When a brand or organization wants to purchase an SMS short code, a brand has two options:
- Lease a number from an SMS short code provider.
- Use an SMS software provider, which provides a short code and software to help brands send messages on that short code.
What Is an SMS Short Code Provider?
An SMS short code provider is an organization that provides short codes and manages the short code system. SMS short codes are 5- to 6-digit phone numbers used by brands to run their text message marketing campaigns. In the United States, the Short Code Registry and Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) manage the technical and operational aspects of short code functions. They also maintain a database of available, reserved, and registered short codes. For an SMS software provider or brand to lease a short code, they have to apply and receive a short code from the Short Code Registry.
What Is an SMS Software Provider?
An SMS software provider is an organization that provides messaging services via software and short code hosting. Once a brand applies and receives a short code, some messaging software is required to send and receive messages from an SMS short code. Depending on the software provider, the type of tools and services vary from mass text message marketing campaigns, polling, voting, and more.
Working with an SMS software provider creates the following workflow:
- A brand works with an SMS software provider to craft a message for its customers.
- The SMS software provider sends that message with a customer list to the SMS aggregator.
- The SMS aggregator then sends that message to the appropriate wireless carriers.
- The wireless carries send that message to a customer’s mobile device.
What Do Most Brands and Organizations Do Today?
A majority of brands and organizations using text message marketing today use SMS software providers that include short code hosting services. In SMS marketing, it’s much easier for brands to use software providers that provide messaging services and industry expertise to manage all of the technical aspects of short code hosting and provisioning.