While email remains a champion in the marketing space, SMS has become a key messaging channel. In multiple surveys of marketing professionals, the top two preferred channels for sending brand updates are email and SMS. It’s easy to see why: SMS has an average open rate of 98%, with 95% of text messages being read and responded to within 3 minutes of receipt.  And it’s no secret that mobile phones have become integral to many people’s lives. 

  • There are 6.4 billion smartphones worldwide
  • The average user has their device in possession for 5,840 hours each year
  • 72.9% of all eCommerce sales in 2020 were made on a mobile device

Success in this channel for retail marketers, starts with building a strong SMS list. A Tap-to-Join Mobile Popup makes acquiring SMS subscribers quick and easy – continue reading to learn how.

What is a Tap-to-Join Mobile Popup?

  1. When a mobile visitor hits your site, they are presented with a popup and asked to simply “tap”
  2. When the visitor “taps” the CTA button, a pre-populated text message is created with the keyword and short code automatically filled out. All the user must do is hit “send” – they do not have to remember the short code or what word to enter (or how to spell it). 
  3. Many Listrak clients take this one step further for future cross-channel engagement. During the brands confirmation reply, they request an email address. This second ask, often engages 15% or more who further provide their email address.

Create a Tap-to-Join Popup with Listrak’s Editor

Listrak just launched our SMS Tap-to-Join editor to allows our clients to easily create and customize text message acquisition Tap-to-Join popups with no coding required. The Listrak Tap-to-Join editor includes templates to get you started. 

Follow these Best Practices for Design, Content, and Compliance

The Anatomy of a Popup

Keeping your popup straightforward and consistent with industry best practices will add familiarity, which creates a level of comfort with your users. Keep these four parts in mind as you design and build your popup. Remember, you don’t have a lot of space on mobile so make every word count.

Logo: Chances are your mobile popup will cover most of the site. By adding your company logo or name, you can ensure users will know they are still interacting with your brand.

Headline: Include an offer to incentivize signup (% off, free shipping, etc.). Make it big and bold to stand out.



Body Copy: Use one sentence to describe what you want them to do and why. 


  • Sign up for COMPANY text alerts to receive exclusive promotions and more.

Call-to-Action: Clearly outline what you want the user to do. For a Tap-to Join, always include your keyword and short code. Also, as a best practice, ask for email address for future cross-channel communications.


  • Tap to Text JOIN to XXXXX
  • Thanks, you’re on the list! Reply with your email address for 10% off your next order.

Disclaimer Copy: Any popup requesting SMS or email must always include a legal disclaimer for compliance.

  • Listrak’s Tap-to-Join Editor templates include the most up-to-date disclaimer copy.

Creating Your Content & Design

1. Keep it on Brand

Popups aren't just another piece of marketing. They are an extension of your website. Keeping these elements on brand with the rest of your site will create a cohesive user experience. Which builds recognizability and brand loyalty as consumers move from one channel to the next. You can achieve this by utilizing the same fonts, colors, and decorative elements from your brand.

2. Make the Experience Accessible

Accessibility was once considered a special circumstance but has become a key item to consider during digital marketing design and coding. For anyone not familiar, accessibility is the practice of making your digital assets easy to ingest and understand for people of all visual, physical, and cognitive abilities. 

Accessibility is a vast subject, so let’s focus on the key points for your on-site acquisitions.

  • Contrast is key! Be sure that your text has enough contrast to the background to be clear and readable. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) recommend a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 between your text and background. And don’t forget to use contrast to make your popup stand out against the site. By using a see-through overlay between the popup and the site, you can draw attention and help drive signups.
  • Avoid text as images. Using HTML live text will ensure a better user experience across the board. Users with assistive technology like screen readers or magnification programs will have an easier time accessing and digesting the content. For users with a poor internet connection, the lightweight text will load quickly without relying on an image that could potentially not load for many reasons.
  • Make sure mobile elements are easy to tap. The minimum dimension in any direction for buttons and inputs should be 44px. This allows those with limited or poor mobility to easily interact with the design on mobile devices.
  • Think of the mobile experience. A single-column mobile layout will be much easier to read and fill out. You also must ensure that all text is readable on a smaller screen. We recommend previewing as small as the iPhone SE, which has dimensions of 375x667px.

3. Craft Successful Calls-to-Action

Your call-to-action buttons need to perform! Instead of a simple text link or subtle visual, make the button stand out with bold brand colors and strong action words. Tell the customer what to do. A large, easy-to-tap or click button will grab their attention. Adding an icon or emoji can also pull them in with simple visual cues.

Having a wider button on mobile will also help accommodate users browsing with either their left or right hand. By making the button accessible from both sides of the device, easier signup can help improve acquisition.

Go the extra step and request the visitor’s email address to also grow your email list. It is crucial now, more than ever, to reach your customers where they are and communicate with them cross-channel.

In addition to allowing easy signup, make it easy for uninterested customers to exit the popup as well. Make the close button clear without any attempts to trick the user.

4. Use Imagery Thoughtfully

On-brand imagery can help grab the user’s attention. Use with caution, though, especially when screen space is limited. A clear and straightforward popup can perform better on mobile because it is easier to digest without the busyness of photos. Instead of trying to add an image into the flow of the popup, focus on using small elements to bring the popup to life while still fitting everything on the screen. Make sure you optimize your images for high-definition screens but compress your files to ensure they will load quickly.

Maintaining Compliance

When it comes to signups, there are a lot of parallels between traditional email acquisition and SMS, including design and content best practices. However, when working with SMS capture, strict compliance requirements that must be followed.

Google Compliance of a Mobile Popup

The Google Interstitial policy applies SEO penalties to websites with intrusive popups on mobile devices. Google defines “intrusive interstitials” as “page elements that obstruct users” view of the content, usually for promotional purposes. Interstitials are overlays on the whole page and dialogs are overlays only on a part of the page, sometimes also obfuscating the underlying content. These elements cannot cover the site on immediate entry but are allowed once the user has either scrolled or clicked deeper into the site. A floating button trigger can also be employed on mobile to only show the popup when engaged by the user. These settings can be adjusted in the Listrak interface to help ensure your compliance.

When signing up for text alerts, users must be presented with a clear call-to-action and disclosures in order to be compliant with mobile industry guidelines and carrier requirements. Below is a full list of items that should be included on popups:

  • Brand name
  • Short code number
  • Recurring autodialed marketing text messages will be sent to the mobile number used at opt-in
  • Consent is not a condition of purchase
  • Message frequency may vary
  • Message & data rates may apply
  • Standard message & data rates may apply (Only required for Canadian mobile programs)
  • Reply HELP for help
  • Reply STOP to cancel
  • Mobile Terms & Conditions (must be hyperlinked to the appropriate page where mobile terms are hosted)
  • Privacy Policy (must be hyperlinked to appropriate page)

If you are planning on sending cart reminders via text message and you are a brand located in the U.S., this must be mentioned within the disclosures as well. 

U.S. Example:

By subscribing to [INSERT BRAND NAME] text messaging on [INSERT SHORT CODE #], you agree to receive recurring autodialed marketing text msgs (e.g., cart reminders) to the mobile number used at opt-in. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Msg frequency may vary. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. See Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.

Canada Example:

By providing your number above, you agree to receive recurring autodialed marketing text msgs (e.g., cart reminders) to the mobile number used at opt-in from [INSERT BRAND NAME] on [INSERT SHORT CODE #]. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Msg frequency may vary. Standard msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. See Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.

If your brand requires age gating your mobile program, please reach out to your account manager for additional disclosures.

Listrak strongly recommends consulting with your legal team for final guidance on compliance language.

In Conclusion

SMS list growth has never been easier! Use Listrak’s Tap-to-Join Editor to start today, and follow the best practices outlined in this blog for Tap-to-Join design, content, and compliance. You’ll see increased conversions and enjoy a successful SMS program.

Are you interested in learning more about Listrak’s SMS marketing? Reach out to your Listrak Account Manager or click here.

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