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We present a large-scale randomised controlled field trial that informs micro and small businesses about a free and easy to use online registration portal for business registration. We find that in the context of Indonesia, a country with a large informal sector and complicated business registration process, simple online registration can be attractive to micro and small businesses. Sending three rounds of very short WhatsApp or text messages resulted in 3.4% of recipients clicking the registration link in the messages. Only 0.1% of recipients registered through the portal, however, suggesting that the registration portal is not easy enough to use. Different phrasing of messages results in a different click rate, different registration rate, and different rates at which the sender’s number is blocked. A neutral message performs the best, followed by a message that emphasises that registration is easy. A message that appeals to people’s patriotic feelings or that emphasises that registration is free tends to perform worst.
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