How to Build Your SMS Marketing List: Tips and Best Practices

May 03, 2023 6 Min Read

Photo by Adem AY @ unsplash

"The thing is that fewer brands use SMS marketing, which is what makes it so effective."

Many people no longer use SMS in their private interactions; does this mean they don’t open or respond to it if they receive it? The numbers would shock you since the average SMS marketing response rate can be as high as 45%

The thing is that fewer brands use SMS marketing, which is what makes it so effective. Just imagine having to clear your email list. How many emails would you have to go through? Wouldn’t it be easier just to select them all and move them (or mark them as read)? Since you receive only a few SMS daily, the incentive to open them manually is much higher.

Still, for your SMS marketing campaign to be successful, you need an SMS API such as Plivo, a great Twilio alternative, and a good contact list. Here are some tips and best practices for growing one organically. 

Read more: How To Build A Successful SMS Marketing Campaign

Start a text-to-join campaign

The simplest way to get many potential customers is to send them a promotional code to their SMS. This way, you ask them for their phone number to send them the code. They will need this code to register/sign-up, and you’ll get their number in return.

This works so well because both parties have the incentive. You get their number, and they get a two-step verification. By emphasising this, your request for their phone number will seem even more reasonable. Moreover, they won’t feel alarmed by your messages, and your customers will have a more positive attitude toward them. 

text-to-join campaign can be effective if you promote it correctly. For instance, you could offer a discount or participation in a giveaway to everyone who texts X keyword to a certain number.

With an automated reply, you can easily track your customers and show them you received the message. Automating the whole process is relatively simple, increasing your ability to track this relevant metric. 

Legal SMS marketing tips

One of the first Lightspeed’s SMS marketing tips is that you need to check if you have permission to send those SMSs, in the first place. Texting people in parts of the US and Canada might be against the law unless you’ve gotten explicit permission. 

So, the first thing you need to do is ask for permission. When making a list, make sure to remove all those who didn’t permit you, or at least those you can’t confirm permitted you. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

The method mentioned above of asking the customers to message you first is one of the ways to bypass this issue. 

Auxiliary reading: What Is Marketing for Startups and How to Do It Properly?

You must also be completely transparent. Be honest about your texting practices and have a straightforward terms and conditions. Here, you should include the frequency of messaging and text rates. All of this is necessary to stay within the confounds of TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act).

Remember that violations may cost between $500 and $1,500 PER TEXT (depending on if they’re wilful). Either way, it takes so little to secure yourself on this front. 

Leverage your website traffic

An important thing to know about SMS marketing is that it works best on qualified leads. Your website traffic already counts here, so this is a great promotional opportunity and an idea for the foundation of your outreach strategy.

Don't miss out on this: How Does an SEO Specialist Affect the Company's Success?

What you need to do is push your promo code as effectively as you can. This means you need to use as many visual stimuli as possible. You can use visual banners, highlight coupon codes, push promotional videos, etc. The critical thing is that you do this tastefully and organically. In other words, you might have to pay a bit more for editors and designers. 

This method is also less imposing. This means that your audience feels in control every step of the way. This is always important when asking for their sensitive private info. 

Leverage your other contact lists

While you may not know how to make and grow an SMS list, your marketing team probably already uses their lists. For instance, you may have a newsletter with many subscribers or an effective email list.

The simplest way to progress would be to turn these contacts into SMS contacts. Since these people already count as qualified leads (even low-hanging fruit), you can first ask them. You can make special offers and further incentivise if this doesn't yield good results.

  • Could you do this straight away?
  • Sure, but where’s the rush?

First, just asking for contact is quicker and less expensive. You can do this in cycles to get the maximum value.

The reason why you should dip into these contact lists is fairly simple - they’re the most receptive to your message. A limited-time offer has less of an appeal to someone who never planned to buy from you to begin with. To a subscriber or return customer, it’s far more appealing.

Use social media, influencers, and referral program

Lastly, you can use your audience as a resource. For instance, you can spread the word on social media and ask your massive following to do the same.

To amplify this effect, you could find an influencer to help you spread the message further. Remember that this doesn’t have to be an A-list celebrity (that you might not be able to afford to begin with). Micro-influencers are far more cost-effective for smaller businesses.

This may interest you: Is Your Social Media Approach Helping or Hurting Your Career?

Also, when using influencers, remember that they tie in their reputation and trustworthiness with your brand. This might be just the boost that you need.

Finally, you shouldn’t rely on the goodwill of your audience. Encourage them to promote SMS check-ins. By creating a referral program, you can easily organise an effective system. Also, you can easily get all the needed numbers with personalised codes.

Your SMS marketing efforts rely on a good SMS list

To make a good SMS list, you must incentivise your customers to use text to interact with your brand.

Supplementary reading: How To Leverage The Changing Digital Marketing Landscape

Sometimes, all it takes is for you to ask. More likely than not, you’ll have to self-promote and even ask influencers for help shamelessly. 

Most importantly, don’t be cheap. Offer incentives, and the texts will flow.

Lastly, ensure that you do everything in agreement with the law of the land. 

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Veteran content writer, published author, and amateur boxer. Srdjan is a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature and is passionate about technology, pop culture, and self-improvement. His free time he spends reading, watching movies, and playing Super Mario Bros. with his son.


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