Text messaging continues to be a proven marketing strategy, connecting businesses to customers and prospects. With a trivia 5% opt-out rate, most marketers wouldn’t need to worry about subscriber retention or periodic maintenance of their subscriber list.
I mean, why should you care about that when people rarely opt-out anyway? Well, while it’s true people rarely opt-out of SMS marketing programs, but how are you sure all of your recipients are still active and responding to your marketing efforts? How can you tell your recipient information is still accurate? People change numbers, roam lines, change jobs, get married, move to new locations, etc. and all these affect your subscribers’ data.
In fact, a data study estimated that 30% of data goes bad yearly, and no-one can be blamed for that. As a marketer, your goals should be to actively service your database to keep up with the changes that follow human lives. Here is why data maintenance is inevitably important to your SMS marketing success:
Want to know more? 7 ways to measure the Success of your SMS marketing campaign
Phone number country codes and why you should care
Firstly, we need to make clear that a phone number database is any sort of file, repository, or page that contains a set of phone numbers that a customer has provided you for various purposes. Be it for marketing, transactional messages, or anything else, the data consists of the recipient’s information (name, surname, etc.), the phone number itself, and the country code.
Country codes are extremely important if you’re sending SMS to recipients in different countries. Most SMS systems provide an automatic add-on option when the country code is missing, but when neither options is available then the database will become rather useless. That’s because the messages will be sent out without the country code to the first number that happens to match. The system picks the first numbers that match any country code and then attempt to deliver the message. You would have random people who might not know your business or care a banana about it receiving your hard crafted text. This can lead to wastage of resources.
Invalid Phone numbers
Invalid phone numbers include phone numbers that are no longer active, numbers that are active but no longer used by the person who subscribed to your SMS service, numbers who might be affected by roaming, duplicate numbers, etc. If your text message cannot get to your subscriber due to any of these, you might find yourself incurring losses without knowing it. In the case of duplicate numbers, your text delivers twice making the second delivery invalid/surplus to requirements, resulting in a loss.
Invalid personal data/information
Many SMS marketers make use of personal information like name, birthdays, location, etc. of subscribers to personalize text messages. While this is good, the quality of your message reception would be greatly affected if you’re your subscriber have changed certain personal information. They might no longer connect to what you send using old information. The result is an opt-out.
While it is impossible to total avoid all database problems, here are a few things you could do:
Country-code: Always ensure subscribers select their correct country code when they are opting in via a form; that no additional characters have entered the data fields or that no numbers are missing. You can insert it yourself. This can help clean up the dataset and have it be more reliably formatted when exporting or importing.
Always check the mapping and data fields for possible errors before importing a file for sending purposes. It’s better not to send a text to an unsure number than sending to a number the message was not intended.
Invalid Numbers: It is difficult to manage invalid numbers as they occur often and without your control. However certain SMS software and tools can be used to track and remove invalid numbers. The SMSexperience Duplicate Number Removal system removes duplicate numbers from your recipient list to prevent wastage. TextMagic phone number validation tool helps you verify a number before you text it. –Messente Number Lookup API pings mobile numbers without sending an SMS. If you want better, efficient tools that manage invalid numbers and other SMS related issues, best you get in touch with Broadshift Technologies, one of the leading SMS solution providers out there.
Invalid personal data: The best way to manage this data issue is simply to arrange periodic updates and request your subscribers to join. This way they confirm existing information or update you with new ones. You can request a simple data by including a link to a webpage for this purpose in an SMS or create a text-a-code system that automates updates/confirmation.
However, don’t expect everyone to joyously update their personal information. It’s ok to lose certain subscribers to things you can’t control as far as you have stable channels for getting new subscribers (link to my related blog post)
Timing is everything
At the end of the day, what matters is that your data maintenance is timely and effective, saving you little cost along the way and ensuring your returns are high.
Need further help with data maintenance or professional assistance with planning and running your SMS marketing campaign? Try SMSexperience, leaders in SMS marketing services, and consultation.