SMS marketing is among the most effective tools in any company’s marketing arsenal. With an almost 98% open rate, it is better than email marketing which has a mere 20% open rate. It is cheap and easy to deploy.
As good as SMS-based marketing is, the challenge for marketers is constructing and maintaining an SMS database of interested customers.
This post explains an SMS database, compliance regulations, and 7 great ways to start one.
What is an SMS Database?
A text message database is similar to a friends list on social media or a contact list on a mobile phone. As part of your marketing strategy, an SMS database contains the phone numbers of real customers interested in your products. Collecting their phone numbers is to send them targeted messages about your brand. However, you must obtain the customer’s consent before adding it to your mobile number database for bulk SMS.
Why Build an SMS Database?
There are many upsides to building a customer contact database. Let us tell you a few.
Strengthens Brand Loyalty
Converting one-off customers into brand loyalists is a tough challenge for any brand. One way to overcome this problem is to send promotional messages informing them of great deals to these customers. Brands can create loyalty programs with value to build stronger connections with customers. Sending these promotional SMS with mouth-watering offers will lead customers to opt-in for more of these messages.
Helps With Getting Customer Feedback
A customer contact database helps a brand with useful feedback to help it improve its services or products. You can conduct polls and surveys on the customers in your SMS database for their comments on a new product or where to improve your service. To properly collect feedback, it is important to use a 2-way messaging service to receive customer messages easily.
Helps to Measure the Success of SMS Campaigns
As you carry out SMS marketing, you should know how effective it is or which demographic responds more to the marketing efforts.
The stats from the marketing campaign will help you know if the campaign is successful or needs improvement. Also, it will help you draw up a more coherent approach toward your target audience for future campaigns.
What to Ask Your Clients Before You Build a Database
The benefits of starting a marketing customer database are fairly impressive, but remember that you can’t collect random numbers or purchase databases. That’s because doing so might impose you to legal issues such as data breaches or unlawful use of personal information, which could ruin your reputation and cost you a fortune in fines.
To avoid these troubles, you must organically build your SMS database solution with the client’s consent. So how do you go about this?
Apart from asking the customers for their name, phone number, and email address, the most important thing to ask the client is their consent to receive promotional messages and offers from your brand.
The need for consent is not mere courtesy but mandated by law. The General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union makes it mandatory for entities to obtain permission from users before collecting their information or transferring such information.
A breach of this regulation can lead to a fine of either €20 million or 4% of your global turnover.
In the United States, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits sending promotional text messages without obtaining prior written consent from the receiver. Breach of this law makes a brand liable to pay a fine of $500 per SMS.
Here is a checklist for you to note to ensure compliance with SMS regulations:
- Obtain express written consent from a potential contat before adding it to your database
- Include an opt-in prompt for promotional messages, SMS campaigns, terms and conditions, time and frequency, and message rates.
- Inform customers that they can opt out anytime and make the option visible.
- Ensure you know when to send promotional messages according to local regulations. For instance, in the United States, the TCPA provides that you can only send messages between 8 am and 9 pm.
- Send confirmation messages to new contacts showing your brand name, the type of messages you intend to send, and rates.
- Do not send messages containing sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, and tobacco (SHAFT) content.
Read our SMS marketing compliance guide to learn more.
7 Ways to Build Your Text Marketing Database in 2023
Growing and building your text message database starts with giving useful information and offerings to your target audience. Here are 7 ways to build your text marketing database in 2023
#1 Increase Engagement with Your Customers through Text Messaging
Nowadays, people are more interested in a brand that shows its human side more often. This is why brands and company heads are getting more engagement on social media. Engagement with customers shows them that you care about them and how they contribute to the success of your business.
To get started, you can send a text message asking about their experiences with the brand. Keep the SMS conversation flowing by asking for reviews and their expectations. The suggestions help you build better solutions to fit their needs.
#2 Requesting for Customer’s Contact Details at Point of Sale
This is a much more straightforward way to build a customer database. You can ask the client at the point of a transaction if they want to receive reminders, delivery messages, or special offers via SMS. If they agree, you can get their mobile numbers to add to your bulk SMS database. To do this effectively, train your staff to politely ask for the details and explain what it is needed for.
#3 Use Mobile Keywords to Encourage Customers to Subscribe
Building an SMS marketing database requires consent and active participation of the customers. To secure their consent, you can ask them to send a specific keyword to a short code to participate in some contest. For instance, an e-commerce company can use the keyword “SHOPPING,” or a travel agency can use “HOLIDAY” to entice clients. Anyone who sends the keyword to the provided shortcode can win a shopping voucher or a free holiday. Those customers who send the message have automatically subscribed to participate in the company’s SMS marketing campaign.
#4 Explore other Channels to Grow Your Customer Database
Use other channels such as social media marketing, paid ads, informative articles, and content promotion to build your mobile number database. There are lots of potential customers online, especially the Gen Z population, who are mostly on social media sites. Explore these other options to grow your base.
#5 Tell Your Email Contacts
If you already have an email contact list, informing them of an alternative way of connecting with your business is a great idea. Your existing relationship with your email contacts will make it easy for them to subscribe to your SMS campaigns.
#6 Website Opt-ins
If you have a business website that collects user details such as a booking, package delivery, or service provider site, you can create a box for customers to tick to opt-in to SMS campaigns. A simple “Yes, I want to receive promotional messages and offers via SMS” will do the trick. With that, you can get more numbers for your texting database.
#7 Encourage Your Loyal Customers to Share
Loyal customers can help advertise your brand to friends and family through word-of-mouth marketing. Surveys show that 88% of people trust recommendations from people who know more than other channels. Make it worthwhile for loyal customers to recruit new customers to your customer contact database by giving them incentives for every person they refer to your business.
Channels You Can Use to Grow Your SMS Database
The success of your SMS database depends on a series of activities on different platforms. Most businesses today use omnichannel strategies to engage with consumers existing on social media, email, to physical interactions at the point of sale. Here is a list of channels that can help grow your SMS database.
There are about 4.76 billion social media users in the world today, which is almost 60% of the global population. Social media represents a veritable channel to reach more customers. You can target social media users by posting text-to-win contests on your pages where users can use their phone numbers to participate.
Some vendors of SMS services may offer SMS database software that can be integrated with your website. Naturally, it can be used to send SMS to a customer database through an SMS gateway.
With more than 6.899 billion people using smartphones, investing in a bulk SMS marketing strategy is a smart idea, especially as this number could rise to 7.8 billion by 2028.
Email marketing remains an effective channel to advertise your brand. If you already have an email contact list, you can integrate it with your SMS campaigns. Simply send a message to your email contacts asking them to sign up for text notifications on their phones.
TV, Radio, and Billboards
TV, radio, and billboard ads work like magic to attract more patrons to your business. As a channel to build an SMS database, make a tempting offer with a strong CTA to entice them to consent to receive SMS from you. Remember to include the terms of conditions of opting into your client database.
You can collect customers’ phone numbers if you run a business where customers can walk in, such as a restaurant or a clothing store. Create a questionnaire for customers to fill in their details such as an address, name, email, phone numbers, and the products they want. Remember to include a column asking if they would like to receive SMS notifications from your brand.
Building a good database for SMS marketing is important for brand growth, but it takes work, especially with the regulations you must comply with. To simplify the process, you can partner with experts at BSG to assist with your SMS list building. Using our SMS database software, we can help you leverage the various channels to create a compliant SMS database and verify phone numbers for your business. BSG — a global communication platform is exactly the right instrument to build your SMS marketing upon. Drop our experts a line today to get started.