When you want to encourage a customer to enter a competition or sign up to receive offers via text, short codes are a great alternative to long mobile phone numbers. Due to their length and simplicity, they are easy to remember and require very little commitment from customers to sign up or get in touch.
Short codes and keywords can be printed on brochures, posters, menus and on vehicles, and unlike QR codes or Twitter handle, do not require a 4G data signal nor WIFI. Customers can send a text message to a short number such as 60777 containing a keyword such as ‘PROMO’ and trigger any auto response or auto reply with a message containing a coupon, voucher, link, survey or piece of information.
There are many advantages for both retailers and consumers for using short codes and text messages. However, some mobile phone providers charge a small cost to text short code numbers, often above what is already included in most contracts. Furthermore, businesses are often unclear about the costs to text a short code number leaving customers unsure if they are texting a premium rate service (PRS).
So how much does it cost to text short codes like 60777, 66777 and 62277, and what can you do to be clear about the costs?
How much does texting 60777, 66777 or 62277 cost?
Consumers who text 60777 or 66777 will only be charged at their operator’s standard rate (usually around 12p, but the cost can vary). Any marketing texts they receive from you as a result of signing up via a short code will not cost them anything.
The short code 62277, which is used by Textlocal, is free to text!
What are Premium Rate Numbers?
Premium rate numbers are often used by businesses to pay for features in apps, to donate to a charity or to enter in competitions. Premium rate numbers usually start with 6,7 or 8 and can be between four and six digits long. However, unlike our own five-digit short code number, they can cost more than a standard rate text message. For example, charities may charge you £5 to text a premium rate number.
What can businesses do to debunk short code myths?
In order to put your customers’ minds at ease, it is vital to inform them exactly how much a text to and from you will cost. This may mean simply stating that the customer will be charged at their operator’s standard rate – as EE’s short code costs may be slightly different to Three’s, for example.
You must also make it clear what the customer is signing up for. If they are entering a competition, they may not want to receive promotional texts from you afterwards. Legally, you must give them the option to opt out of any following marketing texts. For example, in the automated text which confirms their entry, you should state that they can text the word ‘STOP’ (or something similar) to the short code you’re using.
We always recommend that you:
- be upfront about the service you’re offering
- clear about your costs and the cost to text your short number
- do not deceive and treat consumers fairly
- comply with the law
- not invade consumer privacy
- not cause harm or unreasonable offence to consumers
For more information on legal compliance, click here.
Alternatives to short code text message numbers
A long number such as 447000000000 can be used for two-way SMS and enable people to reply directly to your message. Texting a long number can free for some mobile phone contracts and pay as you go customers, or as little as a standard SMS text message for everyone else. Some long numbers are free set up, speak to our customer service team about a long number for your business.
Short codes really are a fantastic way to keep in touch with customers who want to hear from you. If you’d like to find out more, text ‘GO’ to 62277, and we’ll answer any questions you have about SMS. short codes. Remember, it’s free to text!