How to Collect Phone Numbers for SMS MarketingSMS or mobile text marketing is a powerful tool that can help you, as a local business, to connect with your customers, build brand loyalty and increase sales during slow periods. In order to get started, however, you need to build your database of phone numbers. How do you go about doing that?

Many people are understandably hesitant to give out their phone numbers, and shy away from receiving marketing texts. To get them to trust you with this privileged information, you need to convince them of the value of being part of your inner circle, and reassure them that they will not be spammed with irrelevant and valueless texts.

Make it Exclusive

Whether you post the offer in your local business, on your Facebook page, or, preferably, both, don’t start off with “Give us your phone number.” Phrase the offer with something along the lines of “Join our inner circle to receive advance notice of sales and promotions, exclusive mobile coupons, and one-day only offers.” Customers should feel that by signing up for your text messages they will get perks and benefits that other customers won’t be privy to.

Guarantee of Privacy

Assure your customers that you will not give or sell their information to any other entity, and that you will not spam them with multiple valueless texts. Let them know that you value their trust and that you will only send them valuable coupons and sales notices.

Offer a Worthwhile Perk

Businesses have been collecting customer information for years by offering a birthday freebie, i.e. a free product or service on your birthday. Customers are more likely to trust you with their phone number if they get some sort of reward in return. You can also send them one-month, six-month, or one-year “anniversary” bonuses based on their sign-up date.

Signing Up Online

Collecting phone numbers at your brick and mortar place of business is as simple as filling out forms or collecting business cards, but what about online? Again, that can be as simple as asking customers to email or text you their information, or you can go high-tech and actually set up an online form, linked from your website, Facebook page, or even advertising links.

The benefit of using a form, whether paper or online, is that you can use it to determine customer preferences in order to help you categorize your phone lists. For instance if you’re a spa that offers a variety of services, you might ask the customer to check off which services they are most interested in. Text messages are easier to send, however, so be sure to give customers that option as well.

Contests and Competitions

Try running a contest exclusively for mobile customers, where by signing up for text messages they can be entered to win a free product or service. Or by signing up for your “inner circle” they can be eligible to participate in regular contests, such as trivia games, voting for their favorite product or service, or any other kind of contest or competition you can come up with. Holding regular fun contests is a great way to keep your customers engaged.

Make SMS Part of Your Overall Marketing Plan

Don’t forget to include your SMS marketing campaign as part of your overall marketing plan. Place a call to action on all of your marketing products, print and digital, inviting customers to join your SMS circle by texting a message or code to your phone number (in exchange for a discount, freebie, or other reward). This will help to broaden your customer base as well as increasing sales.

However you go about building your database, remember to keep your promise and send only infrequent, valuable texts. Nothing turns customers off like getting tons of mobile spam on their messaging service.