Should You Buy Database for SMS Marketing

Should You Buy Database for SMS Marketing

71% of Malaysians which in number terms translates to 21.7 million people own a smartphone and over 95% of the population own at least one mobile phone. When you consider that people carry their phones with them all the time and that they open and read almost all the messages sent to them, SMS marketing becomes a no-brainer.

When compared to other marketing channels, SMS marketing comes out up. For instance, compared to email marketing with an open rate of less than 16%, SMS marketing’s open rate is 98%. And 48% of B2C consumers say they prefer SMS messaging compared to 22% that preferred email.

You know these statistic already and might have even used SMS marketing before. Now, you are ready to go all-in but you’re concerned whether buying an SMS database would infringe on the new personal data protection regulations.

Here’s the thing, the PDPA has set out guidelines businesses and commercial entities should follow when collecting, handling and processing personal data of their customers. The legislation outright outlawed database buying.

According to the PDPA, it is illegal to bulk purchase consumer personal data without explicit consent from those consumers.

The question now is, if it is illegal to buy a database, how do you go about building a relevant, targeted database of your customers?

Before building your SMS database, be sure you understand everything you can and cannot do with your customer information as set out in the PDPA.

For one, be sure every customer on your list, explicitly gave you their consent to be added to your database.

Secondly, be as clear as you can about what you intend to do and how you would handle customer personal information.

Once, you have the basics covered, here are some proven tips to start building your database for SMS marketing.

Advertise SMS deals/opt-in on POS receipts

Most direct-to-customer businesses already have point-of-sell systems in place.

Instead of simply handing out the original blank receipts to customers after payment, consider including branded messaging at the back of the receipt with promo or deal information remediable only after opting into your SMS database. As a start, you may use a QR code that is linked to an online form

If you are in the restaurant or hospitality industry in general, this is a great way to build up your database quickly.

Deploy SMS opt-in on your website

Have an e-commerce site? or any website as the case maybe? Designing and implementing an opt-in form that requests customer mobile phone numbers is another proven way to build your SMS database.

Be sure to offer an incentive to get customers to signup. For instance, you can choose to offer a flash sale that is exclusive to only your SMS subscribers – the trick to make this work though is to offer worthwhile incentives.

Encourage customers to fill follow-up forms

If you are in the service sector or a real estate agent, it might be a tad difficult offering promos and discounts to entice customers to sign-up. But, what you can do is, encourage those customers that visit your brick and mortar office to fill a simple follow-up form.

When done right, this can be a simple, cost-effective way to build your SMS marketing database.

Cross-promote on other channels

Another way to draw customer attention to your SMS marketing channel is to promote it on other platforms.

If you have a strong social media following, you can share and encourage your audience to signup to your database. But, of course, you will have to offer incentives to entice them.

So, here you have it. These tips are proven, time-tested and effective. When implemented, they will help you grow your SMS database quickly without getting on the wrong side of the law.


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