The days of hanging flyers on doors or mailing business promotions to customers have long passed. The day of mobile text messaging for promoting your business is here, and its popularity is beginning to soar. The text messaging service we are going to review in this article is SUMOTEXT, a provider offering service as simple as just sending a message to services allowing full interactivity with your subscribers. Remember, we will focus on 3 of the most important elements to your business when searching for a text message marketing service: cost, ease-of-use, and support options. First, lets look at some features of SUMOTEXT.
SUMOTEXT offers very similar features to many of the SMS marketing companies out there. It simply allows you to build your subscriber database by marketing your keyword and shortcode, and then providing organization to your subscribers so you can market accordingly. The basic features include:
- Sending messages to everyone, multiple subscribers, groups of subscribers, or multiple subscribers across keywords.
- Organize and manage your subscribers based on keyword.
- Set-up auto response messages for initial opt-in, interactive polling, or customer feedback. (Known as sticky sessions which we’ll talk about later in this article)
- Real-time delivery reports giving you the ability to track your messages sent and if they were delivered.
- Real-time updated statistics of your subscribers by what carrier they’re on and by what state their area code is from. (Because it is by area code, this functionality does not guarantee that is where the subscriber lives)
- Text-for-info capabilities
Like what was said earlier, most of these features are available from other companies that sell SMS marketing services. Each company has its own little flavor of how they carry out these basic features.
A couple of the more advanced features that are impressive are web forms and sticky sessions.
Each account with SUMOTEXT is given its own url directing subscribers to a generated web form, with user-defined fields to gather customer information. An example would be to insert the url given to you by SUMOTEXT into the auto-responder message that is sent when someone opts-in to your mobile marketing campaign. The subscriber can then follow the link and fill out the web form you set up. You can have up to 11 fields, each customizable with a different item of information about the person. The example video on their website shows a form with the name, email, city, state, and political party affiliation. Where this function really shines is when a subscriber fills out this generated web form and submits the information, your subscriber database is updated with that information.
Sticky sessions are an interesting way to track user feedback for your business. This handy feature waits for and records random responses from your customers. An example given is a restaurant manager wanting feedback from his customers about how their service was. The sticky session is activated and waits for a response from his customers, then records that response and sends a custom auto-response message thanking them for their feedback. A valuable way to utilize this for customer feedback would be to provide incentives to customers for texting in feedback to your system and this is all done through sticky sessions.
The SUMOTEXT website provides prices for those who qualify for a “small business discount.” A small business in SUMOTEXT’s eyes is one that has 5 or fewer locations such as restaurants or retail locations. The small business plans and prices are as follows:
- $79.00 per month
- 1000 messages per month
- $.08 per additional message used
- $139.00 per month
- 2000 messages per month
- $.06 per additional message used
- $299.00 per month
- 6000 messages per month
- $.04 per additional message used
There is a one-time set up fee of $100 to get your small business account with SUMOTEXT. This price includes “call to action prices per message with this service run from $.05 to $.08 per message. If you have more than 5 businesses and need custom pricing plans, you can contact SUMOTEXT for a quote. According to the website, custom packages start at $500 per month which is a hefty chunk of change for a business that might just barely miss the mark for “small business.” There is a 14-day free trial option available to potential clients that would like to test their product within their own business.
The SUMOTEXT website has video tutorials and demonstrations of their system and for the most part it looks easy to use. The dashboard, or default screen when you log-in, contains the 3 simple tools for analyzing your campaign that were mentioned earlier in the article. Here you can get a quick, over-all glimpse of your message usage and your subscribers by carrier or area code. The rest of the system appears in a simple layout, layed out proportionally. The videos should provide enough information to get your campaign off and rolling, but each account setup comes with “training, and dedicated service and support!” Use the service and support as much as you need it to make sure you understand all the functions. You want to get the most for your money. While we are on the support subject, SUMOTEXT provides a few different avenues to have your questions answered. Their FAQ page is a little more abundant than other companies that have been reviewed and they have email (monitored 24/7/365 according to them which is a plus if its true) and standard phone support as well as an emergency phone number when things go wrong. SUMOTEXT also provides an information page about shortcodes, what they are, the difference between dedicated and shared shortcodes, and rules for being compliant with shortcode standards. This is valuable information for consumers so they make sure they know what the regulations are and adhere to them properly.
SUMOTEXT is connected to the major carriers such as Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T and they also are connected to many regional cellular service carriers. They also boast an international list of over 200 countries and 800+ carriers for those looking to do international business with text message marketing. SUMOTEXT appears to be a viable option to consumers, but make sure to DO YOUR RESEARCH. If you find that it works for you, it looks to be a great and reliable system.
*****Since this SumoText Review was written there have been many changes to their website. Pricing and plans are no longer available online. SumoText requests that you email or telephone for more information.