Benefits of Using a Short Code

Audrey Hollingshead Picture

by Audrey Hollingshead | Last Updated: Mar 17, 2023

If you’ve ever lived in a city then you know how noisy it can be. After a few months, your brain learns to ignore the noise and you notice it less. It does this to avoid sensory overload. But believe it or not, noise is not the only thing your brain learns to block out.  Your brain also tunes out ads. This is called banner blindness, named for the flashing banner ads of the late 90s/early 2000s. Considering that 31 percent of all adults are online constantly and see upwards of 4,000 ads per day, ignoring ads makes sense.  So what can you do to break through the noise and actually get through to customers? Implement mobile messaging as a communication channel and consider using a short code. 

What Is a Short Code?

Have you ever been to a restaurant and saw a sign that invited you to text them? Maybe it read something like, “Want to get tasty news and updates on our menu? Text YUMMY to 55555.” That number is a short code: a five to six digit number used for text messaging.  To opt-in, a customer must text a keyword to the short code and then receive a text message back confirming their opt-in. All of the information regarding the text messaging promotion is defined in the promotion of the text campaign so customers are aware of what they’ll receive via text from this brand prior to opting in. 

The Benefits of Using Short Code 

So you might be wondering about short-code benefits. Why consider using mobile messaging when people might choose to ignore it? There are plenty of reasons to consider a short code.

Extremely High Open Rate for Text Messages

People largely ignore banner ads and unwanted spam emails because they had no choice in it. Spam just shows up in your inbox without your OK. Ads start before your YoutTube video does. It’s not surprising that many consumers find these unwanted messages to be annoying. Mobile messaging is different. Unlike other channels, consumers have to opt-in to receive a text message from your brand and there are significant penalties for not complying with any of the text messaging regulations. The strict regulations governing text messaging is actually why it’s an ideal channel for marketers to use and has a 98 percent open rate according to Search Engine Journal. This means people who opt-in to receive text messages from your business are more likely to open them. Their click-through rate is also high at 18 percent. That’s 6.9 times higher than email.  Plus, people are choosing to opt-in. If customers know they can easily opt-out at any time by texting STOP then they’re more likely to give your messages a chance. 

Customizable Keywords 

It’s no accident that restaurants use “YUMMY” or some other food-related word as the opt-in. They know it’ll grab their customers' attention and relate to them. That's the beauty of keywords. You can choose almost any word to use that aligns with your brand, marketing campaigns, offer, etc. that is easy for consumers to remember. An added bonus is when you use a short code that’s five to six digits making the text in process easy for any consumer to quickly do. 


Everyone has their phone on them. In fact, the Pew Research Center reported in 2019 that six out of 10 people get their news from a mobile phone. So it makes sense to use text messaging as a way to reach customers. Short code is capable of sending SMS messages and some can be setup to also send MMS to provide an even more rich experience. 

Brand Recognition 

Short codes connect a five or six-digit to your number. In some ways, it’s almost like your brand’s calling card. In fact, some consumers even save your short code number in their phone so it comes up with your brand's name when they receive a text message. Talk about taking brand awareness to another level! And if you’re lucky, you might even be able to select a short code that spells out your brand’s name assuming it’s only five or six characters. 

Text Messaging Marketing Campaigns

Have ever had a message you’ve wanted to get across to thousands of customers at the same time? Once people opt-in to getting your texts they’ll be able to receive any text you send out. Have a promotional offer you want customers to know about? What about news of a new product launch? Whatever you want your customers to know, they’ll know it moments after you send it. We also highly recommend ensuring you are adequately segmenting your text messages so subscribers are only receiving the most relevant content. Gaining access to someone’s mobile phone is a major privilege and it’s on you to ensure you don’t abuse it. 

Customer Engagement 

We all know that Coke-a-Cola tastes great. So why does the greatest pizza pairing still market to people? Customer engagement. Engaging with your customers reminds them that you’re still a good option.  Engaging with customers doesn’t have to be salesy or forced. It could be as simple as sending updates about products, or updates about items you’ve shipped. It could even be a reminder.  Let’s say an opted-in customer has set up a sales call with you to talk options. You can use text messaging to send them quick reminders about the call and anything else they need to know.  A perfect example of this is New Jersey’s 2011 Partnership with CooCoo. All NJT riders had to do was text where they were and where they wanted to go to 266266. Within seconds riders got bus and train schedules for their route. This is a simple and informative way to engage with customers. 


You can use the same short code regardless of the SMS provider. If you ever need to switch providers the number can go with you. No need to set up another short code. 


Short codes work with a small number of people or thousands. So you can start off with a few opt-ins and work up to more as you improve message content. Plus, they’re designed to handle large sending volumes at a faster pace than using a long code. That’s why it’s critical to invest in a short code if you anticipate your mobile messaging program will include tens of thousands or millions of subscribers in the future. 

Easy to Remember and Use

Short codes are easier to remember than long codes. This makes it easier to use and engage with. 

Keep Your Messages Short 

As you saw there are many different ways short codes can be beneficial to your business. But it’s important that you keep messages short. Receivers will be turned off if the message is super long. You can always include a link to a longer message they can click on if they’d like to know more. Also, don’t text constantly. People learn to ignore things that they encounter a lot. It doesn’t matter if it’s city noise or a banner ad. But if you text relevant information when it’s relevant, customers will be sure to engage.

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