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Everyone likes to talk about how well  SMS marketing works but leave you to fend for yourself when it comes to actually growing your SMS lists. Sure, you can invite people to join your SMS list (and hope they do), or you can bake it into your referral program and watch your SMS lists grow just like your revenue.

This article will teach you to not only grow your SMS marketing list but also improve your subscriber list with high quality leads through referral marketing. We'll also go through SMS marketing best practices just to be sure that you're set to launch your new text message marketing campaign.

In this post, we feature our Attentive integration as the example workflow.

Why You Should Grow Your SMS Marketing List

It's true, SMS text message marketing is a powerhouse when it comes to acquisition and boosting revenue. SMS open rates can get up to 98 percent and SMS marketing messages conversion rates up to 20 percent. No marketing efforts that bring those same results.

Avoid buying any SMS marketing lists and instead focus on growing your list through other marketing efforts, like with referral marketing or a loyalty program


Best Practices For Growing Your SMS Marketing List

A lot of the principles we apply to referral marketing apply to SMS marketing too. To keep your SMS marketing list growing, make it easy to find and enticing to join. Here are the easiest ways to have the biggest impact:

  1. Use referral marketing. Referral marketing relies on happy customers to run the program. While they're sharing the program with their Friends, your business can collect customer phone numbers. Customers referred by a friend convert 5 times faster, compounding the success of your SMS marketing program.
  2. Provide checkout incentives. Offer an incentive, like a 10% discount or $5 coupon applied at checkout, in exchange for a customers' mobile phone number.
  3. Add a sign-up form to your website. Remind website visitors about your SMS marketing program by placing a link to your latest SMS marketing campaign in a banner, widget, button, or as a menu item in your Footer, Sidebar Menu, or Top Menu.
  4. Offer exclusive SMS discounts and rewards. Make your SMS marketing campaigns seem like a "cool club" that gets periodic discounts, rewards, and free gifts.
  5. Invite your social media following to subscribe. Just like you want your SMS marketing program visible on your website, make it visible on social media too. Run monthly stories about all of the exclusive discounts and rewards you're sending as SMS marketing messages. Make a quarterly post on the grid about how to (and why) join your SMS list.
  6. Require SMS numbers for contest entry. Run a quarterly contest to collect mobile phone numbers from not only your audience but also potentially the audiences of other brands too with brand collabs.


Since referral marketing is our bread and butter, we'll dig into how to get new subscribers through referral marketing.


How to Grow Your SMS Subscriber List With Referral Marketing

When an Advocate refers a Friend after completing a purchase, visiting your site, or responding to an email from your referral campaign, they have the option to enter their phone number into a Friendbuy referral widget in order to subscribe to SMS messages from your brand. 

Friendbuy captures mobile phone numbers for both the Advocate and the referred Friend to build your SMS subscriber list. Our integration with Attentive allows you to send these phone numbers to segmented lists that are created in Attentive, so you can send personalized messages to each subscriber. We'll cover how to segment your SMS list more later.

While you’ve already got the attention of your valuable customers, give them another way to receive product information, offers, and other updates from your brand. Build your SMS subscriber list using these three tips:


1. Include a phone number capture field on your referral widget.

Friendbuy makes it easy to encourage Advocates to sign up to receive texts from you. Attentive’s simple, two-click process lowers the barrier to entry and increases conversions.


2. Include a phone number capture field on the Friend incentive widget. 

Include an offer for referred Friends to encourage them to provide their phone number and email address to redeem a coupon code toward their first purchase.


3. Remind referred Friends to make their first purchase with a coupon code. 

Friendbuy sends the coupon code distributed to referred Friends to Attentive, so you can send them a segmented message and remind them to redeem their coupon code via email or SMS.  


How to Get the Most from Your SMS Subscriber List

Once you have the capability to send text messages to customers, what do you do with it? Leverage your list of subscribers by keeping customers engaged and excited about referring their friends using tactics such as:

  • Running a contest or giveaway through SMS
  • Segmenting your SMS audience and personalizing messages
  • Tracking metrics and making adjustments as needed
  • Creating exclusive offers only for SMS subscribers
  • Using A/B testing to refine your campaigns

There’s an added bonus: All of these strategies also help continue to grow your SMS subscriber list. Attentive also collects email addresses so you can grow your email list at the same time.


How To Segment Your SMS Text Marketing Lists

Once you've got all of those phone numbers, you'll want to segment them so that you can send highly targeted SMS messages. 


Here are a few examples of how you can segment your list:

  • By Cart Abandonment. Send messages to users who have added products to their cart but never made a purchase.
  • By Loyalty Status. Offer special rewards and discounts via text messaging to loyal customers. This can go hand-in-hand with your loyalty program.
  • By Purchase Interests and Past Purchases. Send SMS messages when certain products are released or on sale.
  • By Positive Reviews. Send a special discount or reward to customers who just left a positive review.
  • By Sales Cycle Stage. Every step of the customer journey is an opportunity for a conversion and you can segment your SMS campaign to boost conversions at each step.
  • By Interaction Frequency. Sending SMS messages with discounts and exclusive news to customers who interact with the brand a lot is a way to build brand loyalty. Sending SMS messages with enticing rewards and free gifts to customers who don't interact much with the brand is a way to get them more involved.


Grow Your Brand with Friendbuy and Attentive

Friendbuy’s integration with Attentive helps you grow your brand presence by capturing phone numbers of both advocates and friends and adding them to your subscriber list. This allows you to communicate directly with existing customers and referred friends who have recently been introduced to your brand through trusted Advocates.