Demystifying SMS for your business

Posted on December 21, 2016

According to Forrester Research SMS wasn’t even a statistically significant communications channel in 2010. Fast forward to today and SMS is the third most used communications method for business to consumer engagement – and growing. A recent Flowroute survey showed that 82% of text messages are read within five minutes, proving that there is no other method of communication that is more rapid or reliable.

When choosing to add SMS to your communications strategy the frequency and type of communication that you will be sending must be taken into account. The three types of numbers that can be used for texting are long code, shortcode, and toll-free numbers. Each type of number has its own unique benefits and regulations.

Why businesses choose Toll-free and/or long code numbers to engage with customers

SMS long codes refer to a standard 10-digit dedicated phone number that enables a business to receive SMS text messages, voice, and fax from anywhere in the world. Unlike shortcodes, which are generally shared across many brands, long codes allow businesses to have their own dedicated phone number to receive and transmit SMS text messages. Typically, long codes are intended for person-to-person communication such as customer support interactions or appointment reminder/scheduling.

SMS shortcodes, on the other hand, are designed for high-volume, application-driven messaging. They can send SMS and MMS at 100 messages per second, which is perfect for applications that require time-sensitive messages such as marketing campaigns, alerts, and two-factor authentication.

Toll-free messaging goes hand in hand with long code messaging. The only exception is that toll-free numbers allow for the same type of message volume as shortcodes, with the ability for voice enablement provided by long code numbers.

The key distinction between the two is that long codes are intended as a person-to-person communication tool, whereas shortcodes allow for the bulk messaging that is typical of marketing and emergency notification campaigns. A business can receive text messages to their long code, but a high volume of SMS to or from a single phone number may trigger carriers’ spam filters and blacklist your long code.

Below is a quick guide to help you find the right type of messaging for your solution:


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For more information about Flowroute messaging check out our Messaging FAQ. Ready to get your SMS campaign off the ground? Contact our sales team now.

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