Premium text messaging or (PSMS) is widely used throughout the mobile industry. It has gained a very bad name in the last 5 years because of people misusing the medium to bill consumers in an unscrupulous and often illegal manner.
However, without PSMS services, you couldnt give to your favourite charity as easy, nor could you vote for the act of your choice on xfactor or get those goal alerts when your team scores a goal.
When used correctly Premium texts can be very effective at bringing the consumer to content they want, whilst providing the owner of the content with a strong revenue stream.
On a typical £1.5o short code you would make around 90p in revenue, after the network charges and your mobile partners charges are taken off, although this depends on volume of messaging too.
There are a number of legitimate legal and process driven challenges to overcome when setting up a premium service and more information on this can be found at the payphoneplus website here http://www.phonepayplus.org.uk/For-Business/Setting-up-a-premium-rate-service.aspx
Depending on the type of service you want to operate, you may need permission from PPP to do so and there may be more processes you need to complete and guidelines to follow too.
However, generally there are 6 basic steps to starting your premium text messaging service and these are listed below;
- Find a suitable mobile provider ( Mobile Aggregator or Agency)
- Achieve setup of a premium rate shortcode and get your outpayment details
- Find out if you need to register the service and if so, register with PPP.
- Let your mobile provider know when you have signed up the service with PPP
- Get your mobile provider to switch your number or code live
- Advertise it!!
There may be problems along the way, but a good mobile aggregator will tell you how to circum-navigate these and where neccessary they will solve them for you.
Most mobile aggregators will charge between 2% and 6% revenue share on each billed message and will not charge for the actual message send. So you would pay 2% to 6% of your 90p (on a £1.50 short code) to the mobile aggregator who is sending the messages. There may also be a small set up charge for creating the service in the first instance, but shouldnt be a large monthly maintenance fee (£50 to £75 is the norm for a basic campaign with low volumes)
Try and avoid subscription campaigns unless you have a very loyal client or customer or fan base.
Remember always offer people the opportunity to Opt Out of recieving your messages, if you dont, your service wont be active long. Try and add a stop message into the premium rate message copy you send out, but if you cant, then you need to send a Free2Recieve information message as often as you send the billing message out i.e (one billable message a month = one Free2Recieve opt out message per month) advising people how to stop your messages and not be billed again by you.
Always give value in your content or you will lose customers as soon as you get them.
If you run a competition or a Quiz, make the difficulty of them as general as possible or you will lose a wide proportion of people who dont know the answers so dont play.
Above all, make sure you have Ts and Cs available for the consumer, make sure you clearly tell them what they are going to be billed for and if you send one message per month, dont be tempted to send two or three.. because people will switch off and opt out if they believe your using them as a money train.