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Bulk SMS Messaging is a Marketing Cheat Code

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Bulk SMS Messaging campaigns are a great way to reach large audiences. You can open engagement with your customer base with online memberships or telling them about new promotions. From there, you can send well-placed SMS messages that can drive clicks and sales if done the right way. If you aren’t using bulk SMS messaging as part of your digital marketing plan, you are missing out. Many clients assist with SMS marketing – all with different features. When it comes to bulk text messaging, we found the ClickSend has the most to offer.

Not all SMS marketing clients are made to support bulk messaging fully. Contact list size, user-friendliness, and reports can all be an issue. It’s not enough that you can send a text to a large audience. The process should be straightforward. And because there is a fine line between engaging an excited audience and pestering customers to the point that they don’t want to be bothered anymore, it would be good to get reports on how the messages are received.

ClickSend’s user interface is clean and easy to use. Sending a bulk SMS messaging campaign is very straightforward and took little effort. Simply put, ClickSend checks all the boxes.

Sending Bulk SMS Messages from Your Computer

Using your computer to send bulk texts is simple. To start, you will need to sign up for a ClickSend account.

Setting up your ClickSend account

Before going any further, you need to know that ClickSend is a paid service. Their homepage gives you the option to ‘Get Sending for Free.’ This only allows you to test their service with a small free credit briefly. This does you no good if you’re looking for a one-time free message.

On a positive note, ClickSend only charges for the outgoing messages.

Creating a contact list

If you have a massive address book that you want to use for bulk message sending, importing all your contacts can be very taxing. ClickSend thrives where other bulk SMS marketing clients suffer. From their Dashboard, click on ‘Contacts’ and click the add button to create a new contact list. Here you can create multiple contact lists with different audiences. This helps if you are running multiple SMS campaigns at once.

Click on ‘New List for Campaign’ to find two options. You can import contacts manually. If you have a relatively small list or if you want to add one or two contacts to a larger list, manual entry is the way to go. However, if you have a large list, click ‘Import Contacts.’ ClickSend will allow you to import a spreadsheet, and they give you an example spreadsheet to download that you can edit with your own contacts. Simply copy and paste your contacts and import.

Adding credits

ClickSend works on a credit basis, so you will need to add funds before sending your first text. Click on your existing balance in the ClickSend dashboard, and you can ‘Top Up’ your account. ClickSend offers different packages ranging from $20 for 877 messages to $5,500 for 679,000 messages. The more you spend, the more you save. Based on your contact list, you should know exactly how many texts you need to spend and, therefore, how much money you need to spend.

Your campaign

Creating an SMS marketing campaign is simple once you have the funds and your contact list is imported.

From the dashboard, click ‘SMS Campaign’ under ‘SMS’ and click ‘add campaign.’

You can name the SMS campaign, direct which contact list to send the messages to, and create the message. You can create a custom short URL to direct readers to your site. ClickSend also gives you a list of templates to use and the option to add an opt-out for recipients who do not want to receive any more texts. You can also choose to send the text message immediately or schedule it for a later time.

Review

After you send the SMS campaign, you can refer back to the dashboard to check important data. You can check the number of links that were opened, from what device, and what region.

Final Thoughts

The beauty of ClickSend lies in its comprehensive use and simplicity. For those who benefit from bulk SMS messaging campaigns, it does everything you need it to do – nothing more, nothing less. Its prices are competitive, and you do not need to sign up for a subscription. You add funds and use them as you please. ClickSend is an overall great tool for marketers.

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Startup Central

How Volar Alta automates inspections and logistic support through drones

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niharika kolte

Startups are darlings when it comes to marrying social impact with technology. And the best part is that young people are leading this amazing movement. The newest startup making waves in the industry is Volar Alta, which provides drone support for companies across various fields. 

In order to save time, energy, and manpower, the company is offering drones as tools to speed up quality checks. They also want to make drone delivery a reality in the future.

How did Volar Alta get its start? 

drone

Like many startup founders, Niharika Kolte did not start out dreaming of being an entrepreneur. In fact, she began her career as an analyst working at PWC and KPMG. During her stint, she began to think of more efficient ways to conduct inspections and do technical due diligence. According to Kolte, this is usually the most prolonged phase of a deal for a banker or analyst. 

She believes that this is because of the old-school way of conducting technical inspections. Most companies test their assets using a random sampling test. But this is a time-consuming and not wholly accurate method. That said, Kolte found the need to have a more efficient way – one that offers both time efficiency and accuracy.

This inspired Kolte to provide a drone-based solution for businesses. With Volar Alta, she hopes to create a more cost-effective way to conduct operations. Apart from this, their drones also lessen downtime and boost security. 

More work done for less time 

Drones, she found out, can reduce the time it takes to do asset inspections. Using a drone to make inspections means that it can be used across various industries. This includes agriculture, real estate, entertainment, energy, and more.

Drone-based inspections can also reduce climate impacts. Kolte said that their drones are compact and can conduct inspections on a large scale without many carbon emissions.

She explains that her solution can help some companies conduct internal inspections on their equipment, such as silos and cyclones. In this case, companies usually deploy people to find visual defects. This method means that cement plants have to be shut down and halted production. 

Kolte said that for 64 cyclones, it would take six days to erect scaffolding to reach the top and another 11 days to identify the problem. Other days would also be allotted to fix the defect.

Using drones, however, drastically cuts down the time it takes to get a visual of the cyclones. According to Kolte, Volar Alta finished inspecting 64 cyclones in three days. The company ended up saving eight days of shutdown time.

Apart from that, it can also potentially save lives. Drones can easily detect workers who live in close quarters, and a drone can even serve as first responders in a disaster event.

What’s next for Volar Alta?

Since the pandemic started, Volar Alta has made a massive pivot to security. They began using their product as a surveillance tool for quarantine zones in India. But today, Volar Alta focuses its business on internal asset inspections and drone-based logistics. 

Besides reducing the time for inspections, the startup’s goal is to become an Uber for drones. Volar Alta is looking to have their drones deliver four items while in the air. And while the company also does not make drones in-house yet, they have their tech prepared. They have already created an intelligent custom storage payload to get multiple deliveries done in a single flight. 

Volar Alta’s groundbreaking tech has received three grants from IIM, Nidhi Prayas Scheme, and The UK FCDO. Kolte reports that the company has grown ten times since it started.

In the future, Kolte hopes that drones in business can reach the mainstream.

And for other tech and startup stories, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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Startup Central

Is Launching a Start-up Worth it? A Tech Expert Weighs In

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tablet black cup and lens on a table

If you’re a young, savvy entrepreneur who may be pondering, “Is launching a start-up worth it?” Then, Ben Lamm, a tech startup expert, has some things to confess. 

Most of us like to dream about the allure of a start-up. The big ideas, creative collaborations, and ending mindset draw many fans into the promise of success. And who can blame us? The most successful companies today were built on the backs of entrepreneurs who dreamed big but started small. Apple, Uber, and Twitter were all start-ups once. And if they can make it, then maybe so can we – right?

But behind the curtains, most of us don’t know how hard it is to start a start-up. For one, there are a lot of hidden pros and cons of working in a start-up. Even Lamm, a start-up unicorn who has made building start-ups his full-time career, says there’s a lot more to the industry than meets the eye. 

Five start-ups and counting 

So, exactly how hard is it to start a startup? 

In an interview with CNBC Make It, Lamm says he thinks he cries more than the average person. Like many others hustling in the  industry, his success relies on his ability to work long hours. It’s a testament to how he has had the time to launch six start-ups over the last few years. 

Over the last twenty years, the 40-year-old Lamm has built and sold several tech startups. His portfolio includes the AI-powered Hypergiant, the e-learning company Simply Interactive, the online gaming company Team Chaos, and a conversational intelligence company named Conversable. He is currently working on Colossal Biosciences, a company aiming to disrupt the biotech scene with its gene-editing techniques. 

But Lamm says that his job is often glorified by the media, which isn’t entirely false. 

On long hours and lack of sleep

For starters, there’s a lot of pressure for start-ups to succeed. Is launching a start-up worth it? Maybe not if you value your sanity. Most start-ups fail, whether from lack of funding or because of reckless business decisions; not everyone succeeds. Because of this, there’s a lot of pressure to grind and grind to get the business going. 

Lamm says that building a start-up often requires entrepreneurs to work and travel over 200 days a year. There are moments of pure exhaustion and endless anxiety. It also involves a lot of personal sacrifices. Unlike a regular 9 to 5, start-up builders don’t have the leisure to spend a lot of time with family. 

It can also be incredibly hard to disconnect work from daily life. In fact, Lamm says to be a successful start-up builder is to be blessed with the “right mix of dysfunctional traits.” It’s also a psychologically exhausting journey. You’ll work extremely hard on an idea and get rejected by investors, partners, and even close people in your life.  

Lamm says the pandemic has forced him to take a step back from his usual routine. Because of his decreased travel schedule, he has forced himself to take more vacations. Apart from this, he has also made serious commitments to disconnect by limiting his time to check on emails and messages.

De-glamorizing start-ups

Lamm has been an outspoken critic of the prevalence of burnout in the start-up industry. Despite his extensive work portfolio, Lamm is not shy to open up about the serious psychological setbacks of having to compete in the rat race. 

Given Lamm’s confessions, the question remains – is launching a start-up worth it? In the end, it’s up to the person in question if they will make it worth it or not. And to hit the sweet spot, it’s all about setting your priorities and knowing from the get-go what your non-negotiables are and what aspects are open for compromise.

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WOW Tech and Lovehoney find Compatible Partner in Each Other with $1.2-B Merger

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Pleasure products manufacturer and distributor Lovehoney is merging with premium sexual wellness products provider WOW Tech Group in a $1.2 billion merger. The union results in the birth of The Lovehoney Group, expected to be the world’s largest sexual well-being company.

Aside from the Germany-based company and the UK-based firm, the new merger group will also include Amorana. Lovehoney bought the Swiss sexual wellness retailer in September 2020, just over a year before the merger.

The merger offers promising business results. The two brands, after all, display processes not only in B2C marketing but also in sales. Add that to their multi-channel distribution network and active research and development efforts. That said, the merger will bring together the most popular brands within its category, including Fifty Shades of Grey, Womanizer, Happy Rabbit, We-Vibe, and Arcwave.

Aside from its having well-known brands, the group is also reaching a wide client base all over the world. In fact, the firm will operate across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Asia-Pacific (APAC). 

But will such a wide geographical market be too hot to handle? Not if you have more than 730 employees who have diverse strengths, ranging from design, marketing, engineering, and sales. 

Also, the firm will be led by Johannes Plettenberg, WOW Tech founder and CEO. Plettenberg, after all, knows the industry quite well. He and partner investors acquired Womanizer in 2017 before merging it with We-Vibe in 2018. Not long later, CDH Investments became a majority stake-holder, a move that aimed to innovate products and expand in the global market.

The sexual wellness market on the rise

Given the current projection, it seems that The Lovehoney Group is on its way to tapping a vast market. The Insight Partners says the sexual wellness market size can reach $81,394.49 million by 2028. This is a huge leap from $51,924.43 million in 2021.

The data includes pharma products such as capsules, tablets, oral liquids, and sprays. It also includes non-pharma products like sex toys, condoms, and others. That said, sexual wellness covers a wide spectrum – from gyne health to sexual pleasure.

So, how can a formerly stigmatized industry grow fast over the next few years?

A Forbes article suggests a heightened interest in sex throughout the coronavirus disease pandemic. For instance, many married couples had no choice but to stay at home during lockdowns. On the other hand, singles couldn’t go out because of quarantine, which posed another market opportunity.

The past few years have also emphasized sexual pleasure and health, particularly for women. For example, brands like OSUGA advances sexual wellness designed by females for females and encourage its market to “explore the pleasure of self-love.” The brand also offers candy-hued vibrators to its female client base. 

Striking while the iron is hot

Given the market growth brought by a more open-minded view of pleasure, The Lovehoney Group is looking at a bright future. 

In fact, they expect their profit to reach over $400 million by the end of 2021. That means they’re looking at two times their combined 2020 volume. And, as a result, they’re on their way to becoming the world’s biggest sexual wellness company by income.

Studies say the industry’s promise still relies on many factors, such as mutual respect and openness despite the growing market. In addition, growing concerns about personal hygiene due to sexually transmitted diseases can also boost the sexual wellness market and, in turn, the new merger of WOW Tech and Lovehoney.

For other startup news, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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