How to Grow Your SMS Marketing List
If you don’t have an SMS marketing program, today is the day to get started. SMS is where you need to be. And whether your interest comes from learning 98% of SMS marketing messages get opened and you want to dive into the marketing channel or you’ve already started and looking for ways to grow your SMS marketing list, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’re covering TCPA compliance, best practices, and 8 ways to grow your SMS marketing list.
Why You Should Grow Your SMS Marketing List
Your SMS marketing list is the foundation of your text message marketing program. Without a solid list, your messages aren’t going to convert. Unfortunately, like most great things in life, it takes time to build an organic list. Trying to shortcut the process by buying a list will garnish lackluster results and could get you in hot water for sending unsolicited messages.
We talk about the importance of first-party data a lot around here, and we’re never going to stop — because it’s one of your biggest assets. SMS texting marketing is an owned marketing channel. Once you build your list, you own it forever. Third parties such as social media or ad networks can’t restrict access to your audience through an owned channel.
The Open Rates are Insane
You all, there isn’t another channel where you are going to see 98% of people opening a marketing message. It just doesn’t happen. If you continually offer value, subscribers will keep opening them (more on that below). SMS text message marketing offers you a direct line of communication to your customers, much like email does, but with higher open rates.
If a customer signs up to receive text messages from your brand, they’re giving you access to a spot on their phone where they build personal relationships and communicate with those closest to them. Your messages are going to show up next to messages from friends and family. Signing up for your list shows that they want to build a relationship with you as well. One caveat here though is if you are going to be showing up next to messages from a person’s mom, you have to bring value to keep that privilege. Klaviyo provides a good barometer for this, if your unsubscribe rate is 2.2% or above, it’s time to reassess what you’re sending.
Best Practice for Growing Your SMS Subscribers
You Have to Have Permission
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) applies to SMS marketing text messages and makes it illegal to contact a customer without their consent. The best way to do this is through an opt-in process. You can ask customer to opt-in on your website or other online channels but you should ask them to opt in when you send the first message. If they don’t opt in on the first text message, don’t text them again. This is a good method if you already have customer’s phone numbers but not consent to text.
Provide an Opt-Out
TCPA also requires that every message provides a way for subscribers to opt out of your marketing messages. This is usually as simple as a line stating “to stop receiving these messages, reply STOP”.
Offer an Incentive
Like we stated above, you are going to showing up next to messages from a person’s family and friends. If they are going to give you their phone number, it had better be for something good. Entice them to sign up with an offer they can’t refuse.
Chances are, your subscribers have not saved your contact information in their phone. Tell your subscribers who you are in each message.
Send at the Right Time
To be TCPA compliant, SMS text marketing messages must be sent between 8am and 9pm in a customer’s local time zone. A quick Google search will tell you late morning on Saturdays is the best time to send messages for engagement, but think through your ideal customer’s life and when the best time for them to receive a text from you would be.
Keep it Short
SMS marketing text messages have a cap of 160 characters. That’s not a lot of room to provide value, so your messaging is going to have to be on point.
8 Ways to Grow Your SMS Marketing List.
1) Exclusive Deals and Discounts
Like we stated above, to get people to sign up you need to offer something they can’t refuse. One way to do this is to provide deals and discounts they can only get by being subscribed to your SMS marketing messages. If subscribers can get the deals you are offering elsewhere theta re probably not going to sign up or stay subscribed once they are. There is nothing worse than receiving the exact same message in an email right after you receive a text message. Keep it exclusive.
2) Use RAEK
If you know RAEK, you know that we build first-party data contact profiles on your website visitors. The profiles often include phone numbers, so our clients use them to grow their SMS lists as well as their email lists. To remain TCPA compliant, you’ll want to follow the opt-in process outlined above, and ask visitors to opt in by responding to the first message.
3) Signup Form or Popup on Your Website
Often the simplest way to get people to give you their phone number is by making it known that you have an SMS marketing list by embedding a form into the header or footer of your website. You can also embed form into blog posts or on product pages. Popups asking for their phone number and relaying the benefits of providing it also perform well.
Word of advice on popups, you don’t want too many, i.e. you don’t want multiple popups asking for email and phone. Stick to one popup and decide what is most valuable to you, the phone number or the email address, and stick to that. Alternatively, you can ask for both on a single form and only make one of them required.
4) Convert Your Email List
If you already have current subscribers on an email list, leverage that. Send out an invite to your email list asking if they would like to receive exclusive offers through text messages. Loyal fans of your brand will want to know what you’re offering through the channel and sign up. When you offer exclusive discounts and specials, FOMO kicks in. No one wants to miss out.
5) Run a Contest
Run a contest or giveaway and require entrants to subscribe to SMS messages. This will garner you a lot of signups, but keep in mind that the quality of the signups will be lower quality and may be less engaged or unsubscribe quickly. Some people just want to win a giveaway and don’t have any intention of interacting with your brand further. Look at the numbers after the giveaway and subsequent unsubscribes to see if it was an overall success.
6) Convert Your Social Media Subscribers
Much like your email list, if you have people following you on social media, you’re not starting your list from scratch. Your audience is open to connecting with you through other channels. Ask them to sign up for your SMS list.
7) Offer a Bonus at Checkout
Customers are already entering their information while checking out. Offer free shipping or a coupon code at checkout if they subscribe to SMS messages. Many will do it.
8) Offer a Loyalty Program Incentive
If your business has a loyalty program that rewards customers with points for shopping, birthdays, or social shares, you can offer them points for signing up for your SMS list as well. For brands that offer loyalty programs and SMS marketing messages, over 63% of loyalty members are SMS message subscribers. Loyalty updates are some of their favorite messages to receive.
Start Using Your List
Hopefully we’ve given you a few new ideas for growing your SMS list, now go use it!
A few things to keep in mind as you start marketing through text message. Look at the big picture. Conversions are not the only metric to keep in mind. SMS messaging is a two-way channel allowing you to build relationships, answer questions, and converse with your customers. Customers may reply to a text to ask about sizing or pricing, and it often leads to conversions in other places.
Ready to get started? Start building first-party data on your website visitors with RAEK for free today and exponentially grow your subscriber list.
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