Proving yourself in the world of technology as a young entrepreneur has it setbacks. Making do with the limited resources available, minimal capital and only one member of staff – himself – the then 25-year-old founder of OKROUTE experienced his fair share of sleepless nights.
Kurt Bonello, CEO of OKROUTE, says that his age had gotten in the way, somewhat, in the beginning. When dealing with more established companies, convincing them to join forces in business, he had to prove to them that he was capable of delivering. It was his thorough knowledge in the field, despite his relative youth, that opened doors for him.
Fast-forward to spring 2016 and the Malta-based telecommunication start-up now employs eight members of staff. Based in their respective European cities, the company team may not share the same office, but they share the same vision. Right now they are busy racking up new clients for their Retail Portal for their SMS services.
Previously, the company had focused only on wholesale SMS, delivering low cost text messages for large corporations. Now, anyone who’d like to use the service, from small independent shops, hair, beauty salons and estate agencies to international casinos, taxi firms and big budget banks, can do so. Any business that can benefit from using this low cost platform to send out bulk text messages to their prospective clients is a potential partner, and OKROUTE’s SMS platform is simple enough for anyone to use.
The benefits of using an SMS service to promote your business or product are easy to see. 90 per cent of handset owners open up their text messages in the first three minutes. Receiving a text message feels somewhat more personal than receiving an email. Businesses who collect client details at the till-point might have once overlooked their phone numbers, and zoned in on email addresses as a quick, easy and, not to mention, free way of getting their message out there. Whether it’s a restaurant introducing a new outlet, a clothes shop announcing a sale, or a cinema offering a special screening, receiving a text message with the information has the effect of hearing it first hand, from a friend.
In the past it might have been unthinkable to use SMS to keep all your contact base up to date. But as long as you have a simple excel list of your client’s mobile phone numbers, a message, and a topped-up online account, OKROUTE can get you in touch with thousands for much cheaper than you’d expect.
OKROUTE is quick to defend other free methods of advertising. The company itself does a lot of its marketing on Facebook. Most of the content consists of Malta-based photo journalism and up-to-date tech news from around the world. “Facebook is a mammoth tool in the world of advertising and business growth. Do it right and you can see your message spread like wildfire. Do it not so well and no one will know you’re out there. SEO, Facebook and email are all important platforms with extreme potential, but text messages are much more direct. Once a text is delivered, it has delivered.”