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How to Start Short Code Business in Nigeria

Short code business is one of the sub-sectors in the telecoms industry which is a gold mine for entrepreneurs and infopreneurs who tap into its vast wealth creation opportunities. A trending opportunity that is fast raising now  is the short code business, what exactly are short codes? Remember those annoying messages that seem to flood your phone promising info on one product or the other e.g. “Health is wealth to get daily tips on health text 5 to 330099”, it ranges from 4 digits to 6 digits number.

Short codes are also used by top brands to advertise their products and by reality shows. Ever wonder how big realty shows always seem to have money to do big payouts to their winners, short codes is one of the ways they generate money, for every time you text the name of your favorite contestants they get paid a percentage by the short code provider.

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Making Money with SMS Short codes

ShortCode SMS business simply involves setting up a system that allows you to use a “short code” to provide variety of mobile content through text messaging. According to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics in June 2016 there are over 150 million active phone subscribers, still considering if the market for this business is real?  The market for this business is already available based on people’s need to communicate, all you have to do is tap into this industry.

Making money with SMS short codes is easy, when you set up a short code, you make money in partnership with the company that issued the code to you, you also have access to the phone numbers of the short code subscribers for advertising purposes. Because you have access to these numbers you can help brands advertise their products or promos by sending text messages to your already existing subscribers. The way you are billed when you text short codes is different from the way you are billed when you text regular phone numbers. Short codes have the following tariffs, N30, N50, N100. The tariff is the airtime value that will be deducted whenever anyone responds to the code.




STEP 1(Getting Your Short Code Number)

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There are basically two types of short codes a dedicated one and a shared short code. A dedicated short code is leased and used exclusively by only one brand. All of the setup costs and fees associated with a dedicated short code are the responsibility of that one brand, which can make the option of buying a dedicated short code out of reach and quite expensive for a startup or upcoming entrepreneur.

Shared Code on the other hand can be used by multiple brands, which shares the setup costs and fees, thus making it affordable to smaller brands. What makes shared short codes a possibility are keywords used by the different users. It is these keywords that separate each user to his own account without interference of other people sharing that code. The keyword is what your prospective subscribers will type first before any other information you want them to send to the code. Eg. Send ‘FITFAM’ space ‘email’ to 33099″.



Since dedicated short code can be quite expensive and shared short codes are more affordable and easier to maintain, it is advisable for startup and small brands to go for shared short codes. According to a post by solutionsforth web resources you can get a shared short code for as low as N49,000 –N75,000. Other short code providers include Nexmo®, Info Tek, Supreme short codes etc.

Short code link: http://http://www.supremeshortcodes.com





Before setting up your short code you should have a campaign in mind, consider the type of audience you intend to reach, and set up a campaign that will interest them. For example you might decide to send News alerts of football games and scores to your subscribers during Champions League season. You can also decide to focus on relationships and send relationship tips to your subscribers. Basically anything you have a flare for or uncharted territories other short code providers haven’t thought of, the more helpful you info is the more likely you will get lots of subscribers.



Tariff (NGN) Visafone MTN Airtel Glo             Etisalat
30.00 NGN 10.930 8.851 14.781 9.851 13.210
50.00 NGN 21.088 18.702 22.018 13.623 21.043
100.00 NGN 30.233 35.334 48.501 24.939 40.340

Data from SolutionsForth Web Resources


Once a GSM subscriber responds to your GSM short code, let’s say with an Etisalat number, Etisalat will deduct their own money immediately according to the table above. The remainder is now what you and the company issuing the short code will share based on your agreement during the set up process.  The number of people that respond to your short code will determine how much you make from the business. The billings above might have changed due to exchange rate or other affiliate charges.






To get subscribers, you have to get your campaign out to the public before people can start responding to it. This can be done by promoting your short code offline with fliers, posters and  via mass media such as radio or Tv stations. You can also buy GSM database and use bulk SMS sites to promote your short code offer to the phone numbers.




Your short code system will receive text campaign and credit N50, N100 etc. to your account automatically.



No. of Responders Per day Amount You Make Daily
100 ₦ 5,000
150 ₦ 7,500
500 ₦ 25,000
5,000 ₦ 250,000
10,000 ₦ 500,000
25, 000 ₦ 1,250,000

Data from SolutionsForth Web Resources


Like all good things in life hard work is paramount, as soon as you start your short code business try to consistently upgrade your campaigns. Aside the initial set up there are also email listings to consider.



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