Building an SMS database of real, interested customers is crucial to making your SMS campaign a success. Even more importantly, before you send SMSes to anyone, they need to agree to receive communications from you. And yes, that means that buying a random SMS database is not an option.

So how do you go about building an SMS database the right way? The reality is, before you can think about building a contact list, you need to give your customers a reason to want to hear from you. The best way to do this is to provide value through special offers, regular updates on products they’re interested in, discount codes, invitations, daily tips, etc.

Offer valuable information that gets customers genuinely interested, and your list will grow organically. Here are some ideas to help you grow your database:


This one is a great option for restaurants, retail stores, gyms, etc., because there are already a host of interested people in your store or facility. So, whether you have a sign-up sheet at the front desk, or your staff explain how the customer can join during a purchase, having an on-site opt-in mechanism is a great way to build up your list quickly.


If you send emails or newsletters on a regular basis, it’s the perfect opportunity to get those customers onto your SMS database. Depending on where you are, you could have a shortcode with a special keyword or a dedicated number in your email signature. Alternatively, you could create an outbound email campaign prompting customers to opt-in to receive SMSes from you.

Social media

Encourage your social media followers to join your customer database by posting about it on a regular basis. By posting your dedicated number, your followers can opt into your list by sending a simple SMS.


You’ve got customers coming to your website, so why not use this chance to get them to go a step further and sign up to your database? You could have a pop-up, or if you have an e-commerce platform, you could add a tick box as part of the checkout process.

Billboards, radio and TV

While we know this can be a costly exercise, we understand that many companies prefer to use traditional media to advertise their services and offerings. If this is you, and you’d like to gain subscribers through these platforms, include clear instructions on how and where your customers can go to opt-in to your SMS database.

Whichever method you choose, make sure you offer your customers a good reason to opt-in to receive your SMS messages. And once you have their mobile numbers, make it worthwhile and use best practices when communicating with them. If you’d like to know more about building an SMS database, or how to start setting up an SMS campaign, contact us today.