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SMS Means New Revenue Opportunity for Directory Publishers

Normally, directory information is static, but by building in SMS marketing offers, directories can provide a valuable new service that is engaging and rewarding.

Apps aren't (yet) the answer

Facing declining revenues, directory publishers have been creating mobile apps and tablet features to help stem the losses in their print business.

However, apps can only ever reach the smartphone market. This segment is about 35% of all mobiles, but even this represents only a fraction of the total mobile market.

SMS is the answer. Virtually all mobile phones out there can handle basic SMS text messages, meaning directory publishers can reach nearly 100% of the mobile market.

Getting business on board

The benefit to the directory's business customers is in getting a mobile marketing opportunity they may not have otherwise thought of engaging in, gaining new customers and increasing both footfall and revenue.

For the directory publisher, it gives an attractive incentive to get businesses to sign up to the directory.

How it can work

By setting up its own shortcode service, the directory publisher can manage the inbound text messages and respond with an appropriate SMS marketing message based on the keyword received (chosen by the directory's business client).

Each keyword represents a specific business, so that when the inbound message is received at the shortcode, it responds with the right promotional offer texted back to the customer.

Typical programmes would be either an opt-in to receive weekly deals from the business or as a one-off promotional code, such as a percentage off at a specific location.

For the end-customer, being able to interact with the directory and business in this way offers a more trusted method of getting vouchers than the large 'voucher' services already making headway into this kind of market.

More than marketing, SMS offers service

Marketing messages and promotional codes aren't the only SMS opportunities either.

Programmes can be designed for the directory publisher's clients that offer specialised service to their end-customers. For example, restaurants could offer the day's menu specials through SMS by asking the customer to “text 'CafeABC specials' to 123456.”

Other examples of customer-centric service messages could include directions to the location, phone number to make reservations, or waiting times for restaurants and theatres.

By creating a mutually beneficial SMS marketing programme, directory publishers have a huge opportunity to turn the mobile marketplace into something that gives instead of takes away.