Compared to emails, mobile messages like rich media and SMS are more effective at getting messages in front of customers. Text messages have an open rate of 98% and a response rate of 45%. On average, it takes users about 90 seconds to respond to text messages. Emails, on the other hand, have an open rate of 20% and a response rate of 6%. It takes users 90 minutes to respond to emails.
Plus, a quick look in any email inbox shows that almost 50% of the content is spam. Mobile messages, like rich media, for example, are short, concise, and simplify content like special offers, account reminders, and notifications.
However, despite the benefits of mobile messages compared to email, your campaigns won’t be effective without one vital component — customer phone numbers.
This article will show you new ways to collect phone numbers to extend the reach of your campaigns, to effectively engage your audience with rich media messages, and to take advantage of the benefits of mobile messaging campaigns.
8 Collection Strategies to Increase Mobile Contact
Campaigns to collect phone numbers don’t have to cost a ton of money or take a lot of time to set up. All you have to do is make a few adjustments to some of the customer engagement strategies you already use.
To help you get started, here are eight strategies to use to collect phone numbers from current customers. Unlike new leads, current customers already know and trust your products and services. There’s an established relationship and a greater chance of loyalty, which makes current customers more likely to share their phone numbers with you.
1. Use app updates
If your product or service includes a mobile app component, use it to ask customers to update their contact information when they log in:
Also, if you’ve made updates to the user interface within the app, consider using tooltips to guide customer actions. For example, use three or four tips to show customers what’s new and include a tip that asks them to update their profile, so they stay informed of future updates.
2. Use mobile keywords
A trend we’re seeing more of in retail — mostly in brick-and-mortar stores — is the use of keywords to engage customers. As part of a campaign, you ask customers to text a word — like FREE, IMREADY, SAVEBIG — to either access savings, participate in a contest, or learn more about a new product.
For example, let’s say you want to offer customers a $10 discount on their next purchase. Ask them to text the word ‘SAVE10’ to a dedicated number. When they do, send them a discount code. Since you’re sending a rich media message (RMM), include a link in the message to your online products page to encourage customers to take advantage of the offer. Going forward, when you have new offers, you can let customers know by text.
To get the word out about your campaign keywords, share them on your website if you’re in ecommerce or post them in stores if you have brick-and-mortar locations.
3. Run an in-store campaign
Oftentimes, sales representatives ask customers for an email address at checkout. The store then uses this information to send special offers to these customers afterwards.
In addition to asking your customers for email addresses, also ask them to share their phone number. To pique their interest and to encourage them to share, add an incentive like ‘Text 55555 to XXX-XXX-XXX to save 20%’ on signs throughout the store. This way, the next time these customers are in your store, they can flash a coupon code on their phone at checkout.
A benefit of using RMM to share offers is you can link to your online store so that customers can browse products before they come in-store to buy. 41% of people research online before they buy in-store, so this approach helps customers get a sense of what you offer and how they can use their discount before they get to the store.
Find out more about how proximity marketing can enhance in-store campaigns: How to Use Proximity Marketing to Improve Customer Engagement
4. Make requests during customer service calls
When customers call your customer service team for help, make sure you have processes in place to resolve questions and issues quickly. You have a better chance of offering a positive customer experience when you do. At the end of each customer call, train your customer service staff to ask customers for updated contact information — specifically to add a phone number to their file. If customers have a positive experience on service calls, they’re likely more willing to update their profile to include their phone number.
Position your requests as a way to continue to offer customers the best service and to keep them informed. For example, if you’re a utility company, you can proactively send service notifications to customers when there’s a disruption in service. You save customers the time it takes to call in and quickly get them the information they need.
5. Add contact forms to your website
When customers have questions there has to be an easy way for them to connect with you. One option is to add contact forms to your website. Add a contact form to your ‘Contact Us’ page and other pages throughout your site — like on product pages or within blog posts. Keep the contact information form short — include three to five fields. In addition to name and email address, make sure to include a field for customers to add their phone number.
There’s one important factor to note about managing customer data that comes in through contact forms. Let’s say a customer submits a question one week and submits another form with a new question the following week. Make sure your internal customer database updates accordingly and doesn’t create a duplicate entry. For example, if a customer shares a new phone number, replace the old one, so you don’t send messages to the wrong number. This might skew your campaign analytics because you might see more undelivered messages than you really have.
6. Use email campaigns
Use RMM and email marketing campaigns together to boost customer engagement, share new offers, and explain the offer benefits. Start by sending email campaigns to customers with product updates, exclusive discounts, invites to events, and more. In each email, ask customers to share their phone number to access even more benefits. For customers you collect phone numbers for, send them follow-up rich media messages after each email campaign.
For example, send an email with an exclusive discount to a segment of customers with similar pain points. A few days later, follow up with a rich media message asking if they saw the offer. In the text, include a link to your website to share more information about the offer, the benefits, and the solution to their pain point.
7. At checkout
If you have an ecommerce business, use the checkout screen to ask customers for contact information. For example, in addition to confirming their mailing address, ask returning customers to update their profile. Include an option for them to add in their phone number.
For customers who are new to your product, let them check out as guests, but also give them the option to share their phone number — along with their email and mailing address. For example, on the screen where they add their mailing address, ask for their phone number, so you can share updates about their delivery. Use RMM to send delivery notifications or give customers the option to schedule a pick-up time.
Find out more about how to use mobile messaging to reduce missed deliveries: Customer Journey Stages: Avoiding Missed Deliveries and Improving CX [Part 3/4]
8. New customer onboarding
Even though current customers are more likely to share their contact information with you, it’s still worth it to ask new customers. When a new customer creates an account, ask for their number as part of the setup.
If they don’t share a phone number during onboarding, show a notification in their profile that explains it still needs to be completed.
Every time these customers log in, remind them that this information is still outstanding. Make it clear what their phone number will be used for. For example, if you offer financial services, explain that text messages are sent regarding account updates, outstanding balances, new programs and offers, and more.
How to Get Started Collecting Phone Numbers
Before you start collecting phone numbers, think about how you’ll automate the collection process. Depending on which of the above strategies you use, think about how your CRM will be updated and how the new data will be reflected in your mobile messaging campaigns.
For example, if you use multiple databases and systems to collect customer data, store it, and then run campaigns, there are several steps required to make sure the contacts in your campaigns are accurate and accounted for when a customer updates their profile. You might find that you have to use different tools or apps to connect databases.
Another option is to use VoiceSage to:
- Upload contact numbers
- Segment and manage your contact list
- Send your RMM campaigns
The benefit of this option is that in addition to your general CRM software, you only have to use one other platform. Contacts are stored in the same system as your rich media messaging campaigns. Having to deal with fewer databases simplifies processes, makes it easier for you to manage contacts and campaigns, and saves you time.
When you log into your account, upload and segment your contact lists for each campaign. Segmentation makes it easier for you to send targeted messages to customers. For example, send promotional in-store messages to customers who shop in store vs. those who shop online.
Once you’ve set up your lists, you’re ready to create RMM campaigns with the phone numbers you’ve collected.
Find out how to create RMM campaigns: What’s Your RCS Fallback? Choose Rich Media Messaging (RMM) Instead of SMS
Best Practices for Collecting Phone Numbers
With so many ways to collect phone numbers, you’re sure to find strategies your customers are receptive to. However, there are a few best practices to be aware of. These tips make sure you maximize your strategies to get as many phone numbers as possible — from people who want to hear from you. Text message inboxes are a very personal space, so you have to proceed carefully to avoid risking the chance of losing customers due to spam or unclear expectations.
- Customers have to opt in to receive mobile messages. Just like with email, ask your customers for permission before you send them messages. This is especially true for marketing material. There have been lots of changes over the years to how you can contact customers, for example, GDPR and Do Not Call legislation, so make sure you get explicit permission from customers.
- Don’t buy lists. When you buy lists in bulk, none of these people opted in to receive messages from you. With this approach, your messages could be seen as spam and customers will opt out – which eliminates your chances of getting them engaged.
- Give customers the option to share their phone number. Making it mandatory for customers to share their phone numbers doesn’t necessarily give you legions of eager readers. Customers might not want to share immediately, but at least you leave the door open for them to share in the future if you don’t make it mandatory. People who willingly share might be more receptive to receiving mobile messages vs. people who feel forced to do so.
- Tell customers how often you’ll send messages. Don’t turn text message inboxes into spam folders — like with email. If you send messages weekly, let customers know that when they share their number. Also, make sure your customers know that standard rates apply for some messages and that they can opt out of receiving messages at any time.
As you continue to collect phone numbers, you’ll learn more about what your customers need and expect. Create a list of additional best practices for teams that collect phone numbers. This makes sure that your strategies aren’t just engaging but are also respectful of your customers.
Simplify How You Collect Phone Numbers
There are lots of unique, out-of-the-box options available to marketers to collect phone numbers. By using more than one strategy, you’re able to target a larger audience and increase your chances of collecting phone numbers. Collection campaigns should feel natural and like a value-added service to customers and not like a marketing tactic.
If you’re ready to get started and learn more about how RMM can help your business grow, book a demo today.
Published on: 30th July 2019