We are ultimately striving to create THE go-to self-promotion utility for individuals making a living within the cosmetology and restaurant industry. This app and service will allow the professional to send their promotions directly to the mobile devices of tens, hundreds, and even thousands of their clients. It’s like having your own marketing manager!
The goal is to create a complete service to help individual beauticians promote their services using the power of mobile marketing. TidySMS will help beauticians communicate and market to your existing customers, build customer loyalty, promote specials and discounts, request appointments, and allows their customers to easily refer their friends via text and/or social media.
Best part? The professional doesn't have to do everything themselves! You can choose to speak with a rep once a week, month, or every other month and we will help you set up and activate your campaigns for that entire period! This means you don't have to fiddle around or learn a new software, everything can be setup via a email or two!
Similar services provide their clients with software with similar benefits, but leave them to handle all the intricacies of sending the messages themselves. What they do not tell their clients is that if a messages violates FCC guidelines, they could face fines starting in the thousand dollar range! They then advertise to their clients that if they spend an additional $200-$500 dollars a month, the provider will proof-read their messages before broadcasting.
No, just no.
All of our packages ensure that your messages confine to FCC’s regulations and our basic package starts under $50!
Our minimum-viable-product works! We first need to verify the amount of interest before we decide to ramp things up a bit.
Firstly, we need YOU to help spread the word! It doesn't matter if you think you will be interested in this product yourself. If you think that this is a great idea, it would mean everything to us if you simply "Liked" this prefundia project and/or shared it on your social media outlets!
As far as funding is concerned, we estimate that we will need to raise about $65,000. This will be used to secure needed shortcodes, shortcode hosting, webhosting, office rent, advertising, utilities, and employees for 6 months.
Risks & Challenges
Challenge 1: Managing the Influx of questions we may receive from current and potential clients! While there isn't much to question upon, we know that we may be contacted for any problem, no matter how small the issue is. It is expected and welcomed!
Challenge 2: Lack of Google Ad network on targeted forums. We plan on creating ads and displaying them on specific forums that are for beauticians. One hiccup may be the fact that the forum doesn't advertise via Google. A simple fix is to figure out what network they do operate from and utilize that OR speak with the webmaster and see if we can get our ad posted directly or somewhere within their forum.
I like telling people whats going on, so below is an entire line-up of things that has been completed and things that are planned to be completed in the future!
Phase 1 - Niche Matching
Restaurants, Sport Bars, and Clubs were all obvious places that could benefit from text message promotions. However, I wanted to focus on a niche where I would be able to assist individuals that I felt really needed a boost when it comes to self promotion. A short search on craigslist will provide you with tens of thousands of cosmetologists trying to promote themselves on a daily basis.
Phase 2 - Proof of Concept
Dealing with a very crude setup, I did a bit of a trial run with sending text messages. Note that this isn’t me sending a text message or two to a handful of people. I mean sending one message to an entire subscriber list with as little confusion as possible. While it was definitely a success, there were some things that could be improved upon, but a bit out of my budget at the moment.
Phase 3 - Website Redesign
The website was quite dated and probably overwhelmed the visitors with information. It is now much more modern, sleek, and helpfully informative.
Phase 4 - The "Minimum Viable Product"
So it works! I just need to package it to where it will be easy to use and beneficial for the end user. My primary focus is the text messaging promotion feature. I have more features planned in the future, including payment tracking, scheduling, and appointment reminding, but those extra features are currently available from other companies at the moment.
With that being said, the back-end for the clients has been created and allows for the submission of their desired message. Their message will then be edited by our staff ensure the message comply with the FCC's guidelines and then dispersed at a time determined by the client.
Phase 5a - Find the interest!
At this phase, the plan is to raise awareness of TidySMS via making contact with as many online salon communities as possible! Not only will this help us see if what we offer is needed, but allows us to receive input from the public that could help make our service even better.
Phase 5b - Crowd-funding
At this phase, the plan is to raise enough capital for Phase 6 and jump-start this wonderful machine known as TidySMS.
Phase 5c - Deliver Rewards/Gifts
Because without support, the next phase would be "Death of TidySMS"!
Phase 6 - "Obtaining a Larger Net"
With the Minimum Viable Product put together and in an operable state, I need to reach out to potential buyers. Sounds easy, but traditional methods do not work... What have I tried so far? Calling! Picking up the phone and calling "Boiler Room" style has been attempted, but calling these stylist has proved to be inefficient as they are usually at work and phone time isn't an option when they are working on someones hair or nails and when calling during their off time I am portrayed as a telemarketer and given the cold shoulder. Texting has shown better results, but texting individuals and trying to promote your service without their permission is frowned upon! E-mailing is still a valid option however emails have a horrible read rate but can easily be outsourced, although it will not be our primary means of gaining clients. After joining salon forums, I have spoken with stylists and even salon owners who confirmed that contacting them via their social media profiles (by means of a private message) may be our best bet at directly contacting my target audience. Furthermore, placing advertisements on these salon owner forums may prove fruitful. A few of these forums receive over +200,000 visits monthly.
Phase 7 - Outsource
As it currently stands, when learned, managing multiple accounts is pretty... time consuming, but incredibly simple. Most of this operation is completely scalable.
Phase 8 - Refining
TidySMS should be gaining momentum right around now! Refining of the client back-end will begin in this phase. The new backend will be available as a beta and open to those who wish to try it out. Feedback will be welcomed and looked forward to in order to perfect the system. Features will remain the same, but with a friendlier interface, for example, allowing clients to see what messages they have in queue and if they are approved or not.
Thanks for checking out my project and for considering supporting my project. I'm pouring my heart and soul into this project, and it would mean so much to me if you can help me bring TidySMS to the masses...