How to Build a Quality SMS Subscriber List, Bridging the Gap Between Text and CRM

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Imagine a marketing tool that is available to you that nine out of 10 targeted people will read within three seconds.

Let me say that again. A marketing tool that 90% of those targeted will read your message within three seconds.

Are you ready for the next big reveal? Research indicates that eventually, 98% of those targeted through this digital vehicle will eventually read your message. To reiterate, this is a marketing technique that 90% will see within three seconds and 98% will eventually see.

Can you imagine telling that to an advertiser or marketing executive 25 years ago when they were planning expensive newspaper, radio, and TV campaigns? What would they say if they knew that, within decades, they wouldn’t have to waste their time or energy on an audience that would not likely respond to their efforts?

Of course, back then there was basically only radio, television, and static print options. Banner ads were pulled by an airplane over major events. Email hadn’t become popular yet, and Mark Zuckerberg was nine years old. Oh, they understood the vague concept of “targeting” to a specific demographic, but they didn’t have access to this powerful, under-used tool we have today. They would jump at the opportunity to use SMS or text marketing.

Here we are, nonetheless, with this magnificent marketing tool, yet many are treating it with less respect than a bulk email list. What are we missing here?

For retailers and marketers to take full advantage of SMS marketing, plans must start with building quality contacts. This is the starting point to build an effective bridge between text and CRM.

Quality vs Quantity

It wasn’t all that long ago that the goal of digital marketing was simply to acquire as many email addresses as possible. It didn’t really matter where they came from or who owned the email address. These email accounts provided “free” access, and targeting large quantities of them made more sense than paying for traditional direct mail pieces. It didn’t take long, however, for marketers to realize spending time marketing to people who didn’t and wouldn’t ever buy their product or service was wasteful, not free. Wasteful lists cost money in time and effort. It is like digitally talking to a brick wall.

As marketers began to realize this, the industry proceeded to qualify email lists, a natural next step. Get the email addresses of higher-quality prospects and improve your return on investment.

Then, the next generation of digital marketing channels became available, SMS or text marketing. As they did with email addresses in previous marketing strategies, SMS marketers gathered as many phone numbers as possible, without regard to qualifying real prospects. The process was straightforward; text a keyword, get added to the list. This made sign-ups easy, but again, without regard to list quality. Today, marketers are recognizing the value of quality over quantity when it comes to building their SMS lists.

Double-Qualifying Prospects

A solution to building higher-quality lists may lie in a two-step process that better qualifies those who opt-in to an SMS list. Once an opt-in text is received by the marketer, a text is sent back immediately with a link to a sign-up page. The information gathered during sign-up can be added to a CRM system to give marketers more data on each subscriber, resulting in a higher quality list that is far superior to the simple text and capture process.

Marketers may at first be reluctant to adding a second step in the SMS sign-up process, feeling it may be a barrier resulting in fewer sign-ups. The fact is consumers have become used to verifying sign-ups and appreciate the secondary authentication to prove their identity. In the case of our company, we’ve been able to achieve a 90% sign-up completion rate, even with double-qualifying. This high sign-up completion rate combined with the far superior quality of subscribers is proving much more valuable than alternatives.

One final aspect to consider is offering coupons that can be used to not only engage subscribers, but also to obtain more subscribers. In the 2018 CodeBroker Mobile Coupon Survey, consumers were asked: “Are you more likely to join a retailer’s/brand’s marketing list if you receive an instant coupon or incentive for joining?” An impressive 68% of respondents said yes. A quality SMS subscriber list combined with a vibrant CRM solution is a powerful combination in digital marketing.

Dan_SlavinDan Slavin is CEO and co-founder of CodeBroker, a provider of mobile marketing solutions. He was CEO of Framework Technologies, VP of Open Market, and CEO of International Testing Services. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. You can reach him at [email protected].