15 ways to grow your SMS/ WhatsApp Subscribers

If you are looking for reasons to jump on the SMS bandwagon, here is one of many - Reports stated that 85% of customers have said they prefer to communicate with their preferred brands over text messages. 

That's not it, SMS has a whopping open rate of 98% and that makes it the best channel to optimize your subscribers.

Text message marketing and SMS updates are definitely not brand new inventions, but it still has a large potential for e-commerce companies to reach out to their customers. 

SMS marketing is the fastest-growing marketing channel. It caters to businesses of all sizes by sending promotional messages, event updates, sales notifications, reminders, etc. It is the most cost-effective and time-saving way and easily supports and integrates with other marketing channels.  

Top brands like Tommy Hilfiger, CNN, Chili’s, Reebok, Kohl’s, and many other known brands use SMS marketing to interest their customers.

The most important thing for the SMS marketing campaign is the subscriber list. As for the campaign to yield results, it's crucial that consumers opt in to receive such messages. Another report mentioned SMS marketing opt-out rate is less than 5%, which is way better than email, which is 15%.

Keep reading to learn about 15 ways to grow your SMS/WhatsApp Subscribers. Use these strategic and actionable methods and increase your SMS opt-in. 

Want to grow your subscriber list?

Here are 15 ways how to: 

1. Create a VIP list

2. Run an online contest via SMS

3. Boost SMS opt-in with Exclusive discounts

4. Cross-promote offers across social media platforms 

5. Leverage website traffic 

6. Use Email to increase opt-in

7. Start a blog and collect subscribers using popups, CTAs, etc. 

8. Add Subscription links to your YouTube videos/channels

9. Promote on signs, posters, business cards and more

10. Guest post on other platforms & use CTA

11. Opt-in SMS subscribers using a keyword 

12. Publish content that requires opt-ins

13. Optimize your checkout to collect SMS subscribers

14. Add QR codes 

15. Track SMS campaign performance and optimize

Let's understand each of the ways in detail:

1. Create a VIP list - 

Every successful brand has been authentic and loyal to its customers. Customers love to feel acknowledged and important. Hence, promoting membership in a VIP list or program is an easy and attractive way to boost SMS list subscribers.

Such VIP lists can have repeat customers, they are likely to spend 33% more than first-time shoppers. 

Here are some ways to build a robust VIP list: 
  • Make your VIP program members feel like they are a part of an exclusive community. 
  • Celebrate their loyalty and send them early access to sales, rewards and special offers.  
  • Clearly state your benefits for the VIP list.

2. Run an online contest via SMS -

Almost everyone has used a short-term contest strategy for getting more SMS subscribers. 

They do work too, but not for long. 

You can stand out by keeping a contest every year or every quarter, availing special benefits of the holiday seasons. 

This way you can make a place in your customer's minds and they can make a place in your subscriber's list. 

Tips for hosting a great contest:
  • Build Urgency
  • Keep it Fun
  • Set clear contest guidelines
  • Build a buzz before launching 
  • Use a partner or partners (the more the merrier) to cross-promote
  • Don't forget a catchy prize

3. Boost SMS opt-in with Exclusive discounts -

Popups are highly effective tools for e-commerce businesses that want to convert website visitors into SMS subscribers in a single click. 

The best way to do that is to give them an offer, because who doesn't love a great deal?

Here are a few exclusive discount ideas:
  • Newcomer Discounts - start off with a great customer-brand relationship and drive opt-ins with newbie offers.
  • Bundle deals - offer special subscriber-only deals to your customers. This way they have a reason to join the SMS list.
  • Free shipping benefits - Simple and effective way - free shipping nationwide, worldwide. Shoppers love it. 
  • Pursue them for future benefits - Give shoppers a good reason to subscribe to your brand. It can be future discounts, fun content, updates, etc. 

4. Cross-promote offers across social media platforms - 

Promote the launch of your SMS/WhatsApp marketing channel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to drive traffic to your website and capture new SMS subscribers.

Cross-promotion can help your ace the subscribers list by engaging existing and repeating customers. 

This also provides a seamless experience to your customers as well. 

5. Leverage website traffic -

If your website is already experiencing consistent and healthy traffic, it's time to leverage that. Start capturing your website visitors and engage them into happy customers. 

Popups are a great subscriber collection tool, use a responsive popup to display your offer. Automate the popup tool for SMS compliance by collecting phone numbers with your shopper's consent. 

6. Use Email to increase opt-in : 

Email marketing has been proving to aid brands for a long time. Converting your email subscribers to SMS subscribers is as simple as drafting a nice email with opt-in options.

7. Start a blog and collect subscribers using popups, CTAs, etc. - 

The blog audience has immensely grown over the past few years. 

Grow your blog or if you have a running blog with effective traffic that engages with your content, the best way to grow your subscriber list would be to leverage that.

Add Catchy Call to Actions (CTAs) or use pop-ups to shepherd the traffic to your VIP list. 

8. Add Subscription links to YouTube videos/channels -

People are engaging with video content now more than ever. In this light, if you own a YouTube channel and are keen on growing it, you can also use it to grow your list. 

Adding links to the SMS/WhatsApp Subscription for new video updates or brand information would be a good step. 

9. Promote on signs, posters, business cards and more -

Location matters for marketing promotions. Use prime real estate, events and offices to promote a campaign to get more SMS subscribers. 

10. Guest post on other platforms & use CTA - 

Brands often use other platforms to develop backlinks and brand awareness. Other than that, you can also use such other platforms and publish content with precise and catchy CTA that will excite readers/ viewers to know more about your brand and join your list. 

11. Opt-in SMS subscribers using a keyword - 

SMS Marketing has a great opt-in mechanism called the keyword opt-in. 

No more hefty replies and processes for your customers to get on your list. They can use any specific keyword set by your business to join the SMS/ WhatsApp subscribers List.

12. Publish content that requires opt-in - 

Don't give every piece of content for free, use a few to grow your brand's subscribers list. You can publish content pieces like blogs, and newsletters that will require SMS opt-in to access as a whole. 

13. Optimize your checkout to collect SMS subscribers - 

This step is a breeze. People generally fill out their personal and shipping details to complete their purchases. Providing phone numbers is a natural process for customers. 

Leverage this by optimizing your checkout.

14. Add QR codes -

QR codes are a simple and easy way to make your customers join the subscriber's list hassle-free. Mention precise use of QR codes, make your motive catchy and add QR codes on the websites or emails.

15. Track SMS campaign performance and optimize - 

Running a smooth SMS marketing campaign involves knowing what is working and what is not and optimizing it as per the brand's needs. 

Hence, tracking the performance metrics is essential. 

Here are a few indicators : 
  • SMS subscriber list growth
  • Un-subscribers rates 
  • Read rate and response rate
  • Offer redemption rate

Our main takeaway from this is don't just focus on numbers on your SMS/WhatsApp subscriber list. Nurture customer-brand relationship, do not spam your customers, make opt-in and opt-out hassle-free and most importantly provide value after building a solid subscriber list. 

Excited to try our growth strategies for the SMS/WhatsApp subscriber list? Get right to work.