How to Create and Maintain an Engaged SMS Subscriber Database

It is important to create and maintain an engaged subscriber database so that your SMS marketing efforts don't go to waste.

In today's digital world, how do you keep your customers engaged and interested in what you say? It can be hard to stay on top of the latest trends if you're not a millennial. If you want to be successful in marketing, then it is important that you make full use of all marketing channels available to you. This includes using SMS marketing as an outreach tool.

SMS marketing is a frequently underutilized channel that actually enjoys high read and open rates, higher than email and many newer channels. With many people in the Philippines using more than one mobile phone and not everyone having access to mobile data, SMS is still an important piece of the marketing puzzle.

But before you start sending out the best promotions your business has to offer, one of the important first steps to take is to build your own SMS subscriber database. It's not a walk in the park! But in this blog post, we will go over how to create and maintain an engaged subscriber database so that your efforts don't go to waste! 

Let's go through the steps you need to do one by one.

Creating Your SMS Subscriber List from Scratch

Step 1: Figure out the target market for your SMS marketing efforts

As with any important undertaking, you first need to know your goals. Which group of people do you want to target for your SMS promotions and blasts?

Usually, these are your usual customers and your target market. This would also be the easiest target for you to do, since you know the most about them already, through your work with your business.

Keep your target market in mind as you go through the rest of the steps in building your SMS database.

Step 2: Collect mobile phone numbers

Your SMS subscriber database is basically a list of phone numbers from people who are already interested in receiving information about topics related to your company or brand.

You might actually already have some of these numbers from your past customers, but make sure that they have opted in to receive SMS promotions from you! Don't take it for granted that if they've given you their phone, they've agreed to receive marketing promotions. You should ask!

A simple text message to confirm can come a long way. You should include the following when you invite them to be part of your database:

  • Who you are (or your company)
  • Why you're messaging them, i.e., they purchased something from your company before
  • What would they get out of joining your subscriber list (promotions, offers, exclusive deals, daily inspirational quotes, timely reminders, etc)
  • How often they can expect to be messaged by your company
  • How to confirm if they're interested, or how to opt out

This might seem like a lot of information, but they need to be fully informed or else you can get complaints and might even get penalized!

Step 3: Collect more phone numbers

What happens if you don't have any numbers from past customers? Maybe you had a business run purely through trade booths and fairs. Maybe you didn't store that information when you made your sales.

That's all right. After all, even if you already have a good list, it's important to get the word out about your SMS list and get even more subscribers. This involves encouraging people who are already interacting with your brand on other platforms to sign up for your SMS list.

Think about the following opportunities:

  • When you share any kind of signup form or survey on Facebook (such as contests, reservations, and the like), include a “Mobile Number” field and an “opt-in” tick box in the form
  • Include a SMS opt-in form in the footer of all your website pages
  • Have a standalone landing page about your SMS list that you can share around from time to time; this is also a good idea as a one-page call to opt in
  • If you send email newsletters, include an SMS opt-in at the bottom
  • When people order from you, include a small card with your SMS list information on it
  • If you have a brick and mortar store, include an SMS signup sheet available at the counter along with details of the list. Optionally, have a bowl or box available where they can drop in their calling cards
  • You can also partner up with another local small business and advertise each other's SMS list on your marketing channels.

This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it will pay off in the long run, as you'll have more people to market to and communicate with.

Step 4: Stay organized

When you have a smaller subscriber list, it might be tempting to do it DIY. But once the subscribers start rolling in, you'll have to make sure that you can keep up with everything.

There will be people subscribing, and people asking to be removed from the list. Depending on how personalized you want to go, you'll have to keep customer information on hand. Don't make the mistake of calling someone by a different name, or sending more promotions to someone who has already asked to be removed.

Once your list grows, look into ways of managing your subscribers. A cost-effective service like TextBuddy can help keep things organized and save you a lot of time, effort, and even money.

How to Keep Your Subscribers Engaged

It's not enough to have a sizable list: it's important how engaged and interested they are in your brand. A big list is useless if very few actually follow through on what you send them.

While your tactics will change depending on your target market, here are some valuable and useful ideas on how to keep a subscriber list engaged.

  • Make sure you send your promotions according to the time and frequency you promised when your subscriber signed up. Raising the frequency of your blasts without informing them can result in many disgruntled receivers.
  • Limit sending promotional text messages before and after office hours. People are less likely to be pleased about being marketed to in their leisure time.
  • Send a personal, friendly message from time to time to keep things interesting. Don't just sell to them! They'll appreciate you caring about them more than just as a customer.
  • For all links and promos you push through SMS, make sure you have a way to know which sales or engagements are from your SMS blast. This can help you create reports and assess what promotions and deals work for your SMS subscriber list versus other channels. A service who handles SMS marketing for you should be able to do this for you easily.
  • Try to study how your subscriber list reacts. Record which blasts get results, what time or day is the best to send messages for highest engagement.
  • Sending surveys or collecting feedback from your SMS list can help you get more information as well as let them feel that their voice and preferences matter.
  • Personalization is a big deal! Calling them by their name and giving them a promotion they can be truly interested in will raise their chances to be even happier staying a subscriber.
  • Consider that many subscribers may share the SMS promotion with their friends, so always be prepared to take on new subscribers. Better yet, incentivize your subscribers to invite their friends!
  • Always respond when your customers message you via mobile. This is a great way to build rapport and a deeper relationship with them, which will be great for your brand and customer experience.
  • Prune your list from time to time. Remove mobile numbers that bounce, and make sure you remove customers to ask to opt out of your list. This will ensure that your subscribers are as targeted as possible and help your reports, too. Don't be afraid of a small list, if they're a highly engaged list!

Keeping your subscribers interested in what you have to say is key to having a healthy SMS subscriber list. Don't be afraid to mix it up. A little variety can spice up your subscribers' inbox, and remember that your SMS subscribers won't behave in the same way as your other marketing channels.

Catering to the sentiments on your subscriber list is important. Remember to think about how unique your SMS list is and what promotions or news they will enjoy. Treat them like a VIP, and they'll love you for it.

Final Thoughts

SMs marketing doesn't have to be boring or old school. When used correctly, it can make a big difference in keeping customers happy while building a relationship with them that can sustain your business.

It's worth it to take the time and effort in building your SMS database. The payoff is a list of subscribers who are highly engaged with your company and brand. Take these tips into consideration when you're working on how to keep them engaged!

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