sms marketing

Famed author Mark Twain was once quoted as saying, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Strange? What Twain meant was that it was easier to blab on and on rather than to be direct and succinct.

What Does This Have To Do With SMS?

When it comes to text, marketers have a choice between a vanity plate version of a short code or the regular and longer code. It’s obviously easier to remember a short code and type in a five- or six-digit code on a smart phone rather than the ten-digit phone number regular code.

Available short codes can also be chosen by marketers who often attempt to get them to match up with a brand or name. Like vanity plates, there is an additional fee and for short codes, it costs about $1,000 a month.

Other Considerations

Basically, there are two SMS programs and rates marketers can choose from. One is the standard rate where customers may be liable for the cost of any messages or data incurred by texting. The other is FTEU or free to end user where the company leasing the short code pays for the cost of sending and/or receiving messages.

What’s A Marketer To Do?

With a regular code, marketers can get started almost right away on their marketing campaign. Although it may discourage some customers from signing up for SMS promotions, the code lasts indefinitely since it’s not subject to lease terms unlike the short code.

At the moment, however, regular codes can be used with all wireless carriers unlike the short codes. And for companies doing business globally, the same regular code may be used internationally. Companies using short codes must conform to each country’s requirements which often results in having to use different codes.

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Although regular codes sound like the way to go, there are some disadvantages as well. One of the dangers is that regular codes are more prone to spam and subject to slower speeds. The latter would tend to limit the size of your text.

In addition to the advantages stated above, short codes are faster and more reliable. If your market is only in the U.S., your volume and sales brisk, and your strategy involves texting often, a short code could be a good investment.

The End Game

Regular codes offer one-on-one communication between customer and company which are important in cultivating a relationship. Short codes are one-way and intended to be the next generation of email blasts. If you employ short codes, be sure to offer customers other options to connect with you to maintain a relationship.

Before you decide, familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each and determine what fits best into your marketing strategy. If you have friendly counterparts in the industry, get their take on both,, especially if they’re already using one or the other.

Log your results. Analyze those results on a regular basis and compare them to your SMS marketing strategy. Be prepared to adjust your strategy.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.