Tips for retailers building an SMS campaign contact list

How to build an audience for an SMS or rich-messaging campaign

OpenMarket – July 7, 2020

No retail SMS strategy is complete without a plan for growing and maintaining a high-quality contact list.

You’ll never unlock the kind of engagement that mobile messaging offers without getting this right.

So here are six things to think about when you’re building a contact list for mobile messaging.

1. Your offer

First up, your offer. What is it you’re actually helping your customers achieve with the help of your messages?

It could be marketing-related: discounts, early access, special content.

It could be transactional: mobile payments, user authentication.

Or it could be more logistical: in-store appointment booking, queue management, delivery updates.

Everything stems from having a clear (and clearly communicated) purpose – including your choice of messaging format and originator, the way you encourage opt-in, and more.

2. Customer opt-in

How will your customers find out about the campaign and actually sign up?

If it’s something like delivery updates then it makes sense to invite opt-in at the online checkout.

For mobile loyalty cards, you might want to advertise at the in-store point of sale, on receipts, or even in the changing rooms. For sales and promotions, try advertising online too.

And how will they actually opt in? Do they have to give you their number or can they text a keyword to a memorable short code?

Mobile-friendly pop-ups are a popular way of grabbing online shoppers’ attention while they’re browsing your website – and an easy way for customers to submit their numbers.

3. An incentive

The most important question you need to answer is ‘What’s in it for me?’

For alerts like delivery updates, the answer’s clear and immediate. But when you’re trying to encourage customers to spend money, or trying to convince more people to download your app, you need to make it worth their while.

If the benefits themselves aren’t obvious enough, you can always go down the tried-and-tested route of running a competition or a free giveaway.

4. The difference

Your customers have plenty of channels they can choose to communicate with you. The challenge is to give them a good reason to add another one to the mix.

So think about what you can give them via mobile messaging that they can’t get elsewhere with email, phone calls or in-store interactions.

That means the content you deliver should be exclusive to the channel. But also think about the quirks of mobile and how you can play to its strengths. Can you take advantage of the time-sensitive deals and location-based offers that mobile excels at?

5. Compliance

Last but by no means least, make sure you’re familiar with all the relevant regulations around data privacy and security.

There are simple things you can do like making it easy for customers to opt out. But there are different rules and regulations in different regions, so get familiar with them – or trust a messaging partner who can keep you in line.

Time to start strategizing

Building a contact list is just one element of any good mobile messaging strategy.

To help you with the rest, we’ve created a guide full of tips, best practices and examples of innovative messaging use cases.

Get your copy here.

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