New to SMS marketing, How do you deal with blocked short codes?

24 replies
Hey Warriors!
First off thanks for all the great info here. Not sure how to properly thank you guys on the threads. My very first client wants to use SMS to communicate with staff and to build his business. but most of the employees are dealing with blocked short codes due to family plans, and T Mobile, Metro PCS and some others do it automatically.
Any ideas or suggestions?
#blocked #blocked short codes #codes #deal #marketing #short #short codes #sms
  • Profile picture of the author imsolutionsgroup
    For communicating with his staff, why not use a long code?

    For building his business - Is his business local? Or is his target audience all across the nation?
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    • Profile picture of the author Markmobiler
      I would recommend using someone that has multiple short codes so that if there is a problem with one that you can switch to another. I know AvidMobile provides additional codes. We use them. Anyone else have a suggestion?

      Long codes are no good for real marketing campaigns btw.
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      • Profile picture of the author imsolutionsgroup
        Originally Posted by Markmobiler View Post

        I would recommend using someone that has multiple short codes so that if there is a problem with one that you can switch to another. I know AvidMobile provides additional codes. We use them. Anyone else have a suggestion?

        Long codes are no good for real marketing campaigns btw.
        LOL. Would love to hear why you think long codes are no good for "real" marketing campaigns.

        Have you ever tested long codes vs. short codes? Or just whipping that statement out of your ass?
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      • Profile picture of the author djjackyb
        I am using multiple short codes which helped me in one instance. thanks
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      • Profile picture of the author baxterblue
        Originally Posted by Markmobiler View Post

        I would recommend using someone that has multiple short codes so that if there is a problem with one that you can switch to another. I know AvidMobile provides additional codes. We use them. Anyone else have a suggestion?

        Long codes are no good for real marketing campaigns btw.

        If a provider like Metro PC or T-Mobile does not allow short codes then how would switching to a different short code solve anything?

        Just wondering.
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        • Profile picture of the author Markmobiler
          First of all, how do people with long codes get permission based phone numbers that are TCPA compliant to message to in the first place? The answer is, they don't.
          they just upload numbers that they received from non-compliant web-forms or paper or the POS systems they use.
          This is non-compliant.

          a good SMS company runs compliant marketing campaigns and has people opt-in the right way. building databases that are permission based.
          the easiest way to do this is through a variety of techniques utilizing short codes because they are easier to get the opt-ins. shorter easy to remember phone numbers.
          like i said, if you are serious about using mobile marketing campaigns then I would highly recommend a reputable company like avidmobile that provides training on compliance and building databases so you don't end up in trouble and have success.
          if you are playing around with one or two companies and don't mind doing it in a non compliant manner, then longcodes might be your answer.

          ask yourself, why does every major brand utilize short codes in their real marketing efforts? cause it is the right way to do business.
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          • Profile picture of the author baxterblue
            Originally Posted by Markmobiler View Post

            First of all, how do people with long codes get permission based phone numbers that are TCPA compliant to message to in the first place? The answer is, they don't.
            they just upload numbers that they received from non-compliant web-forms or paper or the POS systems they use.
            This is non-compliant.

            a good SMS company runs compliant marketing campaigns and has people opt-in the right way. building databases that are permission based.
            the easiest way to do this is through a variety of techniques utilizing short codes because they are easier to get the opt-ins. shorter easy to remember phone numbers.
            like i said, if you are serious about using mobile marketing campaigns then I would highly recommend a reputable company like avidmobile that provides training on compliance and building databases so you don't end up in trouble and have success.
            if you are playing around with one or two companies and don't mind doing it in a non compliant manner, then longcodes might be your answer.

            ask yourself, why does every major brand utilize short codes in their real marketing efforts? cause it is the right way to do business.

            I tend to agree with a lot of what you say however my question was...

            "most of the employees are dealing with blocked short codes due to family plans, and T Mobile, Metro PCS and some others do it automatically.
            Any ideas or suggestions?"

            How would switching to another short code skirt around this issue?
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          • Profile picture of the author imsolutionsgroup
            Originally Posted by Markmobiler View Post

            First of all, how do people with long codes get permission based phone numbers that are TCPA compliant to message to in the first place? The answer is, they don't.
            they just upload numbers that they received from non-compliant web-forms or paper or the POS systems they use.
            This is non-compliant.

            a good SMS company runs compliant marketing campaigns and has people opt-in the right way. building databases that are permission based.
            the easiest way to do this is through a variety of techniques utilizing short codes because they are easier to get the opt-ins. shorter easy to remember phone numbers.
            like i said, if you are serious about using mobile marketing campaigns then I would highly recommend a reputable company like avidmobile that provides training on compliance and building databases so you don't end up in trouble and have success.
            if you are playing around with one or two companies and don't mind doing it in a non compliant manner, then longcodes might be your answer.

            ask yourself, why does every major brand utilize short codes in their real marketing efforts? cause it is the right way to do business.
            I think you need to continue to do a little research on this topic. You can have a 100% compliant long code system. Anything you can do with a short code, you can do with a long code.

            And, the reason you see most major brands using short codes is because they are on a national level. If you're a local company, then a long code with your area code works. I also tested short codes vs long codes on a local level and the long code got a better conversion.

            I believe its because when you see a local number you relate to it and trust your signing up for only the list of the store you're visiting/buying from. A short code, the majority of public don't understand or know what they are. They see a 4-5 digit code and think they're joining some sort of marketing list.
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          • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
            Originally Posted by Markmobiler View Post

            First of all, how do people with long codes get permission based phone numbers that are TCPA compliant to message to in the first place? The answer is, they don't.
            they just upload numbers that they received from non-compliant web-forms or paper or the POS systems they use.
            This is non-compliant.

            a good SMS company runs compliant marketing campaigns and has people opt-in the right way. building databases that are permission based.
            the easiest way to do this is through a variety of techniques utilizing short codes because they are easier to get the opt-ins. shorter easy to remember phone numbers.
            like i said, if you are serious about using mobile marketing campaigns then I would highly recommend a reputable company like avidmobile that provides training on compliance and building databases so you don't end up in trouble and have success.
            if you are playing around with one or two companies and don't mind doing it in a non compliant manner, then longcodes might be your answer.

            ask yourself, why does every major brand utilize short codes in their real marketing efforts? cause it is the right way to do business.
            I beg to differ. Your argument is false. Anyone can build a list of permission based phone numbers that are TCPA compliant with a long code just as easily as they can using a short code. Just have the subscriber "confirm" that they want to join the list by replying YES to the first text message. Only then do they get put on the list.

            Most local businesses don't need to use a short code to build an SMS list. And a short code cant be used for voice calls whereas a long can do double duty. (i.e. press 1 to join our awesome SMS list, press 2 to connect with our store")

            short codes don't make it easier to get opt ins either. If a business can place a web form on their site where prospects enter a phone number and press "submit". easy peasy. Besides, people are accustomed to texting phone numbers more often than short codes.
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        • Profile picture of the author djjackyb
          Hey Baxterblue,
          It turns out some short codes are blocked while others may not be. Not sure why,abuse?
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    • Profile picture of the author djjackyb
      Long codes? told you i'm new lol! its a local business. making this gig harder is that its a strip club, so I find it very hard to get shares in social media. thought that sms is better for them and mobile search
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruha
    I think long codes are easier for local, small business owners to understand. Especially if mobile has not engulfed your city/town yet.

    When we first started out trying to sell short codes to people, they were very apprehensive. They'd ask what it was, was it spam, etc.

    The long codes are easy to understand, as imsolutionsgroup put it, they are just a phone number.
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    • Profile picture of the author Smalls257
      If you are having problems with shortcodes, then as others suggested longcodes may work better for you. I recommend learning about how to use Twilio. Cheap prices, reliable texting, and great customer service. I used them for quite a while before switching to shortcodes. I've found shortcodes to be easier to use myself as its less work for people to text to.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruha
    I agree, there is not issue with compliance when dealing with long codes vs short codes. I've used both and the long code is just as easy to setup for compliance purposes. Plus, I agree that it does seem to give people in your local area more confidence as they are comfortable sending text messages to a 10 digit phone number.
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  • Profile picture of the author djjackyb
    Hey guys thanks for all the ideas. I am finding that most people in my local area either do not know enough about short codes or have had bad experiences with the kids signing up for something and the parents getting stuck with the bill.
    I agree that short codes are much easier for "everyone", but until they are accepted I may have to go the long code route. Thanks again!
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  • Profile picture of the author JTV
    Long codes completely bypass the headache of getting your own short code number. Long codes cut through the numerous restrictions associated with purchasing your own short code and very lengthy approval process. Setting up a long code campaign is fast and easy. With long codes, you can also reach everyone. Long codes deliver SMS messages where short codes can’t. For example, international mobile numbers, VOIP phone and Google voice are all within your reach.

    Short codes are intended to send out thousands of messages at a very fast rate. That is why they were created to begin with, for very large marketing campaigns. In most cases, long codes suffice for most people but that depends on how many people you are marketing to.
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  • Profile picture of the author mobilemanic
    To resolve the original question that was asked on this thread. They are some main carriers that have decided to adapt the policies of the powers that be. I have had both sprint and t-mobile block one of my short codes because of the new rulings that state that adult content can not be used in sms marketing. Including alcohol and tobaco. You mentioned that the business was a strip club? If it is, that's the problem. I lost 4 liquor stores because of this issue. I love short codes. It's fast for mass texting. However the only way around this is a long code. Twillio of course. A shared short code your own, these issues cannot be avoided do to the carriers policies. Just my experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author TrumpiaTim
    Note these issues with long codes:

    They can only send 1 text/sec and are NOT allowed for marketing messages and mass texting.

    Therefore if you're doing a small one location campaign it may work, but if you want to scale up for higher throughput you will want to invest in short codes.
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    • Profile picture of the author imsolutionsgroup
      Originally Posted by TrumpiaTim View Post

      Note these issues with long codes:

      They can only send 1 text/sec and are NOT allowed for marketing messages and mass texting.

      Therefore if you're doing a small one location campaign it may work, but if you want to scale up for higher throughput you will want to invest in short codes.
      Here is the direct line from the Mobile Marketing Association - Mobile Advertising Guidelines:

      Delivery

      Delivery of SMS Ad messages should be consistent with the MMA Global Code of Conduct. In the U.S., SMS Ad messages should also follow the MMA Consumer Best Practice Guidelines: http://www.mmaglobal.com/bestpractices.pdf

      If a user requests additional information be delivered to them via SMS, advertisers should respond to that request within 12 hours or the request (opt-in) for that particular message will be deemed expired.

      Responses to user requests may be delivered by an alternate common short code or phone number, but the relationship to the original request should be clearly identifiable by the user. (For more information about short codes, see the MMA Common Short Code Primer, available at http://www.mmaglobal.com/shortcodeprimer.pdf )

      You can read the entire PDF here - http://mmaglobal.com/mobileadvertising.pdf
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  • Profile picture of the author eisensource
    I contacted one of Twilio sales about short code and long code. The answer is long code only can send or receive 250 messages per day. The short code is no limited. Also short code lease fee is $1000 per month. How can you guys afford the short code?
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  • Profile picture of the author chiddoan
    You should use an SMS Marketing app that supports multiple versions generator, that'll help you by pass carrier's spam filter, so it's difficult to get blocked by carrier
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  • Profile picture of the author AvidJon
    Originally Posted by djjackyb View Post

    Hey Warriors!
    First off thanks for all the great info here. Not sure how to properly thank you guys on the threads. My very first client wants to use SMS to communicate with staff and to build his business. but most of the employees are dealing with blocked short codes due to family plans, and T Mobile, Metro PCS and some others do it automatically.
    Any ideas or suggestions?

    Good Afternoon,

    Dealing with blocked short codes can be a nuisance. I've talked with a variety of individuals who share your same concerns.

    When it comes to short code messaging the big four carriers support short code messaging. That being said there are a few exceptions.

    1. While the carrier may fully support short code messaging at some point the end user may have blocked that service. This seems to especially true with T-Mobile. The solution is easy, have them contact their carrier and enable premium/short code messaging on their plan.

    2. At some point someone violated TCPA or CTIA best practices and got the short code blocked. this would prevent the subscriber from receiving a SMS message from the carrier. This is a rare instance.

    Short code messaging does get a little tricky when you look at your Tier 2 and Tier 3 carriers. For example Boost Mobile will allow their subscribers to opt-in to a keyword campaign and receive the reply message. However, they do not allow their subscribers to receive an SMS blast or blast coupon message. Let me know if you have any other questions! Best of luck in your mobile marketing endeavors!
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