Have you ever wondered what happens whenever you are being prompted to send a custom SMS to a certain 5-6 digits number from your phone? One of the very first thing that happens is that a certain amount of money is deducted from your phone bills followed by some confirmation or follow-up messages about what that campaign is all about.
Most times, these shortcodes come in form of a lottery, donation, fundraiser and most times a presidential campaign.
In about ten years of my life since I first became exposed to technological tools, I never really saw that as an avenue to make money via telecommunication industry, all I ever imagined was that the telecommunication industry was a monopoly and only service providers get to profit from this huge business.
The good news is that a lot of money can be made from telecommunications without having to be a provider yourself, you can start cashing out by this wonderful innovation that I would be discussing right now called SMS Shortcodes.
What Are SMS Shortcodes?
An SMS shortcode is a 5 digit number to which an SMS text message can be sent. Shortcodes are used by brand and businesses to allow new and existing customers to subscribe to their SMS campaigns, alert services, or better still, to enter SMS competitions
How Does SMS ShortCodes Work?
SMS shortcode allows a custom SMS to be sent to a 5 or 6 digit number. Once the incoming payment SMS is received, a reply SMS containing the information, or a weblink to the information, concerning the campaign’s are sent back to your customer.
Once this is accomplished a certain amount is deducted from the sender and such money is apportioned between the telecom operator and the host.
Benefits Of Using SMS Shortcodes.
SMS shortcode comes with awesome benefits apart from being able to cash out on it. There are other amazing kinds of stuff to be gained from its use.
1. SMS Shortcodes are 5 to 6 digit numbers which are designed to enable your clients to remember how you can be reached.
2. SMS shortcodes can be used to place a promotional element on TV ads and other printed ads.
3. Shortcodes are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, even when the office or competitors are closed.
4. Shortcodes are a vast marketing tool as they get potential customers to take action immediately by sending the SMS – with no restrictions such as opening hours.
5. Shortcodes can be used globally via mobile phone devices, to target all different markets, which in turn reduces marketing costs as the same number can be used worldwide.
6. Shortcodes are a very effective and cheap method of marketing or communicating special promotions to your loyalty club members.
Examples Of SMS Shortcodes.
SMS shortcodes are mostly used by Telecom operators but can be used in various other fields apart from the telecom business owners.
In this section above, I listed examples of how various other business makes use of this business model to make money, and a few of them includes; competitions, Campaigns and even fundraisers.
There are various examples of shortcodes use, and I am going to cite them in this section.
1. Big Brother Naija.
Big Brother Naija is a reality TV show, aired all over Africa once in a year to over 1 Billion viewers.
Big Brother Naija uses SMS shortcodes to allow its viewers to cast their votes to save their most prefered housemate.
It also uses the SMS shortcodes, to allow viewers to make live comments on the show
How To Setup an SMS Shortcode For Your Business.
Setting up and SMS shortcode is very easy, in fact, all you need to get started is something that you can always find around you.
In this section, I am going to be walking your through on procedures needed to set up your own shortcode business.
1. Define a Purpose.
The first step to creating an SMS shortcode is by defining the purpose of which is to be used.
There are various reasons as to why business choose to set up an SMS shortcode, most time it is set up to allow them to raise funds for a charity, a campaign or even allows people to participate in a competition or an event.
Whatever it is, don’t just go setting up SMS shortcodes for foolish reasons, make it count for the right reason, and watch the engagement flow in.
2. Choose An SMS ShortCode Hosting Provider.
Remember when setting up a website you need two basic things to come together, and they include, a web hosting provider and a domain name. The same goes when seeking to create an SMS shortcode, you need one basic thing in place which is an SMS Shortcode hosting provider.
An SMS shortcode hosting provider gives you access to all the needed infrastructure to help you set up your Shortcode service.
There are tons of SMS shortcode services provider out there, I am going to be listing a very few legit ones in the section below.
1. Simple Texting.
Simple Texting is an SMS startup that was created to help business with hosted SMS solutions.
Simple text messaging software correlates to all the major wireless carriers and makes it achievable to send campaigns with just some clicks of the mouse or taps of the trackpad.
Simple Texting comes with a lot of amazing features, such that allows you to do so much in just a single platform, some of these platforms include; Shortcodes, Automated Birthday Texts, Group Text From Phone, Image Attachments, Push Notifications, Extended Messaging, Tiny Links, Polling Subscribers, Text To Vote, Text To Win, MailChimp and Zapier Integrations, See Your Win, Templates and Duplicates, SMS Keywords, 2-ways Messaging and Autoresponders.
Simple texting has so many features in one platform, most of which are not listed here, click the link below to try out simple texting now.
Website – SimpleTexting.com
Bandwidth is another SMS hosting platform that was created to help a business solve and manage their SMS solutions.
Bandwith was created in 1999 and every since creation they have served various customers across the globe such as Google voice, Zoom and Microsft.
Bandwidth comes with a lot of exciting features, most of which includes; SMS API, Shortcode services, Toll-Free API, SMS surveys, call tracking, Text, alert notifications and Two-factor Authentications.
Website – Bandwidth.com
Slicktext is an SMS service provider launched in the year,2012 it has powered SMS services for over 70K business all over the world.
Slicktext comes with a lot of awesome features such as; SMs shortcodes, Text to Join, Auto-Replies, Text to Win Contests, Text to Vote & SMS Surveys, Repeating Messages, Drip Campaigns, Shopify Integration, Email Capture and integrations, Facebook Integration, Loyalty Rewards, Personalization, Built-In Link Shortening, Store Unlimited Contacts and Detailed analytics.
Website – SlickText.com
Wire2Air is a US-based provider of Text messaging services and SMS marketing solutions created in 2002.
It allows a business to leverage their services to build web-based text messaging and SMS marketing solutions.
It comes with a lot of awesome features such as; Advanced SMS APIs, drip text messages, Text Menu, Timed auto-response messages, dynamic field, Polls, sweepstakes, Text alerts, Text to instant win, mobile coupons, Text survey, and many more.
Website – Wire2Air.com
Supremeshortcodes is a Nigerian based shortcode provider, that allows Nigerian based business to deploy their shortcodes services in minutes and not hours.
Supremeshortcodes comes with a lot of awesome features that allow you to set up a shortcode service in no distant time. You can click the link below to get started.
Website – Supremeshortcodes.com
6. Shortcode Nigeria.
Shortcode is a Nigerian based SMS marketing software. Shortcode was founded in August 2007. Shortcode Nigeria is presently operating in 3 major countries in Africa with a customer base of over 50K and still counting.
Shortcode Nigeria provides businesses with SMS based solution such as; Short Code SMS, IVR, USSD, Bulk SMS, VTU, Voice SMS, Caller Tunes, and Long Codes
Website – ShortcodeNigeria.com
GoMobile is a Nigerian based SMS marketing provider. GoMobile provides businesses with SMS Shortcodes and Bulk SMS infrastructure.
GoMobile is only available to Nigeria only, so if you plan on running an SMS-based business here in Nigeria, then look no more, GoMobile is here to get your business up and running.
Website – GoMobile.com.ng
Tatango is a US-Based SMS marketing software that was created to help business with SMS related solutions such as; Messaging Workflows, Subscriber Segmenting, Subscriber Analytics, Subscriber Profiles, Tatango Developer API, Messaging Automation, Messaging Analytics, Mobile Messaging API, Administrative Controls and Tatango Integrations with various other software such as Mailchimp, and many other email marketing software.
Website – Tatango.com
3. Promote your SMS Shortcodes.
Now that you have successfully set up your SMS shortcode, the next thing is to get a lot of mobile phone users to engage with it, and one way to do this us by promoting it as much as possible, mind you, this business model operates with high leverage, so the more people engage your shortcodes, the more money you make.
Have you been able to set up your SMS short code number? Here are easy and advanced medium to start promoting your shortcode to the desired audience.
1. Own A Website.
A website can help you promote your SMS shortcode, all you need do is to create a banner that demystifies information about the shortcode usage an upload it on your website, whenever you have a visitor that is interested in your business, they can be compelled to engage with your SMS shortcode.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can set up a website, click the link to the article below.
2. Search Engine Optimization.
Another avenue to promote the use of your SMS shortcode is via search engine optimization, and this can be achieved by utilizing contents via your blog or the blogs of top influencers in your industry stating what the campaign of your SMS shortcode is about whenever people search out content related to that campaign or offer then they are presented with the needed information.
I wrote a guide to help you get started with search engine optimization, click the link below to get started.
Facebook is another great platform where you can engage your audience, it is home to over 2 billion people and has one of the strongest engagements for an online platform on earth.
There are so many ways to promote the usage of your SMS shortcode on Facebook, and one of those ways includes Paid Facebook advertising which has been proven to be potent by far, you can also try out the use of Facebook groups and the likes.
To cut the long story short, I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to get started on Facebook, click the link below to get started.
Instagram can serve as a great promotional tool for your shortcode campaign. Instagram ads and influence can be used to create engagement on how your SMS shortcode can be engaged.
Instagram can do a lot to help you bring in conversion because it is a photo-sharing platform. Information about how the shortcodes should be used can be integrated into a graphic post and uploaded on Instagram for all to see.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to get you started on Instagram, click the link below to read the article.
Pinterest is another photo-sharing website that can help you promote your SMS shortcodes for people to see, and engage with it. All you need as a Pinterest account to get started with, You can also leverage on a third-party software called Tailwinds Tribe to reach out to more audience, better still Pinterest has a paid ads functionality embedded in it.
I wrote an article to help you get started with Pinterest, click the link below to get started.
6. Paid TV or Radio Ads.
Paid Radio and TV ads are another popular means of reaching out to more people to engage with your shortcodes.
Shortcodes usage is usually restricted to a particular region, which is what makes it more valid to place your shortcode ads on TV and Radio to be able to reach out to a more local audience who can better relate with your campaign.
To better understand how ads are displayed on TV and Radio in your location, you should consult the local TV and radio authority nearest to you.
SMS Marketing remains one of the oldest and potent forms of marketing at this time, to be able to build a sustainable business, there are various other forms of marketing that your business should take proper advantage of, and this is why I wrote a comprehensive guide on the best digital marketing strategy that every business should subscribe to, click the link below to read.