Decided to take the plunge with SMS marketing but aren't sure exactly where to begin or what type of phone number to get for communicating with existing or prospective customers?

This guide explains everything you need to know about the 6-digit phone number. We discuss what a six-digit number means, how it can benefit your business, and some real-life examples of the kind of communications you can use it for. We'll also talk about how you can get your own 6-digit code ready for starting your text marketing campaigns.

What is a 6-digit phone number?

A six-digit number, also known as a short code or Common Short Code (CSC)6-digit numbers are created by wireless carriers and are commonly used by businesses for sending text messages to customers and leads., is a special type of Sender ID.

Short codes can actually be four or five digits long as well as six – the number of digits depends on several factors, such as:

  • Your location in the world.

  • What purpose you'll be using the short code for.

  • Local or international laws and telecom regulations, e.g., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

How does a 6-digit code work for SMS and MMS messages?

Short codes are great for sending business text-based messages (SMS) as well as media messages that include images, video, or audio files (MMS messages). Let's talk about the many aspects of t 6-digit text message number, including its types and inner workings.

Difference between 6-digit short codes and 10-digit long codes

Note that you typically can't make or receive phone calls using 6-digit numbers; they're only suitable for text messages. This is where a six-digit phone number differs from 10DLC numbers; you can exchange calls and faxes with the latter.

6-digit number vs 6-digit security code

Make sure not to confuse the 6-digit phone number with the security code or OTP that many apps send for two-factor authentication (2FA). The 6-digit verification code is something customers receive, often via SMS, when trying to access sensitive information or log into certain apps or accounts online. In fact, you could use your 6-digit number to send out 2FA security codes to your customers! Other than that, there's no connection between the two.

Types of 6-digit codes

In the past, it was common for two or more businesses to text their customers using the same short code. You may have noticed getting very different types of marketing texts, like perhaps a bank app login code and a restaurant advert, from the same six-digit code. However, shared short codes presented several problems, the biggest of which concerned security. Other key issues businesses faced were the limitations around opt-in and opt-out keyword customisation and the question of their individual reputations. Thus, many cell carriers worldwide don't support shared short codes anymore.

When applying for your dedicated short code, you'll have two types to choose from: random and vanity.

Random short code

A random short code is a randomly generated 6-digit code , e.g. 589314 or 283749, that gets assigned to you. Random short codes don't hold any special meaning, neither do they follow any particular sequence. They come with a lower price tag because of being ge.

Vanity short code

A vanity short code is a 6-digit number you specifically choose that has a deeper meaning or is easier for customers to remember. It might contain repeating or consecutive numbers and have an aesthetic appeal. That's why many brands prefer to use vanity short codes. However, this option to customise your six-digit phone number is more expensive.

Campaign types and subscriber permissions for 6-digit numbers

A 6-digit phone number is ideal for both one-way SMS communications and conversational texting, where recipients can text back. You should be able to turn replies on or off as needed in your SMS provider's software.

No matter which types of campaigns you want to send, it's a legal requirement to get permission and opt-ins from customers and prospects before you start sending texts from your short code.

A good way to do this is to encourage people to text a keyword to opt into your SMS marketing messages. That can be as simple as displaying a flyer on your business premises with details of how to subscribe, for example, ‘Want to be the first to know about our end-of-season sales? Text YES to 12345.' You could also request signups through CTAs on your website or within your business app if you have one. For instance, you can add a simple text box with a lucrative offer, ending with an appropriate CTA such as 'Enter phone number to subscribe.'

Offering subscribers an incentive in return for their phone number is a good idea to sweeten the deal and can help grow your SMS list faster – promise exclusive content, a special discount code or something else of value. Once you've got opt-ins (express consent), you can begin texting your list with SMS marketing campaigns.

How to get replies to your 6-digit code

If you're expecting replies from your customers, you need to ensure that their smartphones support this function. On many phones, replies to 5- or 6- digit short codes are blocked by default to protect users from accidental or unexpected SMS charges. Replies have to be enabled manually, and you can educate your con.

Here's how to text to a 6-digit number on Android, for instance. Your customer will have to go to 'Settings' and search u'Special access'. Then, in the submenu, look for 'Use premium text message services' (this exact phrase might be different on each handset, but the term 'premium' is the keyword here). After tapping on it, they should see their phone's default SMS messaging app appear. If the permission is set to 'Never allow', they can tap and change it to 'Always allow' or, to be on the safer side, 'Ask always'.

Key features and benefits of 6-digit phone numbers

A 6-digit number is available to just one business or sender. By using a dedicated business phone number, you'll build credibility, authority, and professionalism. Once customers recognise the number (provided your SMS campaigns offer value and interest), they'll trust any message from your brand – which in turn should improve your open and response rates.

There are several other benefits of six-digit phone numbers.

  • Easy to remember and quick to type out on a mobile phone, especially if it's a vanity short code

  • Ideal for mass texting, where you send one promotional campaign to all (or a large proportion) of your subscriber list

  • Fast delivery for high volumes of text messages, especially compared to long code numbers – helping you reach a large audience quickly

  • Enables a local or global reach – SMS messaging is accessible worldwide, and even though short codes are region or country-specific, you can obtain multiple numbers if needed

  • Portability – Even if you switch to a new SMS API provider, you don't need to apply for a new 6-digit code

People using mobile phones

Six real-life use cases for the six-digit phone number

Businesses use six-digit numbers for specific purposes, such as sending promotional content to a bulk audience or transactional communications to individual customers. Here are some examples below.

1. SMS marketing messages

Vanity short codes can be used to run various SMS marketing campaigns, such as for new product promotions, flash sales, special offers, service information, the latest company news, and much more. Many businesses use six-digit codes for SMS loyalty programmes to distribute coupons and other perks to an exclusive audience.

2. Identity verification

Many service-based businesses now use two-factor authentication and verification codes to securely help customers log into their online accounts. If the second verification step requires customers to enter a one-time password (OTP), you can send it via a text message from your 6-digit short code.

3. Reminders and confirmations

Delivery notifications, reminders, aaoiconfirmations can all be sent from a 6-digit number. Sbusinesses tec, such as beauty salonsd dental practices, can schedule reminders win advance so they're automatically sent a day or two before the customer's visit.

4. Customer support

If you have two-way texts set up, you can use you for conversational messaging to provide quick and convenient customer assistance. You can also integrate an SMS chatbot with your short code to automate FAQs and free up y customer service agents' time.

5. Feedback collection

One of the easiest ways to collect customer feedback is to run a short SMS survey from a 6-dcode. It's really convenient for customers to provide a quick star rating by text message, and easy for you to analyse the data. You can also use your short code to send out long-form surveys – just include a questionnaire via an SMS hyperlink.

6. General awareness and emergency alerts

Because 6-digit codes offer speedy text message delivery, public organisations or emergency services often use them to disseminate urgent information, like public health and safety announcements, extreme weather alerts, hurricane warnings, etc.

How to apply for a 6-digit number for your business

There are a couple of ways to obtain a 6-digit number for your SMS marketing campaigns. The first is to apply directly to the relevant bodies. In the U.S., you can lease either a random/generic or personalised short code from CTIA and the Short Code Registry, formerly known as the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA), which maintains the 6-digit code list. Then you'll submit some paperwork to register your business with cellular providers and carriers so they can approve, verify, and safelist you. That's important so your text messages don't get caught up in spam filters.

The above process can be cumbersome and time-consuming, and unfortunately, approvals can take weeks. So another option is to use Messente's services to acquire and manage 6-digit phone numbers. We handle the paperwork and liaison with carriers, so you can skip all the back and forth. You should also find that approvals happen faster too. Talk to us today to get the ball rolling.

Discussing ideas at a marketing meeting

Level up your SMS marketing strategy with a 6-digit short code

Offering countless benefits, six-digit phone numbers are a type of short code used by businesses to send promotional, transactional, and conversational text messaging campaigns. 6-digit codes can be branded or customised for greater impact, and they enable easy mass texting if you need to reach a large subscriber base quickly.

If you'd like to apply for a 6-digit number for your business, we can assist you with the registration process and help you set up your first SMS campaign.

Still have questions about six-digit numbers? The Messente team is here to help. Fill out our contact form.