June 22, 2022
Reading Time: 5 minutes
List growth is one of the most challenging parts of building a healthy SMS program. It’s why we put so much focus on acquisition as a key performance metric for your SMS marketing. One of the easiest ways to instantly get subscribers to opt into SMS is by targeting your email subscribers.
The psychology here is pretty simple. Subscribers who already choose to receive marketing messages from you are high intent. And if you give them a reason to sign up for text alerts, they’ll be easier to convert than first-time visitors to your site.
Focusing on list growth for SMS is crucial for brands to focus on in today’s increasingly crowded marketing space. Consumers see texts faster, texts have much higher open rates and it’s a channel dedicated to creating a more personal and interactive experience for your present and future customers.
And if marketing to VIP customers or new product launches are a key part of your overall marketing strategy, then SMS is the clear winner over email.
There are a lot of different tactics you can test and implement to convert those email subscribers—both customers and non—into SMS subscribers. Here are 7 big ones:
Send a basic email campaign promoting your SMS program to your full list.
Add an email to your welcome series that promotes SMS.
Include an SMS-focused banner or static message in all email campaigns.
Ask customers to opt in via a post-purchase email.
Alert your email list that you’ll be promoting new product launches via SMS first.
Create a VIP email automation to inform repeat purchasers about SMS.
Send a teaser email about upcoming holiday sales you plan to announce via SMS.
We’ll get into these more below. Let’s get started growing that list!
Send an Email Campaign Promoting Your SMS Program
Alright, we realize we’re Captain Obvious here, but although this is the easiest first step in converting those email subscribers into SMS subscribers, you’d be surprised how long it can take for merchants to get this campaign in motion.
Once you’ve launched your SMS marketing program and you’ve got a popup firing to collect new subscribers, schedule a campaign to your full email list letting them know why they simply must be your text friends too.
This email should include:
The SMS benefits that are not available to subscribers via email
Ways they can interact with your brand differently via SMS
Compliant language that directs email recipients to sign up for SMS
Here's the TCPA-approved compliance language:
Easy enough, right?
Here’s a great example where Top Golf promotes their SMS club as a way to have insider access by using a clever email image displaying a text exchange between friends. They clearly convey what to expect when you join their program while also pushing exclusivity.
Add Your SMS Program Details into Your Email Welcome Flow
Once you’ve got new subscribers entering your email welcome series, take advantage of their fresh enthusiasm for your brand by adding in a dedicated SMS email to the flow.
Do not serve this email to anyone who has already opted into your SMS as well. This email is targeting new subscribers who are opted-in to email only.
They’re new around here, so you’ll want this email to be incentivized. There are two ways to go about this:
The first option is to offer up a one-time promo code for their next order. If you gave them a 10% off code to use for email, you’ll want this one to be a little deeper—say, 15% off. Or, you could offer up a free shipping code they can use any time they place an order over $100. It might be valuable to test these offers to see what converts best.
Your second option is to simply let them know that they’re missing out on new product drops or VIP sales because they are not yet signed up for SMS.
Here’s a great example to pull inspo from. Jewelry brand JAXXON emailed all subscribers who were not yet on their SMS list to let them know about a sale they were missing out on.
It’s easy to take a similar approach in your welcome series by adding a note that your brand has ongoing SMS-only sales and that you don’t want anyone to miss out. Or that new product drops go to SMS subscribers first (and email subscribers second), just in case they want to get ahead of the crowds.
Email is a powerful owned marketing channel—but it’s increasingly crowded, so trying to convert these new subscribers to both channels will help you reach your audience in a more impactful way.
Mention SMS in Your Marketing Campaigns Going Forward
You may already feature all your social channels in the banner of your customer email communications. Consider adding a banner promoting SMS in all your marketing emails, too.
To truly maximize your ROI on this channel, your email subscribers need to consistently see and hear that you’ve got an SMS program. It can take a subscriber 3, 7, heck even 12 mentions of something before they actually convert, so keeping a static banner in your email marketing templates is an easy, passive way to add folks to your SMS list over the long haul.
Here’s how Stasher simply adds it to the bottom of the email footer.
Remind Customers About SMS in their Post-Purchase Email
You’ve successfully converted an email subscriber into a custie! Cheers! Bravo! Hats off to you!
Here’s a great bit of copy to consider adding to the post-purchase confirmation email.
Would you like to receive a text when your order has shipped? Sign up here to receive text messages and find out when your order is on its way!
Easy. Impactful. And who doesn’t want a quick text when their order is en route and again once it’s landed? Just make sure your support staff is ready to handle an uptick of support tickets if you go this route. (You can check out our customer support integrations here.)
We’re guessing this might be one of your highest impact list growth tactics to implement once a subscriber becomes a customer.
Use Email to Promote an SMS-First Product Launch
This is a great email to test and see how well it pushes new signups for SMS. And it’s a tactic that lots of top brands use.
As both your email and SMS programs mature, differentiation is key to ensuring you consistently grow both lists. If you always send the same marketing messages over email that you do over SMS, you’re going to see unsubscribes go up. Instead, the channels should complement one another.
For example, you may use your email list to push your brand’s loyalty program more, but SMS might be where you first release new products.
Here’s a great example Doe Lashes used to inform their email subscribers that a new product was coming—but that SMS subscribers would get the first look.
You may not want to do this for every launch, but it’s a clever, compelling way to drive opt-ins without a discount.
Create a VIP Email Automation for Repeat Purchasers
Though we’ve covered a lot of tactics for converting email subscribers who are customers or non-customers, this approach is specific to those who have not only purchased from you in the past—but have done so multiple times.
The reason to do this is simple: they’re already brand loyalists. Why not go after your most active customers to try and get them to engage with you via text?
Create an email segment that includes any customer who has purchased more than twice and is not opted into your SMS program.
Send them a personal email from the founder, thanking them for their support. Let them know that if they opt into your SMS program, they’ll not only get a discount code to use toward their next purchase, but they’ll also be able to text directly with your brand when they have order questions, product inquiries, or just want to gab.
Trigger this email automation every time someone makes their second purchase from your brand, and watch the SMS sign-ups roll in.
Get that FOMO Going During Peak Sale or Gifting Seasons
New product drops—and even back-in-stock alerts—via SMS are a no-brainer, but during certain times of the year, customers will do anything to get sale alerts. And this idea extends to limited-edition drops too, since loyal custies won’t want to miss a chance at nabbing exclusive gear before it sells out.
This is especially important during the times of year when your brand’s sales soar. (Valentine’s Day for chocolate companies, Mother’s Day for flower brands—you get the idea.) But for most everyone, Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend are the biggies.
In anticipation of the big holiday sales season ahead, consider updating your SMS banner across all of your email marketing campaigns to let recipients know that text subscribers get early access to your deals—and sometimes, SMS-only sales.
We love this idea, because it capitalizes on a time when prospective and current customers alike are on high alert for sales—and this can be a clever way to drive more sign-ups for SMS.
Want some more acquisition tactics? Download our free 8-month Ultimate BFCM Planner as we countdown to BFCM. You’ll get three months’ worth of list growth tasks alone to add rocket fuel to your SMS strategy.
Senior Manager of Content and Community
Laura is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Postscript. She has spent the past decade working in ecommerce. When she isn't writing about her favorite topic (marketing) or listening to podcasts about her other favorite topic (ecommerce), she's hanging out with her two sons on an island off the coast of Maine.