Your phone number is your identity. It’s the number that contacts, customers, clients, employees, and everyone else know when they need to call you.
And in addition to calling, people now want to text with your business or organization.
In fact, 67% of consumers prefer texting with a business or organization for things like appointment scheduling, reminders, payments, and more.
But, choosing the right number for SMS texting requires some insight and knowledge.
In this article, I answer your SMS phone number questions and cover:
By the end, you should know exactly what kind of number you need to start texting.
Read on for more.
An SMS number is a text-enabled 10-digit local phone number, toll-free number, online virtual text number, or short code. Phone numbers for SMS allow businesses and organizations to send and receive texts and calls on a new or existing phone number. Various SMS services and business texting platforms support four types of SMS phone numbers including:
SMS phone numbers aren’t just disposable numbers on your mobile phone. Plus, using your personal phone for work isn’t ideal (especially when it comes to texting).
So to text-enable your phone line, you’ll need to go through a business texting service, like MessageDesk. A business texting software makes it possible to:
But not all SMS phone numbers are created equal. The trick is to select the type of phone number that best meets your needs.
Below, are the four types of SMS phone numbers to choose from.
A 10-digit long code number, also known as a 10-digit local number or 10DLC, is similar to a personal or business phone number. But 10DLC can support higher-volume A2P (application-to-person) messaging, unlike regular phone SMS numbers. This means you can use 10DLC numbers to send and receive SMS and MMS messages in bulk.
Example: (775) 313-9465
10DLC SMS numbers work especially well for smaller, local, businesses and organizations. They’re great for conversational text messaging.
You can leverage your 10DLC SMS number to start text conversations from your website, send texts about product or service updates, ask for reviews, send notifications or appointment reminders, and more.
10DLC SMS phone numbers aren’t as suitable for larger organizations. Especially those that need to send high volumes of text messages.
If your volume exceeds a specific limit, carriers might classify your messages as spam. This is why your SMS messages won’t get delivered.
Text-enabled toll-free SMS numbers (TETFs) are 10-digit numbers with an 800 area code prefix. Toll-free numbers can call and text just like a normal phone number. Many larger businesses and organizations text with toll-free SMS numbers because they’re approved for higher-volume text messaging. They work well for customer support, appointment reminders, order tracking, reservation booking, marketing, sales, and more.
Toll-free numbers are best suited for larger businesses and organizations. Toll-free numbers are the way to go if you need to send large-scale text message broadcasts and text blasts. They work especially well for text message marketing.
Virtual text numbers are online phone numbers for texting SMS and MMS messages. Virtual text numbers are also known as VoIP phone numbers (voice over IP). The difference between a virtual number and any other 10-digit number is that you can receive SMS online using a business texting service. 10DLC, toll free, and short code numbers can all function as online virtual text numbers.
With a virtual number for SMS, you can send texts from any device (laptops, tablets, and PCs) without a physical phone. These numbers are also easy to port to new providers and use with other services because everything is digital.
There really are no limitations when using online phone numbers for texting compared to traditional business landlines. The only drawback is that it can take a while to get a virtual number.
A shortcode is a 5 or 6-digit short phone number like “222333”. SMS short codes are used for one-way mass text message sends. Short codes were first popularized by American Idol in 2003 with “text-to-vote” campaigns. Businesses and organizations now use shortcodes for various “text-to” campaigns and text blasts. Texting with these numbers typically starts with an opt-in message. Once a user opts-in they can text one-word replies for more information.
Short code SMS numbers are best for sending out a high volume of messages like text blasts. Short codes only work for one-way communication such as alerts, polls, event notifications, and promotional message blasts.
Short codes support high-volume SMS and MMS messages, but they’re expensive. Getting a dedicated short code can cost you roughly $1500, and rental charges vary between $500 and $1000 per month.
Provisioning and setting up a short code can take six to twelve weeks. If you’re just looking to text from a business phone number, then this number type isn’t the best fit.
You can also choose a vanity or dedicated short code to reinforce your brand identity. For example, 7-Eleven uses the vanity short code “711711” to text their customers.
But authorizing and enabling a dedicated shortcode is expensive and not accessible for most small businesses and organizations.
As a result, some businesses started leasing shared short codes to keep costs low. These shared short codes normally require a one-time setup fee.
You only pay for the messages you send while incoming SMS messages are free.
|10-Digit Local Phone Number (10DLC)||Toll-Free SMS Number||VoIP Online Text Number||Short Code|
|Digits||(123) 456-7890||(888) 123-4567||(xxx) xxx-xxxx||55555 or 666666|
|One-way text messaging||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Two-way text messaging||✅||✅||✅||🚫|
|Throughput (messages you can send per-second)||1-5||10-20||10-20||100+|
|Provisioning (time until functional)||Days||Seconds||Days||Weeks|
|Frequent uses||Conversational messaging (customer service, sales, support, etc.)||Conversaitonal, transactional and promotional messaging (notifications, alerts and more)||Conversaitonal and transactional messaging (notifications, alerts and more)||Marketing, promotional messages, advertisements, offers|
|Best for||Local businesses and organizations that need conversational texting with groups of contacts||Small to medium-sized businesses and organizations that need to reach wider audiences||Small to medium-sized businesses and organizations with teams and various departments||Large businesses and organizations that only send one-way promotional texts|
Looking to text-enable an existing business number? Or are you trying to get a new SMS phone number? Here’s how to get started.
The first step to getting an SMS phone number is choosing a number provider.
There are many great business texting number services out there, including MessageDesk. These platforms often support both 10DLC numbers and toll free numbers.
If you’re looking to get your whole team texting, then you’ll want a service with a shared team SMS inbox.
Doing large-scale SMS marketing campaigns? You’ll want an SMS marketing service or mass text app that supports text message broadcasts.
MessageDesk offers features designed to suit both of the above business texting needs.
The next step is to create a free account. You can do this with MessageDesk by starting a free trial. You’re also free to meet with one of our messaging experts to learn more.
Next, you’ll need to select a number or use your existing business phone line. MessageDesk gives you a range of options including both local 10DLC SMS numbers and toll-free SMS numbers.
To text from your existing business number or landline, you’ll need to submit a number porting request.
Note: It will likely take from 1-7 days to successfully text-enable your business number once you submit your request. Sometimes, this process is referred to as number hosting (not to be confused with number porting).
Text messaging can help promote your products and services, keep connected to contacts, send updates, and facilitate internal communication.
But you can only harness these benefits once you’ve chosen the right type of phone number for texting.
MessageDesk is here to help you select a new SMS number or text-enable your existing business landline.
Start your free MessageDesk trial today or meet with a messaging expert to learn more.
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