If you are running a large SMS campaign, you may be considering leasing your own shortcode. If you are running a small SMS campaign, you are likely looking to work with a provider to send messages out on their shortcode. In either case, there are some key pitfalls to avoid before you sign up with a provider or lease your own.
- Shorter is better
In most cases, it is worth it to sign up with a company that has a shorter shortcode like 84464. 5 digits are much easier to remember than longer ones, and you will reduce your chances of your customers typing the shortcode incorrectly, or forgetting it before they have a chance to type it.
- Avoid “Notorious” Numbers
For the same reason no one wants to have the phone number, 867-5309, you want to avoid numbers that are known for other things. You work very hard to distinguish your brand in a crowded marketplace, and by piggy-backing on a number that’s already popular for its own reason, like a popular zip code or the name of an old TV show, you are harming your brand in two ways. First, your customers will likely remember the shortcode rather than your business and keyword, and may have trouble associating it with your brand.Second, if any company makes a fuss about how “popular” their shortcode is, think about why it’s popular. If the pizza place down the street, the bar and the shoe store all share the same “popular” shortcode, then you are just another company lost in their crowd. The SMS provider has succeeded in promoting their own brand, but at the expense of potentially harming yours. If another provider on that same shortcode abuses the system and sends out too many texts, customers could also link this with your brand and opt-out of your messages too. When it comes to picking a provider, make sure you go with one who will promote your brand over their own.
- Don’t Get Cute
Remember the days where ads encouraged you to call 1-800-Plumber? Back then this was an easy way to remember a phone number, but when it comes to SMS, this couldn’t be more confusing. Don’t pick a shortcode that spells something clever, it will only confuse your audience. If you say “text they keyword PIZZA to PIZZAHUT” the customer will likely input the call to action incorrectly or quit out of confusion. Most smartphones don’t have letters attached to the numbers on the keypad to make this an easy segue-way.
So how can you find a winning shortcode? Stick with something short and memorable. Repeating digits are helpful, and any string of words that sounds sing-songy in your head is also helpful. Remember that a shortcode should just be a vehicle to promote your keyword and your brand, not working to confuse your customers or build up its own brand.