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Choose the right SMS number for the right purpose

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SMS 101 4 min read | Sinch Messagemedia wrote in blog on March 26, 2019

It’s easy to get up and running with basic SMS messaging. Learn about how an effective numbers strategy can increase the effectiveness of your messaging.

Boost your customers’ experience as they receive your important messages by enabling a numbers ‘power-up’ on your account. Getting the right messaging experience for your customers need not be complex, with different options available at different price points.

Comparison of different numbers options

Choosing the type of number that best fits your purpose is important, and can influence the effectiveness of your messaging. Compare the various options in the table with more information on each below.

ProductAvailabilityIdeal use casesChoose this if you:
Dedicated numberAU, US,
  • Inbound workflows
  • Marketing
  • Conversations
  • Reminders
  • Notifications
  • Want to choose the number yourself.
  • Need to advertise your number publicly.
  • Want to let your customer initiate the conversation.
  • Prefer that your messages come from the same number, every time.
Familiar senderAU, NZ,
  • Conversations
  • Marketing
  • Reminders
  • Notifications
  • Want to create a conversation thread with each customer.
  • Do not require customer-initiated conversations.
Short codeUS, NZ, UK
  • Inbound workflows
  • Marketing
  • Conversations
  • Reminders
  • Notifications
  • Want to use a number that’s easy to remember e.g. ‘Text THIRST for a free drink!’
dedicated numbers
  • Conversations
  • Marketing
  • Reminders
  • Notifications
  • If you want to communicate with customers within a single state. (See dedicated numbers for national or international reach.)
  • Send and receive messages to your customer from the same number, every time.
  • Enable your customers to initiate contact.
Alpha tagAU
  • Reminders
  • Notifications
  • Messages when no reply is required
  • Want to enforce brand loyalty with a name instead of a number.
  • Need to show a name to establish trust e.g. a bank sending two-factor authorization.
  • Want your customer to recognize the sender quickly e.g. appointment reminders.
  • Provide context of the message even before opening to drive a quick response e.g. parcel delivery updates.

Dedicated (or virtual) numbers

Dedicated numbers are allocated to your business so all your messages originate from the same number, rather than from a shared rotary. Your customers can also save your dedicated number to their phone and use that to reach you, as dedicated numbers support inbound SMS.

Businesses can promote their dedicated numbers externally for receipt of messages, which enables your customers to send SMS messages directly to you, which also grows your database.

Choose your own dedicated number to ensure it’s easy to remember.

Learn more about dedicated numbers.

Familiar sender

Familiar sender offers similar customer benefits as a dedicated (virtual) number at a reduced cost, but without the ability to choose or advertise the number (as the number is generated on sending).

Familiar sender is an automated process that creates a relationship between a sending number and a recipient number. This relationship allows all messages sent between the sender account and that particular recipient to maintain the same sending number, providing a chronologically sorted conversation history. Learn more about familiar sender.

Short codes

Short codes are half the length of normal phone numbers, making them faster to enter, easier to take in at a glance and, therefore, more memorable for the customer. Lift your business messaging capabilities to provide quick and easy self-serve opportunities for your customers. Learn more about SMS short codes.

Alpha tags

Use an alpha tag (alphanumeric sender ID) up to 11 characters in length to provide instant recognition for your recipients. Having your brand displayed as the sender provides a more professional and established look to your communications and saves SMS characters. Using an alpha tag does not consume any of your available 160 characters per SMS.

Capitalize on your brand engagement by showcasing your company in the SMS sender field. Learn more about alpha tags.

Get the right number today

Considering the recipient’s experience in receiving your business messaging will help drive the effectiveness of your message. Get in touch with our team of friendly experts today to get the right number for your account enabled today.

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