Increase SMS Opt-Ins Via Incentivized Content

Brandon Wells, Ytel |  

SMS marketing has been so quickly adopted by both small and large businesses, mainly because of the versatility it offers. But you’ll need a big opt-in list to make SMS work for you. Keep reading for some tips on growing your subscriber list.

For businesses who rely on cross-channel marketing tactics to contact leads and customers, the benefits of SMS marketing are hard to ignore.

For businesses who rely on cross-channel marketing to contact leads and customers, the benefits of SMS marketing are hard to ignore.

  • 98% open rate
  • 90% open rate within 3 minutes
  • 91% of people carry mobile devices all day
  • 74% of people form positive impressions of businesses who interact via SMS

Still not convinced? Check out these stats:

  • 80% of professionals use SMS for business purposes
  • 85% of consumers want to engage in two-way conversations with businesses
  • 50% of people make direct purchases from SMS marketing offers

SMS marketing is a permissions-based communications channel. Long code SMS use doesn’t require express consent, but all short code use or marketing materials do! To build a healthy subscriber list compliantly, consider these tips.


Advertising your SMS campaign is essential for building an opt-in list. People can’t opt in to your program if they aren’t aware of it!

SMS campaign promotion is pretty straightforward: “Text JOIN to 123-456 for…” and from there, the sky’s the limit. Are you offering discounts, updates, or news alerts? Clearly specify what you're offering.

Advertising an SMS program on company collateral is a good start.

This includes:

  • Radio spots
  • TV ads
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Billboards
  • Direct mail
  • Print ads
  • Product receipts


Promoting your SMS campaign on all company collateral is necessary, but don’t ignore advertising your SMS activities to your current contact list either. You’ll want your email subscribers to opt in. Tell them about it!

Targeting existing contacts raises awareness for your SMS campaign and improves engagement.

Consider these promotions:

  • Email subscriptions
  • Website/landing pages
  • Social media
  • Ringless voicemail (RVM) campaigns

These contacts already interact with your business, which means they are more likely to opt in to an SMS campaign.


Advertising your SMS program with incentives is an even better way to grow your opt-in list. Ultimately, your marketing campaigns need to provide value to your contacts. That’s up to you! By incentivizing contacts to discover value by opting in, you’re painting a clear picture of exactly what this campaign will offer them.

Campaigns with incentivized opt-in language get 6 times as many subscribers as non-incentivized promotion.

It’s as simple as: “Text JOIN to 123-456 to receive 25% off your next order over $100.”

Consider this:

  • 60% of people opt-in to SMS marketing to receive coupons
  • 50% of people make direct purchases from SMS offers

You may think that incentivizing your acquisition program will give you more opt-outs after the deal expires. Research shows that about 2% of people opt out after joining incentivized SMS campaigns, which is lower than the average opt-out rate of 3.7% for bulk SMS campaigns.

The top reasons for opting out aren’t necessarily related to incentive:

  1. Bad timing - don’t send SMS at odd hours of the day
  2. Frequency - don’t send too many SMS
  3. Tone/content - stay professional, avoid slang
  4. Irrelevant - messages aren’t relevant to subscribers


SMS campaigns should offer value or content that can’t be received from other marketing channels. Unique, channel-exclusive content and offers create campaign value that will draw people in.

Two types of exclusives work well:

  • Time-sensitive offers
  • VIP access

People want access to your exclusive offers. There’s perceived value in them that’s hard to ignore. When that value is exclusive to your SMS campaigns, people will want to participate.

“Text JOIN to 123-456 to become a VIP Loyalty Program member. You’ll receive one exclusive deal per week." 


You’ve created clear CTAs, put them on all your collateral, and added incentives to make them stand out. Now be patient. Your opt-in list is growing, but you’ve got an important task: delivering value with your SMS marketing.

Doing so gives your program a solid reputation to continue growing your subscriber count and reduce churn.New Call-to-action

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About The Author

Brandon Wells, Ytel

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Brandon is a member of Ytel's Product team and is instrumental in paving the way for our current and future product offering. Brandon started as a Technical Account Manager where he worked daily with our customers, and he is able to apply that experience and knowledge when building out product roadmaps and studying market trends.

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