Why Use Short Codes?

Short Codes are the foundation of mobile marketing. They allow consumers to interact with media outlets, brands, retailers, governments and all kinds of other organizations via text messaging. Instead of sending text messages to a 10-digit phone number, cell phone users send it to a Short Code – a five- or six-digit number that often spells a word or brand name. A Short Code becomes a “Common Short Code” (CSC) when the same code is activated across multiple mobile phone networks, which greatly extends its reach to many more mobile phone customers.

Short Codes have been successfully used in numerous marketing campaigns. They can add interactivity with your market to almost any campaign. More importantly, they help target your campaign by delivering to you an audience that has specifically asked to receive your messages. Rather than standing on their own, Short Codes should be considered as part of an integrated marketing campaign. The success of this depends less on the type of product or service being marketed and more on the design of the Short Code program itself. Here are some general guidelines that will help ensure a Short Code campaign is successful:

1. Clearly defined goals

Determining what you hope to achieve with a Short Code program is key to designing a successful campaign. Short Codes can be used in several ways, including:

> To increase participation in contests.

> To interact and/or solicit feedback from your target group.

> To introduce your product or service to new target groups.

> To raise brand awareness.

> To drive your target group to a Web site or physical point of purchase.

> To encourage and reward brand loyalty.

2. Interactivity

Traditional marketing methods such as billboards, print and broadcast are excellent ways to promote these Short Code campaigns, taking them one step further and making them interactive. Successful campaigns often encourage interaction by rewarding the target group for participating. This reward can take many forms:

> Thank-you message or on-air recognition.

> Entry into a contest.

> Mobile coupon.

3. Immediacy

Short Code campaigns should leverage the immediacy of text messaging by delivering an instant result to those who participate. This can be an acknowledgement that a vote has been cast or a contest has been entered, an on-screen coupon that can be redeemed immediately, or other useful information that the mobile phone owner can immediately act upon.

4. Opt-in and opt-out

The rules established by the CWTA and Canada’s wireless service providers state that all Short Code campaigns in Canada must be permission-based. This is to prevent Short Codes from becoming spam. It is mandatory that Short Code program developers implement the mandatory keyword “STOP” for users to immediately opt-out. For more information please contact a member of the CWTA’s Short Code Team at shortcodes@cwta.ca