Short Codes explained
What is a Common Short Code (CSC)?
Short codes are an abbreviated phone number with usually 5 or 6 digits. There are dedicated short codes and shared short codes. A dedicated short code is owned by one company or brand and they are the only ones with access to advertise across that particular short code.
A shared short code is a short code leased by a company which then turns around and leases keywords to smaller businesses and organizations. These shared codes are a great way to get started because there is no delay for approval and the overall cost is much less.
The first step of the process begins with a 'call to action'. A consumer may hear a verbal call to action on the radio or TV, they may also read a printed call to action on a sign, in the newspaper, or on a billboard.
Depending on the type of keyword and mobile messaging campaign, the user will receive a message letting them know what they have just joined and what they can expect, along with some carrier compliancy verbage. But it all begins with a call to action and here are a few examples...
:A radio DJ announces: "Text us your opinion, just text your comments to 84700"
A billboard might read: "Win Free Concert Tickets, text TICKETS to 84700"
A TV show might ask you: "Vote for your favorite contestant, text A or B to 84700"
A magazine ad might read: "To find your nearest dealer, text your zip code to 84700"
Shared short codes keep mobile marketing cost-effective for small business
In order for SMS marketing to remain cost effective for small business, shared short codes are the solution. Shared short codes that have been provisioned and certified by wireless carriers typically cost less than $100 per month, compared with $1,500 or more to have your own 'dedicated' short code.
On a shared code, businesses can immediately get started with an application provider by selecting an available keyword and instantly begin building a database for their business. All of this without waiting the 8-12 weeks for carrier approval, and all for much less cost.
If the business has multiple locations and rather large marketing aspirations, later they can easily move everything over to a dedicated code. But for most medium to small businesses, a shared code is all they will ever need, especially when starting out.
Short codes have different purpose depending on application
Shortcodes are very useful for marketing because they are catchy and easy to remember and typically cost the end user nothing to receive messages. There are three different uses for short codes when it comes to messaging...SMS, MMS (premium messaging), and Mobile Giving.
SMS codes are standard rated messaging codes, meaning if an end user has a text marketing plan, they will not be charged any fees. If they do not have a text plan, they will incur a $.10-$.15 cent charge, depending on their carrier’s rate. Most people will not 'opt in' to a short code without a messaging plan already in place.
MMS codes are premium rated codes. These codes are used by businesses that want to send out content like pictures, ringtones, wallpapers, etc., or any service they can charge an end user for, like jokes of the day or horoscopes.
When an MMS premium charge is incurred, the wireless carriers take a large portion of the charge, the aggregator takes a portion, and the application provider may take a portion, and whatever remains is paid to the company sending the content; this is typically less than 50% of the money.
Mobile giving is different because there are rules for an NPO to qualify and if your 501c3 does indeed qualify, then wireless carriers take a minimum amount from the donation, typically just $.25-$.50 cents for each of the $5 or $10 donations. This insures almost the entire donation goes to its intended recipient which encourages people to give, knowing they are benefiting the charity more then the phone company.