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Messaging, Phone Numbers

SMS-enabled phone numbers: What are they?

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SMS-enabled phone numbers are becoming a common element of multi-channel marketing strategies and embedded communication for apps and services. If you’ve ever had a text from your bank to confirm a payment or a marketing text message about a new store offer you’ve gotten it from an SMS-enabled phone number.

How is an SMS-enabled phone number different from a normal phone number?

Well, it’s not really. The main difference is we’re talking about virtual numbers/DIDs rather than the numbers provided by a regular network. What this means is that it uses IP-based tech to transfer calls and texts, so your charges are lower than from a regular mobile number.

By using virtual numbers, you can send and receive texts locally in places that are nowhere near your current location. So if your company is based in the US and you have customers in the UK, using an SMS-enabled UK mobile number lets you text each other as if you were on the opposite side of the Atlantic with them.

Long codes vs Short codes

Long codes and short codes are different types of telephone numbers. Long codes look like your typical phone number, being anywhere from 10 digits to longer depending on your locality, while short codes are, well… shorter, typically only 5 to 6 digits.

Short codes are typically used in cases where it might be beneficial for the number to be easy to remember. A good example is the texts you get from your bank or network provider about your bills. If you take a look at the number it’s coming from it’ll probably be 5-6 digits. A short number.

Emergency services numbers are another great example of short codes in action, where it’s all about ease of remembering. 911 (or 999 or 112, depending on your location) is much easier to remember than a 10-12 digit number.

The business case

There are plenty of useful ways to utilize SMS-enabled phone numbers as part of your business comms strategy.

For the most part, they’re used to:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Build purchase intent
  • Promote timely offers
  • Build customer loyalty
  • Improve customer service and decrease call center volume/costs
  • Activate traditional media and make it more measurable

But in the end, they give you the option to utilize SMS without the added costs and contracts that you’d get from a traditional supplier.

Bandwidth’s SMS-enabled phone numbers

Bandwidth enables you to SMS-enable phone numbers to send text messages for your use case. We offer SMS on long codes, short codes, and toll-free numbers, enabling you to send texts on the numbers you already have and that your customers know.

Interested in adding SMS to your phone numbers with Bandwidth? Get in touch with our team to learn more and to arrange a free trial.