how to get more sms subscribers

How to Get More SMS Subscribers: 15 Irresistible SMS Opt-in Strategies to Grow Your List

What would you do to have a never-ending pipeline of your best leads on speed dial? 

Or better yet, just a quick text message away.

Turns out, customers want that, too. 

Customers overwhelmingly would rather communicate with brands via text than anywhere else.

openmarket research sms marketing statistics

Text message marketing and SMS updates from businesses, survey data shows, is more convenient, unobtrusive, more personal and one less thing to remember.

openmarket infographic on text message with brands

Yes, I’m a marketer, but I’m also a customer, and I’m signed up to about a half-dozen brands’ SMS updates right now.

That’s right!

Just a handful of brands have inner-circle access to my text message inbox. 

Do you want to establish that level of trust and visibility between your leads and your brand?

Today I’m going to show you how to get more SMS subscribers signed up for updates from your business.

From the strategic to the actionable, use these methods to grow your SMS opt-in list from zero to 60,000 — fast.

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15 Ways to Get More SMS Subscribers

How can you get more SMS subscribers?

Here are 15 ways to grow a list of text marketing contacts:

  1. Give SMS subscribers VIP access
  2. Opt-in SMS subscribers with a magic keyword
  3. Run a contest or giveaway via SMS
  4. Promote SMS opt-in across social media
  5. Use a website pop-up to invite SMS opt-ins
  6. Convert email subscribers to SMS subscribers
  7. Invite Facebook Page fans to get SMS updates
  8. Run Facebook Ads powered by a chatbot with automatic SMS opt-in
  9. Promote SMS opt-in on signs, posters, business cards and more
  10. Convert web chat leads to SMS subscribers
  11. Keep SMS messages short and clear
  12. Segment SMS audiences by interest
  13. Jump into convos live when a personal touch is needed
  14. Track SMS campaign performance metrics and optimize
  15. Choose the right SMS marketing platform

Let’s dig into each SMS-subscriber-growth strategy and the tools a business can use to execute them.

1. Give SMS subscribers VIP access

Successful brands are authentic, transparent, and — sorry, I have to say it — provide a ton of value to customers.

This is certainly true in SMS marketing.

In order for receiving your SMS updates to make sense to your customers, there has to be awesome in it for them.

sms subscribers red carpet treatment

Some ways to offer red carpet value that translate to how to get more SMS subscribers include:

  • Giving them VIP treatment 
  • Sending early access to sales
  • Sending rewards and special offers
  • Giving exclusive behind-the-scenes looks
  • Being instantly available to them

Remember, SMS subscribers are giving you one of their most intimate levels of access: their personal mobile phone number.

So you should expect to give them the same.

Be clear about the exclusive value of SMS updates and you will attract high-quality contacts to your text message marketing contacts.

You’ll find that your SMS subscribers are your most engaged leads and customers, people who want to have a personal connection with your business.

2. Opt-in SMS subscribers with a magic keyword

The normal call to action is to sign up for email updates in exchange for a discount code for your first order, or a free consultation, or a free download. 

But the norm has gotten old.

SMS marketing has a better opt-in mechanism called the keyword opt-in.

“Text ‘MAGIC’ to (YOUR PHONE NUMBER HERE) to join the VIP list for exclusive first access.”

I know. The chills.

how to get more sms subscribers with with keyword opt in

To create a magic SMS keyword for your own business, use the keyword opt-in tool, one of your new favorite SMS marketing tools.

3. Run a contest or giveaway via SMS

Running a short-term contest is one of those growth hacking strategies you find on everyone’s list of how to get more SMS subscribers.

They work! But they can’t run forever.

Consider a contest or giveaway something you can do every year to every quarter, attached to holidays, anniversaries and special occasions. 

In the case of how to get more SMS subscribers, folks enter by texting the magic keyword to your SMS phone number or short code.

Keep in mind these tips for contests and giveaways that generate the most leads:

  • Create urgency 
  • Use a partner to cross-promote
  • Have a low bar to entry
  • Don’t forget a really sweet prize

Build in urgency, leverage partner networks and make the process for entry very simple to generate a spike in the size of your SMS subscriber list. 

4. Promote your SMS updates across social media

Cross-promotion is the name of the game when launching new channels and promoting multiple touch points with customers.

Use your social media content including video intros, blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram marketing and more to promote the SMS subscriber updates.

5. Use a pop-up on your website to invite SMS opt-ins

I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that you have pop-ups on your website.

Consider updating your pop-up offer with an SMS opt-in invitation.

how to get more sms subscribers with website popups

When properly timed and with a valuable incentive offer, website pop-ups can go to work for you, generating new SMS subscribers.

6. Convert your email list to SMS subscribers

SMS messages average +90% open rates and +30% response rates.

How’s that compare to your email marketing engagement rates?

Thought so.

Send an email marketing campaign promoting the advantages of VIP SMS updates. Point email subscribers to magic keyword opt-in.

how to get more sms subscribers from email subscribers

You can also add SMS opt-in as a CTA in email signatures across the company.

7. Invite Facebook Page fans to get SMS updates

Cross-promoting any initiative or offer across social media channels is a no brainer.

But there’s something extra special about a Facebook Page that allows a business to generate leads or SMS subscribers.

That’s a free Facebook Messenger bot.

Facebook Messenger bots can be connected to a Facebook Page via the Send Message call to action button. 

When you connect the call-to-action Send Message button from a Facebook Page to a Messenger bot, you can add an SMS opt-in widget that creates a new SMS contact from people chatting with your Facebook page.

how to get more sms subscribers from facebook fans

Learn all about how to get more leads from Facebook for free on Facebook with the Page Welcomer in this video tutorial.

Learn about how to build a Facebook Messenger bot while you’re at it.

8. Run Facebook Ads to a bot with automatic SMS opt-in 

Facebook’s ecosystem is rich with opportunity for reaching a target audience.

The Facebook Ads system, in particular, connects to users across many of today’s most popular online platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Marketplace, and Facebook Audience Network for mobile advertising, 

Marketers find the cost per lead acquisition (CPA) on the Facebook network to be among the lowest of all ad networks.

But there’s a way to ensure even lower CPA with Facebook Ads using the Facebook click-to-Messenger ad.

Facebook click-to-Messenger ads send ad audiences to the Facebook Messenger chat app rather than a website landing page.

What you can do with Facebook Messenger as the ad landing page is set up a bot that has an interactive conversation with the ad audience.

And what’s really cool, is you can ask people to sign up for SMS updates in a very low friction way.

Facebook has a phone number on file for most of its users.

Because Facebook has that phone number on file, a Messenger bot can ask a lead for a phone number and automatically populate that phone number in a quick reply button.

how to get more sms subscribers from facebook ads

This reduces the effort required to submit a phone number and sign up for SMS updates.

Just add a quick question with phone number opt-in widget to any Facebook bot conversation flow from a Facebook Ad.

sms opt in chatbot widget

9. Promote SMS opt-in on signs, posters, business cards and more

Location, location, location applies to marketing promotions.

Use all your prime real estate, from events to brick-and-mortar stores and offices to promote a campaign to get more SMS subscribers.

how to get more sms subscribers from in-store signs

When it comes to generating SMS subscribers from a physical location or in-person meeting make sure to:

  • Put the value of subscribing to SMS updates front-and-center
  • Incentivize SMS opt-in with a prize, discount or rewards
  • Use a magic keyword to make subscribing easy
  • Be super clear about what the customer can expect in SMS updates, from types of messages to frequency
  • Promise and deliver loads of value from subscribing to the text message VIP club

10. Convert web chat leads to SMS subscribers

Turn your website into a lead generation machine by turning web chat into an automated path to SMS subscription.

Web chat has been shown to increase average order value, increase conversions, build loyalty among customers.

When customers can get in touch with a business to receive real-time answers to their questions, the business can reduce bottlenecks to conversion.

This leads to higher customer satisfaction. 

And web chat is a convenient way for your customers to get in touch with you.

Did you know that someone that chats on your website is 10X more likely to convert?

Web chat engagement is not something to overlook.

And you can generate SMS subscribers from web chat using a bot and an opt-in widget.

Here’s what that SMS opt-in widget looks like in web chat to a visitor on your site:

how to get more sms subscribers from web chat

And here’s what that setup looks like when you’re creating the SMS opt-in web chat flow in a chat marketing platform like MobileMonkey.

web chat sms opt in widget

11. Keep SMS messages short and clear

Text message marketing messages are generally shorter than other messaging channels. 

Consider the way you send text messages — usually only a line or 3 mobile phone widths per message.

Match the native preferences of the SMS message by keeping messages on the short side with a very clear call to action.

You may want to use an image to communicate, as well as a link to learn more or visit a more detailed offer page.

It’s also a must to be really clera to subscribers about what to expect.

Rules for SMS marketing in the U.S. requires:

  • Providing a link to Terms and Conditions
  • Setting expectations about how often the audience gets SMS updates
  • Making opt-out easy

SMS performance increases with clear expectations of the types of messages the audience will receive. 

This in turn will create fewer unsubscribers to your SMS marketing list, which in turn, grows your SMS subscribers faster.

12. Segment SMS audiences by interest

Executing any marketing growth strategy results in unsubscribes, there’s no avoiding it.

And unsubscribes are not a bad thing, themselves. 

Unsubscribes ensure that people get the messages that matter to them and marketers reach leads and customers who are highly engaged.

But it’s also important for marketers to recognize that not everyone on a list is interested in the same thing. Not everyone is at the same point of their customer journey.

It’s important to segment marketing audiences by meaningful criteria so that messaging can be very relevant and very valuable. And, as a result, very effective.

Learn how to segment an audience for SMS campaigns in our chat marketing video tutorial. 

13. Jump into convos live when a personal touch is needed

I’m subscribed to SMS updates from an online jeweler who sends me updates on new product lines.

One day I received a message about some amethyst jewelry and that message called me an Aquarius.

Knowing full well that this SMS message was automated, I decided to reply to see what would happen. 

What happened delighted me.

sms marketing live chat takeover

It turns out that I wasn’t talking into the void of a faceless SMS inbox.

The team at Aurate had live people jump in to respond to subscribers when a real human response was appropriate.

How did they do it?

With an SMS marketing feature called live operator takeover.

Does live operator takeover mean that someone has to be sitting in front of their computer all day long waiting for messages to come in that need a reply?

Thankfully, we have automated lead alerts to let us know when someone needs to talk.

Using chat marketing mobile app alerts or browser notifications or email alerts and a unified multi-channel chatbot inbox, a business can effectively manage all customer communications happening across messaging apps.

Customers who feel valued and listened to are infinitely more likely to stay subscribed.

14. Track SMS campaign performance metrics and optimize

Every activity in business requires analysis and optimization.

Reviewing performance metrics leads to a better understanding of what customers need and how well the business is servicing those needs.

SMS marketing that indicate performance include:

  • SMS subscriber list growth
  • Unsubscribe rates over time and by campaign
  • Read rate and response rate
  • Offer redemption rate 

View SMS campaign metrics using chatbot analytics to have the data required to make actionable decisions and optimizations. 

15. Choose the right SMS marketing platform

There are so many strategies and tools that an SMS marketer will rely on to make sure they deliver value to the customers trusting them to send updates to their text message app.

The growth-minded marketer will need an SMS platform that performs at the highest level when it comes to:

  • Lead growth tools like magic keyword opt-ins and multi-channel opt-ins
  • Visual conversation flow builders that require little time to set up or investment to understand
  • A dedicated phone number to send and receive SMS messages
  • A powerful SMS blaster to send automated messages
  • Sophisticated audience segmentation tools
  • Chat marketing analytics tools and visual reports that support testing and performance optimization
  • A manageable inbox with advanced features for customer service teams
  • Convenient mobile apps to see and respond to all conversations when on the go
  • Flexible options for live chat takeover with smart notifications for follow-up
  • Connections to other business applications to send and update contact databases, including integrations with CRMs, shopping cart systems and more

MobileMonkey has developed a complete SMS marketing platform that supports businesses in lead generation, engagement, and customer support.

Take a look at all the tools in MobileMonkey’s multi-channel chatbot platform by getting started with MobileMonkey for free.

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