Lesson 2: Everything you need to scale and maximize ROI

Building upon your SMS foundation

Creative ways to grow your subscriber list

Growing a healthy (and valuable) subscriber list is the first step in developing a successful SMS marketing program. With SMS, you can build an engaged list of subscribers, move beyond the “no reply” world, and deliver timely messages that drive revenue. As you build your list, it’s important to monitor and adjust your strategies as needed to see continuous growth.

Sign-up units are the basics of list growth. They let prospects enter their information—like their email address and phone number—to opt-in to communications from your brand. Before you can start growing your SMS marketing list, you need to design and create the sign-up units you’ll be using—whether that’s on your website, social, or other channels.

Design your units to match the look and feel of your website—they’ll be your first impression to potential subscribers. But desktop and mobile sign-up units aren’t the only ways to capture subscribers.

If you’re looking to drive subscriber growth on other channels, consider rolling out one of these options:

  • Website landing page sign-up forms
  • Social media sign-up forms (do you have a large following on Instagram or TikTok?)
  • Email banners—email and text message campaigns can simultaneously drive engagement
  • Text-to-Join campaigns

Offering discounts is the most effective way to encourage consumers to sign up for text messages. Some common discount sign-up incentives include:

  • Percentage-off discount
  • Dollar-off discount
  • Limited-time offer
  • Free gift with next purchase
  • Free shipping

Still, there are other ways to diversify your growth strategies. Here are some examples that’ll help you build your list and engage your shoppers.

Incentives that go beyond discounts

Creative twist
Grow your list with entertaining and gamified experiences that convert more of your website visitors into text message subscribers. Take spin-to-win sign-up units, which are a fun and engaging way for consumers to opt-in.

Holiday and spotlight launches

Test your sign-up units using specific designs, imagery, and language around major holidays, sales, and product launches.

Loyalty and rewards points

Add opportunities to join a loyalty program and describe how to gain and benefit from member reward points.

First access to exclusive content

Promote valuable content in the form of e-books, whitepapers, or videos that are only accessible to your SMS subscribers.

Entry into a giveaway

Offer a sweepstakes entry relevant to your brand. Use custom attributes to gather zero-party data you can use to later personalize your campaigns.

We recommend switching up your list growth incentive strategy once in a while to see what types of offers are resonating among consumers.

Personalization and targeting strategies

Personalizing your messages is key to delivering content that resonates with your subscribers—and meets their expectations.

Your SMS subscribers expect to receive text messages that are tailored to their wants and needs and align with their interests. The more personalized your messages are, the more likely they’ll inspire action and drive incremental revenue.

Before implementing personalization strategies, it’s important to understand the ideal frequency and the type of one-time marketing messages—that impact engagement and performance.

Evaluate how your subscribers respond to the cadence and content of your campaign messages by monitoring click, conversion, and opt-out rates. Use these insights to determine how often you should send messages to your subscribers and which messages drive the best results. Once you’ve done so, you can customize your subscriber’s SMS experiences using segmentation and triggered messages (messages that are sent after subscriber actions).

Segmentation best practices

Segmentation can make a big impact on your personalization strategy—leading to higher engagement and increased ROI for your SMS channel.

At a basic level, an effective SMS segmentation strategy should accomplish one key objective: consistently engage subscribers with relevant, personalized content. Meeting this objective is critical to success. Your SMS platform should allow you to create dynamic audiences based on subscriber data you’re actively capturing.

Here are some segmentation strategies that’ll let you maximize opportunities and engage your entire subscriber base, while still personalizing the experience for individual groups

  • Engaged vs. Unengaged: Send timely messages using creative imagery and discounts to give your engaged subscriber that extra push. Re-engage your unengaged audience with your best content and new product offerings.
  • Purchasers vs. Non-purchasers: Create upsell and cross-sell campaigns based on items subscribers have purchased before. Engage your non-purchase audience with limited-time offers or send rave reviews on best-selling products.
  • High-intent: High-intent subscribers get as close as they can to purchasing without clicking “buy,” which makes them an ideal audience for personalized follow-ups. Ensure you’ve activated triggered browse and cart abandonment text message reminders to capture this otherwise lost revenue. You can personalize the follow-up content by including information and imagery in the text message based on the specific product the subscriber showed interest in.
  • Location-based: Create a community of local customers by sending promotional and non-promotional messages about special in-store deals, product launches, and events.Offers for VIPs: Offer your most loyal subscribers loyalty perks, like exclusive deals, early access discounts, and new product launches.

For every product launch, flash sale, and any other marketing event you’re running, you should have a plan for who you want to communicate with and how you’ll communicate with them. Each audience should receive a text message that’s highly relevant and personalized to their actions, preferences, demographics, locations, and any other information you’ve collected about them. We recommend sending 8-10 text messages per month to maximize revenue per send.

Using triggered messaging

Triggered messages are sent after specific subscriber actions, such as joining a text message channel, abandoning a shopping cart, visiting your website, or responding with a keyword. Once these promotional messages are set up to respond to said actions, they’ll send on their own—meaning no extra work for you.

Here are some types of triggered text messages you can use to engage your subscribers.

  • Welcome messages: Your SMS welcome series is an opportunity to introduce new subscribers to your brand, set the tone for what they can expect from you, and show them what their experience will be like as your customer. These early interactions help set the foundation for growing a healthy and engaged SMS subscriber base.
  • Browse and cart abandonment messages: Remind customers about items they’ve left in their cart or have viewed but haven’t yet added to their cart. These messages create a sense of urgency, encouraging customers to purchase items they’ve shown interest in before it’s too late.
  • Post-purchase messages: Message a customer after they’ve completed a purchase to keep your brand top-of-mind. Ask them to leave a review or share their purchase on social media, invite them to join your loyalty program, and more.

By leveraging segmentation with triggered messages, you can send highly personalized messages to the right subscribers at the right time.

Why zero-party data matters—and how to use it

Brands are facing a privacy and personalization paradox. Consumers want to feel heard by brands, but they’re not always comfortable sharing information.

Zero-party data solves this issue. Actively asking consumers about their personal preferences helps brands better understand their customers. This fair and transparent value exchange helps create opportunities to build trust and loyalty.

First-Party Data
Inferred or Necessary to Collect
Consumer behaviors taken on your website and owned channels, including SMS, email, loyalty program, & more (e.g. you browsed black pants)
zero-Party Data
Consumer responses to quizzes, on-site forms, surveys, two-way text messages, & more (e.g. you said you liked black in a product finder quiz)

Here are some benefits of using zero-party data:

  • Direct communication: When customers explicitly share their contact information with you, you're able to directly communicate with them. Conversational channels like SMS are particularly effective when it comes to engaging one-on-one with your subscribers.
  • Increased accuracy: Getting data directly from shoppers ensures your data is correct. Collecting website behavior (first-party data) and quiz responses can tell you whether a shopper is interested in a sweater versus shoes. Being able to target your messages with their preferences right off the bat saves you time and money.
  • Increased loyalty: Shoppers trust your brand when they share their preferences. Delivering personalized experiences via their preferred channels shows you respect their trust and care about delivering relevant experiences. This helps you build loyalty and grow more authentic relationships with your customers.

Our latest consumer survey finds that 56.7% of consumers attribute a positive shopping experience to receiving personalized responses to their questions. This kind of next-level personalization, makes customers feel more inclined to make purchases with your brand. Zero-party data can help you get there.