How to collect mobile numbers for SMS Marketing in a legal way

    by Ira Byvalkevich

    Mass text messaging or marketing phone numbers is an old but effective marketing channel, that helps businesses to find and save customers.

    According to Adobe Blog, SMS open rate is 98% compared to only 20% of emails. DSIM says that SMS marketing gives 7 times higher effect than email listing.

    Our 18 years background in mass SMS texting says that this is one of the best ways to increase sales. To reach out to the audience, you should get mobile numbers to create a list of their phone numbers. But watch out! Some methods can even lead to a judicial proceeding.

    In this article, we will tell you how to collect client phone numbers for text marketing in a legal way and what GDPR says about it.


    Why buying mobile numbers for marketing is not an option?


    It may seem an easy and fast way to get new contacts by purchase cell phone numbers. But purchasing a third-party database is illegal because people haven’t given their consent to the use of their personal data.

    It is absolutely possible, that the receivers of your mass SMS texts sue you. If they win a judicial proceeding, you will have to pay from $500 to $1000 for each undesired SMS. But don’t worry. We’ll tell you how to get new clients and increase conversion instead of receiving spam complaints.

    7 GDPR principles of personal data processing in work with a list of phone numbers

    1. Legitimacy, fairness, and transparency. Users should know the aim of collecting their data. Add a line with the aim of cell phone collecting for your mobile phone marketing lists to your subscription form.
    2. Limited purposes. The data should be used only in those purposes that have been claimed. In addition, you need to distinguish between transactional messages that provide basic information and marketing messages that promote something or offer the customer something for participating. Customers must opt-in to receive either or both. If you send a marketing message to customers who have specified they only want transactional messages, you could be legally liable. Jiffy Lube, for example, was fined $47 million for sending text messages offering a 45% discount on oil changes to customers who did not opt-in to receive them.
    3. Minimization of data. You shouldn’t collect extra data. For example, for bulk text messaging list the name and mobile number will be enough. In some cases, to personalize texts, marital status, age, and interests can be required.
    4. Accuracy. All the information should be proper and up-to-date. All the incorrect or obsolete phone numbers should be deleted. It’s prohibited to buy cell phone number database.
    5. Restriction of storage. The term of storage mobile numbers list shouldn’t exceed the duration of mass SMS campaign.
    6. Integrity, security, and confidentiality. You have to take care of the security of personal data of users, especially when you use hlr lookup. You shouldn’t transfer the phone number lists to anyone by yourself and prevent cybercriminals from stealing them.
    7. Double opt-in. All the receivers should permit you to send the messages. The first step is putting a check on the “I agree to process my personal data” line. The second step is replying “Yes” or “No” on the question about further texting after the first message.


    Other legislative requirements for collecting phone numbers list


    The users should necessarily give their approval for the processing of personal data. It has to be expressed in a certain action.

    For example, if you have put on your website’s sign-up form, add the “I agree to have my personal data processed” checkbox. Visitors should check it by themselves.

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    An example of an opt-in form with check boxes of agreement

    It is wrong to use a square with a check by default. In this case, the user doesn’t commit any actions to give consent for mailing via the chosen SMS sender for free.


    4 legal methods of collecting phone numbers


    In this article, we will look at some ways of collecting the mobile numbers that do not break the law. Using them you have nothing to be afraid of. There are 4 available sources of relevant contacts:

    1. Your own website.
    2. A promotion with a keyword.
    3. Contests.
    4. Email marketing campaign.

    Collect phone numbers from your website

    Get the visitors interested in a catchy lead magnet. A few ideas for it:

      1. Discounts and bonuses.

        collect mobile numbers-2

        MantraBand offers a 10% discount in exchange for the phone number.


      1. A useful checklist.

        collect mobile numbers-3

        A free checklist is offered to users for leaving the contact data


    1. A set of helpful information.

      collect mobile numbers-4

      A free book is offered for entering your email and phone number

      Create a pop-up. If used correctly, such a window is more effective than a plain registration form. Make it appear after 15-20 seconds of staying on a website. It should offer to a visitor something useful. Here the pop-up examples for you to inspire:

      collect mobile numbers-5

      A person will be given a compilation of free ebooks for registration

      collect mobile numbers-6

      A 25% discount is waiting for users, who will leave their contacts there

      collect mobile numbers-7

      A marketing agency Nexa offers to look at your needs and say the price and time frame of the order execution

      collect mobile numbers-8

      A call-back form is one of the most effective variants of getting a phone number

      collect mobile numbers-9

      One more example of a call-back form

      Optimize the mobile version. It will be more psychologically comfortable for the user to type his/her mobile number from a smartphone.

      Get mobile numbers list by a special keyword subscription

      Set up an automatic subscription to your mass SMS texting. A person will be in after sending a message with a keyword on a short number. Advertise the conditions of your campaign using several ways: visiting cards, social networks, forums, your website, emails.

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      A visiting card with the details of SMS texting

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      An advertisement on the website. A sender of SMS with the keyword will get a promo code

      A keyword should be short and memorable, as well as the number for sending it.

      Start a contest

      Let people who sign up, win something. Set a time limit, and choose the winner randomly with the help of a special service on the final day. It will be better if the price will reflect the peculiarities of your brand.

      For example, a certificate on your products or services.

      collect mobile numbers-12

      A fresh food store gives a $20 certificate to 3 winners

      For engaging more participants to your contest and receiving more phone numbers, advertise your promotion through all the possible channels: social networks, email listing, website, offline. For example, in such a way you can collect phone numbers from Facebook.

      Get the list of phone numbers from your email campaign subscribers

      According to Mobile Xco, SMS messages give more than twice higher response than email or Facebook. Invite the receivers of your emails to leave their phone numbers, and your marketing campaign will become more successful. Offer some bonuses for providing a phone number.

      collect mobile numbers-13

      A company offers an additional 10% discount for joining their contact list

      Tips on how to make the collection of mobile numbers absolutely legal

      According to the law, people should know exactly why you need their phone numbers. So, use these tips:

      1. Give people more details about your mass SMS strategy (for example, a thorough description of your contest, the frequency of texting and so on).

        collect mobile numbers-14

        You can click on the line “full terms and conditions” and see all the details

        collect mobile numbers-15

        Here are all the details

      2. Provide an opportunity to opt-out. Enact a keyword for automatic unsubscription. Make sure that people who have unsubscribed, definitely don’t receive your texts.

        collect mobile numbers-16

        A person can opt-out just texting STOP

        Do you know any unfortunate cases connected with illegal collecting of phone numbers? Share in the comments.


    For convenient management of emails use Atomic email studio. We also have a great emailing list software for managing email lists. Using the emails extractor, you can collect email addresses for sending letters.

    To make your work on email campaigns even more effective, we have developed software for email harvester on your computer. Then, using an automatic email bulk sender, you can make mass mailings. When all emails are sent, track them conveniently with the email tracker software.

    In our list of software there are also whois email lookup to find information about the owner of the email and an email email verification tool for checking the email address, to do it online use verify email online.

    Written by:
    Ira Byvalkevich
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