With a whopping 98 percent open rate and as high as a 9.1 percent conversion rate, SMS has proven to be the most credible marketing channel in recent times.
However, it is noteworthy that SMS is a permission-based marketing channel. It implies that you can only send text messages to customers who have explicitly opted-in to receive transactional and promotional messages from you.
Therefore, to reap the benefits of SMS marketing, building the list of SMS subscribers is one of the most critical steps in proceeding with the marketing strategy. Studies have identified SMS marketing opt-in rates by advertising channels. While social media has an average opt-in rate of 0.7% to 2.9%, the website generates an average opt-in rate of 0.7% to 1.4%, television generates 1% to 2.4%, email generates 1.6% to 10.5% and in-store marketing generates 2.3% to 3.2% opt-in rates.
Let us dive into some strategies that can help you grow your subscriber list for an efficient SMS marketing campaign.
#1. Entice With VIP Treatment
Incentivize your customers by offering rewards and special offers on joining your SMS club. Ensure your SMS subscribers get the red carpet value by providing instant responses and exclusive deals for building lifelong rapport with your customers.
You can also entice your customers with non-promotional offers in return for subscribing to your SMS club. The non-promotional offers may include free shipping, exclusive or early access to sales, product launches or recommendations, tips & tricks, and more.
#2. Opt-In Using Keyword
In the SMS Marketing language, a keyword is a word or phrase that your customers will text to either your phone number or SMS short-code to join your SMS club. Choose a keyword that is both creative and memorable. The keyword should align with your brand's overall marketing strategy, and the potential subscribers should be able to relate to your brand or product. The method is simple and saves your customers from the hassle of filling up online or paper forms with loads of information. Invite your customers to text you the magic keyword and even offer them a deal or a promotion for texting.
A pizza chain executed a keyword campaign to grow their SMS subscriber list under which they offered free pizza to the first 100,000 people who texted "FREEPIZZA" to their short-code. Campaigns like this can become an outright hit and also help you gain thousands of new SMS subscribers.
#3. Promotion across Social Media
Leverage your presence on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and more and promote SMS subscriber updates in all sorts of content including, videos, blog posts, articles, etc. You can also direct opt-in call to action in the posted contents to reach your customer’s touchpoints.
You can use Instagram Story to load a pre-populated text message on your customer's mobile. With a single click, the customers can opt-in to your SMS program.
You can also connect the 'Send Message button' of a Facebook page to a Facebook Messenger bot that lets you add an SMS opt-in widget to create a new SMS contact from people chatting with your Facebook page.
#4. Contests and Giveaways
You can also hold contests and giveaways every once in a while. While conducting contests, you should have a low bar to entry, build urgency with messages like "limited-time offer" or "last chance" to ensure that the offered prize can make it to the winner’s social media accounts.
#5. Website Pop-ups
Consider advertising SMS subscriptions on your website. You may update your website with a pop-up or display it on the sidebar inviting customers to opt-in to SMS club. People can easily subscribe when they come to your site via their desktop or mobile device.
You can also trigger an exit-intent incentive on your website. It would be a final reminder to join your SMS club before they leave your website.
A referral is a win-win tactic for you as well as your existing subscribers. Ask existing subscribers for referral by offering an incentive for getting other people to sign up for your SMS club.
#7. Signup Option at Online Checkout
Add a simple check box during website checkout during an online purchase to keep the signing up procedure quick and easy for your customers. The less work your customers have to do, the more likely they are to sign up.
#8. Crisp and Clear Messaging
Do not forget to reassure your prospective subscribers that you will not sell their information to a third party and only use your contact information to send them exclusive discounts, offers, and updates. By keeping things transparent, you will build trust in your customers, grow your retention rate, and more customers will willingly refer you to their friends.
#9. In-Store Marketing
From offices to brick-and-mortar stores, leverage all your sites to promote your SMS opt-ins using old-school promotions like signs, posters, and business cards. You can pair incentives with this tactic as well. While people are in your store, offer them a discount or a free service on their next visit for opting-in during checkout.
People love giving feedback as it makes them feel heard and needed. You can have your customers fill a paper or online form asking for feedback along with explicit permission to opt-in. Do not forget to let your customers know how subscribing will add value and put them front and center.
#10. Use Influencers
You can reach targeted audiences by collaborating with influencers in your niche. Like many businesses, you can give a custom code to influencers to put out on their social media accounts. The customers text the same keyword and may avail of a discount or a premium deal using the custom code. The custom codes can further track revenue generated from them.
#11. Leverage Email Marketing
Email is another cost-effective marketing channel. Convert your email list to SMS subscribers by sending an email marketing campaign highlighting the perks of joining your SMS club. You can also add SMS opt-in as a call-to-action in the email signatures of all employees.
Retain the Existing Subscribers - Best Practices
While the above strategies will help you grow your SMS subscriber list for effective SMS campaigns, you should factor in your existing subscribers, as they are your warmest leads. We should not ignore that it is equally important to retain the existing subscriber list.
Compliance is the key
Based on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) guidelines for SMS marketing, you must have prior consent to send a promotional message. In addition to that, you can only contact via text between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the recipient's time zone.
It is noteworthy that your business will receive fewer complaints on sending appropriate marketing messages to customers and being compliant. It will also lead to higher customer satisfaction. Disregarding these regulations can lead to a loss of trust with customers.
While sending too many messages may irritate your customers, your customers may forget about you and the purpose of your messages if you send too few messages. In both scenarios, the customers may end up opting out of your SMS club. It is best to keep the frequency and intervals of your messages consistent for best results.
It should be of interest that customers have a 306 percent higher customer lifetime value if they feel they have a personalized relationship with a brand. Address your subscribers by their names and wish them on their birthdays and festivals to add value to the relationship.
In the case of two-way SMS, ensure that your response is prompt or reply with an automated message.
SMS is a powerful marketing tool, and building a loyal customer base in the form of SMS subscribers is the first step in implementing the strategy. Even if you already have a healthy number of SMS subscribers, there is always room to grow and improve it. The more subscribers you add, the more people you reach, and the higher will be your conversion rates.
It is also crucial that you leverage the best SMS marketing service provider. Otherwise, all the efforts that you put in to increase your SMS subscribers can go in vain. It is especially true in the case of eCommerce business operators. If you are an online store owner, choosing the best SMS marketing service becomes even more crucial as it is one of the best ways to recover your online store’s abandoned cart rates.
Talking about the best, Winback is the top-most SMS marketing platform for Shopify store owners. Using Winback’s services, you can recover up to 34% of your store’s abandoned cart rates, which makes Winback among the best in the industry. Also, you will receive an ROI of up to 35X on every dollar you spend on signing up for Winback’s plans.
Go ahead & contact us through the live chat option on our website or reach out to us through email to discuss how Winback can assist you in reducing your online store’s high abandoned cart rates. We hope that this guide gave you enough insights to gain more SMS subscribers. Visit our blog for more engaging & insightful articles.