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SMS List Hygiene & Best Practices
SMS Marketing Best Practices

SMS List Hygiene & Best Practices

SMS list hygiene results in increased engagement, a better return on ad dollars spent, and alleviates compliance fears. The stronger your data, the more you’ll be able to uncover about your customer base.

October 19, 2022

SMS List Hygiene & Best Practices

A key element to an effective SMS campaign with increased engagement and conversion rates is practicing better list hygiene — meaning purging the bad data to keep your subscriber list squeaky clean.


Why is SMS List Hygiene So Critical?

I think we can all agree that good hygiene habits are essential; but did you know that SMS list hygiene is crucial to the success of your campaign?  

A thorough cleansing, if you will, of your SMS subscriber list, results in increased engagement, a better return on ad dollars spent, and alleviates compliance fears. The stronger your data, the more you’ll be able to uncover about your customer base; for example, who is engaging and why?


Improved Engagement & Enhanced Customer Experience

Sending to dormant SMS subscribers to remind them of your brand’s unique products or special offers is great, but your list needs to be up to date with subscriber details to effectively nurture engagement. If your list data is out of date, it can negatively impact the customer’s personalized experience. Without a basic understanding of who you're trying to reach and their motivations, you risk making missteps and losing customers.

SMS is a highly-personalized marketing channel that empowers you to build strong relationships with your consumers. By gathering zero-party data, you’re able to improve customer experiences, increase brand satisfaction, and drive engagement and conversion rates. 


Budget & ROI

The majority of SMS marketing services charge by the send count and contact list size; so, therefore, any expired contacts, duplicates, or bounces mean money wasted. By practicing good SMS list hygiene, you are directly impacting ROI, resulting in higher profitability for your company.


Risk Management & Compliance

SMS compliance and deliverability protocols are constantly evolving. When it comes to SMS marketing and commerce programs, a compliance-first approach to your SMS marketing program also means you’re taking a customer-first approach. Practicing better list hygiene, especially with opt-ins and opt-outs, helps to mitigate compliance issues so you can send your messages with confidence. 


SMS Data Hygiene 101 

Now that we understand the value of practicing list hygiene, let’s go through some of the key fundamentals to help ensure that your data is clean and organized and that your subscriber list is viable for your next campaign.


🧼 Scrub Your Data

Take a deep dive into your subscriber list and remove any inactive or invalid subscribers or duplicates. List scrubbing helps identify who is most engaged and fix any deliverability issues to boost overall engagement with your brand.


✂️ Segment Your List

Utilize segmenting capabilities to send hyper-targeted text messages to your SMS subscriber list, enabling you to micro-market at scale based on customer attributes and event history. For example, segment your list based on the latest engagement dates (click-through rates, opens) or the last purchase dates, and then group based on the level of the customer’s activity (loyalist, seasonal, dormant, or inactive).

📅 Schedule an Audit

To avoid duplicating list cleansing efforts, schedule a monthly audit to thoroughly review and make updates to any new data collected. This way, your list will stay clean and keep unnecessary rinse and repeats at bay.


Steps to Keep Your SMS List Clean

“I’ve scrubbed, segmented, and audited my list data. Now what?” Integration points and opt-in and opt-out practices should be inspected as they weigh heavily on the overall quality of your list data and customer profiles.

Integration Points

Thoroughly check your common SMS integration points, including eCommerce platforms (BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify), loyalty programs (Loyalty Lion), customer service (ZenDesk), reviews (Junip), and monthly/quarterly product subscription services (ReCharge), to ensure they are synced and not overriding or duplicating data sets for clean customer profiles. Ecommerce integration is a top priority, but third-party integrations are just as critical to keep up to date. After all, one bad data sync can lead to a lot of cleanup. 

Opt-in vs. Opt-out & Compliance

Opt-in and opt-out practices need to be examined with a sharp eye because they have heavy compliance around them, and it’s the hello and goodbye for your brand which affects your CLTV (customer lifetime value). When opt-in and opt-out options are clear, it helps to maintain quality list data.

All customers should explicitly opt-in to SMS marketing alerts with written consent to eliminate ambiguity and protect against any claims of invalid consent. No consumer should be confused about a message they receive from your brand. Create custom modals with required data fields versus optional ones so it’s clear to subscribers that they are opting in. It’s best to offer text boxes to avoid subscribers defaulting to the first drop-down option and creating unnecessary data cleansing steps.

We know that goodbyes can be hard, but it’s your brand’s job to make it easy for your customers to say “sayonara” when they have had enough of your messages. By offering extra safety net keywords for opt-out options, you ensure a thoughtful customer experience at every engagement, even when a consumer is stepping away from your text campaigns. 

How to Capitalize on Your Data Once It’s Clean

Segmentation is the crux of SMS — it's what makes or breaks the customer experience. We've all received an email addressed to a placeholder recipient or a piece of snail mail with [Current Resident], and can admit that as a consumer, it’s a huge turnoff. 

When it comes to SMS marketing, most consumers open every text, so you want to make sure your content is relevant to that specific customer to keep them reading and be able to convert to a click-through. However, personalization is so much more than knowing someone’s first name. To be successful in your SMS marketing, you must be able to tailor your content to a specific audience in order to drive conversion results and achieve subscriber growth, and powerful tools such as segmentation and personalization can help.

Segmentation & Personalization

SMS is the most intimate digital channel and your clean data helps you identify and segment your subscriber and customer base. With Voyage SMS, you have the ability to split and organize your subscriber lists into custom, dynamic segments that allow you to micro-market at scale based on customer attributes and event history. Segmentation not only ensures relevance, but it helps to manage costs and personalizes the customer journey by sending them a message they would want to receive as a new subscriber versus a loyal, longtime customer.

Step outside of the box when thinking about SMS segmentation. Try campaigns that help you gather more than the standard details on subscribers.

💡Choose Your Own Adventure Welcome Series: Asking for more specific interests can boost engagement and help you better segment your subscribers based on zero-party data directly from them! Test out campaigns that offer up a choice of options so your subscribers can easily self-select segments to identify with.

Proven Success for Birthdate co.

When you have a product as personalized as one-of-a-kind astrology candle company, Birthdate Co., segmentation capabilities are vital in order to target the right customer at the right time. By partnering with Voyage SMS, the stars definitely aligned for Birthdate co. 

By combining astrology and personalization, Birthdate Co. started sending highly-targeted weekly horoscope SMS campaigns that saw CTRs of over 20% and 35% monthly subscriber growth. The campaigns focused on what draws their customers to the brand and provided entertaining and personalized content.

Dependable SMS List Hygiene with Voyage

Voyage can help you cleanse your SMS list of any unused and unengaged phone numbers — ensuring that your dollars aren’t being wasted on bad data. 

From opt-in to opt-out, quiet hours, and everything in between, Voyage is deeply committed to the ever-changing compliance guidelines in order to create the best customer experience. With dedicated resources consistently canvassing the SMS regulatory landscape, you can be sure any relevant updates are being embedded into the service and product before you hit send.


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