The American public experiences a never-ending influx of information and advertisements. The constant stream of information creates a unique challenge for communications and marketing professionals who need to ensure their messages are received and read. The election window is small, so getting the message across is critical for political candidates, organizations, and advocacy groups.
Many organizations, including political ones, have turned to text message marketing to improve communication with their constituents. But, before a political organization can start sending messages to their supporters, they must first set up are few foundational items.
One essential item that must be in place before an organization can start sending political text messages is an SMS short code. This blog post outlines what an SMS short code is and how political campaigns can access one to begin their SMS marketing communications strategy.
What Is an SMS Short Code?
An SMS short code is a five- or six-digit phone number that allows political campaigns to communicate via text messages with their supporters. There are two SMS short code options: a vanity short code and a generic short code.
A vanity short code is a custom phone number (for example, 123456, 001001, 313131) a political campaign can use to communicate via text message with its supporters. Or, the political campaign can choose to communicate with its supporters using a generic short code instead, which is a phone number assigned at random (for example, 483754, 093342, 159834).
Many campaigns choose vanity short codes because these numbers tend to be easier for supporters to remember. For example, a person driving down the highway, who sees a presidential candidate’s SMS campaign ad featuring a vanity SMS short code, is more likely to recall the SMS short code because the numbers seem to go together. A vanity short code makes it much easier to subscribe to the campaign because the phone number is easier to remember.
You may have also heard of the terms shared short codes vs. dedicated short codes. A shared short code, as the name suggests, is shared among many brands. A dedicated short code is exclusively for use by a single brand. Political campaigns specifically must use dedicated short codes. This helps avoid confusion among audiences and ensures that the campaign’s code isn’t at risk of getting shut down because another party uses it incorrectly. It’s really a win-win for all. Here are some of the laws and guidelines set in place to protect subscribers, short codes, and organizations sending the text messages.
Where Do You Get an SMS Short Code?
A political candidate, organization, or advocacy group can get an SMS short code from the U.S. Short Code Administration. The U.S. Short Code Administration is the only governing body that can lease short codes to political candidates, organizations, and advocacy groups. Because the process is so nuanced, political candidates, organizations, and advocacy groups typically work with an SMS software provider like Tatango to obtain their SMS short code.
Tatango has been working with the U.S. Short Code Administration for over 13 years and has been awarded the highest partner designation by the Common Short Code Administration, which is a great advantage. On your campaign’s behalf, we can manage all the setup details, documentation, rules, and regulations to make the process seamless and efficient. Tatango has provisioned the most amount of political short codes in the industry, so we’re experts in acquiring and provisioning them, which means faster approval times for your political organization.
How Much Does an SMS Short Code Cost?
A dedicated short code costs either $1,000 per month for a vanity short code or $500 per month for a generic short code. Most aggregators and SMS software providers will charge either $500 or $1000, which is exactly what the U.S. Short Code Administration charges. At Tatango, we highly recommend working with your SMS software provider to obtain a short code because the leasing fee will be the same whether you do it yourself or bring in the pros.
Why Work With Tatango?
Tatango has provided SMS marketing services to political candidates, organizations, and advocacy groups for over 13 years. We understand the unique needs of political candidates and organizations and ensure that your SMS campaign is set up and run to deliver your desired results. At Tatango, you’ll partner with a client success manager well versed in political SMS marketing to ensure you can get the best results from your SMS text messaging investment.
The Tatango SMS software offers the following features:
Text Messaging Workflows: Create virtually any type of text marketing workflow you can think of—no coding required.
Subscriber Segmentation: Send the right political text message to exactly the right mobile subscribers on your list.
SMS Messaging Analytics: Track the success of every mass text message you send using Tatango’s messaging analytics dashboard.
Integrations: Tatango integrates with the 20+ top email marketing and CRM software providers currently on the market and all political fundraising software.
To learn more about the Tatango platform and how you can strengthen your connection with your supporters, schedule a time to chat with one of our SMS marketing experts.