SMS marketing has earned its stripes as one of today’s fastest and most effective marketing channels. Ninety-eight percent of all text messages get opened and read, and SMS marketing campaigns have an impressive 14% average conversion rate.
Still, no marketing method happens by magic. Before you can reap the full benefits of SMS marketing, you have to build your list of SMS subscribers — customers who have explicitly agreed to receive your text messages.
That explicit consent is key but requires customers to take extra steps to subscribe. Fortunately, plenty of actionable strategies exist to attract and retain SMS subscribers.
Need help launching your SMS campaign? Check out our complete SMS Marketing Guide.
1. Make Sure Subscribers Opt In Properly
For SMS marketing to work, subscribers must opt in the right way.
By sending an irrelevant or unwanted text to a subscriber, you risk turning them off to your brand forever.
For example, let’s say you’re a big box retailer, and you accidentally send the text, “Hey, mama, check out this nursery furniture sale” to a single 18-year-old male. Chances are, your store isn’t going to be top-of-mind for his next purchase.
Proper opt-ins ensure subscribers actually want to receive your messages and won’t get angry or unsubscribe. High open rates also help with your deliverability in the future.
To maintain compliance, you must receive “express written consent” to text subscribers. That means your program details must be present at opt-in, and subscribers have given explicit permission for you to text them.
If getting customers to opt-in seems like a deterrent, think of it this way. You save valuable marketing dollars by ensuring the people who receive your message are truly interested in your product. That opt-in feature is precisely what makes SMS marketing so effective.
2. Offer an Irresistible Incentive for Joining Your SMS List
How do you convince customers to opt in and grow your SMS subscriber list? Make them an offer they can’t refuse!
In one study, companies that offered an incentive grew their SMS marketing list 520% times faster.
Try a free product or discount on a service. Let’s say your business is a smoothie bar; you might offer a free smoothie for signing up for messages. If you’re a hairstylist, try giving away a free cut or 25% off a color service.
3. Capture Mobile Numbers in Your Office/Store
Another way to grow your SMS customer list while still staying compliant is to capture mobile numbers in your office or store.
Pair this tactic with an incentive to attract even more subscribers. For instance, maybe you own a spa. When someone checks out, you might offer a discount off their next facial or massage if they opt in to text messages.
4. Add an SMS Signup Option at Online Checkout
Similarly, you can add SMS signups to your online checkout to grow your SMS subscriber list. You could include a check box that says, “Send me updates via text message,” with a description of what customers can expect from you.
For instance, you might include messaging reassuring them that you won’t sell their information to a third party and simply want to send them exclusive discounts, offers and updates.
5. Promote Your SMS List on Your Website
Don’t forget to promote your SMS subscription list on your website.
Use visual banners and popup forms to attract visitors and show them the value of signing up. For instance, you could highlight the exclusive discounts and coupon codes you will send them, or a free product or service they get for signing up.
6. Offer Exclusive Deals to Your SMS Subscribers
Exclusive deals make subscribers feel special and valued, improving retention rates.
Treating subscribers like VIPs helps build rapport and lifelong brand advocates! Plus, offering exclusive deals makes it easy to get people on board the opt-in train. Who doesn’t love a coupon code?
7. Ask Subscribers for Referrals
One tried-and-true way to grow your SMS customer list is to offer subscribers an incentive for getting other people to sign up. That way, everyone wins! Try offering a 20% discount for each referral.
8. Be Transparent About Your Terms and Conditions
No one wants to feel taken advantage of. The more upfront with customers you are about expectations, the more they’ll trust you and want to refer you to friends.
9. Ask Subscribers What They Want
Everyone likes to give feedback. It makes people feel important, heard and needed and is an instant rapport-builder.
Be sure to consistently and frequently ask subscribers for their feedback on your product or service and their experiences. This is a great way to get firsthand insights to inform your business plan while also engaging customers and developing them into loyal brand advocates over time.
Even if you already have a subscriber list, there is always room to grow and improve it. The more subscribers you add, the more people you reach. And as long as they fit your target market, you’ll have the opportunity for sky-high conversions.
Ready to grow your own SMS subscriber list?
Textedly is a leading SMS marketing platform that provides easy-start SMS and MMS business solutions. Its user-friendly and affordable platform makes it ideal for any business size and industry. Try Textedly for free today to grow your SMS subscriber list and manage campaigns like a pro.