7 August 2010

5 Ways to build your SMS marketing database

by belinda

Beautiful young woman shopping over internet

SMS marketing is highly cost-effective, has an unparalleled open rate – and it works. If you’re not using a business SMS service such as TextMagic as a way to communicate with your clients, why not? Chances are that if you’re not, it’s because you haven’t yet established a database of your customers’ mobile numbers.

Every company with a focus on customer care as well as cost-effective marketing strategies should be collating detailed contact information on their customers – and then using it responsibly to ensure that customers feel valued, not harassed.

1. Service Industries – take advantage of your head start

Service industries often have the benefit of building more personal relationships with their customers, particularly when this is conducted on a face-to-face basis. As you’re already building a trusted connection with your clients, asking for their mobile phone number to add to your customer records is a natural step. Be clear to outline the benefits for the client as well as being transparent about how you’re going to use the information – for instance, ‘I’d like to use your mobile number to send appointment reminders, as well as occasional special offers and business information.’

2. Give SMS Recipients extra benefits

If you want to build your SMS customer database fast, then give people a reason to sign up for your marketing campaigns. Some of the big telecoms companies have done this to huge success – think of the ‘Orange Wednesdays’ for example, where users can text ‘FILM’ every week to receive exclusive 2 for 1 film tickets. It’s not just the big guys who can take advantage of incentives such as these – it applies equally well for smaller firms and even one man bands.

Make SMS the primary route for customers to receive linkthroughs to sale items before anyone else, receive exclusive discounts or even to obtain a ‘first look’ at company and product news – and you’ll create a communication channel that your customers will be queuing up to use.

3. Make it easy for customers to sign up

If you want customers –and also potential customers – to sign up to your SMS marketing campaigns, then make sure they know all about it. Many an initiative has failed purely because the company hasn’t communicated the availability and benefits properly to its customer base. So, ensure your website prominently advertises the SMS signup benefits and procedure; train your staff to upsell the benefits to customers; and if you have physical premises or marketing literature, use every touching point with your customers to let them know how to sign up. At every stage, remember point 2 above – give extra benefits – and you’ll make much better headway.

4. Never miss an opportunity to get potential customers onto your database

Individuals and businesses which you don’t have an existing trading relationship with can be the hardest to collate information on. Mobile numbers aren’t available to purchase as business data and you’re bound by regulations which dictate that prospects cannot be contacted for marketing purposes by SMS unless they’ve specifically agreed to receive these.

Therefore, whenever a potential customer contacts your firm – whether by email, via the website, by telephone or in person – devise data collection procedures as part of your communication structure which captures mobile telephone numbers amongst other key information. Remember, you must state that this number may be used for marketing purposes and you must make the provision of mobile numbers optional. Once more, if you tie the signup into benefits, you’ll have a much better collection rate.

5. Move beyond your existing reach with SMS referrals

There’s nothing like word of mouth to spread the word about your business – it’s the best type of marketing that you can achieve. Not only that – people love to share information about offers and benefits with their friends and family. So why not combine the two and generate an SMS referral scheme? By creating a special offer such as a specific discount code and encouraging your database to text message this onto their own contacts, you can spread the net further – and create new customers at the same time. Even better, by lead qualification processes when new customers use the discount code, you can identify where the lead came from and build in a loyalty’ thankyou’ for the referrer – incentivising them to keep on referring!

With easy to use, online SMS marketing services such as TextMagic, a whole new world of customer engagement has opened up to businesses of any size or location. With a little savvy and by making small changes in the way you collate customer information, you can soon have an extensive SMS marketing database to work with – and by engaging these customers responsibly, your targeted database will only continue to grow.

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