Ever wonder how some businesses send out text blasts to thousands or hundreds of thousands of customers almost instantly? They’re most likely using short codes. 

While short codes are more expensive to use than a 10-digit number, they have been beneficial for businesses and organizations looking to reach many people all at once with the same message. 

This is why businesses use them for emergency notifications like weather alerts and road closures. Larger businesses also use them for appointment reminders, delivery updates, and more. Short codes are ideal for outbound one-way communications to quickly convey a message.

Short codes are also good for encouraging inbound messages, especially for informational or marketing campaigns, as they are easier to remember than typical 10-digit numbers. This makes customers more likely to send a simple keyword to a short code to opt-in for information.

They are designed to be memorable and easy to use, making them perfect for businesses needing to send timely promotions, alerts, or updates to a wide audience. They also encourage consumers to text in for information, helping to build text-based marketing lists. This makes them an effective tool for any business. 

Let’s look at how these compact numbers can help your business easily reach large groups of customers and how you can use them to encourage consumers to opt in to receive information about your business.

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What is a 5 or 6-Digit Phone Number?

A 5 or 6-digit phone number, commonly called a short code, makes it easier for people to remember and use compared to traditional phone numbers.

Unlike the usual 10-digit numbers that people use for personal phone calls and texts, businesses and organizations use them for specific purposes.

Short codes are primarily used for mass communication, such as alerts, updates, or promotional messages. They are great for sending bulk SMS messages to a large audience, which makes them a favorite choice for marketing campaigns, customer service alerts, and special event notifications.

Understanding the Use of 5 or 6-Digit Code

Obtaining an exclusive short code number can be very expensive. However, advanced text messaging platform providers now offer the option to share their five or six-digit codes at a fraction of the cost of leasing one directly.

No matter what kind of business you run, using them creatively and appropriately can improve how you connect with customers:

Easy to Remember

Because they’re shorter, 6-digit phone numbers are easier to remember than longer ones. This makes them ideal for customers after seeing an ad or a social media post to recall and take action on promotions or requests for information. 

For example, you might see a TV, radio, or social media post that says, “Text SPECIAL to 87000 to receive exclusive text-only offers”. Or “text HYBRID to receive product information on our newest Hybrid car release.” 

Regardless of a company’s size, this is a great way to build up text-based marketing lists. By using different keywords, businesses can easily identify a customer’s area of interest. 

High-Volume Messaging

Short codes are designed to handle a massive volume of messages at once. This makes them perfect for sending thousands or tens of thousands of texts out immediately, whether for text blasts, important notifications, or event updates which may be crucial. 

Sometimes these codes can confuse recipients since they may not recognize the number. The sender must ensure they identify themselves to the recipient. For marketing messages keep in mind that the recipients must have opted-in first given TCPA regulations. 

Speed and Effectiveness

When a business sends a text message using a leased short code, they are also paying for a high-speed line, which is why these messages can instantly reach many people. This efficiency is crucial for time-sensitive communications like sale announcements or urgent alerts. 

Depending on the urgency of such messages, businesses can also send a high volume of messages using their 10-digit business phone number by adding a high-speed line. By upgrading their phone line using their text messaging vendor, it is possible to send up to 2400 texts per minute and up to 500,000 texts a day, which may suffice for business needs. 

This is of value if the recipients will be more likely to recognize the 10-digit number and take action. It is critical to think through the business needs first before deciding which option is best.

Two Way Communication

Outbound messages that are sent from a short code are often alerts, notifications, and reminders where a response is not solicited or desired, such as a flood watch warning. 

This can be confusing to some recipients who may want to text back, as these phone numbers are often not monitored unless it is configured to handle a simple Yes or No response for confirmations.  

Unexpected responses may receive an error message or a response indicating that that number doesn’t accept inbound messages. 

Alternatively, a 10-digit number easily accepts responses and responds contextually based on the campaign. This approach can further address a recipient’s needs. If two-way communication is necessary, using a long code might be better.

Regulated and Secure

Businesses must apply for and register to get a short code, as well as, register the type of campaigns planned  with a regulatory body to use a short code. 

This ensures that these numbers adhere to certain standards and practices, which helps prevent spam and improve your user account’s security. Those using a 10 digit code for campaigns have to go through a similar registration process to ensure compliance. 

Comparing Short Codes and 10-digit Phone Numbers

When we think about phone numbers, we usually picture the standard 10-digit format people use daily. Here’s a look at how these two types of numbers stack against each other.

Length and Memory

A six-digit phone number is shorter and, as a result, typically easier to remember than a 10-digit phone number. Short codes are great for inbound marketing and opt-in campaigns where you want customers to remember how to reach you easily.

Purpose and Use

Businesses generally use 10-digit numbers for personal communications, direct interactions, and triggered campaigns. They often reserve 6-digit codes for broader, more commercial uses.

Businesses use these codes to send out large outbound campaigns, including emergency alerts, delivery or payment notifications, appointment reminders, and mass promotional messages. They also use 10-digit codes for similar purposes. However, 10-digit codes typically send messages at slower speeds and incur lower costs.

The 5 and 6-digit codes are ideal for opt-in campaigns because their shorter length makes them easy to remember. This simplicity increases engagement rates as customers can quickly text in. Meanwhile, 10-digit phone numbers are ideal for businesses prioritizing direct and ongoing contact with clients or customers. 

Messaging Capabilities

Another key difference lies in messaging capabilities. The 6-digit code numbers quickly handle a high volume of text messages. This feature makes them ideal for mass communication campaigns.

In contrast, standard 10-digit numbers are better suited for everyday communication and may face limitations if used for high-volume messaging.

Regulation and Setup

Whether you use a short code or a 10-digit phone number for your campaigns, you need approval from regulatory bodies and telecommunications providers. You must provide information about your business and the type of campaigns you plan to run. You also need to explain how you obtained recipients’ opt-in and consent to receive messages.

The approval process ensures responsible use of text-based campaigns and compliance with industry standards.

A Hybrid Approach

Another economical option is to combine the benefits of a short code with the benefits of using a 10-digit business line. Consider sharing a short code (available from some text messaging vendors) for much less expense and using it primarily to promote opt-in campaigns.

Whether used in ads, social media, truck wraps, or door hangers, promoting a keyword with a short code can be very effective in building up text marketing lists. For example, “Text DECK to 87000 to get 15% off your first project” or ” Text JOIN to 87000 to opt-in for text-only specials.”

Now here is where the long code comes in. The response to that message does not need to come from a short code.

Instead, it can come from the business’s 10-digit number, whether it is acknowledging the opt-in, or sending out a coupon or product info. This way, the consumer realizes it is a real business, and more personalized two-way texting can occur immediately if they have any questions or if a sales rep wants to reach out.

Sending responses from a 10 digit number to a growing list of opted-in customers can be less expensive than using a short code particularly for smaller businesses that don’t have large lists.

How to Get a 5 or 6-digit Phone Number

If you’re considering using a 6-digit phone number for your business, you might wonder how to acquire one. Here’s a quick guide to help you secure a short code for your marketing or communication needs:

Determine Your Needs

Before you start, decide what you’ll be using the short code for. Whether it’s for marketing, customer service, or other forms of mass communication, understanding your needs will help determine the type of short code (random or vanity) that’s best for you.

Choose Between Random Short Code vs Vanity Short Code

  • Random short codes are assigned randomly and are generally less expensive.
  • Businesses select vanity short codes because they’re easy to remember or spell out a specific word or number sequence. These are typically more costly but are great for branding purposes.

Find a Short Code Provider

To lease an exclusive short code, you’ll need to go through a short code registry service or a text messaging provider who can obtain one for you.

You can also consider a less expensive option, which is to share a short code that some more advanced text messaging vendors, likeTextellent, can provide. The expense associated with sharing a short code is a fraction of leasing one exclusively and may be a good option for smaller businesses.

Complete the Application Process

You’ll need to complete an application detailing your company information, the intended use of the short code, and whether you want a random or vanity code.

The application will also include questions about how you plan to use the short code to ensure opt-in compliance with messaging regulations.

Wait for Approval

Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed for compliance with relevant regulations. This process can take some time, often 5-7 several weeks, as it involves coordination with major wireless carriers to ensure the short code works across all networks. 

You lease these codes from the Common Short Code Administration. After approval, you can work with your text messaging provider. This allows you to send and receive SMS and MMS messages to your customers

If you choose to share a short code that is available from a text messaging platform, the waiting period is a few days to get registered.

Setting Up Your Short Code

Once you’ve obtained a 5 or 6-digit phone number, setting it up is crucial for the success of your communications strategy. Here’s how to get your short code up and running effectively:

Choose a Service Provider

You’ll need to select a platform that specializes in short code messaging. Textellent helps you manage the technical aspects of sending and receiving messages through your short code. It offers reliable service, strong customer support, and robust analytics.

Integrate with Your Systems

Integrating the short code into your existing marketing and communication strategies is key.  Then, it is just a matter of setting up the campaign templates, scheduling messages, and determining the target audience. This can be done quickly and easily in the text messaging platform. 

Textellent provides these capabilities, including message and image template libraries,  scheduling functionalities, reporting, and more, and is tailored to meet your unique business workflow needs. 

Configure Message Templates

Prepare message templates for different types of communications you plan to send via the short code. Having predefined templates can simplify your communications and ensure consistency.

With Textellent, you can easily automate your communication with marketing blasts, group messages, and scheduled recurring messages. You can also segment your customers by tagging your contacts based on events attended, preferences, actions, etc., and tailor your messages to suit different groups. 

Moreover, Textellent’s unique Drip text campaigns allow you to maintain consistent outreach. These campaigns nurture your prospects by sending messages designed to engage and elicit responses over time. Drip campaigns work best using 10-digit numbers.

Set Up Compliance Features

It is essential to ensure that your use of the short or long codes complies with all relevant regulations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). 

Textellent can help you set up automated responses for opt-in confirmations and opt-out requests to ensure compliance and explicit permission from customers.

Test Your Short Code

Before going live, conduct thorough testing to ensure everything works as expected. Send messages to a test group of numbers to check that your messages are delivered accurately and that your systems correctly handle responses. 

Text keywords to be used with short codes to ensure smooth ad campaigns. 

Easy Opt-Ins with Textellent’s Memorable Short Code

Make it easy for your customers to connect with you! Pick a specific keyword and use Textellent’s easy-to-remember short code, 87000, in your advertising and promotions. This simple, cost-effective solution ensures that opting in and requesting information is as easy as sending a quick text. 

Textellent's memorable short code

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to improve your communication strategy. Sign up for a free trial or request a demo consultation today!

FAQs About 6-Digit Code

How much does it cost to use a shared short code? Verification code?

Textellent offers the use of their shared short code which is 87000 for $29/per month making it a reasonable alternative to leasing a short code directly.

How do 6-digit verification codes improve security?

A 6-digit verification code is a security measure to verify a user’s identity. These codes are typically sent to a user’s mobile device via SMS or an authentication app. The user must enter the code on the website or app they are trying to access as part of the login process.

These codes add an extra layer of security by requiring something that only the user has access to (their phone) in addition to something they know (their password). This method, known as two-factor authentication (2FA), significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access, even if someone else knows the user’s password.

Is it expensive to use a 6-digit code?

The cost can vary depending on whether you choose a vanity or random code and the service provider you go through. There are also recurring fees for using the code, usually billed monthly. 

Despite the costs, the benefits of using a short code, especially for significant outreach efforts, often outweigh the expenses.