SMS Marketing: Collect Mobile Phone Numbers with Pop-Ups

For many people in eCommerce and with small businesses marketing is a word that is feared. Marketing means using time that is often thought better used elsewhere. But without marketing, there is no scope for business growth.
Marketing is an umbrella term that covers a range of promotional activities: adverts, websites, blogs, vlogs, and any form of medium that expands your brand awareness level. Marketing can be performed in a more personal way by use of email and – the method that this article is primarily concerned with, SMS marketing. SMS marketing is rapidly becoming the choice for many small growing businesses, for reasons we shall explain below.

Before we look at the potential problems in SMS marketing as well as the many benefits, let’s have a brief piece that explains what SMS marketing is all about.

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What is SMS Marketing?

You will undoubtedly have used SMS and probably been subject to marketing campaigns using it. SMS stands for ‘Short Message Service’ and is a method of communication via smartphones and other mobile devices that permits the user to send short messages to others. SMS has its origins in pre-digital telephony, and the very first SMS message – or text as we know them also – was sent as recently as 1992 (it read ‘Merry Christmas!).
In the years that followed SMS was rolled out worldwide and is now among the most used of all data applications. The sheer popularity of text messages makes them essential for marketing purposes.

SMS marketing is a method of using text messages to get promotions, adverts, news, and any form of information to leads and clients. It can be easily and automatically personalized for the recipient – an important aspect of digital marketing – and can be sent as a group text, perhaps to a certain demographic, or could be triggered by the actions of a customer. An example of the latter could be as follows: a visitor has been static on your eCommerce store or website for a specified time after which an SMS message is sent offering perhaps a discount if they complete in half an hour.

This is one example of SMS marketing, and it can be used equally successfully for the following forms of the message:
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Those are just a few of the potential uses of SMS. But, and it’s important you understand this, there is one barrier to SMS and that is that you need the individuals’ phone numbers. This is not something you can do without the permission of the individual. We’ll talk about this in more detail later on, as well as offering methods of legally obtaining phone numbers, but first, we want to go further into the many benefits of SMS marketing and why it is important to your small business.

Why Is SMS Marketing Important?

Marketing experts will tell you that SMS marketing is among the most efficient of all digital marketing routines. There are many reasons, so here’s a brief look at some of the primary advantages of SMS.

Word of Mouth – in the days before digital communication you would discover a new shop, for example, or a new product, and then tell your friends about it. The good-old method of word of mouth is still here but in digital form. You send a marketing SMS to a lead that highlights a discount, and they pass it on to their friends. It’s a great way of spreading your brand to a wider audience.

Loyalty – there is a school of thought that keeping existing customers is more difficult than engaging new ones. This can be true in a highly competitive market where new brands are entering often. SMS allows you to keep in touch with your customers with personalized messages that make them feel needed and appreciated, which is something the modern consumer expects.

Affordability – SMS is among the most cost-effective methods of communicating with clients. It removes the need for postage of a letter, for example, and you can send brochures or other material as an attachment surprisingly easily.

Speed and Efficiency – SMS allows you to get a message to any number of people at the same time, and quickly. It is by far the most time-efficient method of communication.

Engagement – SMS messages are more likely to be read by the recipient than any other form of communication. This should enhance your engagement levels.

Improved Relationships – a simple and honest ‘thank you’ SMS is all that is needed following a transaction to let the customer know you regard them as important.

No Internet – SMS does not need an internet connection as it is direct to a mobile device, so you can keep in touch with your leads and clients at all times no matter where they are.

These are the major benefits of a cheap and effective method of marketing, so what’s the problem? In brief, getting some people as SMS subscribers can be difficult, so let’s look at why that is.
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Why Is It Difficult to Collect Phone Numbers?

First, let’s look at the personal angle. Many people like to guard their phone number and give it only to those they wish to have it. This makes giving it to a digital store or other online entity something they may not want to do. Also, people are aware of – and fear – scams. The advantage you have is that you are asking existing customers to provide their numbers, and that brings us to the next point.
Your customers will be required to opt-in to provide their phone numbers. This is a legal requirement in most countries and non-compliance can result in serious penalties. We are talking here about legally collecting phone numbers for your SMS marketing program, and that requires careful attention.
Let’s talk now about how you can legally collect phone numbers for SMS marketing from existing clients and leads.
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How to Collect Mobile Numbers for SMS Marketing?

There should be no problem in getting loyal customers to give you their phone number for specific use in SMS marketing campaigns. However, you need to set up a routine so that you have proof they have agreed to share such information. Here are some suggested methods of getting hold of the numbers you need.

Use An SMS Code

This is a popular and simple method of getting your website visitors to opt in. You set up a 5 or 6 number code, effectively a phone number. You may have used these in the past for various reasons. When the customer decides to opt in, they send a message saying so to that code (which has messaged them asking for their permission.) That number is then used for any text messages. You have written compliance to opting in, which is essential.

Create A Unique Keyword

Similar to the above but using a password the consumer has to type and send before they allow for SMS messages.

Offer Perks

Discounts on products, special offers, and the biggest enticement to sign up – free delivery – are all good methods of getting your clients to agree to share their number.

Use Opt-in Forms

As this is what we want to talk about in most detail, we’ll give it our full attention after we have had a brief look at why SMS may be preferable to email.

SMS vs. Email

Many marketing texts will tell you that email is still the best method of keeping in touch with your customer base. They are right in some areas, but we have seen above the benefits of SMS in terms of speed and engagement.
Have a look at the following points also:
The above are clear indications of the benefits of SMS over email in marketing. So, where do pop-ups come into the procedure?

Using Pop-Ups to Collect Phone Numbers

Pop-ups are one of those marketing ploys that people either love or hate. Yet, for consumers, using mobile devices is among the most successful of all digital marketing methods. There are reasons why this is so, so why should you use pop-ups to collect phone numbers for SMS marketing, and how should you do so? Let’s imagine an example.

Potential customers are in your digital store and there is no record of them being a past customers. An automated and personalized pop-up form can be triggered after they have been there for a certain time. It could read along these lines:

“Hey there, we see you like our store! Sign up for our regular newsletter and get a 10% discount on your first order!”
The general idea is portrayed in that simple and yet relevant messages: you want them to give you their mobile phone numbers in return for a discount code and the agreement that they get your newsletter. Or you could target a past customer thus:
“Welcome back, we love to see you in our store! How would you like to be the first to hear about our new products and latest offers? Sign up here for regular SMS notifications!”
As the existing customer already knows and trusts your brand, they have nothing to lose in agreeing to pass on their number for SMS notifications.
Yet there is more to using pop-ups than simply writing a text message that can be automatically displayed. No matter what type of pop-ups you want to utilize, whether they are exit-intent pop ups or entry pop ups, you should optimize them for all devices and customize their content.
Let’s have a look at some methods of optimizing pop-ups for collecting phone numbers that may help you get those who are still reluctant on board.

Optimizing Your SMS Marketing for Mobiles

The hand-held smartphone is now the most popular device for browsing online stores and websites. It is pretty much ubiquitous. This is why SMS – which is mostly smartphone operated – is now an essential part of a marketing campaign. You simply must optimize not only your store or website for smartphones but also all aspects of your SMS marketing campaign.
For example, pop-ups should be unique and exclusive to mobile users. This enables you to ensure the most effective use of text messages in marketing. We’ve already mentioned a 98% open rate, which is in fact a quite spectacular statistic. Optimizing your SMS for mobiles is just one method of ensuring the best return on investment, and here are some further factors you should consider when designing your messages.

The Message

What is the message you want to get across? Are you promoting a new product, advertising a launch, or updating the customer on the status of an order? The important factor is to keep to the idea of SMS – short and simple, and to the point – as well as ensure the message is as personalized as is possible. This applies to manually created mass messages as much as it does to automated triggered SMS. The modern consumer expects to be treated personally, and that extra attention to detail goes a long way.

Overall Design

It is vital that your brand image is carried within all messaging and communication formats. A customer needs to see immediately that it is from you and is worth opening. Ensuring your brand is portrayed consistently is an important part of engendering customer loyalty and trust. Think carefully about including your corporate colors where possible.

Calls to Action

Spend some time designing your calls to action in order that they perform the task for which they are intended. You may wish to carry out A/B testing to see which of your choices gets the best results. A compelling call to action is one that gives the reader an incentive to click on the button.

We think that we have covered the subject of SMS marketing and using pop-ups to a level that should enable you to take some useful information and inspiration away from this article, so let’s have a conclusion to sum things up.


SMS marketing is a surprisingly effective tool that is cheap, simple, and versatile and that can be suitably personalized for individual clients. The problem that presents is that of convincing reluctant consumers to pass on their phone numbers and ensuring you do it in a way that is compliant with data protection and other regulations.
By using pop-ups, personalized, messages, and optimizing your marketing for smartphones you are targeting the ideal SMS users, who are 98% likely to open this form of the message as opposed to far lesser numbers for email and other forms of digital communication.
Start growing your SMS subscribers list today!

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