Long Code SMS: Everything You Wanted To Know About Virtual Number

SMS marketing can yield long-term benefits for a business, however, to achieve this, businesses must learn how to make use of this tool. On a basic level, SMS services are divided into short code SMS and long code SMS. Here, we offer a brief insight into short code vs long code, what it means and which one would be suitable for your business.

Virtual Phone number

What is a short code SMS?

As the name suggests, the short code SMS service is suitable for businesses that intend to send short, brief messages to their customer base. It is suitable only for those businesses that intend to send messages to their customers, without expecting their feedback. A short-code service has a six-digit phone number.

What is a long code SMS?

The long code SMS service uses a ten-digit phone number, and is more relevant for businesses that intend to have continuous interaction with their customers. The long code SMS service is used for one-to-mean communication, and can only send one message per second.

SMS long code vs short code service

Cell phone communication through SMS is one of the most productive marketing tools. In cell phone communication, there are two types of numbers used: shortcode service and long codes. If you intend to send short messages, then short code service is right for you, and vice versa for long text messages.

Where can Long Codes be used?

  • Two-way communication
  • Gathering customer information
  • Providing targeted, relevant content
  • Appointment, reminders and confirmation
  • Alert notifications
  • Troubleshooting product or service problems

Advantages of Long Code

With a minimal setup time, with a virtual number, you can send SMS and even make calls from the same number making it easy for your customers to reach out to you via a single contact point. Making it a single channel for communication, be it SMS, voice call, fax, long codes allow businesses and customers to have personalized and seamless two-way conversations.

  • Long codes are less expensive and quicker to set up
  • Popular keywords are always available for long codes
  • Better for 2-way communication, allowing end-users to reply to the message received
  • Long codes can be set up to match an existing phone number

Disadvantages of Long Code

They take a little longer than short code service to enter into your phone and also are hard to remember. Also, the content is limited only to SMS and you cannot send high volumes of text messages at once.

Who can use Long Code Services?

Globally accessible and affordable, and the end-user can send a message to a virtual number at the regular normal SMS charges.

They are a perfect fit for enterprises who don’t want their target customers or employees to pay extra and use it for closed group information systems like existing customers, employees, vendors, dealers, salesforce, service engineers, etc. who can regularly use the two-way SMS application to fetch or provide the desired information.

Typically, a long code is used by courier companies, banks, airlines and other service sectors for customer service related communication.

Here's a list of how long code messaging can be used to create value in your business communication:

  • Targeted content:
    Long code text marketing offers businesses the ability to categorise and target customers based on their past records with the brand. This helps businesses have meaningful conversations with their customers, leading to better odds of sales conversions.

  • Alert notifications:
    Long code SMS is used to send responsive messages to users. Message notifications that need to be communicated upon the completion of an action or sent as an alert, due to a trigger, use a long code SMS service.

  • Gather customer information:
    Long code text marketing is used to gather information about the consumer. When the consumer clicks a web link sent via SMS, it can be tracked by the company, and this helps the company understand customer behaviour.  

  • Reminders, appointment and confirmation:
    Businesses such as clinics, salons can use long code SMS to send appointment reminders to its clientele. It can also be used by commercial setups to send order confirmation details on a real-time basis.
  • Troubleshooting product and service problems:
    When customers reach out to service centres for troubleshooting and other support services, long code SMS is used to close the loop with relevant support information and guidance. This can be a series of messages and hence it requires long code SMS.

MSG91 is a long code SMS service provider. Here are some interesting things that MSG91s virtual phone number service offers (long code SMS is also referred to as a virtual number).

  • Online surveys:
    MSG91s virtual phone number service allows you to conduct online surveys. This can be done by clubbing the web link with the messaging in the SMS. It takes the user to the online survey seamlessly, thereby improving the response rate.

  • Create auto response:
    By syncing the brand's various communication channels like the website, social media and messaging, the business can create an auto response function. Triggered by an action by the user, MSG91 can send relevant messages to them to continue their interaction.  

  • Lead generation:
    SMS content can be designed to create a call-to-action, by providing a phone number or web link for enquiries. This helps generate soft leads for sales.

  • Integration with a web application:
    A well-integrated website gives the business a lot of scope to target customers with proper after-sales services, and relevant promotional offers based on their interest.

Here are a few use cases –

  • A courier company could use a virtual number to inform a customer that their package is out for delivery. An example of a message might be something like, “Dear customer, your order is out for delivery and will reach you before 7 PM tonight.”
  • A bank could text clients their account balances every month. Examples of a message might be something like. “Dear customer, you have $20,000 in your Bank of America account no. 12345 as on August 1, 2020.”
  • An airline can reply to a passenger’s seat preference request. An example of a message might be something like, “Dear customer, as per your request, you have been allotted seat number 12 C on flight IN476 from New York to Perth for tomorrow.”

Besides, long code SMS service is also used for things such as recharging applications, collecting feedback from the customers, and information-on-demand.

Classification of Long code numbers

Long codes can be classified into two: Shared long code and Dedicated long code.

Dedicated long code – For a dedicated long code, customers can have any number of their choosing; and can use an unlimited number of keywords. A dedicated long code SMS service also has dedicated resources at its disposal.

There is a one-time setup cost for the new mobile number. The keyword can be of your choice as the incoming SMS is differentiated by the mobile number in this case. It works in a better way as you have a dedicated virtual number of your choice with extended features.

Shared long code -With shared long code, businesses are provided with default numbers, with shared resources. Messaging in shared long code also has a limited number of keywords at its disposal.

It works with a unique keyword assigned to your SMS code number and when you or your customers sends an SMS to this number they will receive an automatic reply that has been set by you. Also, by enabling URL forwarding the information can be fetched from your database.

For example, your keyword is SHOW on 922922442

When your customer sends the SMS with the unique keyword, the message, phone number, sent time can be tracked and the details can be stored in the customer database.

For MSG91 – your preferred SMS long code service provider - the shared virtual number is 9229224424. Using this number will be free of cost and you will be charged only for the incoming SMS. Incoming SMS is differentiated by keyword, and hence your keyword must be unique.

Benefits of using Long codes text

  • Personal - They look like any other text the recipient might receive. The long code allows businesses to present a personal face instead of an anonymous brand.
  • Two-way - Enabling two-way conversations, recipients feel connected and engaged and not advertised or announced at.
  • Multi-channel - They can be functioning phone lines so your customers can reach back out on other channels in one seamless interaction.
  • Value-added - They don’t just disseminate information but are a channel for value-added interactions based on your customers’ preferences.

With higher deliverability rates and lower costs, a long code or virtual number can be the perfect fit for your business.

MSG91 can help you get started with your own custom long code service in a matter of minutes. Reach out to us to know more.