Bulk SMS Marketing
In our ever-advancing world, which yesterday’s new born technologies chase and eliminate technologies that were hardly developed couple months earlier, one may wonder whether an aging technology such as SMS has a right to exist using bulk SMS marketing.
Well, there are not enough words to describe how wrong one might be. The number of ways to implement SMS nowadays seems endless!
I’ll describe some in a glance. In a scenario where you run a business offering a service, which clients subscribe for a specific period. When the end of that period draws near, you have some options to retain them as customers. Some companies hire representatives who call them, a method what is both costly and ineffective; Some people do not like to talk on the phone or flat out refuse to do business that way. Perhaps the incoming call might feel imposing to the client or catch him at an inconvenient time, which will cause him to end the call abruptly without extending the service.
A cost-effective and less imposing way to deal with that scenario is to send automated rich advanced texts to those clients via SMS with links to your website. This procedure is hassle free for the service provider and a lot friendlier to the client, as he can check that message in his own time, ensuring that this potential client will actually be motivated and moved to an action without bothering him too much.
Bulk SMS Marketing Implementations
SMS can be implemented in many types of businesses and for a wide variety of purposes:
- Banks – sending One-Time Passwords (OTP) to the customer’s mobile phone via SMS, utilizing it as Two-Layer security mechanism.
- Finance Companies – sending instant periodical reminders of outstanding balance due to customers
- Cab Services – sending updates to the clients with ETA of a cab or alerting them that it has arrived.
- Hospitals – automated scheduling and queue management.
- Colleges and Schools – notifications and reminders of events, tests and grades info.
- Automated Systems – online status monitoring and automated SMS alarms in case of crisis scenarios to the system’s admins.
- Lottery and Gambling agencies – sending automated notifications of winnings.
- Political Campaigns – updates on rallies or simply reminders to vote.
- Government’s emergency announcements –notification of severe weather or natural disasters.
- And so on, the number of uses for automated SMS systems are endless, and growing.
Bulk SMS and Sim Box solutions
HyperMedia Systems is amongst the world’s best bulk SMS and Sim Box solutions manufacturers. Hypermedia develops unique SMS Gateway, APIs and standalone SMS systems that allows you to send Online Bulk and personal SMS messages.
HyperMedia’s bulk SMS marketing product were built with simplicity in mind to best fit customer’s needs, but we always had developers and integrators in mind. Thus, we’ve developed a very robust, open and flexible SMS API.
Unlike other manufacturers, we don’t just send your messages, we give you a whole set of tools to manage and control your marketing campaigns, ensuring they are successful. Our web platform gives you plethora of advanced tools such as detailed reporting, scheduling, sub-accounts, permission control etc.
Hypermedia supports a wide range of technologies and interfaces. In fact, we are very flexible with our clients implementing custom-made solutions to integrate with existing technologies and platforms the client may already own ensuring a smooth integration.
A very brief list of the technologies and platforms our SIM servers support:
- Tivoli Systems
- Cisco CallManager
- Cisco ISE
- SolarServer Orion Network Performance Monitor (SNMP)
- MS Exchange (All versions)
- MS Active Directory
- MS Outlook (Send SMS through the client to single contacts and distribution lists with designated rules)
- Send SMS form SMTP Servers to single contacts and distribution lists
- Remote Access through Telnet or SSH to use CLI
- Supports multi-user access with groups with custom permission levels.
- Web UI access for managing and customizing the SMS server in http/https access.
- Advanced and rich report system.
- SMNP support
- HTTP Access
- Complete Web Applications sets
- Automatic failover management with a possible use of up to 32 SIM’s for each device
- Omni-directional antennas
HyperMedia has years many years of experience in the field of Bulk SMS and SIM servers. We strive to lead the market in every aspect with innovative solutions and competitive prices.
How to start a Call Termination Business
First of all, Before we talk about Termination Business, let’s begin with a brief explanation on what “Call Termination Business” actually means.
In the telecommunications industry, call termination is the process of completing a call on a specific network, after receiving it from outside of that network. In recent times, however, it has become synonymous with the process of replacing the majority of that call’s path with a cheaper one. This is a very brief explanation on what Termination Business offers.
We’ll use a simple scenario, as an easy example:
Let’s assume we want to make an international call from the U.S to Thailand. From the U.S it’s a Local wired phone line, whereas the Thailand end is a cellular phone. For simplicity’s sake, let’s just assume that the caller pays 1$ per minute, which is a rather expensive rate.
Nowadays, there is an option to transfer a phone call through the internet, using a technology called VoIP, which stands for Voice Over IP. VoIP allows us to do just that – take a voice call, transform it to IP traffic and send it over any IP-based network, i.e the Internet
The only thing left to do is to connect (terminate) this call to the destination cellular phone. We need a device connected to both the Internet and the local cellular network, which will receive that VoIP call and connect it to the destination number. That is where the Hypermedia VoIP gateway comes into play.
So – back to our example: We can take the call directly from the caller in the U.S. or from his local landline provider, cut out the international carrier that still uses traditional, expensive, voice networks to connect its calls and replace it with a relatively cheap connection to the Internet (both in the U.S. and in Thailand) and greatly reduce the cost of the call.
Now the big question arises: how does one make a business plan based on this knowledge and builds a working business according to these newly acquired concepts?
In this article, we’ll try our best to help you understand the basic principles of building a Termination Business from the ground up.
There are several things we first need to examine in a termination market, before we can establish that it’s potentially a profitable one:
- Local cellular providers’ costs and performance
- Cellular providers’ pass-through costs (AKA Connectivity fees)
- International call rates
The first step is to verify there’s a demand for incoming international calls. Simply put, whether people are making business or personal calls to that country.
An example for such a demand would be if we know that a certain country has a large community of foreign workers or immigrants from another country, who call their families back home. Another example would be extensive business ties between two countries. In both cases it will result in a large volume of calls between them.
The next step will be to measure how much demand there is for calls, so we can estimate the potential size of the market and our Termination Business potential share in it.
Cellular providers’ costs and performance
First, we need to examine how well do the cellular providers perform. Do they suffer from congestion during peak hours? Do they have reception problems in the area where we plan to set up your gateway? Do they have audio issues, problems with completing a call or have a lot of disconnects? It’s important to answer all of these questions, before choosing the local cellular provider(s) for our termination business.
The next step will be to check the local cellular rates. As mentioned before, it is essential to our business plan to know in advance the costs for routing international calls within the country to a specific endpoint (cellular or landline), so as to ascertain it will be profitable. Even the best provider with absolutely no issues doesn’t help us at all, if it means we’ll have to pay it more than we earn.
Cellular provider’s pass-through costs (connectivity fees)
Once we’ve decided a specific market is profitable enough, it’s time to go deeper and check the interconnection rates between providers.
Why is this necessary?
As it is typical in almost every country, there is usually more than one cellular provider. We strive to lower our costs and therefore have to see what the costs for interconnecting calls between different operators are.
For example, in some countries it’s common to find providers offering plans with fixed monthly rates and unlimited calls for all local destinations – landlines, other cellular providers, etc. In this type of scenario we can use a single provider and install one SIM\line for every connection with no concern for the type of connection (landline, cellular) or the provider to which the destination is subscribed. In more complex scenarios, there is a variety of monthly plans for each provider.
It could be customary for a specific provider to charge by the minute\second for all calls or just those outside of its network and have unlimited calls within it. Perhaps there could be different plans for weekends, specific time of day (lower rates for off-peak hours) or even specific population groups (the elderly, people who work for the emergency services, family plans, etc.) we should take this into account when making our business plan.
In these scenarios, we need to install the appropriate hardware that supports variety of SIM cards/landlines. That will allow us flexibility when routing a call and help us reduce our costs and maximize our profit.
International calls rates
We talked earlier (in the ‘Demand’ section) about locating countries which will have a large volume of calls to the country where we place or gateway. Now it’s time to check the costs of traditional international calls from those countries.
Our Termination Business depends on offering the same service at a lower cost. After calculating our costs – both the Internet connection as well as the cellular provider – we can determine how much cheaper a call going through our gateway will be, compared to a traditional international call. In the example above we spoke of 1$ per minute for a traditional international call from the U.S. to Thailand. After all is said and done – we manage to complete that same call for 73 cents per minute and the difference is 27 cents. We offer the caller some of those 27 cents as savings and keep the rest as income. This is our whole business plan in a nutshell.
Now that we understand the basics of a proper business plan for Call Termination Business , let’s get to the technical aspects of actually building it.
Our Checklist is:
- Cellular reception
- Landline connection
- Internet connection
- SIM cards
- Acquiring the proper hardware
We have to find an adequate storing space for our equipment. It could be anywhere that has power and an Internet connection; however – a professional hosting site like an ISP’s co-location or a server farm is highly recommended, as they provide continuity of services, like power and Internet connection, as well as providing climate control, site security, etc. The bare minimum is one squared meter with power and an Internet connection.
The next and obvious requirement is that this storing space will be in an area with adequate cellular reception by some, if not all, local cellular companies. Without this we won’t be able to cost-effectively route calls to these networks, unless your business plan allows for the exclusive use of a PRI connection.
To connect international calls to local landlines, it’s best to use a PRI connection from a local telecommunications company, unless cellular rates allow for the exclusive use of a cellular line, in which case you’d be able to cut down your monthly expenses by forgoing the PRI connection. Note that in certain places these types of connection can only be installed in main business areas, as a matter of policy or due to technical constraints.
A high-speed symmetrical internet connection with a low latency is highly recommended. The required bandwidth should be based on your estimate of the amount of concurrent calls the gateway is expected to handle and we’ll discuss on how to calculate the needed bandwidth in a separate article.
Next, we’ll purchase SIM cards from the cellular companies that offer the best coverage and prices in the vicinity of our gateway’s physical location. In the vast majority of cases we’ll prefer to use more than one company.
Acquiring Proper Hardware
Based on all of the above, we’ll purchase the proper hardware from Hypermedia. A Gateway with cellular cards and if you want to connect to a PRI and not only use cellular, you’ll require a gateway that also has one or two PRI ports.
Accomplishing Call Termination Business
After we completed our checklist, we’ll configure and optimize our hardware to route the call in the most cost – effective way. The Hypermedia Gateway can be configured so that when a VOIP call reaches it, it will be analyzed by source and destination and routed accordingly.
For example, a VOIP call which is addressed to a specific cellular provider will go out a SIM purchased from that same provider, in order to keep the costs low.
Furthermore, the hardware chooses by default to connect the calls in a way that will maintain the best quality possible.
Advertising our newly built service
Once we have accomplished all of the above and have a functioning service that can provide call termination, it’s time to offer it to potential clients. How do we advertise to the world that we provide such a service? How do we get calls to be sent to our hardware and provide us with revenue?
Well, it’s not as hard as it seems. Actually, there is a strong demand by telecommunication companies around the globe for just such services that allow them to connect their calls for a lower cost.
We’ve established a route to a specific country, and all that’s left to do is to contact these telecommunication companies and draw their attention to our service. Trust me, if you can lower their cost by even a few pennies per minute, they will be excited to hear about it.
How do I get their attention? How do I approach them?
There are conventions and exhibitions around the globe specifically for this type of industry and these companies send representatives looking for service just like yours.
There are also special Internet forums discussing local services, offering routes or looking to buy them. Telecommunication companies usually scour those forums, so you can advertise there and they will approach you, even sooner than you might expect.
The billing period for payments in this business is usually weekly or monthly. At the end of the agreed-upon billing period, the operator sends payment for the amount of minutes that were transferred through your route.
The most common methods of payment are PayPal or a wire transfer, but any conventional method of payment in e-commerce can probably be used.
And that is basically it! You can now start and run your very own call termination business.
How to start a Call Termination Business
- Locate Potential Business Target Locations
- Assess DEMAND.
- Analyze Current and planned Local\international call’s COSTS
- Locate suitable Business Location with the needed infrastructures.
- Purchase appropriate Hardware Equipment.
- Good Luck