10.02.2004: New SMS messaging system (free) for bands:Ron, IU

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SMS messaging system: here's how it works

IrishUnsigned has agreed a deal with Data Conversions to give every band, organisation, business a free SMS messaging system. Not only that, for those who take up the system in the early stages, we will be crediting every new 'group' with 50 credit to use the system. Call it "test credit" if you wish.

Naturally, the SMS messaging system provider will hope that you like the system so much and see the benefit of it that you keep using it. Moreover, we even negotiated a bulk-discount across the board, regardless of how many or how few SMS group messages you send out. So, bulk-discount without the bulk.

We think most organisations will find the system beneficial in communications and marketing terms and as more and more bands and organisations use it, so more and more bands and organisations will get involved making it a highly valuable, direct and comparitively inexpensive marketing tool for everyone involved.

Here's how it works:
A band or organisation sets up a group for the SMS messaging system. Let's call it "Factor X". Within a couple of days it is ready. They have created the FACTORX group. This is then puiblicised and promoted to the group-owners fans, customers etc. For example, flyers can have the join-word on them, as can CD covers, posters, websites, emails etc. So, they publicise it by putting "Join our group, win prizes, keep up to date. Text FACTORX to 0863883333". Simple as that.

When the group has a few members, the owner tests it by sending a group message out, promoting a new product. For example: "20 per cent discount on production of this SMS". Group members show the SMS and get their discount. They are encouraged to tell their friends to join up.

After time, the group has a couple of thousand members. The owner then has a viable marketing tool to complement email messaging and other tools. The owner, of course, can only send an SMS to their own group but they can send anything they want, as often as they want*.

Now, let us say that the group owner wants to hit a wider audience nationwide for a new product - say a CD launch, or a new radio show or whatever. They contact us in IrishUnsigned. We can facilitate group messages to ALL the groups. However, we will not send messages to the full group uinless we feel they are of benefit to our wider members and groups.

Say FACTORX is offering discount on a new product or CD to IU members and groups. We will enable the message to be sent to everyone of the members - or a specified number of them.

Now, there is obviously a cost involved and it could run to quite a sizeable amount. However, those who wish to send out a message that includes a discount, special offer, sample, freebie etc would be advised to seek a complementary sponsor to fund the message and get a name-check on every SMS in return.

Let's say FACTORX are offering a 20 per cent discount on instruments, they could get an instrument supplier to fund it and send out a message like "Yamaha brings you a once-off 20 per cent discount on any purchase on production of this SMS". It may seem too small scale for large sponsors to bother with but if you are effectively giving something to people, and they are credited for it, and it would lead to extra sales for them in some cases you will probably find them amenable. However, if it is just for news etc, maybe not. Of course, the more people receiving the SMS, the more they would be interested.

Now, supposing FACTORX want to be able to quantify their members for targetted marketting [generally, there is no point advertising a business in Dublin to people around the Country, for example]. They could run an SMS competition, get members to send their age, gender and location (as an example) and randomly offer a prize as an incentive to reply. Then, they would have more useful data when planning anything.

So, another scenario: Suppose an SMS discount is offered and limitting each SMS recipient to once-off use is important. For example, a 'one per customer' or 'limited offer' or 'money off' e-voucher. How do you stop people re-using the SMS over and over or prevent them from forwarding the message to all their friends and family? You can send an SMS so that every recipient has a unique code in their message received. Then, when redeemed, Factor X makes a note of the code. If that same code is then shown at a leter date it can be cross-checked and, if already used, not redeemed.

There are even machines available for businesses, like shops for example, who do not want the hassle of noting codes and manually checking them. Members who receive an SMS can 'redeem' them with these machines, printing a paper voucher if required for record-keeping.

Group owners can send as many or as few SMS messages as they wish, and they can be about literally anything. However, two things to note. First, if people are getting an inordinate amount of useless messages they will soon unsubscribe from that group. Second, once the initial credit of 50 is used up, group owners deal directly with Data Conversions to topup their accounts as and when required - no contracts, no minimum spend.

Of course, there are many other possible uses for a system like this - essentially limitless. If you have any queries before setting up a group, please email admin@irishunsigned.com

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