Introduction to BULK SMS:
You probably already know what Bulk SMS means, but for the few who might not, simply put, bulk SMS is the sending of large numbers of customised SMS messages to several mobile phones at once. It enables you the sender to send an SMS bearing whatever name you choose as the sender (there are certain names you can’t use) to several people without even needing a phone to send the messages. It’s a very effective means of reaching out to a large number of people with information about a particular brand in a very short space of time at a minimal cost. Cool right?
Who are the people that use BULK SMS service:
When Bulk SMS first came onstream in Nigeria, some people were sceptical as to its usefulness, while others were simply ignorant of the immense information and advertsing potential the service could offer. This is no longer the case today, as BULK SMS has repeatedly demonstrated this potential in very numerous ways. It has practically become part of our everyday life, and has to a large extent displaced E-mails as the major medium through which brands communicate with their customers and potential clients. Some instances of BULK SMS being put to use include:
1.) Banks sending out custom messages to their customers (Bank debit/credit alerts, Birthday wishes, Fraud Alerts, Promo Alerts etc)
2.) Schools use it to send notices of PTA meetings to parents as well as resumption, and vacation dates messages
3.) Churches and other religious bodies employ Bulk SMS in evangelism, as well as to advertise their programmes and services.
4.) Businesses and Marketers take advantage of Bulk SMS as a very powerful advertising tool to pitch their products and services to both existing and potential clients.
5.) Party planners and Events managers also use Bulk SMS to send out invitations to their target audience due to its very wide reach.
So, how many times have you experienced similar scenarios to the ones described above? The answer is you’ve probablly stopped counting by now. And that’s just a few of the potential uses of Bulk SMS service.
Step by step guide on how to set up a profitable Bulk SMS business for beginners:
For you to have gotten this far, you most likely are interested in this business. That’s okay, because Bulk SMS business is a thriving business right now in Nigeria. With a phone penetration rate of more than 50%and over 216 million connected lines, the market is indeed huge.
There are already people making tonnes of cash in this business, and you too can join them if you take the necessay steps required to be successful.
A combination of factors such as good knowledge of the business, competitive and market analysis, excellent customer relationship, passion, determination and consistency will send you on your way to achieving financial success in Bulk SMS business, and in fact any business for that matter.
The most important steps have been highlighted below as a form of action plan that anybody can follow with ease:
1. FEASIBILITY STUDY:
Just like every other business, there is a critical need for feasibility study to be done before finally deciding to start your own BULK SMS Business In Nigeria. The essence of this study is to enable you know your target market, discover reliable companies with best reselling and pricing plan as well as find out who your competitions are within the market and what their prices are like.
This must be a thorough process, otherwise you’d be like the blind man with a sac of cash attempting to make purchases from Oba market. Of course you know what happened to him!
While drawing up your feasibility study, keep in mind that Bulk SMS business is a volume-based business. The more you sell, the better your profit margin. You can comfortably make between 40% to 200% profits on your investment, depending on how you package your business.
Business is all about looking to satisfy a specific need. At this stage, you should have a list of your potential clients, such as nearby schools, your fellowship, your uncles and aunts etc. Look around your immediate environment first to see the people and businesses that could benefit from your services and pen down their names.
2. DRAW UP A FINANCIAL PLAN FOR THE BUSINESS:
If you paid due dilligence to the feasibility study stage, then drawing up a financial plan for your Bulk SMS business shouldn’t be a problem. Nowadays, you can start your Bulk SMS buisness with as little as N20 000 unlike previously when the capital requirement was rather huge. This will enable you register as a reseller with your own custom designed website and domain name.
However, you have to factor in the cost of maintaining your website and making sure it’s always online and accessible to clients. This depends on your hosting provider, your hosting plans as well as your supplier(If your supplier delays, you might run out of stock and clients will complain, or worse pack their bags and just go-scary!). Even if you don’t have that much, with just N1 000 and good internet connection, you’re in businesss! The only thing is that you don’t have your own website. You simply buy SMS units from resellers and use it to send SMSes for your clients. You can make some serious cash doing if you’re very determined, because you’re not incurring any overhead costs such as the cost of managing your website etc.
What are the potential sources of capital for your business? (Personal savings, Monthly Allowance, Loans from friends, relatives). And how do you intend to pursue those sources?
Advertising is very important for your business, wether it’s Word of Mouth (WOM) which is free, or paid Facebook or Google ads, you need to factor this into your business plan, depending on the capital you have available to you.
Bulk sms Business does not require a physical office. You can easily run the business from the comfort of your home, in cyber café(where they still exist) or anywhere as part-time or fulltime job. It is mostly automated after setting it up and all you have to do s simply bring in the customers. Depending on the growth of your business, you can decide to go for a mortar and brick office down the line, and maybe get one or two people to assist you in the business.
3. GETTING YOUR FISRT CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS:
Now that you have your Bulk SMS business website up and running, the next nut to crack is getting your fisrt clients. Think of it this way: without clients you don’t make sales, without sales, you don’t make money, without money you’ll have to borrow, and eventually, you’ll be out of business faster than you imagined.
You have to make people aware of your business. You can’t simply count on everyone being clairvoyants or seers. Develop your marketing strategy to be as sound as possible even with minimal capital.
YES! it’s possible. You should try different strategies and find out which ones work best for you. Ther’s nothing more frustrating than pouring all your efforts into something that simply does not work.
The WOM strategy is free and costs practically nothing. You can also run ads through banners and posters, especially to your close circles and social acquaintances. Try to make it simple but not poor looking(remember appearance is very important in branding-package yourself). If you have the finances, which isn’t that heavy if you play it smart, you can add Facebook, Bing or google ads to your arsenal. Or you could opt for classified ads on other online platforms or Newspapers.
Open your ads account, set a budget (you can try from as low as $2 per day), design a compelling call to action advert, and finally publish it. You can track tthe performance of your Facebook ads via the insights feature, while google ads also provide you with ads metrics such as impresion rates, clickthrough rates etc. Targeting is very important in setting up your adverts on these online platforms. You don’t want to be in Nigeria and your ads are being shown to people in China. Also the age range you target is very important. There’s a highere likelihod that youths will be more interested in your Bulk SMS service than 60 something year olds.(sorry papas and mamas, its a youth thing…). More on that later.
Blogging is another supercharged vehicle that if used correctly, can help you secure your very fisrt clients and even keep more coming. Blogging is a must have tool for any serious brand in order to target their specific market or audience. You can commuicate with your clients and potential clients directly via your blog. It’s your own radio, televison and newspaper combined in one. Here you can put up tutorial posts on how to how to register, how to use your Bulk SMS website as well as other information such as discount details. And you can even have a blog as a seperate website on your Bulk SMS domain e.g “http://blog-name.your-bulk-sms-webiste.com” or “http://your-bulk-sms-webiste.com/blog-name”.
Bulk sms business is a low capital, easy to set-up business. Wether you are a graduate a student, or a not-so-literate, education is not a barrier and you don’t need any crazy, complex technical skill. Most of the things you have to do are simply point and click with your mouse. And of course you need a reasonable level of business acumen. Afterall online busines is first of all a business. Money management skills are very important. With as little as N1 000, you can start something and build from there. But if you really want to go big-by all means do. Just remeber that money is not everything in business.
It’s all good talking about business plans and feasibility studies, but the most critical factor to the succes of any business is you-yes YOU. People will treat your business the same way you treat it. Don’t make the mistake of allowing people think you don’t have a clue (and if you really don’t have a clue, go get a clue first!). There’s nothing more embarrassing than trying to pitch your products to a potential client who happens to know more about it than you do!
Another thing is that you need to treat your business with importance, and your clients with respect. Once they start suspecting that you don’t seem to be serious about the whole thing, they’ll be gone, and not just gone, they’ll propagate bad PR about you and your service. So, always aim to provide the best service you can to your clients, and they’ll become a loyal army of marketers for your brand.
Finally, I hope you have learnt one or two things about hoow to start a profitable Bulk sms business in Nigeria. Now that you have the information, you should aim to do something meaningful with it. Time waits for no man. For fuurther, and more detailed information, or comments, you can reach us via the comments section as well via info(at)smenigeria.info.
Like and share this post with your friends (and enemies…) and see you again soon!