Billing Trials Through SMS

Bjorn Andersen
Can SMS (Short Message Service) billing be successfully used to sell trial offers to European customers, and result in further purchases? Simply put, yes. By making the process easier for the potential member to sign up to take a peek and not have to worry about recurring bills or hidden charges, they'll be more ready and open to use their mobile phone to make a small payment.

Just about everyone hates to fill out form after form, or at least feels uncomfortable with sending personal and financial information via the World Wide Web.

Offering SMS Billing to your European surfers gives them a sigh of relief; not only is signing up for your product made easier by the simple sign up process, its also made it anonymous for them. They don't have to register their name, address and credit card information; they send an SMS message to a short code number and then they receive access resulting with a non-itemized charge on their mobile phone.

Having the non-itemized charge listed on their cellular phone bill really opens the door for more business, since it doesn't pin down what the charge is for, leaving the member free from having to explain porn charges on his or her phone bill.

Having sent in the short code, your surfer can now view what you allow them to. Of course this is all preset. You can let them download trailers, pictures or even give them a peek into your members' area. Not only do you have control on what they see, you can also set the amount of time they can peruse through your website.

For instance give them a fifteen minute window to poke around in and once they're good and turned on they're more likely to sign on using their credit card for the credit card up sale you have located inside the members' area, or even sign up a full month's subscription.

Maybe your members' area isn't exactly their cup of tea, but when they click out and see a pop up with more or different content offered through SMS billing, they're more likely to take a look and send another short message your way.

With the geo-tracking program you have in place, the exit pop ups the surfers get are geared towards them, increasing your chance of a sale. With the touch of a few buttons, you've received two small payments.

Some may be concerned about losing the surfer when it comes time to whip out the plastic due to the different billing programs at work, but that's simply not the case. SMS billing is very easily integrated with a credit card based members' area simply by using htaccess.

However if there are surfers that wish to keep their credit cards in their wallets, never fear, the SMS billing method works over and over again. The limitation is really only set by your imagination and sales techniques.

Given the fact that almost two-thirds of the European population uses or owns cellular phones, and almost one hundred and ninety billion SMS messages being sent each year, one can only agree that this billing method will only continue to grow in popularity.