Tuesday, March 22, 2011
by Kimberly Kohatsu, Director of Marketing Marketers tend to think of opt-in marketing as a limitation, but I honestly think it’s a benefit. For one, opt-in means you’re communicating with people who say it’s okay for you to communicate with them. That means you’re not annoying them, which will help the success of your campaigns. And perhaps more importantly, opt-in voice broadcasts and text blasts save you money in the end. You’re not paying for calls or texts to people who don’t want them, which is only going to help control costs. So how should you get your opt-in list to grow? Here’s 10 suggestions:
  1. Tell your customers what they’ll get if they opt in Are you planning on sending a monthly discount code? What about exclusive, text-only invites to sales? Give your customers a good reason to opt in, as well as an idea of how frequently you plan to contact them (monthly, weekly, daily, etc). You can also incentivize opt-ins by offering an immediate benefit, such as a discount or free gift.
  2. Make sure they know they can always opt out Sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but customers will be a lot less hesitant to sign up if you reassure them they can push 8 or text STOP at any time to unsubscribe. CallFire will automatically add your unsubscribes to your internal DNC list, making your list easier to manage, and making your customers more comfortable in joining.
  3. Use your existing sign-up pages to drive subscriptions If your customers use any sort of form on your website, include a check box to opt in to your text or marketing campaigns. You might want to put this directly below the field where your customers input their phone number, like in the example below:
  4. Create an email marketing campaign Email your customers and tell them about your great new marketing initiative. Tell them what you plan to send to them via phone calls or texts, and include an opt-in call-to-action such as “click here to subscribe” or “Text SMSFIRE to 88202.”
  5. Drive subscriptions with social media Encourage your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn contacts to subscribe to your list. Have your whole team share these posts with their contacts, so that their contacts can tell their contacts, and so on.
  6. Get their attention with point-of-purchase signage Got a physical storefront? What better place to reach your existing customers? Make a sign to hang near the register, in the window, or on tabletops. One note of caution, however—don’t simply have a clipboard where people can add their phone numbers, because most carriers won’t accept a paper sign-up as a valid opt-in should you ever face a complaint. Instead, encourage your customers to subscribe with their cell phones, such as “Text SMSFIRE to 88202.”
  7. Hold an employee competition for signups Do your employees spend a lot of time interacting with customers? Run a month-long competition to see who can get the most subscriptions, and offer a great prize to the winner, like a gift certificate or a paid day off.
  8. Append an opt-in message to your sales receipts Include a short message about your voice and text promotions every time the register rings.
  9. Design a CallFire IVR to solicit opt-ins from customers who call your business When customers call your business, add an option to your phone menu to subscribe to your list. Example: “Press 1 to receive discounts via text message, and Press 2 to speak to a representative.” When callers press 1, design your IVR to record the calls and prompt the caller to leave the cell phone number he’d like to subscribe. If you need help doing this, my colleague Ryan can show you how in this video.
  10. Keep an online archive for reference Once you’ve been doing voice or text broadcasts for a while, house some of your past deals somewhere on your website. Then, when prospective subscribers are considering  opting in, they will have a good idea of whether they’d benefit from your company’s messages. If you have your own tips to share, please do so in the comments. And if you have success with any of these suggestions, please share your stories too. Good luck with your marketing campaigns!