Future-Proofing Your Database (Part 1)
For many of us, the statement "email is dying" is starting to resonate. There is conflicting data about whether or not email is still a useful engagement tool. We do know that email is impersonal, our audiences are saturated, CASL legislation (in Canada) prevents contact without explicit opt-in, and increasingly smart mailboxes (ie. Google Inbox) are sorting and filtering email into 'never to be seen again' folders.
So how do we prep for life after email?
When it comes to engagement (which we define as the building of a relationship through progressively meaningful interaction, leading to an ask or action), peer-to-peer texting is emerging as an essential campaign tool. It doesn't replace all communication methods, but it's a great way to start or continue conversations with your supporters and prospects. It's also more scalable and affordable than door-knocking or phone banks.
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Depending on the state of your database and your organizations' forward-thinkingness, there might just be one thing standing between you and an amazing text campaign: mobile numbers.
Most of us have never texted someone on behalf of our organization before. Of the thousands of contacts in your database, how many of them are only reachable by email? Until now, we've been so focused on email acquisition (SIGN UP EVERYWHERE!). We've pared our forms down to one or two lines because it increases conversions, but what happens when email is no longer a reliable means of contact?
Future-Proofing Your Database
Step 1: Take stock of the mobile numbers you have today
You probably have a good handle on how many phone numbers are in your database. But how many of them are active mobile numbers?
Here's one quick way to find out:
Export a .csv of contacts and phone numbers, and import the list in Hustle.
Without ever sending a message, Hustle will tell you how many numbers are valid mobile numbers ("textable contacts" vs. total contacts).
You don't need to run a text campaign to make use of this data (but you should!). After you've imported your .csv to Hustle, export it.
This spreadsheet comes back with tags for "mobile" and "landline" numbers. Voila! You've validated the numbers in your list, and separated out active mobiles, without ever making a call or sending a text. Turn these tags into columns/fields and bring this spreadsheet back into your CRM to keep your phone lists up-to-date. Repeat until you've identified and labelled textable numbers for all of your supporters and prospects.
Step 2: Acquire all the mobile numbers
In our next post, we'll highlight tips and tricks for mobile acquisition, the next step in building a successful texting campaign.
Stay tuned for case studies on orgs, campaigns and unions that are creatively future-proofing their databases.
Follow-up Reading: Learn more about the difference between peer-to-peer texting and text blasts.