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Choosing the Right Number Type for Your SMS Campaigns -… | SignalWire

Choosing the Right Number Type for Your SMS Campaigns - 10DLC, Toll-Free, or Short Code

Which type of number is best for your use case?

Carrier Operations Manager and Content Strategist

Kat Collins and Dani Plicka

Which number type is best for your messaging use case - 10DLC, toll-free, or short code? When it comes to setting up successful SMS campaigns, the first step is determining which phone number type will be most effective for your specific use case.

There are three overarching types of SMS use cases: conversational, informational, and promotional. Your use case will determine what kind of opt-in consent you need to request from your audience, and which type of phone number will be best suited to increasing your engagement and deliverability.

Depending on how many regions you’re serving, how many messages you’re sending, and the overall goal of your campaign, our messaging experts at SignalWire have recommendations for which number type is best for you.

10DLC vs. toll-free vs. short codes

10 digit long codes, or 10DLC, are traditional US phone numbers. If you’re sending messages within the United States, 10DLC can be appropriate for just about any use case (although there may be better options, depending on what you want to achieve with your campaign). You can’t really go wrong with 10DLC messaging campaigns, and SignalWire makes registration for the 10DLC campaign registry incredibly simple and straightforward.

Toll-free numbers can also be utilized for most use cases, although they will be effective in specific situations more than others. The registration process is also much longer than for 10DLC.

Short codes, meanwhile, are not suited for most use cases. However, they can be the best choice for certain situations, particularly high volume use cases.

Conversational SMS

Example use cases

The main type of campaign that will fall under conversational SMS is live customer support. These use cases usually involve a consumer initiating a text exchange with a business, and the business responding with relevant information.

Opt-in consent

Opt-in consent is implied for these use cases. If the consumer is initiating the exchange, then no verbal or written permission is expected.

Recommended number types

  1. 10DLC numbers are ideal for customer-business interactions, especially if you expect a lower volume of messages to be sent out. There is a “low volume” registration option when registering a campaign of this type that is ideal for businesses that only send out a couple hundred messages per day. This is also a great choice if your business is limited to a certain region, and you’d like to send customers texts from a friendly local number.

  2. Toll-free numbers are an excellent choice for higher volume use cases, or for larger businesses that service multiple regions. If you’d prefer not to pay for multiple local numbers across many regions, it keeps your business looking professional to cater to a wider audience.

  3. Short codes are not recommended for conversational SMS use cases, unless you anticipate sending hundreds of thousands of messages per day.

Informational SMS

Example use cases

There are many different types of use cases that fall under the category of informational SMS. Appointment reminders, delivery notifications, order confirmations, abandoned cart reminders, 2FA codes, and fraud alert messaging are some of the most common use cases.

Opt-in consent

Express consent is required for informational SMS campaigns. Consumers should give express permission before you send them a text. This consent can be acquired via text, on a form, on a website, verbally, or written by the consumer.

Recommended number types

  1. Short codes are an excellent pick for high volume informational use cases specifically. If you need to send out hundreds of time-sensitive messages at once, short codes will provide you with the highest possible deliverability rate due to the extensive nature of the short code registration process.

  2. 10DLC numbers will be more suited to a low or medium volume use case. If the informational messages are still time-sensitive and important, but the volume is not as high, 10DLC is a great choice. You can also vet your 10DLC Brand to obtain a higher throughput.

  3. Toll-free numbers are also acceptable for informational use cases. In this case, it simply depends how you want your number to be presented to the end user and your preferred registration process.

Promotional SMS

Example use cases

Promotional SMS campaigns refer to marketing campaigns. General marketing, coupon codes, discount codes, advertisements, and sale promotions all fall under this category.

Promotional SMS use cases are under the highest level of scrutiny in the industry because they tend to be the most abused by spammers and bad actors. It is crucial that direct written consent is received before you send these types of campaigns to consumers. If you receive a high percentage of opt-out messages, we recommend that you reevaluate how often you’re sending your subscribers promotional messages and the quality of your content.

Always follow CTIA guidelines, especially when it comes to promotional SMS use cases!

Opt-in consent

The consumer will need to give express written permission before a business can send them a promotional text message in order to prevent spam. Consumers can sign a form, check a box, or otherwise provide consent to receive promotional texts, but double opt-in consent is highly recommended for these use cases.

Recommended number types

  1. Short codes are a great choice for high volume promotional use cases. Short codes are an aesthetically pleasing and professional style of phone number that will provide a high deliverability rate.

  2. 10DLC numbers are more suited to low or medium volume use cases, and are great for local businesses who want to choose a friendly local number to contact consumers with coupons or promotions.

  3. Toll-free numbers are also suitable for promotional SMS use cases, especially if you’re serving customers across many regions.

Selecting the right type of phone number is important for the success of your SMS campaigns. By optimizing your campaigns with the appropriate number type and adhering to industry guidelines and best practices, you can maximize your engagement, deliverability, and overall effectiveness of your campaigns. Get started today with SignalWire's messaging platform free trial.

If you have questions while working through registration processes or setting up messaging campaigns, SignalWire offers world-class support to our customers. You can open a support ticket at any time in your dashboard, or stop by our Community Slack or our Forum to connect with the team and ask questions.

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