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June 20, 2022 - By Hawke Media

How to Grow Your SMS List with the Right People

Nothing gets a person’s attention quite like a text notification. Upward of 95% of text messages are opened and read within 120 seconds of receiving the message, making it a superior way to get your point across. Stats like this one will motivate any company to grow their SMS list.

Texts are opened and read almost 138% more than email (98% to 18% open rate). The average response time for a legitimate email is about 90 minutes, compared to 90 seconds for a text. 

Grow Your SMS Subscription List 

But with great texting power comes great texting responsibility! SMS marketing can be effective, but if it isn’t done correctly, it can make prospects and customers very irritated with you.

The foundational principle here is this: if you have the privilege of having a customer’s cell phone number, you need to be absolutely certain that they have given you permission to communicate with them! They need to know exactly what they’re going to get from you. 

Below are a few strategies to make sure that your SMS marketing is done the right way. These will help ensure that your customers are willing to engage with you in a meaningful and personal way, that you can grow SMS list loyalty, and that you don’t fall victim to a higher-than-usual unsubscribe rate.

Website Pop-Ups 

If a customer is engaged with your site, they may want to stay in touch with your brand, even if they’re not ready to purchase. A pop-up can be a great way to get the attention of a website visitor and encourage them to join an email or SMS contact list.

When doing a pop-up, make sure it’s easy to see but it doesn’t completely disorient them or take over the entire screen, for example. A pop-up should have a quick offer and a call to action to sign up for your SMS list. It can say something like, “Interested to receive updates on our products or services? Sign up for our text messages!”

It’s important to have checkboxes here that give the customer very clear and transparent details about what they are consenting to receive from you by text message.

Set Expectations

Let customers know up front what kinds of things you’ll communicate, the frequency with which you will message, and so on.

When people sign up for your text message list, they appreciate knowing what to expect from you and what not to expect from you. Are they signing up to provide customer feedback, to get exclusive discounts, early product info, or something else? One of the best ways to do this is to simply send an introductory text that outlines exactly what you’ll be sending them by text in the future.

It adds an even nicer touch to let them know about how frequently you expect to reach out, usually in the form of the limit. For example, it would be a good idea to tell your prospects and customers that you will not text them more than two times a week, for example. It’s important to stay true to your word once you do tell them what to expect!

Segment Your Audience

Segmenting your ask to your most engaged customers means being more selective about who you invite to your SMS list.

For example, if someone is hopping on your website for the first time, it’s probably not best to beg for their phone number within the first five seconds of meeting. Not too different from actual human relationships, right?

But if you have a prospect or customer who’s been on your site for several minutes, clicking through pages, and has clicked onto a page related to staying in touch or being contacted, this would be a more engaged prospect or customer and someone for whom it might be more appropriate to ask for their phone number through a pop-up or a contact form.

You can also segment asks to join your SMS list by reaching out to only your most engaged email readers, people who frequent your store’s physical location(s), etc. 

Incentivize Joining

Nothing is as effective as a special offer or discount when it comes to generating leads. Whether you use a website pop-up, segmented outreach, or something else, incentives will drive the most sign–ups for your SMS program. 

If you use a special discount to get sign-ups, remember to include similar incentives in the SMS program itself. You don’t need to always text your customers discounts, but doing it occasionally will keep the audience engaged and excited when your name pops up on their phone. 


Growing your SMS contact list with these Hawke-approved methods will guarantee an engaged audience and successful SMS program down the road!

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