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Two-way messaging works with either a short code or long number that enables your customers to reply to your SMS messages. Research has shown that as much as 64% of customers want to be able to engage with companies via two-way messaging and short code messaging enables businesses to do just that.

Enabling SMS short code numbers for your business will allow you to receive messages and replies from your customers, starting meaningful two-way conversations with them. So, what is this short code business all about, how does it work, and how can it benefit your business? Let’s take a look.

What is a short code?

A short code is a memorable 5 or 6 digit number ideal for SMS marketing campaigns, lead generation, and promotions where you want people to easily remember your number. This 5 or 6 digit 'from' number can easily be memorized by your customers, suppliers or employees.


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What are the benefits of using a short code for your business?

The greatest advantage of using a short code is that it can be easily remembered, making it simple for recipients to reply to your messages forming the basis of any great SMS marketing platform.

Short codes are also ideal for sending high-volume messages in the business-to-consumer environment. With long numbers, you’re only able to send 1 message per second, but short codes can send large numbers of bulk SMS messages at a consistent rate with much higher throughput. Short codes are a potent SMS marketing and customer appreciation tool, especially for time-sensitive campaigns or critical alerts.

Here are just a few ways you can use an SMS shortcode to benefit your business:

Enable customers to opt-in

Get your customers to opt-in for your services or promotional SMS messages by sending a keyword to your short code.


A text shortcode is the perfect medium to allow anyone to donate to your charitable cause without any effort at all.

Lead generation

Shortcode texting is a very popular method to encourage potential customers to send an SMS to your short code to get a quote for insurance or a loan, for example.


Invite customers (and potential customers) to enter a competition. They can easily send an SMS to your short code with their name and phone number to enter – a great way to build up your customer database and identify new leads.

Order tracking and delivery confirmations

Your customers simply send an SMS with a tracking number to your two-way messaging shortcode to receive a response with the latest status of their delivery.

Get valuable customer

SMS surveys using short codes make it easy for your customers to rate products or services by simply scoring them or replying with a YES/NO to describe their satisfaction levels.

Appointment reminders and confirmations

Time is money and when a customer forgets or fails to cancel an appointment, substantial losses are suffered. Automated reminders using a shortcode, allows customers to confirm, cancel, or reschedule their upcoming appointments.

What are my options?

Short codes are registered by a national registry in either shared short codes (using specific keywords) or random (any numbers) and vanity (specific numbers chosen by you) short codes.

Random and vanity dedicated short codes

These are dedicated memorable shortcode numbers which means that you’ll be the only company that uses the number, allowing it to become synonymous with your brand ensuring consistency and brand recognition. You can either purchase a random short code which means that an available short code number will be assigned to you, or you could opt for a vanity short code which means you get to choose the number you want to use.

Shared short codes

For a more cost-effective solution, you can register a keyword on a shared short code, which means you will be assigned a unique SMS keyword but you will share the short code with other businesses. These short codes are great for competitions or lead generation for example, where customers can SMS your keyword and their details to the shared number to enter or request a quote or more information about your products and services.


How do I apply for a short code?

In just a few easy steps you’ll be able to start receiving replies to your messages and taking advantage of all the benefits that shortcode numbers offer.

You’ll need a Clickatell Platform account so if you don’t have one yet, now is the time to sign up for one.
If you’ve already got an account (good on you!) log in and follow these easy steps to apply for your short code.


Are there any restrictions or limitations to using a short code?

Short codes are country specific and can't be used if you want to receive messages from international customers so you’ll need to have a short code in the country where your customers are.

In addition, each country or territory has its own restrictions and regulations around two-way messaging. Non-compliance may lead to non-delivery of messages, which is why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the terms applicable to the relevant territories.

Clickatell Platform

Clickatell Platform is a powerful bulk SMS system that enables you to send messages securely, reliably, and instantly via the Clickatell REST API.

Platform is cloud-hosted, user-friendly and the wizard-driven code generation makes integration into your existing systems super easy. Platform is scalable, capable of delivering thousands of SMS messages per second, and completely customizable to suit your specific text messaging needs.

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