How to Get More SMS Subscribers

You’re interested in SMS marketing or texting your customers but don’t know where to start when it comes to collecting phone numbers. Figuring out how to get more SMS subscribers is one of the biggest challenges in getting started with SMS marketing. And it can get a bit complicated when it comes to compliance standards. 

Luckily, we’re here to simplify the process for you. Because getting regular SMS subscribers is the foundation of a successful — revenue generating — SMS marketing program. 

SMS subscribers are the people who have provided explicit written consent to be communicated with through text by your company. We will share multiple ways to get more SMS subscribers for SMS marketing and share a resource to ensure you’re contacting them compliantly. 

How to Get More SMS Subscribers — The Right Way

When marketing you must comply with relevant privacy laws, such as GDPR principles — which involve how you collect and handle customer data, including their contact details. Namely, you must securely store phone numbers and explain the usage of this data to the customer. Regardless of where your customers are, following GDPR guidelines is best practice. 

You also need to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This act requires you to include disclosure language when asking for phone numbers. Disclosure language should include a privacy policy and terms and conditions governing the collection, use, and sharing of phone numbers. 

Privacy laws are only going to get more intense. So before you start growing your SMS subscriber base, you need a tool that can safely collect and store customer phone numbers and has a track record of compliance.

How NOT to get SMS subscribers: 

  • Never pay for customer phone numbers for SMS marketing purposes. For one, it’s incredibly intrusive and isn’t going to provide a return on investment. Two, it’s illegal to contact customers over text without their explicit written consent
  • Don’t ask for customer phone numbers on a customer support call. Resolving their problem should be your top priority and chances are these customers aren’t going to be the right audience to receive promotional text messages from you. And you might just end up irritating them more by asking. 

Instead, focus on getting customer phone numbers at select times during the customer experience, such as when they’re visiting your site to learn more about you or making a purchase. Below are some examples.

SMS Compliance Guide

Learn how to properly get opt-in from your customers

5 Effective Ways to Collect Customer Phone Numbers

While you can use a combination of the following methods to get more SMS subscribers from customers and prospects, there is one rule you should try and follow: don’t ask for a phone number without providing something in return. You can offer them things like: 

  • Coupons or discounts
  • Free stuff — like free shipping 
  • Status updates and shipping notifications
  • Content 

1. Collect Phone Numbers on Your Website

There are a ton of different ways you could use your website to capture phone numbers. You could direct people to a dedicated landing page where you offer a piece of content in exchange for their contact information — a more common lead capture strategy. Or you could use a website popup advertising a promotion or discount if they provide their phone number. Tools like Wisepops and Picreel are an easy way to get started with website popups. 

Other ways to collect customer phone numbers on your website include requesting them as part of the purchase process. As they’re checking out, ask for their phone number so you can send them shipping notifications or future deals. You can also use web-chats or other website widgets to engage customers in a conversation to help answer questions and later ask for their number. 

image of phone with text sign up pop up

2. Use Paid Advertising to Get More SMS Subscribers

While paid advertising can be an expensive strategy in general, if you have the budget it can be worth trying to capture phone numbers for text marketing purposes. Specifically, remarketing to those who have visited your website and offering them a discount for providing their phone number can be a way to not only convert them but also get them on your SMS subscriber list. Something as simple as having them text a code to a number to get the discount can open the door to an opt-in and purchase.

example of a paid ad for sms subscribers

3. Leverage Your Existing Email Marketing List

If you already have contacts as part of an email marketing list, but you don’t have their number or permission to text them, you can run a targeted campaign to convert your email subscribers to text subscribers. Like other methods, offer up a discount on their next purchase to sign up to receive promotional texts. Even better if you can personalize it. For example, offer a discount on a specific product or service to those customers that have purchased it in the past. 

4. Create Promotions on Social Media to Get More SMS Subscribers

One fun way to get people to engage on social media, while collecting their phone numbers, is to create a contest. This is one way to target your potentially loyal customers who may follow you.

Promotion for sms marketing list sign up

5. Offline Methods for Collecting Phone Numbers

If you have a brick-and-mortar location for your business, you can get more SMS subscribers in person too! A common, traditional approach to getting customer contact info is a monthly prize draw asking people to drop their business cards in a bowl. 

But if you’re looking to text them, you need that disclosure language handy. So instead, use in-store signage with similar text marketing promotions like those above but include a QR code to make it easy for customers to sign up and opt-in. Since they may already be customers or making a purchase, offer a freebie like a free drink or item to further entice them. If you attend events or conferences, you can do the same thing! Have a sign with a QR code and run a sweepstake to get more SMS subscribers. 

The Easiest Way to Get More SMS Subscribers 

All of these options are a way to build your SMS subscriber list. But to have a truly engaged and profitable subscriber base and grow your business through text marketing, you won’t want to collect everyone’s phone number. You’ll want to identify those customers and prospects most likely to become loyal, repeat customers — quality over quantity.  

We can help you compliantly get more SMS subscribers and easily get SMS opt-ins because we know which customers love you. Only targeting these customers increases your chances of getting a double opt-in and growing your subscriber base. Within our platform, we make it super easy by curating a list of your contacts we believe will say yes to your SMS communications.

How does it work? Within GatherUp, as customers leave you reviews and provide you feedback, we gauge their sentiment of your brand so you can send targeted campaigns to get phone numbers from only those customers who love you. With this approach you’re able to create a valuable marketing list automatically. 

If you’re already a GatherUp customer, you might not even have to do anything to start growing your SMS subscribers, as phone numbers are often collected as part of the review process.  If not, it’s easy to get started.

With this approach, GatherUp extends the impact of SMS marketing by combining your SMS marketing strategy with your reputation management. With GatherUp, you can gather and listen to customer feedback, then engage with them through strategic SMS campaigns. You can send targeted text campaigns, track performance, and glean valuable insights to drive better customer experiences. Using GatherUp for your SMS marketing needs allows you to: 

  • Easily obtain written explicit consent to build and maintain a compliant SMS subscriber list 
  • Create segmented lists of customers for more personalized communications
  • Test and schedule messages to improve engagement rates 
  • Use customer feedback and insights to inform your SMS campaign strategy 
  • Incorporate Net Promoter Score data to identify and win back your detractors, thank your promoters, and influence your neutrals 

If you’re ready to learn more, schedule a demo with one of our product experts. 

Regardless of which method or combination of methods you choose to get more SMS subscribers, keep in mind it takes time to grow your SMS subscriber base. Be patient and set reasonable goals. For example, if you’re a BBQ restaurant in New Mexico, 200 people in your SMS subscriber list is likely enough to get more customers to visit during a Monday night free-wing promotion. On the other hand, if you’re a large multi-state smoothie chain, you’re likely aiming for a list size well in the thousands. 



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