How To Drive More SMS Subscribers

By Feb 4, 2021

SMS messages. If you’re not into the fancy marketing lingo, you know them as text messages, and you probably send and receive your fair share of them every day. It is that familiarity and intimacy that can make SMS a key outreach tool for brands.

As the number of channels, messages, and devices soar, we’ve seen SMS reemerge as an attractive alternative for direct communication with customers. Read on to learn how to maximize your impact with this often untapped mobile messaging channel.

What does SMS have to offer?

SMS can be a powerful tool for engaging your customers and driving increased brand engagement. There are a few traits in particular that make it stand out:

  1. Global reach. In some global markets, including APAC and much of Africa, SMS is the standard digital communications medium, with many people’s first experience of the internet coming from a mobile device. If you’re looking to truly take your brand global, prioritizing SMS in certain markets is going to be key.
  2. Supports two-way interactions. Providing a smooth, interactive experience is important for engaging customers. SMS is an ideal format for messages that are meant to kick off an ongoing two-way conversation—think appointment confirmations or restaurant reservations.
  3. Epic open rates. Last but not definitely not least, SMS boasts a truly impressive open rate of 98%. If you’re a marketer, that means you can be confident your messages to customers are going to get read.

How to Maximize the Impact of SMS

As a messaging channel, SMS offers up valuable advantages. But how can you make sure you’re taking advantage of them correctly?

For starters, you’ll want to make sure you’re using SMS for the right reasons. SMS is great for enabling two-way conversations, sharing critical information with users, notifying them of transactional updates, and reaching users who have unsubscribed from other channels.

But before you can do any of that, you need to build an SMS list. The foundations of a sustainable SMS program start here. But what exactly is an SMS Marketing List?

Before you launch an SMS campaign, you need an audience, or a subscriber list of mobile phone numbers you can send your messages to. But because the US and other countries require explicit opt-ins for people receiving SMS marketing, these numbers need to be contacts who’ve opted in to receiving SMS marketing from your company.

As with any customer acquisition strategy, a mix of organic and paid marketing channels can help you build your list. Depending on your brand’s target audience, budget, and customer engagement goals, you can tap into your existing user base, leveraging other channels to encourage users to opt in to receiving SMS updates.

What Does This Look Like in Practice?

So what does a good customer acquisition strategy look like when it comes to building an SMS list? Consider the case of sweetgreen, the fast-casual chain famous for its salads and grain bowls.

sweetgreen wanted to encourage users to order delivery through their new app rather than third-party delivery services. To do that, they needed to send order discount codes through SMS.

Users who downloaded their app were encouraged to opt in to SMS messaging to receive discount codes. From there, SMS powered by Braze helped sweetgreen easily deliver the promised codes directly to its customers. Ultimately, the campaign helped sweetgreen add 10K+ subscribers to its SMS channel.

Final Thoughts

To build stronger relationships with customers, you need to ensure you’re communicating in ways that speak to each customer as an individual. And while that’s true for all messaging channels, it’s especially true for SMS. To learn more about how you can expand your brand’s SMS capabilities, take a look at the Braze Channel Expansion Guide.