and getting it ready for use. Setup fees can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the provider and the type of code you are leasing.

Monthly Cost

In addition to the setup fee, you will also need to pay a monthly fee to lease and maintain your short code number. The monthly cost can vary depending on whether you opt for a random short code or a vanity short code.

Random short codes are typically less expensive, with monthly costs ranging from $500 to $1,000. Vanity short codes, which allow you to choose a custom number that spells out a word or phrase, can be more expensive, with monthly costs ranging from $1,000 to $1,500.

Throughput

Another factor that can impact the cost of your short code is throughput. Throughput refers to the number of messages your short code can send and receive per second. Short codes with higher throughput capabilities can handle more messages at once, which can be important for businesses with large customer bases or high message volumes. However, higher throughput short codes can also be more expensive, with costs ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 per month.

In summary, the cost of leasing a short code can vary depending on several factors, including the setup fee, monthly cost, and throughput capabilities. When considering a short code provider, it is important to carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of each option to ensure that you are getting the best value for your business.

Short Code Provisioning

When it comes to getting a short code number, there are several entities involved in the process. These include SMS software providers, wireless carriers, and Iconectiv. Here’s a breakdown of what each of these entities does in the short code provisioning process.

SMS Software Providers

SMS software providers are companies that offer software solutions for sending and receiving text messages. These providers often have partnerships with wireless carriers, which allows them to offer short codes as part of their services. If you’re using an SMS software provider, they will typically handle the short code provisioning process for you.

Wireless Carriers

Wireless carriers are the companies that provide mobile phone service to consumers. When it comes to short code provisioning, wireless carriers are responsible for reviewing and approving short code applications. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the carrier and the complexity of your application.

To apply for a short code, you’ll need to submit an application to each carrier you want to use. The application will typically include information about your business, and the types of messages you’ll be sending.

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