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The Difference Between Shared and Dedicated Mobile Numbers

Mar 15, 2022

As a brand, you want to set yourself apart from the competition. In the new age of conversational commerce, brands can use SMS text messaging to communicate with their customers in a more personal way. When getting started with SMS marketing, your business needs to choose between a dedicated mobile number or a shared mobile number.

Although shared phone numbers have long been the more cost-efficient option, SMS dedicated numbers provide a single point of contact for your customers to text. Today we’ll go over the difference between shared and dedicated mobile numbers and which choice is the better fit for your brand. 

What is a Dedicated Phone Number?

Like a regular phone number, a dedicated phone number is a unique phone number used to create two-way conversations between your brand and your customers. Essentially, a dedicated phone number enables customers to reach you at any moment.

Although most dedicated phone numbers are standard 10-digit numbers or toll-free numbers, some brands use shortcodes as dedicated phone numbers. A short code is a 5- or 6-digit number used for SMS and MMS marketing campaigns. Though they take longer to set up, short codes are popular in SMS marketing because they are easier for customers to remember.

Using a dedicated mobile number for your business can create a better experience for customers. With dedicated phone numbers, you can increase trust and brand recognition, which can boost your business's reputation. Bonus: Customers can save your phone number to their contacts.

Another advantage of a dedicated mobile number is that all interactions appear in the same chat. Instead of searching for the message thread, customers can easily access all their previous messages with your brand. Managing ongoing conversations with your customers can help your brand cultivate long-lasting relationships and build a loyal customer base.

Businesses That Use Dedicated Phone Numbers

Using a dedicated mobile number creates the ultimate customer experience. But is a dedicated number the right fit for your business’s needs?

Businesses that benefit most from using a dedicated phone number include:

  • Retailers seeking to drive customer loyalty and stand out from the competition
  • Service businesses that want to enable their customers to do anything from booking appointments to checking on an order’s status via SMS text messaging
  • Businesses that want to boost brand recognition and connect better with their customers
  • Businesses that want to actively evaluate their SMS marketing efforts on a campaign-by-campaign basis
  • Any brand that offers customer support via text

What is a Shared Phone Number?

A shared phone number comes from a pool of phone numbers that multiple businesses share to send SMS marketing messages. If your business uses a shared phone number, you might be sharing that number with thousands of other users — including brands that also text your customers.

Shared phone numbers are a more cost-effective option for smaller businesses that are less concerned about brand recognition and simply want to connect with their customers via SMS. 

If you want to try SMS marketing but aren’t sure where to start, a shared phone number might be a better choice. For example, you can quickly launch an SMS marketing campaign with just a shared number and an SMS keyword. From there, you can measure the success of your marketing campaigns and then decide how to expand your SMS marketing strategy.

Why Are Shared Phone Numbers Disappearing?

Although shared phone numbers were popular due to their low cost, they have disadvantages. As of 2021, all major wireless carriers have discontinued the use of shared shortcodes, which have been replaced with 10-digit long codes (10DLC) for SMS marketing campaigns.

One of the biggest email and SMS marketing concerns is spam and phishing. Although the spam rates for text messages are much lower than email, spam delivered via short code texts is hard to prevent. Because hundreds or even thousands of businesses can share a single short code, spammers can be tricky to identify.

On top of that, receiving messages from different brands but the same short code can confuse recipients. Because all those messages would appear in the same text message thread, your customers won’t know exactly who they are texting, which can ding your brand recognition.

Although shared short codes are no longer an option, dedicated short codes are still available. Dedicated short codes provide the best speeds and high-volume messaging. A dedicated short code also gives you access to all available SMS keywords and simpler two-way texting with your customers. However, they can be quite costly, so it really depends on your SMS marketing goals.

SMS Dedicated Numbers Take the Win

SMS marketing enables businesses to connect directly with their customers, but there are many ways to get there. Shared phone numbers provide a more affordable option to help smaller businesses try out SMS marketing. But if you are serious about growing your business in the new age of mobile marketing, a dedicated mobile number is the better choice overall.

Textedly’s SMS marketing platform offers dedicated short codes to help your brand streamline your marketing campaigns and reach larger audiences faster. Along with the faster delivery and brand recognition of a dedicated short code, Textedly also offers powerful features like two-way SMS, scheduled text messages and auto-reply texts.

To learn more, sign up for a free trial of Textedly today.

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