How To Build Your SMS Marketing List with Opt-In Phone Numbers

How To Build Your SMS Marketing List with Opt-In Phone Numbers

Do you include text message marketing in your advertising mix?

If not, you should consider harnessing this simple but remarkably efficient method for targeting your customers.

With opted-in phone lists, you get a powerful collection of clean contacts primed to buy from you.

Even better, your SMS list sees leads coming in on autopilot so you can focus on making more money.

Today, we’ll highlight multiple strategies for building a lean and engaged list so you can fully exploit permission-based marketing.

To kick-off, why should you use permission-based text message marketing?

What Is Opt-In Text Messaging and Why Should You Use It?

If you want to market your goods or services to large numbers of people, opt-in text message marketing is powerful and cost-effective.

Unlike email lists where barely 20% open messages, 98% of your contacts will read the text messages you send them.

There’s another key difference between email marketing and SMS marketing. You can’t simply buy a list of cell phone numbers to contact in the same way you can buy a cold email list.

You’ll need to follow some simple rules and build your opt-in list.

The need for opt-ins is good news. All your customers will be giving their express permission to contact them, so you have a captive and ready audience for your best offers.

Benefits of Opt-In Text Messaging

We’ll show you how to build opted-in phone lists in 10 diverse ways. But, first, here’s why you should embrace SMS marketing.

      • Enormous ROI: Text marketing requires little time or effort. Instead of labouring over long-form sales copy, just fire off a simple sentence or two. That’s it.


Beyond this, you’ll enjoy significant penetration of your message, reaching 98% of your contacts.

      • Cheap to send messages: Text messages cost as little as 5c per SMS. SMS marketing is cheap.
      • Enjoy more freedom with your marketing messages: You don’t need to feel shy about pitching your customer’s offers as they have opted to receive them.


Hopefully, this allows you to get even more creative with your marketing messages, knowing that you’re communicating with a willing and eager audience.

Maybe you’re tempted, but you have no idea where to get started.

Luckily, the underlying premise is straightforward. Incentivize your customers to give their phone number with a strong offer.

Give them a reason to sign up. Given the economy of SMS marketing, don’t worry if you lose money on this offer. Play the long game.

All you need to do then is provide your customers with a keyword and virtual number so they can sign up to your list. Your texting platform will provide your virtual number.

By now, you should have a solid overview of the reason for marketing by SMS and what you could gain from it.

Let’s discuss the implementation.

Since all businesses are so different, we’ve curated a cross-section of methods for building opted-in phone lists. You should use these examples we give as inspiration.

Brainstorm the most cost-effective and practical of these methods, then roll them out.

Many of the strategies we suggest involve nothing more than exploiting existing marketing channels. None involve any significant effort on your part.

So, dive in and start building your SMS marketing list right now.

10 Ways to Build Your SMS Marketing List with Opt-In Phone Numbers

      • Online Opt-In Forms
      • Chatbots
      • Email
      • Reminders by newsletter
      • Social media
      • Signage in-store
      • Signage and networking at events
      • Billboards
      • Contests incentivizing customers
      • Radio and TV ads

1 Online Opt-In Forms

The first way you can start building a list of phone numbers is to exploit your website or blog using a simple opt-in form.

These forms work just like opt-in forms for email addresses, except you’ll be collecting phone numbers.

Create these boxes quickly and easily using tools like Sumo or Hello Bar.

Don’t forget to make it worth your customer’s time to give you their mobile phone number. Give them something useful in exchange.

Get the relationship started on the right foot, then send targeted and relevant content to someone ready to do business.

2 Chatbots

Are you using chatbots to communicate with your customers on Facebook Messenger? Who isn’t?

Insert a question into your chatbot flow, asking your customer for the best phone number to reach them.

Follow this up with a question requesting their permission to message them, and you have an automated way to start fleshing out your first opted-in list.

3 Email

Take advantage of all your marketing channels to harvest phone numbers.

Think about the emails you send. These are the perfect vehicle to show customers how they can join your text messaging service. Include a link in your email signature.

If you’re emailing your list, blast all your contacts a concise message alerting them to this new service you’re offering. Everyone loves to pick up on something new.

Capitalise on this natural human emotion and grab more eager customers hungry for great offers.

4 Reminders by Newsletter

Do you produce a physical or digital newsletter for your business?

Newsletters of all forms are a great way to communicate with your customers. They’re typically consumed by people who like your brand and want to remain in contact with you.

Get the phone number of customers like this, and you’ve got the perfect audience for your next offer.

All that’s required is crisp instructions showing them what to do and what they can expect in return.

5 Social Media

Cross-promote on all your social media channels.

From Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, keep your audience informed on the easiest way to stay in touch with you.

You should implement this type of cross-platform promotion as a standard practice, not just as a one-off.

6 Signage In-Store

When customers are already in your store, they are clearly interested in your services.

Use discounts on future purchases and early bird offer to encourage customers to hand over their phone numbers.

Everyone instinctively asks, “What’s in it for me?” Make it worthwhile and present clear benefits of signing up to your SMS marketing list.

7 Signage and Networking at Events

Any events you host or attend present an easy opportunity to advertise your phone marketing service on signage.

On-site list building also allows you to physically interact with your customers. Establish a rapport, and you’ll set a strong foundation for an ongoing relationship.

8 Billboards

Offline marketing on billboards can have a great reach. Consider this type of advertising if your budget allows.

Remember that people will be passing by the billboard at walking speed. Use memorable keywords and virtual numbers so people can remember them as they reach for their phones.

9 Contests Incentivising Customers

Contests, both online and offline, allow you to inject some fun into collecting opted-in phone numbers.

Again, you’ll be giving your customers a clear reason to give you their phone number. All you need to do then is deliver solid offers.

Offer vouchers in-store or another relevant prize conditional on customers giving you their phone number. Right from the onset, they’ll be monitoring their phone for your message.

Engaged customers are exactly the type every business wants.

10 Radio and TV Ads

If you’re making the significant investment of advertising on radio or TV, don’t waste the chance to include a CTA for your customers in the form of an attention-grabbing offer.

You could consider making this offer a loss-leader. Only the most memorable of ads seize consumers’ attention. Make yours one of them and get yourself a loyal customer in the bargain.

You should now have no shortage of options to start building a clean list of phone numbers to market. You should also see that there’s no barrier to entry, nothing stopping you from pushing ahead today.

That said, you should be aware of a handful of elements needed to build a list safely and effectively.

We’ll end with the best practices, so you’re ready to start accumulating phone numbers.

Best Practice When Building Opted-In Phone Lists

As a permission-based activity, there are several crucial factors to work into your promotions:

      • Include clear instructions showing customers how to opt-out of your service. Make it easy for them to unsubscribe by texting your virtual number with the message STOP.
      • Inform customers they can message HELP to your shortcode if they need assistance.
      • State the maximum number of messages your customers can expect from you. Stick to this limit and never abuse it.
      • Explicitly state the cost of the service. All opt-in confirmation messages and CTAs must tell customers that “message rates and data rates may apply.”

What to Do Next

If you want help sending messages to your marketing list, reach out to our friendly team here at touchSMS.

We can help you automate your SMS marketing in ways you haven’t even considered, so don’t delay.