How to build an SMS database

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Effective communication is important for the success of the modern business, and there are numerous technologies available that have seemingly made the marketing process breezy. However, even with tactical planning and multiple mediums available, effective communication is not possible without a robust customer database, containing all the details necessary to get into contact with your audience. Creating this valuable resource from scratch, or building on an already existent but inadequate database, is a daunting prospect, but it can be achieved with the right strategy.

In order to build a rich subscriber list for your SMS strategies, you need to create a valuable incentive for customers to leave you with their contact details, and offer a simple means of subscribing so that the effort required to become a member of the database is minimal and more people will be willing to join the list.

In short, it needs to be easy and worthwhile for people to be on your database. To help you get prepared to start sending business SMS as soon as possible, we’ve put together a few tips about how to achieve a strong customer database from the beginning.

Offering an incentive

Not many people will sign up to be contacted by a business for no reason; people are busy and don’t want to have to deal with spam, on top of their personal messaging. For that reason, you need to make sure there is an incentive that comes with becoming a member of your customer database. If you have a good incentive in place, you will see your customer database grow rapidly.

Offer exclusive SMS deals as an incentive for people to join your customer database. A good example is to offer a discount for their first purchase with your business, on the condition of leaving contact details for the database. As an alternative to offering a discount, you could offer free shipping with purchases. According to SkyWire 44% of consumers are willing to provide personal information like their mobile phone number, in exchange for a reward, coupon or deal.

If signing up to your customer database offers people exclusive access to new products and services, this could provide a valuable incentive for them to leave their contact details, which will grow your database significantly.

Hosting a competition and offering a prize is a great way to get a lot of contacts quickly. People are generally happy to leave their mobile number for the chance at winning a prize. The bigger and better the prize offered, the greater chance you’ll have at obtaining numbers. Think of something exciting and unique; like a celebrity meeting or a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but a major cash prize is also quite effective. Furthermore, there should be runners up and bonus prizes to encourage more people to sign up their friends and family in the hopes that they will also win prizes.

There are a few rules around competitions and prizes, most notably that you’ll need a gambling license if the competition picks a winner by random. To circumnavigate this, you can make the competition skill based. For example, you can ask your audience to participate in a multiple-choice answer quiz, with the person/people with the most correct answers winning the prize.

Simple subscription process

A great tip for building your customer database is to make the signup process as straight-forward, quick and easy as possible. People are extremely busy and have short attention spans, so even if the incentive is really worthwhile, if the signup process is too long it won’t draw in as many subscribers as possible. For SMS communication to boost sales, you should only require a name and mobile number. As to where people can subscribe to be on your database, the more places the better. Here are a few great places to instigate a signup process:

A landing page on your website specifically for SMS subscription is a crucial way to enlist subscribers. You can use this page as a base, and gather subscribers by linking the page across social media, blogs and email. This is also a spot that can be easily found on your website by people already browsing your site, that will want to sign up in order to receive more information and updates after they have visited your site.

The number of people actively using social media each month has now passed the 2 billion mark, according to recent figures from Facebook. So it goes without saying that social media is a great place to offer people the chance to subscribe to your customer database, as so many people are already using social media sites so it’s a very convenient process for them. Tweeting about your mobile subscription list is also a great way to draw attention to the benefits of being on the list, including access to great content, news and notifications. You can also reply to people tweeting about your business, linking them to the subscription site.

If you are a modern business, establishing and maintaining an up-to-date blog is a great way to draw attention to your business. Promoting your mobile customer subscriber list on your blog site is a great way to build your database based on the people who are already engaging with your business’s online presence. Include a link to your subscription landing page, as well as a bit of information about the incentives people can gain from opting in.

If your business sells anything online, then you should be using your sign up and check out forms to capture mobile subscribers for SMS. Anytime someone is buying from you is a great time to ask them to opt-in to your subscriber list, because they have already expressed a strong interest in your business by purchasing.

Don’t forget your existing database

If you are an established business, that is simply seeking to build communications strategies using a new technology with SMS, then you probably already have an email, direct mail or other database containing details of your customers. Use this as your foundation. Send out emails asking your customers to give you their mobile phone numbers for exclusive offers. Link them to your landing page and prompt them to leave their details. Again, you’ll need to offer an incentive for this, even an exclusive incentive, to get as big a response as possible

Word of mouth is the best promotion available. Create an incentive for existing customers to refer others, like a specific discount code that can be easily shared or a reward for every new member they sign up. This way you can reward loyal customers for referring friends and family, and build your database at the same time. It’s win-win.

For more help building your customer database, as well as implementing your SMS communication strategies give us a call on 1300 764 946 or email us at [email protected].


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Andrew Faulkner