Challenge 7 of 52: RoketSMS

This week entry is a bit different. Rather than describing design flaws around me and the proposed solution, this time I’ll share about a project Abi Dzar and I work on. This week we released RoketSMS – a simple SMS marketing system. We rolled out to those who had pre-registered the week before.

What brings us to create this particular web app? Isn’t there already a lot of SMS and marketing apps out there? Why SMS?

One strong drive that leads us to create this web app is the increasing frenzy of Internet companies to find and manipulate choke points. Facebook had flexed its muscle in monetizing the choke point. On average, only 10% of a FB Page fan will see any new updates. Need more reach? Pay Facebook.

Gmail also starts to follow suit by introducing the Promotions tab – a feature dreaded by email marketers. Open rates are down and adding salt to the injury is Google’s audacity to sneak ads that looks like email right in the Promotions tab.

Apart from direct mail, SMS seems like the only convenient and affordable solution. Robo-calls are also available but I think that’s too annoying to be an effective marketing medium.

So we set out to build a web app that help to collect mobile phone numbers and then send SMS broadcast to those who signed up. My experience with email marketing software such as Aweber and GetResponse reminds me to keep things simple. Businessmen and marketers wnated to connect directly with customers, not to be bogged down with bloated software.

Thus, our project is modeled after TinyLetter, effectively making the concept of RoketSMS as TinyLetter for SMS. This app is extremely simple, no autoresponder, no segmentation, no nothing – which is actually a good thing.

With no outside funding, Abi Dzar coded the web app during his free time. Marketing started in earnest after the Eid holidays and after 10 days (or so) we are open for users. 
That’s our story so far, if you read Malay head to www.firdausariff.com for more in-depth story on this project. 
See you guys next week.

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