The Ultimate Guide to Long Codes

Long codes have recently gained momentum as an A2P (Application-to-Person) and P2P (Person-to-Person) communications. Before the popularity of long codes, short codes were the main source of A2P and marketing communications but these 5 to 6-digit codes were limited and hard to regulate, and thus Long Codes emerged. With long codes, every business is issued one commercial 10-digit phone number, versus shared short codes which can potentially be used by hundreds of different companies. This allowed carriers and regulatory agencies to identify spammers and potentially terminate a long code without inadvertently ending a program for hundreds of companies sharing the same code. 

Long codes are a relatively new player in the world of marketing, though they’ve gained momentum in retail and medical fields. If you’ve done some online shopping, you’ve most likely received a text letting you know your package has shipped or has been delivered….and let’s be honest, who hasn’t shopped online latelyOr, you’ve received a text message reminding you of an upcoming appointmentThese messages are most likely coming from a long code 

Long codes allow you to send relevant and meaningful messages to your customer all while strengthening brand loyalty. This form of communication creates a unique and powerful user experience, allowing organizations to interact with groups and individuals while engaging with them nearly in real-time.   

In this paper we explore some questions that are important to today’s marketer.    

  • What is a long code and what are the different types of long codes?   
  • Who oversees them, how can I get one, and how much do they cost?   
  • What rules and regulations must be followed? 
  • What are some real lifelong code use cases?   

 

What is a long code?

A long code is a 10-digit phone number used for two-way communicationsThis means that it is a phone number, just like mine or yours, that can be used to send text messages to your customers using software instead of your personal cell phone. This phone number can be your current business phone number with enabled texting capabilities, another local, or a toll-free number. 

One of the best features of a long code is its versatility. You can use a single phone number to talk, text, and chatPlus, they are extremely easy to obtain and set up, about 4 to 48 hours, when compared the 4 weeks to 6 months it may take to get a short code up and running.  You also own the phone number which means you keep it for as long as you want to, as opposed to the short-term leases of a short code. 

There is one thing to note when looking into converting or acquiring a long code, message speed. Because long codes are meant for two-way communications, they are limited to sending 1 message per second, or 60 messages per minute, as opposed to short codes which can send up to 30 or more messages per second.  

 

Local long codes  

Local long codes are essentially the type of phone numbers we use every day, (555-555-5555). This kind of long code is limited to sending 1 message per second and is subject to long distance charges. Though, one of the best advantages of using a local code is consistency. If your business is a local business with a local phone number, it is easiest for you and your customers to keep the same local numbers and add texting capabilities. Plus, local codes are the most affordable of all long codes.  

 

Toll free long codes 

Toll free long codes are 1-800 numbers. Although this type of long code is a more expensive than local codes, you are not subject to long distance charges and you have the option, for an added fee of course, to increase speed per message and send at a higher volume. HIGH THROUGHPUT toll free long codes are provisioned just like short codes, and allow high volume sending for various purposes, if it is compliant with CTIA rules and regulations.  

Who oversees them, how can I get one, and how much do they cost?   

Long and short codes are both governed and regulated by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA)If your program is not compliant with the rules and regulations, you risk being fined, audited, or having you code terminated.  

All long code programs must have a terms and conditions webpage up with your company’s name, link to the privacy policy, contact information, HELP instructions, STOP instructions, customer support information, and the phrase “Message and data rates may apply.” 

You must always obtain explicit consent from a consumer before sending messages along with a opt-in confirmation (welcome message) which needs to include your business name and the following phrases: 

  • Msg&Data rates may apply. 
  • Recurring Messages 
  • Reply HELP for help 
  • STOP to cancel 

All SMS programs have rules against sending Prohibited Content, or content you should never ever send through any program. This includes sex (pornography and/or adult content), violence, or content related to the sale or promoting the use of drugs and alcohol.  

All subsequent messages must always include the business name, and a way for subscribers to reach out for help or unsubscribe There are various ways to satisfy the HELP portion of the messages. You can add the phrase ‘Text HELP for help’ or include a manned phone number or email. For example, ‘Call 555-555-5555 for help’ or ‘email help@help.com’ for help. The same can be done to unsubscribe from a text program. Your customer can reply STOP to unsubscribe 

 

Cost 

Long codes tend to be significantly less expensive than short codes. A standard long code usually costs between 1 to 2 dollars and between 2 to 5 cents to transmit text messageswhereas short codes can start around $500-$1,000 per month.  

Long Code Uses 

Long codes and short codes have very different usesShort codes are traditionally used to send mass marketing or urgent messages because of their ability to send a high volume of messages in a short amount of time. Long codes on the other hand, are limited in the number of messages sent and help businesses achieve very different goals. Here are great use cases for long codes. 

 

P2P (Person to person) 

There is an overabundance of ways you can use long codes. One of the most unique ways to use long codes is through P2P communications, which is basically a fancy way of saying texting, the same way you or I spent hours and hours texting with our friends, families and coworkers.  

Customer Service getting any kind of customer service fulfilled through by calling in had always been such a has always been a complicated process for consumers. With the help of SMS this has made reaching out to customer service for technical, billing, complains and all kinds of help, much easier. 

SMS ConciergeSMS concierge is an exceptionally helpful standalone program developed by Huddie. With the SMS concierge you could manage your customer communications all in one place. From customer service to the front desk at the hotel, SMS concierge allows one and all departments to communicate one on one with customers. For example, a guest is staying in one of the rooms at your hotel and they need additional towels or perhaps they want to know what restaurant serves the best seafood. All the customer needs to do is grab their cell phone and text your business phone number with their request.  

 

A2P (Application to Person) 

Alerts:  Alerts are personalized application to person text messages. Not to be confused with mass marketing SMS. These alerts go out to one individual with information unique only to them. Here are some of the most powerful uses for alerts via long codes. 

Account Balance:  Allow your customer to view their account balance by texting in a keyword, like BALANCE. This use could be used not only for your banking accounts, but other accounts like a rewards account or credits available. 

Two-Way Factor Authentication:  Add additional security to any account by using two-way authentication via text. It is likely you have used this before when trying log login to your Gmail account or some other account. A code is sent to your phone that you must enter to access your account. Not only does this offer additional security and make your customers feel safe, but it is also easy to set up and use.  

Order Updates: 

 If you’re anything like us, you count down the hours until your order ships and is out for delivery. Order updates are one of the most well received messages sent by long codes. Consumers almost expect for a company to provide them insights into their orders. Some order updates sent through long code  include confi

 

rmations, shipping statusand out for delivery, and the most satisfying of all, order delivered. 

Order delivery text message updates have become extremely important in today’s climate. With a good majority of individuals purchasing groceries and perishables online, it is imperative customers are alerted by text. This is not a job for email because It may take a few hours for a customer to look at their email only to find out that their perishables have been sitting outside for hours. SMS is the most efficient and effective way to get these types of alerts out. 

 

Reminders & confirmations: Long gone are the days of a front-end employee making hundreds of call a week to confirm appointments and remind patients of upcoming visits. Long codes automate this entire process by sending patients a text asking them to confirm their appoint by replying with the word CONFIRM or deploying a reminder message with the date and time of an upcoming appointment.  

Waitlist: Tired of carrying around the giant buzzer or having to be in an earshot of the hostess yelling party names? So are we! Thankfully, long codes have made this process so easy and a lot more tolerable at any business where waiting is the norm. Customer’s simply leave their phone number with the hostess or input it into a tablet on site and they can go browse elsewhere while they receive a text letting them know their turn is up.  

Conclusion 

Long codes are an awesome new marketing tool that allow every business the flexibility of communicating with customers with voice and text all from one placeLong codes allow you to send relevant and meaningful messages to your customer all while strengthening brand loyalty. This form of marketing and communication creates a unique and powerful user experience, allowing organizations to interact with groups and individuals, plus engage with them nearly in real-time.  By using a mobile marketing service, you can streamline the process of acquiring a long code and guidance to begin your mobile endeavors.  

How do you get into this business without a big investment? How can you tell what will work for you and what to expect?  You need a mobile marketing expert, a marketing companion. You need to learn about Huddie  

As text messaging has grown into a mainstream communication tool for consumers, reaching them via SMS has become an increasingly important strategy for all industries. Most people today are using SMS as a primary communication method and businesses must adapt and use the communication method their consumers prefer. 

Huddie SMS is a solution that allows clients to take advantage of long codes by generating relationships and leveraging a new way of communicating with prospects and customers, without having to pay a high monthly fee.  Allowing for businesses to engage in a two-way interaction with their customers, mass messaging, and one-way communications, such as asking them questions or prompting a call-to-action within the message.   

Huddie can help you craft a pilot program that is uniquely tailored to your needs and which will allow you to test how SMS can give you the best results. With low start- up costs, short ramp-up times, and no long-term commitments, we are here to set up benchmarks to measure your success.