You’ve heard about the benefits of SMS campaigns. The numbers don’t lie: 5 billion people send and receive text messages, 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt, and 79% of smartphone users make their shopping decisions based on SMS opt-in. But how do you acquire customer phone numbers in the first place? Especially when so many people are averse to filling out phone number fields in business forms. 

One study from Vital indicates people dislike providing their phone number on forms so strongly that submissions fall as much as 47% when this field is included!

While this might make you want to remove the phone number field from your submission form, there are other ways you can still collect a person’s phone number on your website. 


Let’s get creative!


1. Offer a callback option through your site’s support widget or chatbot 


If you have a button on your site where people can click to start live chatting with a customer service representative or chatbot, offer a callback feature. For example, if your support line is closed or busy, your automated message can suggest sending an SMS to a specific support number. You can include a note that the team will get back to them right away when they return to the office. To make this easier to manage, put your communications in a centralized location so your support team is aware of messages that come in through multiple channels. A tool like Mitto Conversations can help you get started and track the phone numbers you collect. 


2. Provide a click-to-text feature


Set up a feature on your website where users can click a button to send a text message. This click-to-text link will automatically open the user’s default SMS client – or another A2P messaging app – with a prepopulated phone number. You can even prepopulate the body of the text if that aligns with the call to action. Most consumers often prefer texts over phone calls, so this is an excellent way to reach your audience (and gain their phone number for your future SMS campaigns!)


3. Highlight texting versus calling when asking for a phone number 


More and more consumers dislike long phone calls with sales or customer service. Texting is a much easier method for consumers to get the information they need. When asking customers to provide you with their phone number, mention texting as the method of communication! For example, “Provide us with your phone number so we can text you coupons for 50% off” could achieve better results than asking for a phone number with no reasoning. Or, “Please leave a phone number, and our Sales Team will text you to schedule a demo” could put phone call-averse individuals at ease. You could also add a note that says “we will only text you for X reasons” or design your form so that the phone number field isn’t visible unless the user checks a box showing interest in being texted. 


4. Entice people with a contest


People love winning things! Casinos, the lottery, and claw machines all exist for a reason. When asking customers to provide you with their numbers, offer up the chance for them to win a prize. Bonus points if you choose a reward that reminds them of your business. No matter what, always keep the prize exciting – a gift card to a popular retailer (or potentially your own business!) is always a good choice. Or a popular must-have item that hasn’t already been over swag’d. No more battery banks and water bottles!


5. Offer two-factor authentication


Security is more relevant than ever. One of the fastest and most prevalent forms of account security is two-factor authentication, or “2FA”. When people set up 2FA, you can include a prompt asking if they’d also like to receive texts from you about other offerings. Be sure this is optional, so people don’t feel forced to receive texts to improve account security. 


Campaign etiquette is important


Always be crystal clear about what opting-in entails for your customers. For example, you may want to tell them how often they’ll receive messages, that they won’t be billed for them, or anything that may make it easier for people to think, ‘Okay, go ahead and text me.’ 

Challenge your current messaging strategy! Improve your SMS campaigns with the above, and consider adding more robust messaging support to your tech stack. Beyond SMS, there are many A2P channels your business should be leveraging, including WhatsApp, Viber, Instagram, and Google Business. Omnichannel mobile communications are the future of marketing and customer support. And guess what? That future is now.