Sendster Launches Text Marketing Tool for SMEs

UK-based mobile marketing firm Sendster has launched, a low-cost text message-based marketing tool designed specifically for the 4 million UK businesses employing 10 people or less.
Sendster allows businesses to quickly notify customers of last-minute, perhaps perishable, offers, in-store events and other marketing opportunities, at a cost of 8p per customer contacted via SMS.
Consumers opt-into the service by visiting the local firms branded page on the Sendster website or by texting in to a Shortcode, 80408. Sendster provides businesses with in-store posters and business cards to help raise awareness of the service and encourage sign up. The sign up is specific to the business concerned, thought consumers can sign up for text alerts from multitple local businesses.
This truly is a revolution in marketing for local businesses says Sendster CEO, Carlo Platia. For considerably less than the cost of a classified advert in a local paper, local businesses can offer last-minute deals, promote sales and events and start to build close relationships with their most loyal customers, as well as target new ones, all through an easy to use website.
The Sendster service is powered by mBloxs global mobile transaction platform, designed to manage mobile messages and data reliably between all mobile operators at the fastest possible speeds. mBlox ensures that Sendsters text marketing messages are delivered in a rapid and secure fashion.
Using the Sendster database costs nothing; local businesses simply pay 8p per customer contacted, plus a one-off fee of 24p per customer that signs up via the 80408 Shortcode. Customers signing up via the website are free. Businesses will also benefit from a referral scheme, whereby they get credits for referring other local companies to use the service.
Sendster advices businesses, however, to buy their own number for messages. This lets customers respond directly to promotions and offers and creates a dialogue between the business and a potential sale. The current cost for this service is a special rate of 8 per month for a minimum 12-month contract. The end customer pays only the mobile operators standard SMS rate.
Sendster says there are many user scenarios for the service. A local restaurateur, with few bookings for a Monday evening, could send out a two-for-one text offer to people who they know are genuinely interested in their business. Or a hairdresser who has an appointment cancelled can contact their loyal customer base and let them know they have last-minute vacancies.
Local businesses depend on quick turnarounds; tables for restaurants, appointments for hairdressers, stock for retailers, says Platia. Our service is dedicated to helping these local businesses let local customers know about offers and availability so they maximise every opportunity to generate revenue.
Sendster is also seeking to build a strong affiliate network for the service, citing any business with local companies as customers and consumers as end users, such as business directories, as ideal partners, though in reality, any large company with a high number of local business customers could benefit from becoming an affiliate partner. Negotiations are already under-way with one of the UKs major drink suppliers to the on-trade and Sendster says it expects an announcement to be made shortly.
The Sendster service is available now, and for a limited period, all local businesses can send a free message to 25 customers. You can find out more, and register to use the service, here.