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Home » How to Lease a Short Code: A Step-by-Step Guide!

How to Lease a Short Code: A Step-by-Step Guide!

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How to lease short code

In an era where instant communication is not just preferred but expected, shortcodes have emerged as a pivotal tool in the arsenal of marketers and businesses. These 5-6 digit numbers are not just a means to send bulk SMS messages but are a gateway to engaging directly with your audience.

This blog post delves into the intricacies of how to lease a short code, offering a comprehensive roadmap for businesses aiming to leverage this powerful communication tool.

What Are Short Codes?

Short codes are specialized telephone numbers, shorter than full telephone numbers, used to send and receive SMS and MMS messages en masse. They’re designed to be easier to read and remember than regular phone numbers, which makes them ideal for marketing campaigns, voting systems, order tracking, and customer service interactions. Learn more about what a short code is.

Benefits of Using Short Codes

  1. High Throughput: Shortcodes can handle a higher volume of messages per second compared to standard phone numbers, making them ideal for mass messaging. The rate can reach up to 1000 SMS per second, choosing the right provider who has the technology to handle this volume.
  2. Brand Recognition: A unique shortcode enhances brand visibility and recall. Your subscribers will receive SMS and MMS from one number only. Most people even save this number on their phonebook.
  3. Customer Engagement: They facilitate two-way communication, allowing customers to interact with businesses efficiently. It is much easier to text in a 5 or 6-digit shortcode. Some brands even have 4 digits (The Coca-Cola Company short code).
  4. Wide Reach: Nearly everyone with a mobile phone can receive SMS, making shortcodes a tool with vast reach.

Types of Short Codes

  1. Dedicated Short Codes: As the name suggests, these are exclusive to your business. They’re perfect for brands seeking full control over their messaging and brand representation.
  2. Shared Short Codes: These are used by multiple businesses and are cost-effective but come with limitations and risks, such as shared usage complications.

The Leasing Process: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Defining Your Needs:

Before you start the leasing process, define your goals. What do you want to achieve with your shortcode? Are you looking to promote a new product, provide customer service, or gather feedback? Your objectives will guide your choice between dedicated and shared short codes.

Step 2: Choosing a Service Provider:

Selecting a service provider is a critical step. Key factors to consider include:

  • Reliability: Look for providers with a track record of uptime and robust infrastructure.
  • Customer Support: Ensure they offer excellent customer service.
  • Pricing Structure: Understand all costs involved, including setup fees and monthly rates.
  • Integration Capabilities: The provider should offer easy integration with your existing systems.

Step 3: Selecting and Applying for Your Short Code:

After settling on a provider, it’s time to choose your shortcode. You can either go for a random number or a vanity code that aligns with your brand. The application process for a short code involves filling out the necessary paperwork and waiting for approval from the overseeing bodies, like the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) in the United States. In the U.S., you will need to register your short code with the Short Code Registry. Then, your messaging provider will take over and provision the shortcode with all carriers.

Step 4: Setting Up and Testing:

Once approved, set up your short code with your provider. Test it rigorously to ensure it functions as expected across different carriers and devices.

Step 5: Integrating with Your Marketing Strategy:

Integrate your shortcode into your marketing campaigns. Use it in conjunction with other channels like email, social media, and your website to maximize reach and effectiveness.

Step 6: Launch and Monitor:

After thorough testing, launch your campaign. Continuously monitor performance metrics like delivery rates, response rates, and engagement to refine your strategy.

Regulatory Compliance and Best Practices

Types of short codes

When it comes to leveraging short codes for communication and marketing, staying compliant with regulations and adopting best practices is not just advisable but essential. Here’s a more in-depth look at how to navigate these aspects:

1. Understanding Regulatory Bodies and Guidelines:

  • Regulatory Bodies: In the United States, the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversee shortcode usage. Other countries have equivalent regulatory authorities, such as Ofcom in the UK.
  • Key Guidelines: Regulations often include requirements for obtaining consumer consent, providing opt-out mechanisms, and adhering to content standards (e.g., no misleading or harmful content).

2. Obtaining and Managing Consumer Consent:

  • Explicit Consent: Always obtain explicit consent from recipients before sending SMS messages. This can be done through opt-in forms on websites, during purchase processes, or via other communication channels.
  • Record Keeping: Maintain records of consent, including the date, time, and method of opt-in, to protect your business in case of disputes.

3. Clear Opt-Out Mechanisms:

  • Ease of Opt-Out: Provide clear instructions on how recipients can opt out of receiving messages, typically through a simple SMS command like “STOP.”
  • Immediate Compliance: Ensure that opt-out requests are honored immediately and that no further messages are sent to those who have opted out.

4. Content Standards and Limitations:

  • Appropriate Content: Avoid content that could be considered misleading, deceptive, or offensive. Adhere to standards of truthfulness and transparency in messaging.
  • Age-Sensitive Material: Be cautious with content that may not be suitable for all age groups, especially if your audience includes minors.

5. Frequency and Timing of Messages:

  • Respectful Timing: Send messages at appropriate times, avoiding early mornings or late nights to respect the recipient’s privacy.
  • Reasonable Frequency: Limit the number of messages sent to avoid overwhelming or annoying your audience.

6. Data Privacy and Security:

  • Protecting Personal Data: Safeguard any personal information collected through your short code campaigns. Follow data protection laws like GDPR in Europe or CCPA in California.
  • Data Usage Transparency: Be transparent about how you use the data collected from your short code interactions.

7. Monitoring and Compliance Audits:

  • Regular Monitoring: Continuously monitor your short code usage for compliance with regulatory standards.
  • Conduct Audits: Periodically audit your practices and records to ensure ongoing compliance and address any potential issues proactively.

8. Best Practices for Engagement:

  • Personalization: Tailor messages to the recipient to increase engagement and relevance.
  • Value Addition: Ensure that each message sent provides value to the recipient, whether it’s informational, promotional, or transactional.

9. Handling Customer Complaints:

  • Effective Resolution: Establish a system for promptly addressing and resolving customer complaints related to your short code usage.
  • Feedback Loops: Use feedback to improve your practices and prevent future complaints.

Following the best practices is not just a necessity but also a mark of respect and responsibility toward your audience. By understanding and implementing these guidelines, your business can use shortcodes effectively and ethically, building trust and maintaining a positive reputation.

Leasing a short code


Leasing a short code can significantly enhance your business’s communication strategy, offering a direct and effective way to reach and engage your audience. By understanding the nuances of the leasing process, complying with regulations, and integrating shortcodes into your broader marketing strategy, you can unlock their full potential.

Embrace the power of shortcodes and transform the way you connect with your customers!