KissMyAdsWe have recently partnered with mobile advertising network, KissMyAds. A number of businesses we provide mobile billing solutions for, already work with the mobile ad network to bring in relevant traffic to their mobile optimised websites.

Using state-of-the-art web technology, KissMyAds offers customised and targeted mobile ad solutions, allowing clients to easily purchase mobile traffic. With KMA’s mobile advertising services, and txtNation’s seamless mobile payment solutions, the customer gets a quick and easy journey from awareness to action.

Consumers are shown a targeted advert on their mobile phones, when browsing the mobile web, they then click through to a mobile site, decide to purchase and are offered a mobile optimised payment solution from txtNation.

When using advertising and affiliate marketing, there are rules and regulations in certain countries. To ensure you get the most out of the service, read our article ‘Affiliate Marketing: Best Practice.

For more information on KissMyAds, visit their website, or sign up here.

txtNation is soon launching enhanced features to its Mobile Number Lookup service, providing more precise Mobile Number Portability (MNP) information and more in-depth lookup queries and outputs.

The MNP market is constantly moving so keeping up with this is no easy task. Over 2.3 billion numbers worldwide now have the potential to be ported and with India and China implementing soon, this figure could grow by another 50%.

txtNation is releasing these new MNP services with several new routes being added to cater for the growing demand and changeability in local network porting. This includes multiple routing options per destination to enable far greater testing for clients.

Improvements to txtNation’s HLR
The heavily updated HLR options from txtNation includes more data sources, including localised data checking to provide the best possible information available in real-time. This latest release also includes updated coverage into more networks globally, with pinpoint accuracy.

This news comes as txtNation grows its messaging services and a recent release of messaging into MytxtNation. On top of these features is the ability to select multiple routes per market on request, giving more customisation and testing options.

Using txtNation Advanced HLR for successful Number Portability Checking
For many years, txtNation has provided a high quality, real time number lookup service to clients all over the world. The approved real time lookup service is the most effective solution to access the information you need. txtNation’s global number look-up service has recently been upgraded to provide access to accurate information, even faster than before.

2 Main Options
txtNation extends Number Portability Lookup, and Real Time Lookup (RTLU)

  • Number Portability Lookup: mix of MNP databases and HLR sources. Data is cached for 10 days. No option to set “nocache” parameter.
  • Real-Time Lookup: direct MNO connections only and all information is from live HLR lookups. On this service you have the possibility to set the “no cache” parameter if you do not wish to receive cached results. This service enables customers to further customize network information, tailoring the response further.
Feature Output HLR Lookup Real Time Look Up
Database scrub Error notification Yes Yes
MNP status, Billing & Routing  MCC + MNC Yes Yes
Location Country, Roaming flag No Yes
Subscriber Information Output No Yes
Subscriber Information Portability flag No Yes
Original network status Number range identity No Yes

These will be able to be run through both txtNation’s API or through the on-line MyHLR web platform.

txtNation’s COO, Ashley Cross, commented “The latest HLR updates are a direct result of the requirements of several of our clients’ expansion with Number Lookup. Localised Number Lookup and our experience in bringing HLR to service providers over many years has made us a trusted provider. Our worldwide tier-one, network quality platform, gives our clients access to high quality, local results.”

The enhanced number look up service will be available later this month. Existing clients who wish to access number look-up services will need to contact their Account Manager about getting the right credit.

If you would like to discuss ways in which your business can benefit from txtNation’s HLR and MNP solutions, please contact us quoting “HLR new route.” Read more on our HLR Lookup options.

Developers, jump straight in - see our HLR API.

Following the successful launch of MytxtNation in December 2013, we have released further updates to our platform as part of our Beta program.

If you log in to MytxtNation from today you will see three new sections: ‘Billing’, ‘Messaging’ and ‘APIs’. This provides dedicated areas covering reporting of bulk messaging and mobile billing as well as configuration for our Gateway APIs.

billing-messaging-drop-down

‘Billing’ contains the latest balance and financial overviews for mobile billing, just like the previous ‘Balance’ section, as well as graphs and interactive tables. ‘Messaging’ provides an interactive table of the latest bulk SMS activity. This provides more tailored sections depending on whether the client is a billing or a bulk customer.

messaging2For our SMPP-based services, activity for bulk messaging over that protocol now appears in MytxtNation for the first time. This was a feature missing even from our former Control Panel (CP5) and MytxtNation goes some way to filling this gap.

For the first time, it also includes our Gateway module, taken from our old CP5, and given a much-needed polish. It should now be more pleasant to set up or reconfigure your HTTP Gateway campaigns. We also have more improvements for Gateway to come in 2014.

APIs

Over the coming months, we will be phasing out CP5, for all statistics, accounting and Gateway services, bringing MytxtNation more front-and-centre as the future hub for all client services.

graph-cp-screenshotSMS is an extremely powerful communication tool, allowing you to reach customers directly, quickly and cost-effectively. When running a campaign, either to current customers or to potential customers, by setting out KPIs and making sure you can measure them, you are more likely to be able to achieve success.

The following delivery metrics will help you to improve your campaigns going forward:

  • General Delivery Reports: How many of your SMS messages reached their destination? If you know this information, you can then establish whether your data is clean enough, or whether it needs an HLR lookup to cut out inactive numbers. It also adds a lot of context to open rates and response rates. This report can be seen in our MytxtNation control panel.
  • Delivery Rates by Country: By measuring delivery rates by country, you can find out in which of your markets your messaging is more successful in terms of active numbers. With this information, you can dig deeper into your data collection methods in certain countries. This information can also be seen in our MytxtNation control panel
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  • Click through Rates: By tagging links or using specific short links for your SMS campaigns, you can track visitors from SMS message to conversion through Google Analytics.

In order for you to get the most out of your SMS campaigns, we recently improved our MytxtNation Control Panel, offering you more visibility, in an easy-to-use way.

We have seen many businesses save significant amounts of money by replacing other forms of communication with SMS, or adding SMS into their strategy. This is not only due to the price of sending an SMS message, but also due to the quickness and high open rates of mobile messaging.

We have recently looked at ways to acquire new customers with mobile messaging, retain current customers and add value. This week, we look at the cost-saving associated with SMS marketing.

Many businesses that have moved from traditional postal communication for appointment reminders and notifications to SMS have seen great savings in resource and paper costs. For those who would usually contact their customers via telephone, they are able to save time and therefore money by switching to SMS.

The cost-saving goes further than resource and materials, as SMS offers a quick and timely form of marketing, allowing you to sell products at the last minute, avoiding waste. For travel companies and event organisers, disruptions and changes in service can be communicated to customers, not only to improve their overall experience, but to reduce the amount of resource needed to communicate the news in person.

Where we have worked with businesses to send appointment reminders by SMS, they have seen a drop in missed bookings, meaning savings in time and money.

To further increase the savings, an HLR lookup allows you to see which of the mobile phones on your contact database are turned off, to save you from attempting to send time-sensitive information to those who will not read it straight away. The lookup also allows you to see which mobile numbers are currently inactive.

By using our bulk SMS APIs bulk SMS APIs, you can integrate our messaging solutions into your software. Our HLR Number Lookup can also be integrated, so you can make ongoing savings on your mobile messaging communication.

SMS Marketing

As Mobile World Congress approaches, we are looking at ways in which mobile messaging can be used to boost long-term sales. This week, we look at ways it can be used as a marketing tool, to build awareness and increase customer acquisition.

SMS can be extremely effective as part of a full marketing strategy, as it offers high open rates and directness, unrivalled by other tools. For the best results, email, website and print marketing can be used for the longer communications, with mobile messaging adding the quick, direct communication, with a simple call to action.

Here are some ways you can use mobile messaging as a marketing tool:

Outbound SMS Campaigns
SMS for Marketing
With a mobile data list, you can reach new customers, straight to their handsets. When you purchase good data, as provided by txtNation, you get targeted end-users who are happy to receive information.

Many other providers of data lists extract information from census data, which they match up with corresponding phone numbers, resulting in low success rates. We work with providers with accurate and usable data, based on advanced profiling technology, which has had an HLR lookup, meaning you get a higher success rate on your campaigns.

Once you have a data list, you can use SMS messaging to reach out to those potential customers. We have seen many offers successfully used to entice end-users to sign up. The call to action can be a link to a mobile website, instruction to reply by SMS or direction to purchase in a physical shop or visit an event.

Referrals
SMS for customer referrals
Another way to reach new customers is through your current contact list. With a simple SMS message to your customer base, offering an incentive for them to tell their friends about your business, you can quickly build the numbers of referrals.

Word of mouth is a strong method of building your reputation and increasing sales. SMS makes it easier for your customers to be impulsive, as they have their contacts on their phone, within easy access.

txtNation are attending Mobile World Congress 24th-27th February in Barcelona. If you would like to arrange a meeting with us or to discuss how mobile messaging can benefit your business, please contact us.

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A key method of increasing engagement with your customers is to add value with your communication. SMS is a highly powerful tool to do this, as the brevity of the messaging, the ability to reach customers at any time and the directness all contribute to the high open rates.

When looking to use SMS as a value adding tool, it is key that you look at the areas in which there is a need from your customers. Below are some examples of areas that could benefit from text messaging.

  • Signup confirmations
  • Updates and alerts
  • Useful information regarding a previous purchase
  • Appointment alerts

To get the best results from mobile messaging as a value-adding tool, there are a few points you should take into account.

Know your customer’s needs
As marketers, we really need to consider the two-way conversation. You know what you want from your customers, but you must take a step back and consider what they want from you. How can you make their experience much better? With every communication you sent to them, consider how it will help them, and consider whether you are using the most convenient form of communication for them, for example, a last minute notification to an email address could easily be left unread for a number of hours.

Do not disturb
Be sure to consider the timing of your communication. For example, a reminder for a 10am appointment should not be sent in the middle of the night, but cannot be sent too late. When a consumer opts in to receive your text messages, it may be worth requesting time zone information, if dealing with end-users across various countries. This way, you can ensure that you don’t contact them too late or too early.

Monitor
What do you want to get out of your value-adding activity? Potential metrics include sales, engagement through social media, open rates, response rates, click through rates and unsubscribe rates.

Be sure to monitor these on an ongoing basis. This way, you can get a good idea of how well your mobile messaging is working as a value-adding tool.

Implementation
txtNation’s bulk SMS APIs allow you to integrate our messaging solutions with your own software. By using our Gateway, you can create a tailored messaging solution to fit your needs. We offer an HTTP, SMPP and FTP Bulk SMS API. Our platform allows for a higher throughput, resulting in faster delivery and more reliability. Our technical support and dedicated account management makes it easier for you to get started and set up. We also offer USSD as a form of messaging.

Alongside our bulk SMS and USSD APIs, we offer HLR Number Lookup so you can identify what network the customer is contracted to, identify whether the mobile phone is on or off, identify inactive mobile numbers and identify the location of the user. With this information, you will be able to save money by finding numbers that are not worth contacting.

txtNation are attending Mobile World Congress 24th-27th February in Barcelona. If you would like to arrange a meeting with us or to discuss how mobile messaging can be used as a value-adding tool for your business, please contact us.

Mobile Messaging for Customer Retention

It is easier and cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new one, and one of the key methods of retention is good communication. Mobile messaging can provide quick, direct communication between you and your customers and, according to statistics, offers far higher open and response rates than email.

To get the best results, we’re looking at different ways in which mobile messaging works for customer retention:

Offers
Promoting an offer by text message is a simple way of keeping a good flow of communication between you and your customers. By contacting them by SMS, you have the advantage of quickness, both in terms of the opening and reading of the message as well as the ability to react. With many people using smartphones, a link to a mobile optimised landing page can lead to a fast conversion. With this, we can create a time-limited offer to use the persuasion tool of rarity.

Be sure to target your offers only to customers who are likely to be interested, so you do not damage their loyalty and trust in your brand. Key performance indicators for this include open rates, unsubscribe rates, click through rates and sales.

Updates
Relevant updates can keep you at the front of your customers’ minds. By updating them on new products or services and other important news, you can keep them clicking through to your website, getting in contact or even just more aware of your activity, without any direct CTA.

Again, this needs to be targeted. Mobile messaging is a very personal form of communication, and the interests of the recipients should be strongly considered in order for you to get the best results. KPIs for this include open rates, unsubscribe rates and click through rates if you include a link. It can also impact sales and the amount of people talking about your business, which can be partly measured by social media monitoring.

Request Feedback
We have worked with clients who have used SMS as a tool for gaining valuable feedback. This not only helps you to improve your products and services, but shows that you care about the customer.

Some businesses initially send bulk SMS asking for feedback, with a non-premium short or long code for replies. We have also seen businesses using their print or email material to current customers, asking them to send feedback via SMS message to a short code.

KPIs for this sort of activity include open rates and unsubscribe rates for outbound SMS, response rates and the usefulness of the feedback, so, for example, whether you were able to make concrete changes with the replies received.

Add Value
Is there any extra information or material you could provide your customers with mobile messaging that would improve their overall experience? Not all businesses will be able to provide this, however, if you are, it can greatly increase loyalty and retention.

As with many of the other activities we have mentioned, this should be targeted. You should always be thinking about whether the content you are sending out is going to be interesting or useful to the recipient. KPIs include open rates, unsubscribe rates, click through rates and sales.

 

Mobile messaging is a powerful communication tool which can be used as part of a retention campaign. If you would like to discuss how this can be used to benefit your business, please contact us.

Mobile Marketing and Mobile Payments 2014

Following on from last week’s review of 2013 in the mobile billing and messaging world, we take a look forward to 2014 to see what the future holds.

Statistics have shown us that more and more of us are using smartphones, and the usage of internet via handsets is growing too. If, as expected, this growth continues, then the increase in mobile shopping is likely to continue too. As solutions like Payforit in the UK and WyWallet in Sweden gain more and more trust from end-users, conversion rates for mobile payments will no doubt grow.

According to a new article in e-Marketer, businesses will need to look at response rates in the next year, as the “always–connected consumer” needs what they want, when they want it. Mobile messaging easily fills this gap, as time-sensitive communication can be delivered direct to handsets, with the option of two-way communication. Mobile Payments solve the problem of slow payment processes with credit card on mobile devices, meaning the customer can purchase on impulse, quickly and easily. As marketers have seen the need for mobile optimised websites and mobile marketing, optimising the payment process is sure to be a big discussion point next year.

txtNation in 2014
Catering to the growth in mobile payment and messaging, we are looking to make further improvements to our platform, with more cloud investment. Our MytxtNation, next generation control panel was released in beta earlier this month and we will be working on this, offering the best possible experience for our clients, with in depth tracking.

Expanding our global reach, we are looking to offer direct carrier billing in Russia in early 2014, and will be direct in Saudi Arabia, connecting with the country’s largest telco, SDC. We are looking forward to introducing new faces to our team, with more in Business Development in a number of markets, allowing us to be local where we have direct operator connectivity. Our messaging services are being bolstered with new markets and API improvements for USSD and HLR, following client feedback.

We are also adding to our support and accounts teams as our traffic volumes increase, working on our response times, with a focus on getting clients live as soon as possible.

As we gain a reputation as the strongest mobile payment solution provider for the gambling industry, we will be attending ICE Totally Gaming in London, EiG Totally Gaming in Barcelona and the Mobile and Tablet Gambling Summit in London, among other events. Having been regular attendees at Mobile World Congress and World Telemedia Event in recent years, we will be at both of these again and will be visiting China for Mobile Asia Expo and China Joy in the summer.

We will continue our push with the mobile networks in the UK to allow payments for physical products, which will offer convenience and an improved customer experience for more customers.

If you would like to discuss mobile billing and mobile messaging with us, to help your business increase profits in 2014, please contact us.

2013 : Mobile Billing and Mobile Marketing

As expected by many, 2013 has seen a huge increase in the number of smartphones in use across the world, as well as more people using their handsets to access the internet. This has had an impact on the mobile billing and messaging industries, with a growing need to expand into more and more markets throughout the year.

Recent research by eMarketer suggests that there are now 30.9m smartphone users in the UK, which is over 60% of all mobile users. According to research reported in Marketing Magazine earlier in the year, over 50% of the global population accesses mobile internet at least once a week, with 35% using it daily.

Global Coverage
With a finger firmly on the pulse of the industry, txtNation made some big steps forward, catering to the growing demand. 2013 has seen txtNation expand its global reach, with direct connectivity in Switzerland and Belgium and the launch of 4T Mobile Payments in Denmark.

As mobile billing becomes more and more popular in the United Kingdom, Payforit released version 4 of its payment solution. In November, it was announced that version 4.4 would be released, with a number of changes to improve the customer experience. As a brand, Payforit has made an impact, with consumer trust growing, which can only be a good thing for businesses that accept mobile payments in the UK.

As txtNation expanded globally in its coverage, a number of new appointments in relevant markets were made. Matt Barbieri, joined as Territory Manager for Africa, Andrew Rippon as Territory Manager for the Middle East and most recently, Hans Tjolle was appointed Territory Manager for Benelux.

External Changes
During quarter 3 of 2013, it was announced that mobile networks in Ireland would be blocking any off-net or foreign traffic. This has looked to become a trend throughout other countries too, which is bad news for those offering low quality messaging routes, but better for businesses in the long run, as they will have less chance of working with aggregators who offer these cheaper options.

In the summer, Sweden’s WyWallet scrapped its registration process, as it looked to improve the customer journey and increase conversion rates. Mobile payments in the Nordics has been healthy over the last year, with the networks really working hard to build consumer trust.

In the United States, new regulations came into force from the Mobile Network Operators, stopping charges for premium SMS, meaning businesses can no longer use PSMS as a solution for monetizing services in the USA. This came into effect in November of this year.

For txtNation, 2013 was a big year, as not only did we reach our 10th birthday, following our growth from a bedroom business in 2002, but we also expanded, by acquiring South Africa and UK based 24G Media. We launched USSD menus and released our next generation control panel, MytxtNation.

Calvinayre.comMobile Payments for iGaming
Gaming and Gambling is one industry that has shown a lot of recent growth on mobile, and mobile payments has, in 2013, become a talking point for many operators. This year, txtNation attended many gaming and gambling specific events, including EiG Totally Gaming in Barcelona, Mobile Marketing Magazine’s Mobile Gaming and Gambling Summit, mGaming Summit, Social Gaming Summit and Mobile and Tablet Gambling Summit, where our CEO, Michael Whelan was interviewed by Rebecca Liggero of Calvin Ayre.com about mobile payments.

2013 Awards and Achievements
This year saw us nominated for the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards in the ‘Best m-commerce solution’ category for our flagship ‘plug-and-pay’ billing solution JunglePay. We were named among Top 50 Mobile Innovators by Mobile Entertainment Magazine and nominated in the ‘Best Mobile Payments Company’ category in the Mobile Entertainment Awards as well as numerous others.

Mobile has grown in importance in 2013, with many businesses seeing the need to optimise the full user journey, from marketing and website to payment process. We have seen some exciting stories develop in mobile payments, with Buy Game Credit enabling Xbox players to purchase points via their handsets, and mobile dating site BeFlirty seeing a huge increase in revenue following their integration of Payforit with txtNation.

If you would like to discuss mobile billing and mobile messaging with us, to help your business increase profits in 2014, please contact us.