mGage Blog

How to Get More SMS Subscribers

Many companies have invested resources into growing their email subscriber list as part of their email marketing strategy.  As companies consider sending marketing text messages they may consider their lack of mobile subscribers a huge barrier to entry. If you’re wondering how to get more SMS subscribers, it may not be as difficult as you think.

Text messaging is deserving of just as much (if not more) of your time and effort as email. If you’re like most brands, less than 18% of your emails are actually opened[1]. You may have accumulated an extensive database of email addresses, but it’s worth considering how many people are opening and engaging with your emails. Comparatively, 98% of all text messages are opened, and 95% of SMS messages are responded to within 3 minutes of being delivered[2].

Strategies for Growing SMS Subscribers

Growing your SMS subscriber list is all about executing multiple strategies and touchpoints to encourage fans of your brand to opt-in. The more ways you can promote SMS, the faster your list will grow. Once you make promoting SMS part of your overall marketing strategy, your list will likely grow very quickly as you reach more people across multiple channels.

1.  Promote SMS across channels
Cross-channel promotion is one of the best ways to let people who already engage with your brand know that they can also hear from you via text message. When someone leaves a comment on social media or sends an email to customer service, take the opportunity to promote SMS.
2. Include an SMS CTA in all marketing assets
When you’re trying to get more SMS subscribers, it’s important to take advantage of all your existing real estate. This includes your website and email footers, downloadable content, and even product packaging. Any asset owned by your brand is a place to engage more customers with texting.
3. Give an exclusive offer
Marketers know that consumers are enticed by exclusivity, and SMS is no different. Offering a special SMS-only loyalty club or discount is a great way to get more SMS subscribers quickly.
4. Create website pop-ups
Website pop-ups are often used to grow email subscriber lists, but they can work just as well for increasing SMS opt-ins. Try setting up a pop-up triggered on exit intent to re-engage customers who are about to leave your website.
5. Encourage sharing with friends and family
Text messaging is one of the most popular ways to reach friends and family. Try encouraging current subscribers to share a special offer with a friend over text. Don’t forget to include a reward for them, too!

Looking for more ideas? Check out our other blog for five more ways to grow your SMS subscriber list.

Best Practices for Growing SMS Subscriber List

There are a few best practices for growing your SMS subscriber list you should always follow, regardless of the strategy or channel you’re using. These best practices prevent losing subscribers (called “opting out”).

  1. Test, measure, and learn. Keep track of how your SMS list is growing, the sources new subscribers are coming from, and opt-out rates. Opt-out rates should be below 2%. If a campaign causes a spike in opt-outs, analyze it to understand what went wrong.
  2. Keywords are key. Choose keywords that are memorable, short, and easy to spell, not words that are prone to typos or autocorrect.
  3. Be straightforward. People hesitate to give out their information when they aren’t sure exactly what they’re signing up for. So be upfront about the type and frequency of messages they can expect if they sign up to receive texts from your brand. It’s also important to make it easy to opt-out. 

If you follow these best practices, your SMS opt-out rate should remain very low.

Compliance Requirements for Growing SMS Subscribers

Text messaging is governed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and opt-in requirements have primarily been shaped by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Text messaging is a very protected channel, and all brands must comply with requirements.

The rules set forth by the TCPA can be loosely summarized into three best practices:

  1. Always get consent before sending texts.
    The TCPA requires written consent before texting a consumer. If the consumer texts your brand first (as in the case of a keyword campaign), consent has been given. However, if you’re collecting numbers via website forms or in-store, you may need to use a double opt-in process to confirm consent.
  2. Disclose the details.
    Consumers need to understand the nature of the texts they’ll receive, if there will be associated costs, any terms and conditions they agree to, how to opt-out, etc. Conveying all of this information in one SMS can be tricky, which is why it’s best to work with experts.

  3. Respect opt-outs.
    Opting out should be easy and straightforward. Once someone opts out, you must confirm they’ve been removed from the list and stop texting them.


This is a high-level overview of compliance requirements, but there are many details that can get complicated. A dedicated team of experts that understands your brand and campaigns should always be your primary resource on maintaining compliance. Compliance requirements evolve, and brands have to adjust accordingly. In fact, the Supreme Court recently issued a decision in Facebook v. Duguid that may impact the future of how the TCPA impacts text messaging.

Text messaging is a valuable channel for marketing and customer service, and it’s only becoming more popular for brands each year, and dedicating time and effort to building your SMS subscriber list is a worthwhile investment.

If you’re ready to start growing your opt-in list and launching campaigns, contact us today.


[1] Constant Contact

[2] Adobe

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