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How a dedicated virtual number can enhance SMS engagement

How do you stand out from the crowd? 

Most businesses who send and receive SMS know how effective it is in driving customer engagement and business growth. So why do many business text messages still come across as impersonal, asynchronous (one-way) and transactional? While this may be ok for some brands, customers want more. 

For US users, there is one simple SMS feature that can help!

Have you ever tried a dedicated virtual phone number aka dedicated number?

Why should you use a dedicated virtual mobile number

Dedicated virtual mobile numbers are business phone numbers used solely for texting purposes. This is ultimately very important when you want to drive brand recognition, trust, and familiarity with recipients.

For those starting out or currently using text messaging, you may notice that your communications can come from different numbers. For example, you may send out a marketing text to some customers, and reminder notifications to others. Both sends will appear from different numbers.  

Rotary pool text broadcast example image

RELATED: Learn the basics of SMS in just 30 minutes.

These random numbers are known as shared or rotary numbers. Whether you sign up with MessageMedia (or another SMS messages provider), your business will start out on a rotary pool.  

MessageMedia owns these numbers and they are shared out between our customers free-of-charge. That’s why they continue to change or rotate for every communication you send. 

The rotary pool is perfectly fine for some use cases such as transactional messaging or 2-factor-authentication.

RELATED: Learn about Sender IDs and how to choose the right one for you!

They are not, however, a great fit when you want deeper engagement and longer-term relationships with your customers. That’s when a dedicated virtual number will come in handy! 

Considerations about types of dedicated numbers in the US

Unlike other regions, the US has several options with regards to leasing a dedicated number. These are: 

Toll-free numbers  

Standard toll-free (no payment or charge to customers) long code numbers generally used for informational purposes. Benefits include:

  • Best for low volume customers 
  • Provisioning (activation) is almost immediate  
  • Supports 2-way messaging 
  • Tracks delivery receipts 

Long codes (10DLC) (10 digits)

(Please note 10DLC is not available until 1st quarter of 2021)

Original long codes have been used in the past for A2P (bulk) messaging but were never designed for this purpose. 10DLC, however, has revolutionised long codes so that they can be used effectively for bulk messaging. Benefits include:

  • Lower cost than a dedicated short code  
  • Carrier vetting and registration  
  • Branding advantage – retains local area code  

Short codes (5-6 digit)  

Considered the premium of the three options, they are 5-6 digit codes registered for one business and its use exclusively. May require 8-12 weeks for vetting and activation so planning ahead is a must. Benefits include:

  • Highest throughput  
  • Great for marketing sends  
  • Track delivery receipts  

You may have heard of shared short codes too! While we used to offer this in the past, US carriers will no longer support shared short codes and now only offer dedicated short codes. More on this below.

RELATED: Read about how shared short codes are going away in the US, and how their newest option, 10DLC, can benefit you. 

Getting a virtual phone number is a lot easier than you think! 

You can apply for a toll-free number yourself through our self-service web portal after you sign up for one of our pricing plans or free trial

If you want 10DLC or dedicated short code, your best and fastest route is to speak to our sales or support teams and they can help you get started on the application process. They can also advise you if you have any further questions. 

The many benefits of your own dedicated virtual SMS number

The true advantage of a dedicated number is that they run the gamut with feature-rich options for customer engagement. Let’s look at these in detail: 

Benefits of a dedicated number infographic
  • Single identity: provides a single point of contact and consistent number for customers to text. All communications will also appear within the same text message chat or thread, instead of from random numbers.  
  • User customisation: Recipients can store your number in their phonebook as a favourite, or under a name they recognise immediately 
  • Custom keywords: Use keywords alongside your number to distinguish between specific campaigns and track them with more granularity. 
  • Automation: Easily automate reminders, bookings, RSVPs, notices, and other notifications all through the same number.  
  • SMS chat: Customers can send and receive (i.e. converse) with your business directly through 2-way messaging. Fantastic for customer support or queries.  
  • Customer journey: Let customers talk to you right here – no apps or long telephone queues. Simplify the journey by allowing them to amend an order, give you feedback or even buy a product.

With all these features, it’s easy to see how dedicated numbers build a strong mobile identity. 

You may also enjoy having something that is just yours too! 

Examples of businesses using dedicated numbers

Now that we’ve discussed how advantageous dedicated numbers can be, you’re probably still wondering when you should use them?  

Are they right for your business situation? 

Here are some examples of when dedicated numbers are particularly successful: 

  • Retailers looking to drive retention and loyalty while differentiating in their SMS marketing 
  • Service businesses who want to give customers the ability to do everything via text 
  • Maturing businesses who want to build a brand and boost customer acquisition  
  • Brands keen to offer effortless and unobtrusive customer support through texting 
  • Business players who want to communicate with stakeholders proactively 

These are just some – not all – situations that a business might find themselves benefiting from a dedicated number. Think of it like receiving messages in a single conversation like you do from a friend. 

Simply ask yourself, would deeper engagement help me achieve better outcomes when I send a message?  

 

Try a dedicated number today!

Sign up for a free trial and purchase one through our portal.

Let’s go!

Final thoughts, further reading

A dedicated SMS number means one phone number and one interface for your brand to reach the world.  Your business can enjoy new economies of scale and an SMS presence as recognisable as a web domain. Get in touch with our support team now to get a dedicated number today. 

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