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The Business Owner’s Guide to Dedicated Short Codes

Updated 11/1/2022

There’s been a lot of buzz around short codes in text message marketing lately. But what exactly is it? And should you be using one? That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article. So read on!

What is a short code?

There are two types of short codes in the text marketing industry – shared and dedicated. Shared short codes are shared by many companies. Dedicated short codes are only approved for one company or organization to use. Short codes are set up to send texts (called traffic) to hundreds of thousands of customers multiple times a day. Meaning their “message send rate” is extremely high. 

A business owner in the process of getting a dedicated short code.

The major wireless carriers typically frown on shared short codes. Shared short codes are notoriously hard for carriers to control spam from. If one user is abusing the short code, the short code gets shut down by carriers. The problem is then all the others that were using that shared short codes are penalized even though they weren’t at fault. Not a very fair deal.

If intend to send a high volume of messages simultaneously, a dedicated short code is the solution need!

How to get a dedicated short code for your business

The following steps will guide you through purchasing, completing the application process, and finally sending texts using your dedicated short code. 

1. Set up a TextSanity account.

Register for an account by going to app.textsanity.com/register. Choose your plan level and a toll-free phone number. Toll-free phone numbers incur a charge of $5 per month.

2. Rent your short code through The National Short Code Registry.

The cost to rent a short code is $500-1000 a month depending on the type of code chosen. Pay your first payment to the Short Code Registry and send your receipt to us.

3. Contact our sales team to get your application started.

Once we receive your receipt for your short code rental, we will bill you a one-time $1200 fee. Once paid, we will submit an application to each of the US cellular carriers so you can send messages on your short code.

A person contacting our sales team at TextSanity to get their application started.

A note on applications: Each US cellular carrier has different requirements and application process for approving dedicated short codes, therefore the time from application submission to approval varies widely. The average time for approval through all carriers is 2-8 months depending on the type of business. Essentially the carriers want to determine if you or your business is reputable and if you are at risk for sending spam using your dedicated short code

4. Connect your dedicated short code to your TextSanity account.

Once your short code is secured and applications approved, our team will connect your short code to your existing TextSanity account.

To talk to our customer service team about setting up a dedicated short code, text CONTACT to 50505 or call 877-211-4533.

A business owner is happy because they linked their short code to their TextSanity account successfully.

Short Code Pricing

Vanity codes (short codes you choose yourself) lease for $1000/month

Randomly generated codes lease for $500/month

For current pricing information, check the Short Code Registry

*Fees are non-refundable regardless of whether wireless service providers agree to activate your code. 

When do you actually need a short code?

There are two main reasons that a company would need a short code. The first is if you are going to send massive amounts of messages at one time. Remember we are talking hundreds of thousands of messages at one time and multiple times a day.

The second is for the novelty of having a short code that is easy to remember and engage with. It makes sense. A short code is a lot easier to remember than a full 10-digit phone number, or long code. Again, it is up to you to decide if a short code is right for you and your company.

A person choosing between different text marketing numbers on their phone.

Choose a 10DLC or Toll-free number instead

If you’re looking for a memorable number for your customers to text and planning on sending hundreds or thousands of texts per month, a 10DLC or a toll-free number are a much better option for you since they’re less expensive and send rate is unaffected. 

10DLC Number

A 10DLC is perfect for most small business text marketing since it is a local area code phone number and it’s message send rate can reach hundreds of thousands of customers a month. Plus, customers are more likely to engage 10DLCs since they come with a familiar local area code. This is especially good for hyper-local marketing campaigns.

There’s no waiting period for approval. Simply choose the area code, select a number, and start texting! 10DLC cost varies with the text marketing provider you choose. For example, 10DLC with TextSanity costs nothing. It simply comes as part of your TextSanity subscription.

A group of employees sit at a table with computers and phones coordinating messages to be sent on the company's 10DLC number.

Use TextSanity’s tools when you send your mass text messages

TextSanity offers a mass text messaging tool called broadcasts. Broadcasts can be sent to as many customers as you’d like – into the hundreds of thousands. You gain contacts through keyword campaigns and webforms.

TextSanity offers the tools you need when you are looking to send mass text messages to any group with short code or long code. Our broadcasts are an obvious no-brainer for mass text messaging. And keyword campaigns are super effective at building a customer following the likes of which you’ve never seen!