Thursday, 13 November 2014

Tips for collecting an opt in SMS mobile phone database

As you probably know, the Spam Act has been around since 2004, and it protects consumers from unwanted emails and SMS.

Well we all know that it hasn't really stopped emails, but thankfully mobile phones don't get too many spams as it costs the sender...and spammers don't want to pay to spam you!

So how do you collect peoples's mobile numbers and be compliant with the law?

That's easier than you think.

There are plenty of good cheap database programs around now, or use an Excel spreadsheet. There's also companies like Mail Chimp or Wufoo Forms that allow you to create and forms to your website or emails. Or get your webmster to add a simple form to your site.

Make sure you have a call to action on your website where people can subscribe themselves ("opt in" to receiving follow up messages from you. This would normally ask for emails, but why not ask for their mobile number as well?

Put an extra box in the form and give them the option of how they'd like to hear from you.

Here's an example of a form to collect mobile numbers from a US website Dollar General: 

After a customer pays, get the staff to ask if they'd like to receive VIP specials via SMS, and enter them in a database.

Also make sure you instruct your staff to enter data in a consistent manner. Even have a little guide on how to enter mobile numbers so you don't end up with a dog's breakfast database!

EG: A nice format

Dog's Breakfast:
+61 555 5555
0466666 666

If you use Excel, it tends to strip out the first zero but don't worry about that as the SMS Express system converts this into the correct format for sms broadcasting.

But just make sure staff are consistent and the whole 10 digits are there (by the way, we do have some little tools to fix a dog's breakfast database, so holler if you'd like us to tidy it up for you!  Free for all SMS Express customers).

Under the Spam Act you are legally allowed to contact people if they have done business with you, and they'd reasonably expect to hear from you in some way (via email, letter or SMS) . You can use any of the above ideas, or send out cards to your members and clients offering your SMS alert service, or ask people when they join if they'd like to receive your alerts via SMS.

Hairdressers and clubs do this very well by sending out appointment reminders and texting birthday greetings or any special occasions.

There's nothing wrong with running a competition to get people to hand over their mobile numbers, as long as you make them aware via your terms that they are opting in to receive texts from you.

To be frank I am not a huge fan of "buying" customers in this manner, just as I think buying Facebook likes is not really a good strategy,  as people can be flaky! They are likely not interested in your product, and just want a freebie, but that may be fine for your business. You can only prove me wrong!

 ..and of course with any electronic communication, you have to tell people who you are and how to optout if they choose to.

By law you must do this, and simplest way is via a simple statement in your SMS like: "2optout rply STOP". The SMS Express system will automatically add these STOPs to your blacklist so you cannot SMS them again (unless you ask us to release them from the blacklist if it's an error).

 As always, if you have any questions, just contact 1300 668 287 or SMS 0418384394 or visit