How to build an active and engaged list for your SMS marketing

In SMS marketing, the health of your list is equally as important as the size.

A healthy and engaged list will pave the way for each sent text to hit your KPI’s and establish long-lived customer relationships.

Building an excellent SMS list doesn’t have to be a challenge. By using the proper methods from the get-go, you’ll be able to focus more on growth and sales and less on list management.

In today's article, we’ll go through why your e-commerce company needs SMS marketing, how to build your customer list and how to keep it healthy and strong to get the best results for your coming campaigns.

Let’s go!

Why does your e-commerce business need SMS marketing?

Over the years, smartphones have made us accustomed to receiving notifications via apps, email, and text messages.

Simultaneously, the amount of time that we spend on our mobile phones has grown exponentially.

Therefore, SMS marketing has gained a growing interest among e-retailers, as the simplicity and results have proven SMS to be an invaluable channel for marketing.

While signing up in a form is easy enough. In the marketing world, a customer who opts in for SMS marketing has gone through several steps in order to receive offers from you on their phone. This shows that the customer is committed and is guaranteed to read and click on your offers.

Through SMS marketing, you’ll get a new powerful tool to improve the customer experience and loyalty, as well as your sales.

Build your customer list:

1. Opt-in at checkout

When customers shop at your store, you’ll want to give them the opportunity to jump on both your text message and email marketing list at checkout.

An opt-in here allows you to grow your SMS and email list every time someone buys from you. 

Just make sure that your opt-in is transparent and honest so that the customer knows what to expect when subscribing. A tip is to entice new sign-ups with offers that cannot be obtained elsewhere, other than through your SMS, such as new product launches, preorders, or first grabs on sales.

A clear opt-in is vital both to get high-value customers on your list and for GDPR reasons as well.

2. Use your email list

You can get a head start with your SMS marketing by transferring your existing email customers to your new SMS list.

When you send an SMS opt-in via e-mail, you also have the opportunity to explain in greater detail what happens when the customer signs up for the list and what type of offers they will receive.

By marketing your SMS list to your email list, you will gather your best customers in one place - those who show the most interest in receiving your offers.

How do i use email to gather SMS subscriptions?

To get opt-ins from your email list to your SMS list, you first need to build a landing page with a sign-up form.

Explain briefly in your opt-in email what value your customers receive by subscribing via SMS. If you want to get more information, you can add it to your landing page, but you’ll usually be able to cover it in the email.

3. Social media

An essential tool for e-retailers is social media - a great marketing channel to collect addresses for both your e-mail and SMS list.

Again, exclusivity is a good selling point for getting numbers into your list. Many of your followers may already be on your email list or take advantage of offers that you post on social media. But by conveying the value and exclusivity of being on your SMS list, you will get a much better response.

Remind your followers a few times a year that you have an SMS list they can join to get offers they would otherwise have missed.

4. Competitions

By making giveaways or competitions, you’ll quickly be able to collect a larger amount of phone numbers for your SMS marketing.

You can market the competition via your email list, social media, on the website or anywhere you have the opportunity to be seen and heard. Just make sure that the value is enticing enough for people to leave their numbers.

The cons of giveaways and competitions: If you market your competition to an existing customer base, you will not see any disadvantages in this. But if you market via paid ads for outbound (e.g. Facebook ads), you will see a higher unsubscribe rate than usual. This is because people simply sign up for the competition only, and when the contest is over, they unsubscribe.

You can counteract this somewhat through story and personalisation so that your outbound customers get a personal connection to your brand.

Clean up your list

A double opt-in is often a good idea to ensure that the customer wants to be on your list in the first place.

Your aim is to have more engaged customers on your SMS list, so it's good for you to have clear communications right from the start.

Like e-mails, you pay more depending on how extensive your list is, so you must occasionally weed out unengaged customers so that your costs are down and the ROI is higher.

In addition to making a double opt-in and a clear opt-out, you can segment your customer base by engagement. This way, you have the opportunity to select those who are inactive and either start a retargeting campaign to reactivate the customers or sift them out of your list completely.


Building an SMS list for your established e-commerce business doesn’t have to be difficult when you’ve already done the "dirty work".

Use your existing channels to capture your best customers to your SMS list. This way you’ll always get the best possible results.

Just make sure your list is filled and stays filled with engaged and active customers, and clean it regularly to keep the list healthy for your upcoming promotions and product launches.


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