An engaged, growing list is crucial for the 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 can take time to prioritize where and how to position opt-in.

Your customers may want to subscribe throughout your customer journey as they browse and purchase, so we recommend setting up subscription Calls to Action across your 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, such as where the most and least traffic is coming from, to optimize quickly as needed.

Prioritize Compliance

There are various rules and requirements around acquiring SMS subscribers before you even send them a text: You must collect what’s known as ‘express written consent,’ meaning your contacts must explicitly opt into receiving your campaigns. Opt-in cannot be required or automatic, nor can it be bundled with opt-in for other programs. A thorough disclaimer should be clear and present with all your CTAs, including links to full Mobile Terms & Conditions and your Privacy Policy. And, of course, the wireless carriers should thoroughly vet and approve your program to ensure delivery of all message volume.

Failure to follow these guidelines set by the FCC, TCPA, CTIA, and major 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 advice and direction. 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 Remain Best Practice

Popups continue to come out on top for the average SMS program, typically bringing in the highest volume of new subscribers. And when 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 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, too. You can collect phone numbers for SMS opt-in in the desktop experience and leverage the 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 key phrase text message in their native messaging app. Include all proper disclosures in that pre-populated key phrase, and you have a new SMS subscriber ready to receive your text messages!

Two Step Pop-Up
Two Step Pop-Up

Include a Checkbox at Checkout

There isn’t a more engaging stage of the customer journey than checkout: It presents an opportunity to position SMS opt-in with 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 and 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 your customer 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 opportunities for an extra punch.

Checkout Page, Checkbox

Advertise Keywords in Your Emails

Another strategy 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 and dynamic Product Recommendations, you can include a CTA to subscribe through a unique keyword. 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. Just ensure your compliance disclaimer is near the CTA itself and uses a reasonable font color and point size!

Email Content Block

Expand Your Reach Through Social Media

Consider implementing a similar keyword CTA strategy across your social media networks to position SMS opt-in to your social followers and take advantage of their existing engagement. 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, so save any stories promoting opt-in to your Highlights, and fill your social media campaign calendar with posts throughout the year that encourage subscribing to your SMS 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

Involve Your New Channels

Our recent cross-channel benchmark report found that FOMO marketing, or the fear of missing out, played a significant role in the success of both email and SMS campaigns last year. You can leverage a similar strategy for encouraging opt-in from any new channels you’ve invested in, whether you have an app, loyalty program, brick-and-mortar stores, or anything in between. 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 disclaimer with any new subscription CTA and trigger the proper messaging to confirm their opt-in, deliver your incentive, etc. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean the same rules don’t apply!

Get Started Today

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. Constantly monitor your results, look for new opportunities, and maintain compliance for an optimal experience for your subscribers. Talk to your Account Manager for more ways to optimize and grow your Text Message Marketing subscriber list and implement new strategies today!

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