Any company can send out advertising blasts, but actually connecting with user is another matter altogether. In this fast-paced world, crafting a dedicated, expansive customer base is almost an art.

But like any medium, all you need to commitment and the right tools. You’ve got the former; we’re about to tell you about the latter.

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Long codes are 10-digit numbers used to connect two entities, such as two people or a person and an organization. They are best suited for low-volume, personalized communication, the perfect balance to short codes suitability to mass marketing.

Ready to learn how to boost your customer connectivity and outpace your competitors?

What Are Long Codes?

A long code, also known as Direct Inward Dialing or a DID, is a 10-digit number used to send SMS messages.

They are a peer-to-peer (P2P) communication method, allowing both outgoing messages and incoming messages, also known as Mobile Originated (MO) content. This means that you can send and receive messages on a long code.

Long codes are same type of phone numbers you use when you text a family member or friends. They’re also the same number you call to schedule a doctor’s appointment, ask for curbside pickup, or call in sick to work.

And just like you can use long codes in your daily life, your company can also use long codes to connect with customers.

There are several different types of long codes available:

  • Random Numbers
  • Area-Code-Specific Numbers
  • Toll-Free Numbers

All of the SMS long codes above are made for domestic calls with their country. For organizations with an presence in more than one country or that need worldwide connectivity, international numbers (also known as global DIDs) are available.

In addition to sending messages, you can also use long codes to send voice messages. Besides being more unique than SMS messages, these are also more accessible for certain users.

Because they’re a P2P communication method, long codes can’t be used for mass messaging or large campaigns. So while you can send a few hundred messages out each day, you can’t send many hundreds or even thousands of messages.

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Advantages & Disadvantages

If you’re initially hesitant, we understand. After all, this is the age of instant and global connectivity, and long codes seem contrary to that. Low volume? You want to connect with more people, not less!

But when it comes to these 10-digit codes, it’s more about quality over quantity. Though you’re connecting with less people, messages sent from long codes invite more interaction and create a stronger connection between companies and customers.

This is just one of the many advantages to using SMS long codes. Some others are:

  • Two-Way Connectivity – Dedicated long codes don’t just allow you to reach out to customers, they also allow customers to initiate contact with you!
  • Customization – Your customized messages will create a personalized feeling for users, a refreshing change from other companies’ robotic, impersonal texts.
  • Quick Setup – You can have a long code up and running in less time than it takes to sit through the latest blockbuster.

If nothing else, the persistence of SMS long code use over the years proves how effective they are.

Despite their many uses, there are also some disadvantages to using long codes that you should be aware of. These include:

  • Slower message throughput
  • Daily SMS message limits
  • Limited audience reach

However, these disadvantages are easily mitigated if you use long codes correctly and to your benefit, as described below.

How To Best Leverage DLCs

You already know that you can’t use long codes to send a blast out about your newest service or a flash sale. But instead of focusing on what you can’t use them for, direct your energy toward maximizing their benefits.

Long codes are best used for transactional messages, not marketing messages. (If you’re looking for the latter, check out SMS short codes.) This means that 10-digit codes are most successful when used for low-volume, two-way communication.

These are perfect for when you tailor your services to meet the individual needs of customers.

For example, a short code is great for telling customers that your restaurant is introducing a special, limited-time-only meal for the holidays.

But long codes come into play when they want to schedule a reservation, receive notifications about their online order, or provide feedback about how great their experience was.

The most popular uses for long codes include:

  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Emergency Alerts
  • Delivery & Status Update Notifications
  • Appointment & Payment Reminders

Though long codes can’t handle mass messaging, they’re perfect for connecting to your customers on a more personal level.

Before signing up for a long code, think about your target audiences and the volume of messages you want to send. You should also consider whether or not you’ll want to enable MMS.

Here are some tips on how to craft compelling and effective messages using a long code:

  • Personality Over Promotion – Whereas your marketing messages may be based off branding or advertising strategies, take the opportunity long codes present to introduce or reinforce your company’s personality.
  • Think About The Average Person – Think about the type of messages you and other users would actually respond to. Elements like personalization, simplicity, and character are often more compelling than we realize.
  • Path Of Least Resistance – Work with the uses and limitations of long codes, not against them. Don’t try to use them for a purpose they’re not suited for, such as marketing. Analyze and identify the niches that long codes can fill within your organization.

Messages sent from long codes should still be identifiable as coming from your company, but they should be distinctly different from the messages you send out using short codes. Use this to your advantage to better connect with customers.

Remember – Keep Your Campaigns Compliant!

Before you starting sending out campaigns, make sure you’re in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations. Pay specific attention to the non-profit and legislation below:

  • The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) – This organization outlines best practices for anyone using a long code and performs regular audits on SMS campaigns.
  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) – This set of laws passed in 1991 regulates text messages such as the ones you’ll send using a long code, preventing spam and unwanted messages.

You can learn more about CTIA compliance and brush up on your knowledge of TCPA compliance here.

In addition to this, phone carriers and SMS service providers have strict security measures in place to monitor and notify them of spam and non-compliant messages.

Don’t take compliance lightly; if you’re found to be in violation of any laws, regulations, etc., your long code could be suspended and ultimately revoked.

How To Get A Long Code

To sign up for a long code, simply register with an SMS service provider. Once you sign up for an SMS API such as SMS Notify!, an account representative will contact you to determine if a long code is the best fit for your business.

Once you’re ready, you can choose which type of long code you want. You’ll also be able to choose a unique area code for your 10-DLC.

Within a few hours of registration, you should have your long code license key.

After that, congratulations! You’re officially ready to start sending SMS messages from your long code.

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