Important Facts Surrounding 10dlc: What You Should Know

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Modern consumers are wise to traditional marketing channels. They are highly adept at tuning out your email, social media, and paid ad campaigns, especially when they come off as spam. Buyers’ inboxes often overflow with these unopened emails—we all have that friend with 3,600 unread messages in their Gmail. Thankfully, marketers can pivot their strategies to meet consumers where they are—on their phones—with 10DLC SMS marketing campaigns.

A key attribute of any successful business is that it actively leverages SMS marketing to engage potential and existing customers. The best part is that SMS marketing is often cheaper than traditional methods. If you’re looking for high deliverability, more engagement, and increased revenue, then SMS marketing is the best solution.

Research shows that SMS marketing is far more effective than email. For example, text messages have a 98% open rate, and SMS marketing has a 45% response rate. By comparison, the average email open rate is 21%, while the click-through rate (CTR) and pay-per-click (PPC) rate sit at a dismal 2%. What’s more, you’re in luck if you’re targeting a younger audience with your SMS marketing campaigns. Eighty percent of millennials open a new text message within 90 seconds.

There are some regulations your business must abide by before launching your campaign. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about 10DLC and SMS marketing, including 10DLC regulations, registration requirements, and how SMS strategies will benefit your business.

What is 10DLC (10-Digit Long Code)?

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A 10-digit long code, or 10DLC, is your standard U.S. phone number. For example, 555-867-5309 is the correct format of a 10DLC. If you already use a 10DLC to engage with your customers, then you’ve got the SMS marketing ball rolling.

Mobile network providers have designated 10DLCs for use in application-to-person (A2P) communication. For your business to be approved, you must register your local long-code number with a confirmed 10DLC brand and a 10DLC-approved campaign. All A2P texting on U.S. networks must use numbers certified by the 10 Digital Literacy Council.

When your customers receive a message from your 10DLC, they’ll see the sender as a 10-digit phone number. This differs from toll-free numbers since 10DLC supports transactional and promotional messaging and works with any U.S. area code.

Understand Mobile Carrier Limitations

You must keep your target audience’s mobile carriers in mind to understand the capabilities of your 10DLC campaigns. For instance, AT&T caps the number of message parts (segments) you can send each minute for each campaign. Meanwhile, T-Mobile sets a daily limit on messages but doesn’t cap message parts per minute like AT&T. Verizon uses a filtering system for 10DLC designed to identify and remove spam, unsolicited messages, and abusive content, though they haven’t published any throughput limits.

If you’re an unvetted company launching a new 10DLC campaign, you can only send 240 message parts per minute to AT&T customers and 2,000 daily messages to T-Mobile users. You’ll share those limits between all your 10DLC campaigns, meaning if you’re running two campaigns (under one registered company), you can only send 2,000 messages to T-Mobile customers between both.

Those limits hinder your campaign’s scope. To exceed them, you’ll need to request third-party vetting of your company registration. First, a third-party verification provider will comb through your company. Then, they’ll provide a vetting score from 0-100, thus determining the capabilities of your 10DLC campaign.

Ideally, the third-party vetter assigns you a high trust score, allowing you to send more messages. For example, a vetting score between 1 and 25 caps you at the 2,000 message limit (for T-Mobile). However, a vetting score between 76 and 100 allows you to send 200,000 messages daily. Most new campaigns will start at a class rating of “E” and then make their way up (as shown in the below image).

Source: Campaign Registry

What is A2P Messaging?

A2P messaging is an SMS messaging strategy involving texts sent from a software application operated by your company straight to a customer’s mobile device.

Also known as enterprise or business SMS, mobile users can opt in and out of A2P messages, allowing them to interact with a business through their phone. Remember, communication in A2P messaging is typically one-way, meaning recipients aren't always expected to respond.

You’ve probably interacted with an A2P message sometime in the past month. Did you confirm a doctor’s appointment by responding “yes” to an A2P message? Or did you authorize a credit card purchase when your bank sent you a potential fraud alert?

Both are examples of A2P messaging. They can also include promotional codes, marketing campaigns, and shipping notifications. And since receivers open 98% of texts, A2P messaging is a cost-effective way to increase customer engagement.

Use A2P to Your Advantage

A2P messaging has gotten more advanced over the years. Modern features allow your company to personalize your A2P messages, control which recipients receive which messages, and leverage secure delivery routes. Robust fraud-prevention systems and rapid delivery times mean you can lean on innovative A2P communications to reach customers more efficiently.

While A2P messaging has clear benefits, it won’t automatically lead to success for your business. You must choose the right approach, understanding how your company might benefit from a particular A2P solution. For instance, will your A2P strategy provide 24/7 support, delivering content that improves the customer relationship with your brand?

Consider what frustrates your customers about your company and whether you could solve any of these limitations with A2P messaging. Do they have a hard time confirming their orders with your current systems? Would it be easier to leverage software to automate order confirmations through A2P SMS messages?

We used to lump A2P messaging in with automated messaging, but it’s grown closer to person-to-person (P2P) in recent years. More customers respond to A2P messages with comments, questions, and commands using a 10DLC.

What Is the Purpose of 10DLC Regulations?

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Think about how many spam calls, emails, and texts you get in a day. Perhaps your smartphone does a decent job of filtering these unwanted messages, but some inevitably sneak through the cracks.

To prevent spammers from taking advantage of 10DLC, carriers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T require you to validate your A2P use cases. Ideally, these 10DLC regulations help maintain the high standards that have made texting such a popular option for business communication.

Before 10DLC, marketers relied on five- or six-digit short codes to run their SMS campaigns. However, these short codes were often leased to multiple businesses since they were somewhat expensive and, ultimately, limited in quantity. So, to differentiate between businesses, customers would text a keyword to the short-code number. For example, you may have seen an ad for Health Insurance prompting you to test "QUOTE" to 56789. By doing so, you’re opting in to receive messages from that specific health insurance provider.

But because multiple companies shared these short-code numbers, carriers struggled to identify who was playing by the rules and who was abusing the system. For example, some irresponsible businesses launched short-code campaigns that spammed thousands of mobile customers with unwanted messages. Some opted-in willingly; others did not. But most still perceived these messages as spam and complained—rather loudly—to their mobile carriers and government officials.

Of course, customer complaints are bad for business, so carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile pivoted toward 10DLC, hoping to eliminate spam texting for good. At the same time, they hoped to make 10DLC a more cost-effective and efficient way for businesses to send SMS messages.

Shared short codes officially ended in June 2021. Now, companies must use 10DLC numbers in tandem with their SMS marketing campaigns and business practices.

What Are the Benefits of 10DLC?

10DLC has three primary goals:

  1. Provide a new standard in A2P messaging by reducing spam and improving quality.
  2. To implement regulations and structure regarding SMS campaigns, allowing you to send bulk messages through a 10-digit local phone number.
  3. To make SMS campaigns more affordable, flexible, and reliable.

Leveraging 10DLC capabilities is an effective way to take the stress off your sales team while building trusted relationships with your customers. 10DLC has many additional benefits for you, your company, and your clients.

Gain a Competitive Edge

Telecom carriers don’t sanction traditional long-code numbers for SMS business texting. However, all wireless providers in the United States have adopted 10DLC as the new standard for A2P messaging. Mobile providers now have the power to block messages that are out of compliance with current Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) regulations.

Getting on board with modern 10DLC messaging puts you one step ahead of competitors still relying on short- and long-code SMS solutions. Ultimately, their messages will get filtered as spam while yours reach your target audience.

Easy Campaign Tracking and Unlimited Keywords

Shared short codes went out the door in 2021, replaced by 10DLC SMS messaging. In the old days, keyword usage was limited, as they were the only way to distinguish between businesses sharing the same code.

Since 10DLC numbers are unique to your business, you’re free to use whatever keywords you like. This makes it easier to keep track of your brand while also helping mobile carriers track the activity on their channels. Finally, the freedom to use whatever keyword you like gives you complete control over your marketing campaign.

Build Trust and Brand Recognition

People like brands they trust and recognize. Your customers are protective of their privacy and information. If they feel like you’re spamming them or they can’t trust your messages, you’ll lose them to the competition.

10DLC ensures your customers that they can trust you—they’ll recognize and trust a local area code over a random five-digit number. You can also transition your current 10-digit number, which your customers likely already recognize, to a 10DLC.

Voice and Text Enabled

Short codes (whether shared or not) were limited to text. With 10DLC, customers can opt in to voice calls or text messages, depending on their personal preference. Instead of having two numbers—one for texting and one for voice—you can throw all your marketing weight behind a single 10DLC.

Higher Throughput

Traditional long-code SMS messages might be cheaper, but they’re significantly slower than 10DLC. At an average send rate of one message per second (MPS), long-code messages simply aren’t fast enough for large-scale companies. At 240+ MPS, 10DLC is vastly superior.

While 10DLC will increase your throughput rates, it won’t happen immediately. Mobile carriers limit the number of messages you can send until your company is registered and vetted. A third-party vetter will assign you a trust score based on the information you provide about your SMS messaging campaign. As we mentioned earlier, higher trust scores increase the number of messages you can send.

Reduced Spam

Protecting customers from spam messages was the driving force behind 10DLC regulations. Registering your SMS campaigns tells mobile carriers who you are, what you’re sending, and who you’re sending it to. Unregistered companies will get flagged as spam, thus rendering their SMS campaigns useless.

Save Money

10DLC numbers are significantly cheaper than short-code numbers and about the same as traditional long-code numbers. However, the capabilities of 10DLC practically guarantee a better ROI compared to long code, making it far superior in every financial category. Now, you can allocate those surplus funds toward other campaigns.

Expand Your Audience

Millennials and Gen-Z will inevitably become the bulk of your customer base. Examining your current marketing strategies to ensure they cater to younger generations is best.

How Does 10DLC Impact Your Business?

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At its core, 10DLC helps carriers deliver your SMS marketing messages more effectively. It’s meant to improve the customer experience when communicating via text message with businesses.

When you register your business, you’ll receive a 10-digit phone number (your 10DLC), which you can use to communicate with your customers through text message or phone call. Your 10DLC is not bound to one device (like your personal phone number). It provides increased deliverability compared to short-code messages, which carriers often filter out as spam.

When we talk about 10DLC compliance and registration, we’re referring to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) requirements for commercial telecom providers. To meet 10DLC regulations, providers must offer local calling services in compliance with FCC standards.

Let’s say you already have a 10-digit number you use for business calls and texts. You can still register that number to become 10DLC compliant, thus maintaining the same number your customers already know. If the plan is to send SMS messages from U.S. numbers to U.S. numbers, then 10DLC registration is the industry standard. Once you’re registered and vetted, carriers will let your messages flow freely.

Downsides to 10DLC

There are some drawbacks to 10DLC marketing that you should be aware of. For starters, mobile carriers will be establishing new texting fees for businesses. However, fees for unregistered texts will be significantly higher than registered ones.

As 10DLC is still relatively new, these fees aren’t set in stone. Fees published by providers like T-Mobile and AT&T are still evolving, but we can establish a general baseline—a low-end/high-end, if you will.

  • Brand registration: a small, one-time fee. Perhaps $4 per brand.
  • Campaign registration: AT&T proposed a $10 monthly fee to maintain verified status; T-Mobile enforces a one-time fee of $50.

There’s also the risk of your campaign being rejected for not abiding by your carrier’s anti-spam rules. Ultimately though, the benefits of 10DLC drastically outweigh these manageable fees and downsides.

What Is the Campaign Registry?

The Campaign Registry (TCR) is the governing body overseeing all A2P 10DLC messaging campaigns. TCR works with North American mobile carriers and businesses to register A2P campaigns. In its own words:

“The registry supports a sanctioned A2P 10-Digit Long Code (10DLC) text messaging Campaign ecosystem and provides visibility into the messaging source and content, allowing mobile carriers to provide a more reliable and simple messaging service for Campaign Service Providers (CSPs) and Brands.”

TCR leans on external partners to vet companies, thus obtaining a more detailed review of the brand applying for 10DLC registration. The third-party vetter will audit the brand’s reputation in the messaging space, giving them a score from 0-100. Depending on that score, TCR will place the brand in one of the available Carrier Tiers.

How to Get Started With 10DLC

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By now, you should understand why 10DLC is the best—and perhaps the only—way to bolster your SMS messaging campaigns. But when words like “regulations” and “compliance” enter the mix, getting started with 10DLC can sound like a daunting task. Follow these steps to begin your 10DLC journey:

Step 1: Register Your Company

Your company must be registered with TCR before you can request a 10DLC number. You can register yourself almost instantaneously unless TCR requires some additional information.

The TCR will return one of two statuses after you complete the registration process, either verified or unverified. If you’re verified, you’re good to go. If you’re unverified, that means something went wrong with your application. For example, there may be a typo somewhere that doesn’t match your company’s Tax ID. You can easily correct any issues regarding your company details.

Remember, you will have to pay a one-time registration fee, which you’ll find on the registration page. This fee is separate from the monthly charges associated with your 10DLC.

Step 2: Apply for Vetting (optional)

While you don’t have to go through the vetting process, it’s the only way to improve your throughput. You can start creating low-volume 10DLC campaigns as soon as you register, but limits imposed by major carriers will severely handcuff you.

Don’t wait any longer than you must to have your company vetted. The more time you spend in the lowest throughput thresholds, the further behind you’ll fall to the competition.

Step 3: Register Your Campaign

You’ve already registered your brand, but you still have to register the campaign. Begin by crafting a 10DLC campaign and attaching it to your registered company. Then, you’ll submit that campaign to TCR for approval. Most of the time, TCR will approve your campaign as soon as you click “submit.” However, there’s still a chance they’ll need more information. They can also reject your campaign altogether.

Step 4: Get Your 10DLC Number

Once TCR approves your campaign, you can request your 10DLC number. Attach your new 10DLC to your SMS marketing campaign and begin watching engagement tick up and up and up.

Lean on the Experts for 10DLC Compliance

There’s no denying the power of SMS marketing and how far it’s come in recent years. As such, mobile carriers want to do everything they can to ensure the safety and satisfaction of their customers, thus paving the way for 10DLC and associated regulations. The days of expensive short-code SMS campaigns are far behind us.

But 10DLC SMS marketing comes with a new set of rules and regulations your company must understand before moving forward. It only makes sense to rely on industry experts like Landline Remover to help guide you through the process. You will learn everything you need to know about 10DLC compliance while discovering which phone numbers on your lead list are landline phones and can’t receive SMS messages.

Reach out to Landline Remover today to begin your 10DLC journey. Get ready to enjoy more throughputs, improved customer engagement, heightened brand awareness and loyalty, and cost savings with 10DLC SMS marketing.

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