9 Proven Tactics to Build a Killer SMS List for SMS Marketing

October 19, 2022 Julio Romero

Reading time about 8min

9 Proven Tactics to Build a Killer SMS List for SMS Marketing

Jairene Cruz-Eusebio on Jun 2, 2021 10:05:47 AM

SMS marketing is a very powerful tool, but it’s also one that many businesses don’t know how to use. Many companies are missing out on the massive potential of text messaging for their business because they simply don’t know where to start. They may have heard about SMS marketing, but they aren’t sure what it entails or how to get started with it. If this is your problem too, read on.

In this article, we will walk you through how to create an opt-in list of subscribers for your SMS marketing campaigns, as well as some advanced strategies for growing that list quickly.

In the present social and market environment, people are cautious as phone numbers get misused for scams and a lot of ill intentions. Some companies even sell customer data to other companies! People have a lot of reasons to be wary.

9 Ways to Get SMS Subscribers

Using this list below, you’ll find ways to build your customer’s trust in your business so they will be at ease in giving you their contact information.

Let’s start!

1. Use Your Website

We are confident that if you are looking to market your business via SMS, you also have an online presence, more specifically, a website.

A website can be used to communicate information such as the business’s history, variety of products being offered, pictures of those products, people working in the business, and so on. The most obvious purpose of a website is to sell the product at the business’s own convenient price.

While your customer is using your website, there are several ways they can subscribe to your SMS service for future promotions such as:

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>Subscription box

Put up a small subscription box at an obvious place for the customer to subscribe. It could be at your homepage, at the sidebar, at the footer, or wherever your customer can see it easily and clearly.

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Use pop-up windows to offer a gift or a discount on purchases if the customer is willing to sign up for SMS marketing. Basically, you encourage customers to subscribe to SMS messages in the same way that you ask for their email addresses.

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>During Customer Registration

The first time a customer fills in their email address and other contact information on your site to subscribe to a newsletter or to create an account, be sure to ask them straight away if they want you to send marketing messages straight to their phone via text message (SMS).

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>During Checkout

Include a checkbox next to or below the phone number field and indicate subscription to SMS marketing during the checkout process of a purchase. This works well for companies that need to ship physical products since most carriers nowadays require phone numbers for delivery anyway.

This is the most common way of gathering SMS subscribers since the business can also use the customer’s number to update the client on the status of his order.

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>After Purchase

If there is no need to input a phone number during the checkout process, then you can also try a post-purchase approach. In this case, you can indicate that the customer should subscribe to SMS marketing for updates and promotions.

2. Use Your Social Media

Social media has become the single strongest force that attracts massive amounts of people to use the internet every day. There are even people who are addicted to social media and seek help for their addiction! Use this weakness in your customers to make your presence known on social media.

People are not always on social media and they are likely to miss your updates, whereas an SMS can always be read when it is received. Combine both of these mediums and make posts on your social media for people to subscribe to your SMS communication via a text message. Don’t forget to adhere to the TCPA rules, though.

Moreover, you can make it more attractive to subscribe by running a small giveaway; countless people opt-in for SMS for even the smallest free product.

social media giveaway

3. Make Your Customers Feel Special

You can use all kinds of marketing strategies to attract people to subscribe to your SMS communications but there is one thing that customers really love: making them feel special.

Your customers are humans and humans love being told something is exclusively for them. Web or Social media users alike, tell your customers that SMS subscribers get exclusive promo codes or, are first to know about new limited edition products.

When your customer buys a product, they can subscribe on the spot to use a one-time promo code that is texted to them. This promotion works well because one, you get a new subscriber, and two, you ensure that the customer completes the purchase. If you have a promo code that is only useful for this purchase, it would be a waste not to follow through, won’t it?


4. Target Your Email Subscriber List

Email subscriptions are fairly easy to target, especially when you already have a presence online and are new to SMS subscription; after all, you already have a point of contact.

The first step that would make sense is to let all your email subscribers know that now you’re communicating through SMS as well. You might have to hire a designer to create an attractive email design that directs the user’s attention to the SMS subscription.

One benefit of SMS over email is that you only have to focus on the content, not the design, and it will always be viewed by your customer. If your email subscribers love reading your emails, they will opt-in for SMS communications as well.

However, since not all email subscribers open marketing emails, you can’t expect all your email subscribers to move to SMS. As such, being creative with your email title is a must to attract your audience even just once.

5. Integrate SMS Messaging In Your Customer Service

Another way to increase the probability of getting people to sign up for your SMS communication is to offer customer service through SMS. It is widely accepted that when you send a text message, you can expect a reply within the next few minutes, or at least within the day. This can encourage customers who are on the go.

You can set up a bot to make sure your customer can initiate a customer service request through a simple SMS. Of course, to make this strategy a success, a real person will have to jump into the conversation at some point during an SMS chat session.

This will enable your customers to understand that your business believes in two-way communication, and they will be more likely to want to receive your business’s SMS. SMS bots that help with customer service are great at guiding customers to their desired category of help needed so it also ensures that the customer is connected to the right department.

6. Include in Email Signatures Or Forum Signatures

You can also include a link to your SMS opt-in page in email signatures or forum signatures. Or if you don’t want to redirect them to a different webpage, you can actually indicate the code that they need to send to a specific number to subscribe. Make sure the code is simple, related to your business, and makes sense.

7. Follow Trends

Since it’s the era of social media, a lot of people get involved in the latest trends that are going on; use those trends to get attention especially when you’re looking to find subscribers on social media.

A quick example would be using ‘Drake Meme’ to encourage people to subscribe to SMS by representing it as superior to email or other kinds of subscriptions. When it comes to trends, the internet has provided all the tools for you to find out what are most people talking about on the internet and how it changes from place to place; this is especially true on Twitter. The best thing is, these tools are free to use.

8. Use a QR Code

Assuming that you know what a QR code is, they are great to get people curious. If a customer sees your QR code even without any explanation, they are highly likely to scan it with their phones to see what turns up. Use their curiosity to your advantage!

QR codes are especially great to put up on posters, billboards, and other print ads where the customer is not able to directly interact with a provided web link. So let’s say you want the customer to visit your website but your website name is too long and hard to remember, just put up a QR code and let the customer’s phone do the rest.

You can use this QR code generator to test this. Make sure to link your shortcode to your WinBack account so that the app can capture your audience subscriptions and make the process seamless.

Here’s an example of a QR code that can initiate an SMS subscription. Go on and try it out to see how it works.


9. Use Your Staff To Ask Walk-in Customers

The last but very effective way to get people to subscribe is the good old-fashioned ‘asking’. It is the easiest and cheapest way to get subscribers. The point where your staff interacts with the customers directly – may it be a conference, store register, phone helpline – have them ask people directly to sign up. They can inform people about whatever benefits your business is offering to subscribers to encourage sign-ups.

Remember To Make It Easy To Subscribe

Remember one thing: customers love convenience, and whether you’re selling a product or informing about product returns, make sure the process to opt-in for SMS communication is easy and simple to understand.

Many customers are likely to give up halfway if the procedure involves more than two steps. Make sure your instructions are small enough to fit in two lines such as ‘text SUB to 1234 to subscribe to our latest products.’

Don’t forget the SMS compliance requirements.

Retaining Subscribers

Getting more and more subscribers sounds good but it is not the whole story; you also have to make sure you’re not losing them.

TCPA dictates some rules that have to be followed when you’re interacting with SMS subscribers; one of these rules is to give the customer an opt-out option. Most businesses add the line ‘text STOP to unsubscribe’ and it is very possible that your customers might be texting STOP to your SMS bot as they get tired of your messages. But there are ways to prevent this from happening!

You cannot control the SMS fatigue that gets people, but what you can do is keep your SMS communication interesting and out of any unsubbing dangers with a few small tips:

  • Use short links. Sometimes links are too long and some phones are even unable to convert them into a web link. It is advised that you use a short link that can be created on various websites to make the message easy-to-read
  • Follow compliance, or your SMS days are over and you might be facing fines that are more costly than your SMS program. Make sure your SMS communication is up-to-date on the TCPA regulations.
  • Use clear language. Any kind of complicated language can turn off your customers and even more dangerously, can be misunderstood by your customers. Avoid using words like ‘Congratulations’ or ‘You’re a winner!’ to mislead your customers. Use simple and easy-to-understand language.
  • Use decent language. Make sure never to use an offensive word even if it is making a great pun; it may be funny to some but you may also end up offending someone.
  • Keep your content interesting. This is the most important point, the minute your customer thinks they’ve had enough of your boring texts, they’re going to send that STOP message, use refreshing language, and send messages that are meaningful.
  • Understand your customers, enough to make sure that your customers are getting updates about the right products. Let’s say you have a clothing line for formal and informal clothing; make sure you keep your SMS subscriber list separate for both categories and another category of people who are interested in both kinds of clothing. This way your customers will always find your content helpful and will be less likely to unsubscribe.
  • Regularly send promotions, especially if your initial strategy was to offer a promo in exchange for a subscription. If your customer ever realized that you are never going to offer another promotion exclusive to SMS subscribers, they will leave you in the future. You have to keep giving them small discounts or perks every now and then, on top of regular marketing updates.

Final Thoughts on Gathering SMS Subscribers

Now that you’ve seen what tactics work best for building your SMS opt-in list, it’s time to put them all into practice. Start by using the simplest techniques first and see where they lead you. It won’t be long before this becomes second nature!

If it’s still a problem, you can always reach out to us and our season experts will be there to offer a helping hand.

Topics: SMS Marketing, SMS Subscribers