UK SMS Service Providers

20 replies
Hey folks, there are a lot of SMS related topics on the forum, however most of them are US based so I wanted to start a new thread specific for those of us in the UK looking to tap into this market.

If you use an SMS service to manage your clients campaigns please provide details of how you do this. Which company do you use for the service, how do you go about charging clients for the service?

So far, I've only done some brief research, but of the first couple of services I came across, I found the cheapest per text was textmarketer. They seemed to be quite far ahead of the other in terms of lowest cost per text message/credit.

I am very intrigued as to whether people charge the company per text, as well as charging a monthly maintenance fee? Or if they just charge a monthly fee straight up regardless of the amount of texts a client will use?

All thoughts are welcome, and input appreciated.
#providers #service #sms
  • Profile picture of the author Phil_UK
    Hi

    I'm just at the start of looking in to this as well, so hopefully we'll get some feedback here.

    I think I've got most of the other things for a mobile campaign covered, but I have no experience in the SMS side of it at all.

    Phil
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    • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
      Well you could use someone like textlocal.

      That way you could gain credibility for the service by name dropping their customers if you have a look and see who those customers are.

      Banks, Football Clubs,Car Manufacturers etc etc

      People like to be in the company of other successful companies.

      Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author omerb84
    I always wanted to know about SMS Marketing and how companies can appear as contacts. Great marketing tool.
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  • Hey Guys

    I am also interested in knowing the best mobile text providers in the UK

    Lost of info for the us but not muck for the UK
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  • Originally Posted by krishh View Post

    its a good marketing tool
    Krishh

    Yes it is. It is something i am just getting into so really excited about that. So trying to learn as much as i can.
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  • Profile picture of the author JToneyUK
    I'm not quite sure if I should be disappointed because there has not really need any input with regards to UK based SMS services, or whether I should be ecstatic because based on the lack of feedback, we basically have the whole country untapped in this market! Obviously the big companies will be using SMS, and there may be other forums where this discussion is more prelevant, but every topic that gets discussed on these boards generally has dozens of people interested, or currently delivering whatever service or product is being discussed. So maybe the sheer lack of discussion here is actually a good thing.
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    • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
      What actually is it that you are wanting to do and why?

      Dan
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      • Profile picture of the author JToneyUK
        Errr, provide SMS services to local businesses to A. help them with marketing and B. make money for myself

        Originally Posted by jimbo13 View Post

        What actually is it that you are wanting to do and why?
        Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author TheGreyling
    Well I've done quite a lot of research into UK sms providers - for what it's worth :-)

    I would agree that textmarketer is apparently the cheapest - although the reseller version (not the white label) of TxtLocal is probably the cheapest option if you want to go that way.

    The biggest problem we have in the UK is the lack of a platform that is able to allow us to be a white label at low cost and then to be able to control our clients accounts - in other words, offer them a 'done for you' system or the option do it do themselves. There are lots of managed solutions out there for the US but not for us.

    We are also at a disadvantage as regards to cost per text. Twilio for example, allows texts to go at 1c per message, which is around 0.6p (or thereabouts) but we have to pay something like 4p (with vat) and so adding a %age on top for our profit becomes difficult. The best way is to offer a managed service - but then we're back to the lack of a platform again.

    The best compromise I've found so far is actually a WSO at the moment which offers a WP plugin that allows you to operate as a white label provider by never showing the client where the supplier actually is (they presume it's you) and gives you the option to offer a managed solution for your client, or give them the facility to manage their own account - but you have tight hold of the purse strings. I have only just got it, so can't vouch for it's efficacy at present, tho' it's shaping up ok.

    Once I've got to grips with it myself I shall try it out on a few clients and see what happens.

    This plugin also works with Twilio for US customers, so no reason why we can't have customers on both sides of the Atlantic :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Riz
      Can you share a link to the WSO you are talking about that provides the WP plugin.

      Thanks :-)

      Originally Posted by TheGreyling View Post

      Well I've done quite a lot of research into UK sms providers - for what it's worth :-)

      I would agree that textmarketer is apparently the cheapest - although the reseller version (not the white label) of TxtLocal is probably the cheapest option if you want to go that way.

      The biggest problem we have in the UK is the lack of a platform that is able to allow us to be a white label at low cost and then to be able to control our clients accounts - in other words, offer them a 'done for you' system or the option do it do themselves. There are lots of managed solutions out there for the US but not for us.

      We are also at a disadvantage as regards to cost per text. Twilio for example, allows texts to go at 1c per message, which is around 0.6p (or thereabouts) but we have to pay something like 4p (with vat) and so adding a %age on top for our profit becomes difficult. The best way is to offer a managed service - but then we're back to the lack of a platform again.

      The best compromise I've found so far is actually a WSO at the moment which offers a WP plugin that allows you to operate as a white label provider by never showing the client where the supplier actually is (they presume it's you) and gives you the option to offer a managed solution for your client, or give them the facility to manage their own account - but you have tight hold of the purse strings. I have only just got it, so can't vouch for it's efficacy at present, tho' it's shaping up ok.

      Once I've got to grips with it myself I shall try it out on a few clients and see what happens.

      This plugin also works with Twilio for US customers, so no reason why we can't have customers on both sides of the Atlantic :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author crunchcorn
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author TheGreyling
      Originally Posted by crunchcorn View Post

      Twilio is it a sms service provider.
      Yes it is - but for US only (might be Canada - not sure). They have an international beta at present so we can keep our fingers crossed. They're great for developers, so maybe someone can code something for us Brits when Twilio is fully functional everywhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author JToneyUK
    Thanks for your reply TheGreyling, you have shed a bit more life on this for me, and others I'm sure.

    Let us know how the WP plugin works out, and maybe if you can shed some light on how it works. Do it link to specific SMS services providers?

    To me, I don't think it would be as profitable to allow the companies to manage their campaigns on their own. It seems a bit of a better model to me if you charge a monthly maintenance fee and then a fee per text which is maybe 5p more than the SMS service charges you.

    Unless I am missing something with the reseller/white label thing. Allow me to be informed.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheGreyling
      Originally Posted by JToneyUK View Post

      Thanks for your reply TheGreyling, you have shed a bit more life on this for me, and others I'm sure.

      Let us know how the WP plugin works out, and maybe if you can shed some light on how it works. Do it link to specific SMS services providers?

      To me, I don't think it would be as profitable to allow the companies to manage their campaigns on their own. It seems a bit of a better model to me if you charge a monthly maintenance fee and then a fee per text which is maybe 5p more than the SMS service charges you.

      Unless I am missing something with the reseller/white label thing. Allow me to be informed.
      Hi,

      Yes - it works specifically with Textmarketer for the UK and Twilio for the US. Basically you open an ordinary account at either or both places and then use the API credentials (don't worry, it's only cut and paste) to access your account via the plugin. Your customers also (effectively) access your account but do it via you - so they have to pay you to provide credits which they then use to send messages, or you do it for them if you're offering a managed version. It's actually very simple.

      I agree that a managed version is probably going to be more effective (for which read, lucrative) over here. If we are paying around 4p per text (with the vat) then adding 5p on top puts you at 9p per text. Now that's fine if your client doesn't start having a look around to see if he can get it cheaper. If you offer a managed service then a) he probably won't look around and b) he has less reason to look around and c) probably won't find anything cheaper IN THAT CASE. A simple cost comparison based on text prices probably won't come out in your favour!

      That's why Twilio is so good in the US. You simply can't get cheaper than 1c per text, so managed or resold doesn't really matter. Reselling here doesn't become a real option here until you get the volume. THEN you can buy in bulk for your own discount and resell for a premium.

      Sorry - didn't mean to go on. Hope you followed my train of thought!
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      • Profile picture of the author flashcash
        Hi,

        I am using textmarketer with the WSO plugin - installs and works with no issues.

        Currently textmarketer are offering cheap shortcodes - however have not tried them with the plugin so do not know if they work. Anyone tried textmarketer short codes.


        My plan is to market it as an additional service together with websites & Mobile sites - makes an additional offering that others do not have.

        cheers,

        ken
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  • Profile picture of the author JToneyUK
    Cheers again Greyling, I guess there are several ways around it:

    1. SMS Management: You have one account, offer to manage SMS campaigns for businesses charging them x amount per 100 texts for example, as well as a monthly management fee. Like anything else (such as building a website, or do SEO) business owners could easily do this themselves, but they don't have the knowledge and get people to do it for them. If they happen to do their own research, they may see they can do this themselves for much less money.

    2. Resell: Set up an account where your clients can log in and manage their own campaigns. Set up your own cost per text, charge monthly again for the service. (Dunno if this is how reselling the service works, if you can set up multi accounts and a unique text rate etc)

    3. Set up & train: Basically tell the business about SMS marketing, go ahead and set up the account for them for a "set up" fee and then sopend an hour or so giving training. The issue here is that once they go ahead and use the website for their campaign they see it is free to sign up for. In essence, you've just charged a kind of "finders fee" and for the knowledge of SMS services. I dunno if you can justify charging for this kind of thing though.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheGreyling
    Well I think for 1 and 2 you pretty much have it :-)

    For 3 it entirely depends on the set-up you're using. Take the plugin as an example. You show them how to use it and charge for your time if you want to - but they're still dependent on you to use it.

    If you go a different route and use (again, just for an example I know about) the reseller option at TxtLocal then they have a user panel which is pretty white-label. The major thing is you can't set your own prices this way and you just get a commission (pretty small) on what the customer uses. BUT, your client still wouldn't be aware of which service you were using.

    I think you'd be asking for trouble if you tried to do this by in any way giving them knowledge of which service provider you're actually using. You need your client to need you, either directly or indirectly and you don't want them to have the opportunity to bypass you at any point. Think of those referrals!! If they find your supplier, who do you think they are going to refer their friends and other business owners to? Probably not to the guy who tried to charge them a premium. If you're giving added value that's great - and if they don't know where else to go, or better yet don't WANT to go anywhere else because you're looking after them - then that's all the better.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonny Mulroy
    Originally Posted by JToneyUK View Post

    Hey folks, there are a lot of SMS related topics on the forum, however most of them are US based so I wanted to start a new thread specific for those of us in the UK looking to tap into this market.

    If you use an SMS service to manage your clients campaigns please provide details of how you do this. Which company do you use for the service, how do you go about charging clients for the service?

    So far, I've only done some brief research, but of the first couple of services I came across, I found the cheapest per text was textmarketer. They seemed to be quite far ahead of the other in terms of lowest cost per text message/credit.

    I am very intrigued as to whether people charge the company per text, as well as charging a monthly maintenance fee? Or if they just charge a monthly fee straight up regardless of the amount of texts a client will use?

    All thoughts are welcome, and input appreciated.

    I use TextLocal for my clients, easy to use, great interface and the pricing is decent.

    I would certainly recommend it. Also their branding is spot on.

    As far as pricing your clients are concerned, it all depends on the size of the business and what the customer value is....

    You wouldn't charge a Restaurant the same price as you would charge a Chiropractor.

    Typically for smaller businesses anywhere between £100-£150 a month ranging up to over £500 for larger businesses.

    This is just my take on things and what works for me, you are welcome to charge how you see fit.

    Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author limecellular
    Usually it is good to manage and charge different businesses based on the amount of messages they'll be sending out or you'll be sending out (if you are implementing/managing their campaigns for them). This number is determined by the number of opted in members by the number of daily/weekly/monthly messages you are sending out. Also, it would be good to monetize each feature you add to their account so that their package is highly customizable.

    We are planning to get a short code soon in the UK.
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