May 26, 2024

How to Build Mobile Lists to Start Your SMS Marketing Campaigns

By Haley Iacuele on September 2, 2020 7:21 am

Before you can start any SMS marketing campaigns, you’ll first need to build an opted-in list of contacts who have agreed to be contacted via text message. Not only does this help maintain a clean opt-in database, it also enables you to gather more accurate data about your customers and prospects.

There are three areas you need to focus on when it comes to Mobile List Management:

1: Build

Create a database of opted in numbers to start your mobile engagement journey.

2: Focus

Once you have built a list of contacts to start sending messages to, you need to then focus on growing a quality list of subscribers

3: Manage

Manage your subscriber base by removing opt-outs and contacts with permanent delivery errors, such as landlines, helping you to maintain a clean mobile list.

Build your mobile list

Before you can kick off your first SMS marketing campaign, you need a list of people who have agreed that you may contact them via text. This is commonly called an “opt-in list”.   It’s an important compliance requirement that is enforced by regulators and carriers.

To begin collecting your opted-in mobile numbers, we suggest that you start with your existing customer base. Run a cross-promotional campaign on existing channels like your website.  Leverage technology like email and social media as an effective way to build your lists quickly. You can also run ads in newsletters, create digital ads, and even send mailers.

You can collect the numbers by using an online form with a permission checkbox or ask people to text a keyword, like “JOIN” to a short code

Focus on Growing a High-Quality List

Now you have built a mobile list, the next step is to focus on growing a list of high-quality opt-ins. You should focus not only on getting new contacts, but also on gathering additional data about the preferences of existing contacts.

The key to getting opt-ins (and keeping them long term) is transparency. Be clear about what will be required of the customer, and what they’ll get out of it. We suggest disclosing how many messages you plan to send per month to minimize opt-outs.


The third step is to manage your opt-in list on an ongoing basis. Your mobile marketing efforts are only as strong as the integrity of your contact database. A database that is unorganized and contains outdated information will negatively impact your campaign results. Not only is easy opt-out a compliance requirement, it’s also a best practice for maintaining a solid brand reputation and keeping customers engaged with your messages.

Maintaining an organized list helps you connect more deeply with your audience. Consumers open 98% of text messages and, on average, respond within 90 seconds. However, 72% of consumers say they will only engage with personalized marketing messages[1]. For brands, this means SMS marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool for engagement, but only if they maintain accurate data and fully leverage the information they have.

Get Started with mGage’s Mobile List Builder

Using the Mobile List Builder from mGage’s Communicate Pro online platform makes it easy to build and manage mobile lists. Using lists enables you to send consumers only the messages they are most likely to engage with and keeps opt-outs to a minimum. Commonly used lists include discounts, updates, promotions, and marketing, but you can also group by demographic data such as location or product interest.

With a bit of strategic promotion, brands can grow Telehealth and Communication Strategies. One large retailer grew their list to 325,000 opt-ins within the first 4 weeks of launching mobile by simply placing a form on their website and using mGage’s Mobile List Builder. They continued to experience 4x growth month over month. Prior to working with mGage, they weren’t promoting text marketing and their list was fairly stagnant.

Final Thoughts

With 53% of companies already leveraging mobile messaging[2], there is little time to waste when it comes to starting your SMS marketing strategy. However, in order to launch your first campaign and continue seeing results, you’ll need an effective way to manage opt-ins and distribution lists. Our Mobile List Builder keeps all your contacts in one place and makes it easy to ensure opt-outs are removed quickly.

For more information about getting started with mobile marketing, watch our Mastering Mobile Marketing webinar on demand!

[1] SmartInsights

[2] Salesforce State of Marketing Report

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