For a small business owner, staying in business during an economic climate such as this one is hard enough when you’re being squeezed from all sides – revenue is slower due to less demand, layoffs can hurt morale, and credit is even harder to come by – but what is truly worrisome is the question: How much should you spend on advertising? After all, there tends to be a correlation between what is invested on advertising and the revenue that is generated. And if there isn’t, then you’ve been spending far too much on advertising to begin with. For years now I have heard of the coming advent of ads by way of text message. Unlike traditional advertising media, i.e. newsprint, radio, and television, ecotextsmart (owned by parent company Salient Mobility) “is a cost effective SaaS that enables users to select price points and launch ad campaigns online.” Sounds good for business, but a consumer’s initial reaction may be similar to mine (SPAM anyone?). Steve Collins who runs the company assures me with ecotextsmart that isn’t the case. “In response to unsolicited texts, the wireless industry and [Mobile Marketing Association] mandates all members refrain from sending out unsolicited text messages. Instead, ecotextsmart choses to operate on a permission-based, or opt-in basis….urging subscribers to text in, because of incentives. Incentives typically, are join our mailing list to receive discounts, sales notices, etc. “It works” Collins says, “Also the subscriber should always have the ability to text STOP to unsubscribe.” Aside from consumers receiving these short term incentives, Collins envisions long term benefits in a host of industries including medical, dental, and higher education. Salient is working with physicians’ offices now to enable appointment reminders and scheduling by text. So in addition to texting in your vote to American Idol, you can text your Doc when you feel he needs to check your vitals. Same technology, much different purpose.
While there is competition from firms such as Clickatell and Mobivity, Collins feels “What set’s us apart first off is, we are minorities, and as active Georgia Tech Research Institute sponsors, Salient Mobility integrates sophisticated technologies and delivers much higher levels of performance and control to users, which uniquely distinguishes our firm from others.” He credits a lot of the current success to his developer network, which consists of 4 staffers from Georgia Tech, who are coding in “Apache/MySql/PHP based Zend framework environment interfacing with our Aggregator – both which are quite expensive. Essentially what our aggregator does is provide the gateway arrangements to all the major cariers, i.e. AT&T, Verizon, etc. The Aggregator negotiates and maintains commitments with carriers for volume SMS messages ranging from 100K to 1M+ and assures the carriers that their Application Provider [in this case Salient] is capable, and will be around for the long haul” says Collins. He and co-founder, Jeanie, his wife, have managed the six figure development of ecotextsmart and even envision “publishing short how to books such as ‘The A-Z on starting your own wireless text message company’ to assist other minorities with doing same” in the future. Whether it is digital text or printed text, the Collins’ entrepreneurial pursuits are just getting started.Category: Mobile, Startups, web 2.0 | Tags: ecotextsmart, mobile marketing, salient mobility, text promotions, text2win, web 2.0