How to Start an SMS Business

by Andrew Pearson; Updated September 26, 2017
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Starting and running a Short Message Service (SMS) business can be a lucrative endeavor. The two most common SMS businesses are premium SMS services and SMS Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services. Choosing between one of the many SMS aggregators and SMS services can be a difficult decision, but it is vital to understand the inherent differences between these two services. Follow these steps to create a highly successful and profitable SMS business:

Premium SMS Services

Step 1

Messaging services that require the mobile receiver to pay for content are known as premium SMS services. Content can range from such standard things as news alerts, stock quotes, ring tones, daily horoscopes, the local weather, voting contests or such unique items as a daily prayer.

Step 2

Sending and receiving SMS messages is the heart blood of any SMS service. Competing bulk SMS aggregators such as Coretalk, Mobilestorm, Clickatell, OpenMarket and Verisign each offer unique and varying services that split revenue between the premium SMS campaigner and the aggregator.

Step 3

Creating a revenue stream can be done by charging subscribers either a pay-as-you go per message fee or a monthly subscription charge.

SMS Customer Relationship Management services

Step 1

Adding a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) element to an SMS solution provides another SMS business opportunity. SMS CRM solutions can help businesses more effectively manage their client, employee and supplier relationships.

Step 2

Linking to a standard mobile phone number, SMS becomes a powerful, two-way interactive tool that allows businesses to instantly communicate with a single individual or a group of thousands.

Step 3

Companies such as Coretalk provide fully integrated SMS services that allow mobile subscribers to not only interact with other mobile subscribers but also with a company's database. These systems come with monthly subscription fees that businesses are charged. A percentage of these fees are then passed along to the service distributor.

Promoting your business

Step 1

Marketing either SMS service is limited only by your imagination.

Step 2

Providing premium SMS content services requires deciding on what content to provide and how to charge for it. Revenue will be split between the SMS aggregator, the mobile service provider and you.

Step 3

Operating a CRM SMS solution requires finding business that need the service. However, from advertising agencies to retailers, to bars, nightclubs and restaurants, to doctors, dentist and veterinarian offices, almost any business interested in customer relationship management is prime for an SMS CRM solution.

Warnings

  • When choosing a bulk service provider, beware of the pricing structures as some providers require extremely large bulk purchases to make the pricing competitive and this will place the service out of the reach of most small businesses. The Federal Communication Commission strictly regulates premium SMS services in the United States and levels harsh fines on those who don't follow their guidelines.

About the Author

Andrew Pearson is the managing director of Qualex Asia Limited, a leading implementer of business intelligence, customer intelligence, data warehousing, data modeling, predictive analytics, data visualization, digital marketing, mobile, social media and cloud solutions for the gaming, insurance, finance, healthcare, oil and gas, telecommunication, hospitality and retail industries.

Photo Credits

  • a new customer calling image by graham tomlin from Fotolia.com