The greatest challenge for businesses who wish to start an SMS campaign is gaining SMS subscribers. This can often seem a very daunting task due to procedures which need to be followed and particular techniques which are far more effective than others. As for many businesses, particularly those new to the SMS game, this can seem an intimidating prospect. To help, we have put together a quick guide in order to share our top tips and advice.

Give them an incentive to opt-in

Gaining an email address is a very straightforward and achievable task for businesses today, yet gaining a customer’s mobile number can often seem almost impossible. This is as most of us view our phone numbers as a very private piece of information to be shared only with those closest to us. Unlike emails which can be left unread in inboxes for days, texts are read immediately, this can lead people to be far more cautious about who they are giving such a privilege to. Therefore, businesses need to create reasons for customers to want to willingly share their phone numbers. This can be achieved by providing incentives such as offers, deals or coupons that customers will gain access to as a reward for subscribing to an SMS campaign. This then means that the businesses are gaining customers’ mobile phone numbers and also their permission to text them in the future.

Provide the method to opt-in

Once the customers have been drawn to your business with the provided incentives, it is then crucial they are aware of what they need to do in order to gain access to such a great deal, in other words opt-in. When advertising mobile campaigns, it is essential for businesses to ensure the main focus of any advertisements is the incentive, thus drawing in the customer in the first place, and THEN the ‘qualifier’ explaining what they need to do for it. This can be achieved through methods such as variation in font size, or boldness and colour. Once the customer is hooked and wants to get 20% off their next purchase, they then need to learn how they can do so. It is then that businesses must inform their potential new customers of what to do, which in most cases involves texting a keyword to a short code. More often the keywords will be relevant to either the particular offer being advertised or to the business itself, thus making them more memorable for the consumer.

Ensure subscribers are aware of exactly what they have just signed up for

Upon subscribing, it is common practice to send a confirmation text message to those who have chosen to take part, ensuring they are aware of what they have just opted in to. Such confirmation could be as simple as “Thanks for joining The Foster Hotel Group Deals campaign!….”. Although there are legal requirements which businesses must meet by informing their customers that they have subscribed, they should take advantage of such a text message to make their latest opt-ins welcome and thank them for joining, thus making them feel a part of something. Businesses could also benefit massively by also including a quick note on the end of the message notifying their customers of the maximum texts they will be receiving per month. This can be particularly effective as it means that people are aware of exactly what they have signed up for and will at no point feel ambushed by messages.

Provide customers with a simple manner in which to opt-out

Though the customer has chosen to opt-in in the first place, it is also a vital requirement that each SMS delivered contains clear information on how customers can opt-out if they choose to do so. Everyone has the right to change their mind for whatever reasons. Perhaps they were confused about what they had signed up for, or perhaps the messages are no longer relevant to them, the customer must always be able to opt-out of future messages as soon as they wish to do so. Therefore, businesses should include clear instructions on how to do so at the end of every text message they deliver. These could be something like: “Text STOP to end future messages and unsubscribe to 88554”.