SMS is a simple but extremely powerful messaging tool for businesses to communicate immediately with customers, clients, employees, and members. Since the first SMS for commercial use was sent in 1992 (Neil Papworth, a test engineer at Sema Group, sent the message, “Merry Christmas” to friend Richard Jarvis. It was sent from a computer to a handset device using the Vodafone GSM – Global System for Mobile communication network.), companies have used text messaging in a range of business applications for two-way communication within their organization as well as with their clients. Business applications include emergency alerts, automated appointment or payment reminders, voting, sending critical information to employees so they can take immediate action, paid services, enhanced customer support, and mobile employee support to name a few.
There are two options to send SMS messages: long numbers and short codes. Both long numbers (i.e. 757-544-9510) and short codes (i.e. 75195) are methods for receiving inbound and sending outbound SMS text messages. The key is to determine which method is best suited to your business’ needs.
Short code services are typically used by advertising agencies, media companies, radio stations, TV channels, and marketing companies to interact with consumers during campaigns and contests. For example, a consumer can send a text message to a radio station short code to request songs, enter a contest, vote on a talk show issue, or receive traffic and weather reports. Short codes in the U.S. are leased on a short term basis (three, six, or twelve month term), and are therefore suited to these types of marketing campaigns and messages.
The process to obtain and use a short code is two-fold. First, a business must apply for a short code with the Common Short Code Administration ( CSCA ). Ordering and leasing a short code costs $500 per month for a random number, and $1,000 per month for a vanity number. Second, the business must submit a campaign application, which the wireless carriers will review and either accept or reject. Even if they reject the application, the lease fees are non-refundable. This two-part process typically takes 6 – 10 weeks. So there is a considerable amount of expense and time up front.
Short Code Advantages
• Easier to remember a short number
• Single number across all wireless networks
• Ability to charge the end-user
• TV Shows and voting
• Radio Ads (Text ‘I WANT ONE’ to 667756)
• Advertising campaigns that generate money from messaging
Not all business communication needs fall within the realm of marketing messages, and require text messaging capabilities without a huge investment in time and money. A low-cost and easy to implement alternative is the long number method, which can be used to send and receive text messages through an SMS gateway.
Long number text messaging is available through an SMS service provider, which is a business that provides a gateway to send and receive text messages. Some service providers offer out of the box solutions for specific industries. Other service providers offer technical connectivity that allows a business to build customized logic to support their business needs. For example, a text messaging Web Service which allows a business IT department to implement text messaging capabilities programmatically within their existing systems.
Account set up and integration with an SMS service provider is much quicker than leasing a short code, and typically takes 1 – 2 business days.
Long Number Advantages
• Minimal setup time and cost
• Not restricted to national borders
• Less likely to get shut off from abuse
• No need to set up keywords to get responses
• Still works in roaming situations
• Public Services (Warnings, etc)
• Business Applications (Website verification, track your package, etc)
• Dating Services (Anonymous Messaging)
• Double Opt-in Advertising campaigns without the objective of generating revenue from wireless networks.
Source by Nicole Fesette