5 Ways to build your SMS List

5 Ways to build your SMS List
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It’s 2024. Everybody knows you have to build your SMS list in tandem with your email database.

Rather than adopting an “either/or” approach as some have suggested, in this article, we’re going to look for creative ways to collect SMS after you’ve collected email consent.

Why do I propose this?

Simple: customers will voluntarily hand over their email address all day, but are often more reluctant to opt-in for SMS to receive communications from a brand.

Therefore, I recommend focusing on building your email list first, and SMS second. I don’t see this approach changing in the foreseeable future.

You should never restrict your email list growth at the expense of trying to capture more SMS opt-ins. If you do it intelligently, you can get both.

I’ve called on some bright minds in this article to show you how to rapidly build your SMS list.

Strategy 1: Ask your existing subscribers to opt-in to SMS

The fastest way to start collecting phone numbers is from your existing subscribers.

They already trust you and receive communications regularly from you.

The easiest way to do this is by sending your customers an email campaign asking them to subscribe to your list by driving them to a landing page and collecting consent.

Here’s an example of this in action with one of our clients:

5 Ways to build your SMS List | Magnet Monster

When they click through the email, they land on this page:

5 Ways to build your SMS List | Magnet Monster

When the customer opts-in, it does, of course, trigger a subsequent flow that texts them the coupon.

Do you need an incentive, such as a coupon?

It doesn’t hurt, and may possibly generate more sales.

But you don’t have to offer discounts - you can tie exclusivity around joining a ‘club’ or VIP list, or simply ask people to subscribe for valuable deals.

Test it and see what converts best.

Strategy 2: Target Existing Subscribers with an SMS Subscription Form

Another way to get existing subscribers who opt in to SMS is to target them when they return to visit your website.

Here’s an example of the rules around the signup form along with the behavioural parameters you can set:

5 Ways to build your SMS List | Magnet Monster

This will allow you to only target people already subscribed to your database.

Again, test the incentive: we have found building exclusivity into the signup form around big sales and new product releases can convert equally as well (if not better) than standard signup forms.

Navin Jain, a senior SMS expert at Klaviyo echos these sentiments:

“If you have the margins then offering a discount to collect SMS consent is great, but if you don't, offer exclusivity such as early access to future promotions/product launches.”

Strategy 3: Create a 2-Step Signup Form

Now it’s time to fine-tune our signup forms for new customers and modify what we already have.

This should be a simple transition to adding a second form field to ask customers to opt-in to SMS after submitting their email.

Here’s an example of a 2-step signup form we created for Duradry:

5 Ways to build your SMS List | Magnet Monster

5 Ways to build your SMS List | Magnet Monster

You also have the two-tap opt-in option made famous by SMS software platform Attentive that works like below:

5 Ways to build your SMS List | Magnet Monster

Optimising for collecting consent from first-time visitors in your website is arguably the fastest way to build your subscriber list.

Strategy 4: Collect SMS Consent at Checkout

For those you don’t collect through signup forms, you get a second chance: to capture them at checkout.

Ever since Klaviyo released this seamless integration with most of its eCommerce platforms, it’s been a gamechanger for our clients:

5 Ways to build your SMS List | Magnet Monster

You’ll add dozens or even potentially hundreds of SMS subscribers per day if your store has enough traffic just by implementing this simple addition to your checkout flow.

Strategy 5: Create Click-to-Text Email Banners

I’m going to be brutally honest about this strategy: it looks incredible, but in all of our testing, it’s nowhere near as effective as the other strategies on this list for collecting SMS consent.

Here’s what click-to-text email banners look like:

5 Ways to build your SMS List | Magnet Monster

Pretty cool, right?

The best way to implement these is by embedding them as a permanent fixture in your email template.

Make sure to configure mobile-specific blocks so that the rendering on the design isn’t adversely affected and that desktop users don’t end up confused

SMS collection strategies from the experts

One of our senior CRM strategists, Hagai Bass also shared this advice:

“We have had good results adding banners into post-purchase flows or campaigns, encouraging people to click through to landing pages and opting in.”

Blake Imperl, who leads Partnerships & Community at Attentive, shared some fantastic advice as well to encourage participation in your SMS program:

“Set day-1 expectations that your SMS channel is conversational, starting at your highest touch point, your welcome series. Inserting a simple "text me if you have any questions" goes a long way in communicating that your SMS channel is truly a resource for things beyond promotions. You can easily set this up with a customer service integration with your SMS platform.”

Blake continued to share some great knowledge bombs with us on using conversational automations to encourage participation and showcase the value of your SMS program:

“Leverage 2-Way Conversational Automations to handle buying objections and close more sales. For example, asking on your abandoned cart what stopped them from purchasing today, and then based on their response having messaging to handle objections and provide value instead of just hitting them with a generic reminder. This contributes to a better customer experience.”

Our concluding thoughts on building your SMS list, based on these experts is:

  • Make collecting consent a priority for your omnichannel strategy and visible in as many places as possible
  • Deliver value on the channel to encourage participation
  • Experiment with incentives and exclusivity for list growth

That’s a wrap!

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