Migrating SMS Databases

Do you need to transfer your subscribers to a new SMS short code? Derek Johnson, CEO of Tatango breaks down the rules behind transferring subscribers from one short code to another as outlined by the Mobile Marketing Association’s Best Practices.


Video Transcription

Hey everyone, this is Derek Johnson with Tatango.com. We’re going to be talking about how to transfer your customers, or your mobile subscribers, from one short code to another. The first thing we’ve got to cover though is what the heck is a short code? A short code is a five to six digit phone number that’s used for marketing purposes. You see them on “American Idol” and on billboards. You as a business should be using a short code to text message your customers.

What happens when you want to switch SMS providers and go from one short code to the other? There are a couple of things that are required by the Mobile Marketing Association. We’ll go through them right now. There are two rules. The first rule, when transferring your mobile subscribers from one short code to the other, is the content and purpose of the messages must be the same.

Hypothetically, let’s say you’re a pizza place and you’re offering discounts. You send out, let’s say, weekly discounts to your customers or your mobile subscribers. If you transfer your short code and now you offer something completely different to your mobile subscribers, that’s not allowed. You have to stick with the same frequency and you have to stick with the same type of content that they originally, your customers, opted in to.

Number two is the content provider must be the same. The content provider is you, the business. Let’s say if you’re a pizza place, you can’t go to a new short code and sell that new short code to somebody else, or your subscribers to somebody else. Now they opted in for pizza on some other short code, and now on another short code, they’re receiving messages about a local nightclub or party rentals. You can’t do that.

Those are the two rules. If you’re following those rules and those rules make sense, now you want to move on to what actions do you have to take to actually make this happen? The first thing you want to do is, before the transfer, you want to make sure that all of your mobile subscribers are made aware that you’re moving to a new short code. What this means is log into your SMS provider and type out a message saying, “Hey, we’re moving to a new short code.” I would put the short code in. You always have to remind your mobile subscribers about how to opt out. “Hey, we’re moving to a new short code, 33733, and we’re going to be still offering the same great pizza discounts. If you ever want to opt out, reply STOP to opt out.”

The second part is, once you’ve moved over those subscribers to the new short code, you want to once again say the same type of thing. You want to remind them about the campaign, and you also want to give them an option to opt out again. Once you’ve followed those rules, though, you’ll be in compliance with the Mobile Marketing Association, and you’ll have no problem transferring your mobile subscribers or customers from one short code to another.

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