When I was right out of college, one of my first jobs was with a tech startup. Since we were so early in our company, we would meet weekly to discuss our brand identity and to assess who would be buying our product. Essentially, who on earth is our target audience and how do we appeal to and reach them? 

When it’s your job to build brand loyalty and support customers, these questions are top of mind. While you probably have a decent customer database with basic customer contact info in it, you may not be reaching your actual target audience to the fullest potential. For a more accurate way to reach customers, make use of your text opt-in lists. 

According to current regulations, businesses are required to get permission before sending any kind of text message directly to a customer’s phone. What makes this incredibly helpful is that you then obtain a list of customers who explicitly want to hear from you. Text messaging opt-in lists provide marketing, sales, and customer service teams a clear list of customers who are seeking a relationship with your brand. 


Why You Should be Making Use of Your Text Opt-in List

I’ve been there: hovering my mouse over that send button on a bulk email, knowing there may be a handful of people who immediately trash it and some who roll their eyes and search for the unsubscribe button. There’s some anxiety and risk involved when you send out a message to your entire customer base. 

But when you have customers volunteering to join your list, you can trust that they want you to contact them. No more stress about your message potentially harming your brand or customers responding angrily about getting “spam” from you. Text opt-in means your customers make a deliberate and conscious decision to hear from you. Then, when you gather a text opt-in list, you’ve got direct access to your target market, able to communicate with prospects and customers at a minimal cost.

Text opt-in lets you promote your product, reach out to sales leads, and offer support to a large group of customers all at once. Reach your exact target audience for future sales and feedback with an opt-in list.


How to Build a Text Opt-in List

With a bit of strategic thinking, you can promote and build your text opt-in list, making it the most effective way to reach your customer base. Getting customers to sign up for texts is all about awareness. Customers need to see something roughly seven times before they consider taking an action. So you have to take some deliberate steps to get on your customer’s radar. Here are a couple strategies to focus on:


Promote Opt-in When You Can

Before you start doing anything, you need to create ways for customers to opt-in. These opt-in opportunities should be obvious and easy to get to. The first option is to use online web forms. 

Perhaps these get pushed with a pop up window when a customer visits your site. Or when a customer is creating a login. Give customers a chance to opt-in during check out by agreeing to future communications via text and email. Add an opt-in checkbox on any webforms forms and include opt-ins in email signatures to prompt customers to join.

Then, mention texting as an option in every customer interaction. Invite customers to opt-into texts any time they interact with your business. Some tasteful ways to do so could be to:

  • Update greetings and hold messages to promote it. Then in your IVR setup, offer text as a way to get help and information faster than waiting on hold.
  • Highlight it in your customer newsletters. If you already have marketing emails or magazines going out to customers, encourage them to hear from you via text as well.
  • Put opt-in sign ups on receipts/invoices. Any customer who has made a purchase from you has a place in your target audience. Encourage them to stay in touch by promoting texts on their order details and receipts. 
  • Promote text opt-in in sales and support scripts. If your sales reps and support agents are chatting with your customers directly, make sure they tell customers about texting as a communication channel. 


Create an Opt-in Campaign

SMS texts are much more reliable than email to get customer attention. SMS marketing takes the cake over email with an average open rate for business texts as high as 98%. Compare that to email with an open rate around 20%. Even with around 269 billion emails sent every day, roughly 50% of them end up in spam folders. 

To promote texting opt-in, try focusing your efforts on an opt-in campaign. Use a keyword campaign to get your target audience to engage with you via text message. A keyword campaign invites possible customers to engage with you by texting a certain keyword to a phone number. 

Create a specific keyword — like “PROMO” or “TEXTCLUB” — and prompt customers to text it to you whenever and wherever you can. That way you can share details about your promotional and offer double text opt-in to get customers hooked on future communications. 

To encourage customers to participate, create website banners about the keyword. Feature the benefits of receiving promotional texts in a blog. Post about it on social media. Then, make it irresistible. I mean, let’s be real. How often are customers going to sign up for something without a perk? It’s not enough just to invite customers to opt-in to texts about your promos or your product updates. You have to make it worth their while. Here’s how:

  • Offer an incentive right off the bat. Think of it as a way of saying thank you. For every customer who uses text opt-in, send them a deal — 15% off their next purchase or a BOGO deal. Then, right away you are cementing the relationship and showing the value of them joining your texting list. 
  • Make your opt-in list like a club. Those who join in are part of an exclusive group who get specific deals. They get asked first to share feedback. They get sneak peeks at product updates or first dibs on new updates. 
  • Keep the content engaging. Send customers blogs, podcasts, or videos with useful tips or industry-specific news. Include attractive images or share a recent social media post to stand out. When you give customers interesting content via text, they’re much more likely to join in. 
  • Run a short-term contest over text. A contest may not get you super long-lasting customers, but it is a growth hacking strategy that will boost your text opt-in list some. Consider a contest or giveaway something you can do every year to every quarter, attached to holidays, anniversaries and special occasions. Create some urgency, get customers to enter through opt-in, and offer a really sweet prize so it’s worth it.

Then, once you’ve got a strong and healthy text opt-in list, you have a way to reach customers on a mass scale. Or use it to target specific groups to promote your brand, gather specific feedback, or offer curated support.

Want to take your marketing powers to the next level? Try out these 6 tips with your text opt-in list to skyrocket your customer experience.

This post was originally published on December 3, 2020 and was updated on April 28, 2022.