It’s an established fact that SMS marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with customers. But that doesn’t mean that you can just shoot off some texts and expect to see the amazing results so many businesses talk about. Like any form of marketing, SMS lists have to be cultivated and grown.

There are more than a dozen easy ways to grow your SMS marketing list, including hosting a competition and using website data capture. When implemented correctly, these methods are guaranteed to grow your SMS list and increase subscriber open rates, engagement, and conversion, among other benefits.

Keep reading to learn 15 easy ways to expand your SMS distribution lists.

Growing Your SMS Marketing List & Why It Matters

SMS marketing lists are comprised of subscribers who have opted-in to receive marketing and communication messages from a specific company. These text messages may be about promotions, surveys, notifications, reminders— SMS is suited for nearly every type of communication.

In fact, it’s the preferred method for marketing, mass or bulk texting, A2P communication, short code communication, and time-sensitive communication.

There are a variety of benefits to SMS marketing that are equally accessible to both large and small companies across industries. Besides boasting a 98% open rate and similarly phenomenal response and engagement rates, other benefits include:

  • Reaching over 75% of the population
  • Utilizing a non-intrusive, concise communication medium
  • Implementing targeted outreach and user customization

These benefits are just a few reasons why SMS is the most preferred method of communication. In order to continuously and increasingly reap these benefits, it’s important for business to stay on top of growing and maintaining their SMS marketing lists. As your text subscriptions grow, you’ll see a direct link to increased consumer engagement, conversions, and profits.

(Want to learn more about SMS campaigns and marketing? We’ve covered what it is, why you should use it, and how you can profit from it.)

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1 – Host A Competition

One of the easiest ways to grow your text message lists is to host a competition with a prize valuable enough to tempt new subscribers. Social media is often the most effective promotion channel, but make sure to utilize other marketing mediums such as your website and email campaigns.

2 – Create A VIP Club

Another easy way to attract new SMS list subscribers is to promote membership in a VIP club or program. Include a special offer for new members. Then, send your members discounts and other incentives. This has the dual benefit of building your text list and creating a stronger subscriber base.

3 – Promote Via Social Media

Social media is good for more than just promoting your competitions and VIP clubs: it’s also a great way to increase your text subscribers. Every follower you have is a potential subscriber— and the same is true for everyone your followers can reach. Social media creates an easily accessible network of users that, if tapped into, could instantly boost your SMS lists.

4 – Include SMS Options On Forms

If users can make a purchase or schedule any kind of appointment on your website, then you have an opportunity to grow your text message list. Chances are, you have a mobile number field on these forms that users can fill out as a form of communication. Right under that field, offer users the option to receive SMS messages and stay apprised of their purchase, appointment, etc.

5 – Use Website Data Capture

You can also use your website traffic to grow your text messaging lists. Ask customers to enter their phone number in exchange for an incentive, such as an exclusive deal, either as they’re browsing your website or during checkout. Many websites already do this for their email subscription lists.

6 – Combine SMS And Email Campaigns

Speaking of email campaigns, you can use this medium to promote your SMS lists. Encourage current subscribers to also sign up to receive SMS notifications— to stay up to date in real time, receive even better rewards, or take advantage of an offer outlined in the email. Combining text and email campaigns means you have the opportunity to strengthen both.

7 – Hand Out Business Cards & Flyers

If your customer base is more receptive to traditional marketing methods, such as business cards and flyers, then take advantage of that medium as well. Include information on your text message sign up list, instructions on how customers can opt-in, and what advantages subscribers gain.

8 – Plug During Presentations

Every time you give a presentation is a chance to plug your text list and grow your SMS subscribers. Whether you’re presenting at a conference, job fair, industry event, or other occasion, start including your SMS list in your closing credits. Encourage audience members to opt-in by offering incentives like staying up to date on the company or receiving the slides from the presentation.

9 – Take Advantage Of Events

Besides plugging your text marketing list during presentations, take advantage of every live event you attend. Whether it’s before, during, or after the event, make sure attendees know how to opt-in to receive your SMS messages. Even more important, make sure they know the advantages of doing so. Open houses, grand openings, and flash sales are just three examples of events you can use to promote your text list.

10 – Use Your List To Grow Your List

You worked hard to grow your SMS distribution list— now let it work for you. Offer subscribers special incentives if they get their friends and family to sign up. For example, a user can refer their friend, who will a 20% off discount, and in return receive 50% off.

11 – Offer Different Languages

If your SMS lists are only in English, then you’ll (somewhat obviously) only get English-speaking subscribers. But if you allow users to opt-in to messages in different languages, such as Spanish or Chinese, then you’ll attract a wider variety of audiences.

12 – Let Customers Give Feedback

Instead of just using your SMS lists to send discounts and deals, use it as a medium for feedback. Tell customers that they can sign up for your text message list, send in their feedback (positive or negative), and receive an exclusive offer. This not only encourages customer engagement, but is also more likely to result in positive feedback.

13 – Give Customers A Choice

While we’re on the topic of putting the power in the customer’s hands, you can also grow your text subscriptions by offering SMS as just one of several contact methods. Let customers choose between receiving updates, reminders, etc. via a phone call, email, or SMS. More than likely, they’ll choose SMS.

14 – Advertise In Your Store

If you have a physical location, you can easily advertise your text list throughout the store. Strategically place information on your list, how customers can sign up, and what they’ll receive in return. The entrances, exits, and checkouts are all premium spots.

15 – Treat Your Subscribers Well

One of the best ways (perhaps even the best way) to grow your subscription list is by treating your current subscribers well. If they’re consistently receiving value from your SMS messages, whether it’s in the form of information or exclusive offers, then they’re likely to refer friends and family by word of mouth.

Want more ideas? Check out our other post for more ways to connect with your customers.

Rules For Growing Your SMS List

While growing your SMS list should be a priority for every business, an equally important priority is making sure your marketing and communication strategies follow all federal rules and regulations. More specifically, they should be compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Originally enacted in 1991 to address telemarking and robocalls, the Act has since been expanded to include SMS and text communication. There are three primary rules that companies have to follow:

  1. Consumers have to opt-in (i.e., consent) to your SMS list and confirm they want to receive your messages before you start sending them the messages
  2. You can’t use an “established business relationship” to avoid getting this consent
  3. You have to provide an “automated, interactive opt-out mechanism” so that users can easily unsubscribe from your SMS marketing list, if they so choose

As long as you follow these three rules, you’re golden as far as the TCPA is concerned. (We’ve also compiled quick guides on SMS short code rules and SMS long code rules, in case you’re curious.)