This post is to help you get started on setting up your own bulk messaging business if you have been thinking of it but are confused about where to start.
To start a bulk SMS business, you must know your onions, after all, they say a soldier doesn't go to war without his gun. There are two ways you can do this:
- Using your own website
This option though more expensive offers you a more a flexible way of running your business. With this, you are not limited to just the features provided by your service provider, you can add whatever feature you want. Also having your own website means having access to your customers database, running your bulk SMS business form your provider’s platform doesn’t give you access to your customers' database which could mean that you are stuck with them, in essence, if something was to happen to your provider if they had a downtime or something, your business will also be down, there would be no way for you to transfer your customers' database and you could lose your customers. With your own website, you have access to the database, in essence, you can move it to wherever you want, you are not limited to just one provider, you can use multiple providers on your website and if one is down, you can conveniently switch to another.
- Using a bulk SMS Provider’s platform
This is the inexpensive way of running your own bulk SMS business, all you have to do is register with an SMS (or some other message type) service provider and run your business on their platform and make use of the features they have available.
Option 1: Managing Your Bulk SMS Business from Your Own Platform
1. Get a user-friendly website, developed with the ability to perform bulk SMS related functions or tasks such as sending SMS, issuing credits to customers and so on. Note that except you are a programmer, you would need to hire a programmer for this. Seems like a lot, right? Well, I have good news, there are bulk SMS software out there that help you skip the part of having to code your website to perform those tasks, for example Sendroid Ultimate . This off the shelf software doesn't just help you manage SMSs alone, it can help you manage other message formats such as Unicode, Voice, and WhatsApp, how cool is that? So now all you must do is design a landing page for your website, purchase a bulk messaging software and add a button that would lead to the bulk messaging platform or dashboard provided by the software. Using a bulk messaging software has its perks such as having access to features that the provider doesn't offer, being able to perform some complex customizations on your platform to meet a need.
3. Look for an SMS (or some other message type) gateway provider (some providers offer more than one message type) that meets your needs and get an account. Consider their rates as this will help you come up with competitive prices for your customers. Some examples of gateway providers are Twilio, Infobib, etc.
4. Link your website to the gateway provider that you have created an account with. There are usually documentations that guide you on this and of course, your gateway provider will support you.
5. Fund your account with the service provider.
6. Advertise your service – start with your immediate network – family and friends, then you can also use the power of social media to expand your reach.
7. Good customer service, reliability, and a high delivery rate will keep customers coming back to you and referring you to others.
Option 2 Managing from a Provider's Platform
If you decide that you do not want to go through all the hassles of setting up your website and linking it to your provider's site, then you can simply make use of the platform provided by your provider. Here are the steps:
1. Look for a gateway provider and get an account, do not forget to go through what the provider is offering, their platform and of course their rates. You want to make sure they suit your needs.
2. Determine how much you want to charge your customers taking into consideration your provider's rate.
3. Work with the provider to customize your page on their platform. They will work with the information you provide them to make adjustments to your page.
4. Fund your account
5. Advertise your bulk messaging solution (friends, family & social media).
6. Good customer service, reliability, and a high delivery rate will keep customers coming back to you and referring you to others.
There you have it, with a few steps, you can have your own bulk SMS business up and running.
Whichever method you decide to go with, the basic things required for this business are a computer and a good internet connection!!!