Building an engaged subscriber list is critical to the growth and ongoing success of any Text Message Marketing program and with compliance rules to follow, a crowded retail landscape, and other digital channels to consider, it may seem challenging to prioritize where and how to position opt-in.

Remember that opt-in can occur throughout your customer journey, so you should set a goal to place subscription Calls to Action across owned channels that touch each stage for as broad a reach as possible. Be sure to monitor list growth trends and results throughout the year, like time to unsubscribe, where the most and least traffic is coming from, and how compelling your signup incentives are.

Be Compliant from The Start

There are rules and requirements around acquiring SMS subscribers before you even send them a text. All formal disclaimer language should be clear and present on your CTA creative, including links to full Mobile Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. Opt-in cannot be required or automatic, nor can it be bundled with opt-in for other programs. And, of course, your program should be fully vetted and approved by the wireless carriers to collect subscribers and send them messages.

Failure to follow the rules and requirements set by the FCC, TCPA, CTIA, and wireless carriers could result in audits, fines, suspension, or even termination of your Text Message Marketing program. So be mindful when planning your strategies, and always consult with your legal team for their guidance and final say. Here at Listrak, we take compliance seriously as sitting members of the CTIA, and are committed to keeping you updated on changes or news.

Two-Step Popups Lead the Charge

Popups continue to come out on top for the average SMS program, typically bringing in the highest volume of new subscribers. Paired with a compelling incentive, these acquisition strategies have some of the highest subscription rates. Email and SMS opt-in should ideally be positioned in a two-step flow to gather consent for both channels and tie activity together, and the popup itself should appear onsite upon entry as soon as possible (within the first 3 seconds). If a customer doesn’t want to opt-in, then pervasive Sticky Buttons on the subsequent pages of their session allow for additional opportunities, and an Exit Popup provides that last chance to take advantage of your signup offer.

Two-step popups can and should be mobile optimized for your website – You can collect phone numbers for SMS opt-in in the desktop experience and leverage Tap-To-Join functionality for the mobile version. This allows you to seamlessly collect opt-in from your subscriber in two clicks: One on the popup itself and two to hit send on the pre-populated keyphrase text message in their native messaging app. Include all proper disclosures in that pre-populated keyphrase, and you’ve got a new SMS subscriber ready to receive your text messages! Learn more about these compliance rules here:

Two Step Pop-Up
Two Step Pop-Up

A Checkbox at Checkout Has Power

There’s no more engaging stage of the customer journey than during checkout. Therein lies an opportunity to position SMS opt-in through a frictionless checkbox where you’re already collecting phone numbers to complete an order. Simply place a checkbox and compliance disclaimer language near the existing field with a CTA encouraging subscription. This is the ideal place to promote transactional text messaging to receive critical order updates via SMS, but also for marketing opt-in. Just have two checkboxes!

With explicit consent to subscribe to a compliance requirement, note that checkboxes should be unchecked by default so it’s clear that the end user wants to opt into your Text Message Marketing program. Some of the highest acquisition rates come from checkout experiences, so don’t worry about your checkbox or CTA going “unseen” if left unchecked. You can also put a phone number field and/or subscription keyword on your order confirmation page as additional options for an extra punch.

Checkout Page, Checkbox

Keywords In Email Are Efficient

Another opportunity that requires very little creative lift is cross-promoting SMS opt-in to your email subscribers within your daily marketing email templates! Like your evergreen content blocks for social sharing, contacting customer service, and Product Recommendations, you can include a CTA with a unique keyword for contacts to subscribe. This is a highly efficient use of coveted email space and also makes it easy for you, as the marketer, to understand where your SMS subscribers come from based on the differentiated keywords.

For your compliance disclaimer, make sure it’s near the CTA and uses a reasonable font color and point size.

Email Content Block

Social CTAs Expand Your Audience

In addition to taking advantage of existing engagement and cross-channel contacts from email, consider implementing a similar keyword CTA strategy across your social media networks to position SMS opt-in to your social followers. You can include keywords on native and paid posts, including unique keywords to measure the results of Influencer reach, and leverage Tap-To-Join functionality within Instagram Stories. But remember that these strategies should be pervasive and ongoing, so save any stories promoting opt-in to your Highlights, and fill your social media campaign calendar with posts throughout the year that position subscribing to your Text Message Marketing program. This is especially important to consider in the months leading up to your key buying season(s) – Your CTA to opt-in can even reference exclusive access to your best deals of the year and newest products (in addition to a compelling incentive).

Social: Tap to Join
Social: Tap to Join

Invest In New Channels

We predicted earlier this year that live-streaming commerce and other emerging channels will grow even more in 2023. (Listen to our predictions here: 2023 Cross-Channel Marketing Predictions.) This provides consumers with more options to purchase and engage with your brand and provides you with a better understanding of your best customers. These channels are also great places to position SMS opt-in, and you can leverage similar strategies that use keywords or phone number fields like you would elsewhere. Always use unique keywords per CTA to differentiate traffic and track effectiveness, and be nimble in your approaches as things change.

Even with new channels, the same compliance requirements still apply (and some new rules may even come up later), so it’s important to include your full standard disclaimer with your subscription CTA and trigger the proper messaging to confirm their opt-in, deliver your incentive, etc. Just because it’s new doesn’t means the same rules don’t apply!

Curating a larger acquisition plan that reaches across channels throughout your customer journey will set you up for accelerated list growth and a successful Text Message Marketing program. Always review and analyze your results, look for new opportunities, and maintain compliance for an optimal experience for your subscribers. 

Get Started 

Talk to your Account Manager for more ways to optimize and grow your SMS subscriber list.

Ready to get started with Listrak’s SMS, reach out to us! 

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