Types of SMS campaigns to send

How to Get People to Sign Up for SMS Marketing

In a previous WhatCounts blog post titled 10 SMS Marketing FAQs Everyone Should Know, a lot of the basics of SMS marketing were covered from a high-level. 

We live in a mobile world where it seems almost everyone has a smartphone and uses it constantly. With such a captive audience, SMS marketing is highly effective and a great way to get your brand in front of prospects and customers. In fact, 90% of mobile users read a text message within 3 minutes of receiving it and 76% say they will read an SMS message sooner than an email.

Before you can start sending SMS campaigns, you have to grow your list. There are many ways to go about doing this, but before you start growing your list, you need to ensure you are in compliance with TCPA guidelines. These guidelines stipulate that you must:

  • Receive consent before any messages can be sent
  • Mention your company name
  • Give the coupon or value proposition
  • Mention the frequency of messages that will be sent monthly
  • Disclose possible carrier costs and fees
  • Give an option to ask for help and opt out of future texts

Now, to start growing your SMS list. We’ll cover many ideas of ways to increase your SMS contacts including:

  • Onsite opt-in
  • Site entry pop-up
  • Email
  • Contests
  • Social Media
  • Web Ads
  • Offline Ideas 

Onsite Opt-In

Just like with capturing email opt-ins, your website is the first place you should add an SMS opt-in callout. This can be part of your regular email sign-up form, or it can be a separate form just for text opt-ins.

Only ask for information you really need on the opt-in form.

Studies have found that:

  • Increasing the number of input fields just from 3 to 6 will decrease conversion rates by 66%
  • Every extra field on a form reduces opt-ins by 11% or more

Site Entry Pop-Up:

Including a pop-up on your site is a great way to grow your list. Including clear reasons why to opt-in are a must and if you can include an offer that’s great.

Be sure to include an obvious way to “X” out or close the pop-up in case someone doesn’t want to sign up. That will eliminate frustration and allow them to continue to browse your site easily.

Magnolia’s mobile site displays a pop-over that invites you to sign up for texts and offers a 15% off incentive that will be texted to the person upon opt-in.

Once you click to sign up, a text is pre-populated with verbiage to opt-in. All you have to do is send the text.


Once you send the text, you immediately receive a confirmation that your submission was successful, followed up with the first offer. This is a really easy way to sign up for SMS campaigns and will likely be one of the fastest ways you’d grow your list.




Email is another great way to grow your text opt-in list.

Since you likely have an existing database of email subscribers, send the entire database an email message that lets them know about your new SMS program and invite them to join.

In addition to sending a dedicated email asking for an opt-in to your SMS program, you can also incorporate banner callouts into regular email campaigns.


A fast way to build your SMS list is to run a contest. You can have people fill out a webform to enter, or better yet, have them text in your mobile keyword to join the contest.

As with growing an email list via a contest, you will likely have some people who join only for the contest period and then opt-out after the contest is over.

You should place contest contacts in a separate group to track their engagement over time.

Social Media:

The popularity of social media presents a great opportunity for SMS list building.

You can ask people to join your SMS program on social by including your keyword on your social posts.

Allow your contacts to share your SMS program on Facebook to encourage their friends to opt-into your SMS program as well.

Additionally, you can use web widgets to invite people to opt-in to your text messaging directly from your social sites.

In addition to social sites, click-to-join widgets can be used and should be visible on most pages of your website.


Web Ads:

Running banner ads that ask for the opt-in across different sites is a great way to grow your SMS list.

Since folks are searching the web on their mobile devices, this is a great way to catch their attention while they are online.

Offline Ideas:

In addition to growing your list online, there are many ways to grow your SMS contacts via offline methods as well.

Some ideas to consider include:

  • Posters
  • Postcards
  • Direct mail
  • Offline media
  • Radio
  • TV spots
  • Events
    • Tradeshow signs and displays
    • Sponsored events/parties
    • Conferences
  • Call center/Field reps
    • Have them ask for the opt-in while helping/speaking with the customer


Conclusion: Opportunities are Everywhere

As you can see, there are many opportunities and outlets to ask your contacts to opt-in to your SMS campaigns. Choose the ones that make the most sense for you and begin growing your SMS subscribers today. Just be sure that you are ready to follow up with those contacts right away with SMS campaigns.

Have questions about any of these ideas? Our experienced strategy team has helped hundreds of clients implement them, and they’d be happy to help you, too! Just reach out.

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