SMS Marketing Part 2: How to Build an SMS Audience

In this post, I’m going to describe how you can build an SMS text audience to run your marketing campaigns. In some ways, this is the hardest part of the process, because you have to build up a roster of numbers in much the same way you’d build up a list of customers for your website or followers on social media. It’s always a challenge! Regardless, the effort is worth it, because the ROI on these campaigns can be impressive, even with a relatively small audience.

Here are some simple ways to get started.

  1. If you run an e-commerce website, building an SMS database can be as simple as requesting a phone number at checkout. As long as you received the number willingly, you can legally send messages to the customer. It’s even better if you include a checkbox allowing customers to opt-in to receive marketing messages (you can have the box auto-checked too!) 
  2. Companies that require sign-ups for an app or other software can also request a phone number to complete a download. Any time you’re providing value to the customer, you’re also requesting something from them - information, in this case their phone number!
  3. Think outside the internet as well: do you host live events, go to trade shows, or attend seminars? Keep a tablet on hand to take down phone numbers in exchange for a raffle ticket or door prize!
  4. What about B2B? This can be trickier, but a great option is to borrow a strategy from the world of content marketing: Offer high-value, free downloads on your website and/or social feeds, which only require an email address and phone number to access. Create social media pay per click (PPC) campaigns which draw potential clients towards your free offers, and then capture their information at the point of download. You’ll begin to build a database of individuals who are already interested in what you have to offer, exactly the clients you want your SMS messages to reach.

Next, you’ll need to manage the database. Make sure all those phone numbers don’t get jumbled into one another, confused with the wrong names, etc. This is embarrassingly easy to allow to happen: lots of people misspell their own names, put duplicate numbers into website prompts, and more. One time, I saw a single Excel cell which had somehow been filled with some 50+ phone numbers, squished together and useless.  Keeping the database tidy and ready for instant action will go a long way towards running successful SMS campaigns. Part of that readiness will also come from audience segmentation. There will be times when you want to send the same message to your entire roster, but in many other cases it will make more sense just to reach out to a particular category of people. With a well-organized database, sending these messages will be a quick, painless process.

Once you’ve got your list of numbers, it’s time to launch a campaign! In the next blog post, we’ll discuss the launch process, and the dos and don’ts of SMS marketing. 

Interested in getting started with an expert team? The Trajex team is on hand to help your company design and implement an incredible SMS marketing strategy.

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Tyler Smith
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