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List Building Best Practices
List Building Best Practices
Updated over a week ago

Building your subscriber list is just the first stage of the SMS customer journey. It is an important gateway to the second stage, where subscribers are converted to purchasers to generate the majority of your revenue.

How to Maximize Your List Growth

With average eCommerce conversion rates hovering around 3%, most of your first time website visitors will not purchase during that first visit. Thus capturing leads and building a subscriber list is essential to optimizing your conversion funnel.

Most brands have some type of "welcome modal" (or pop up) on their first page visit that provides visitors with an initial offer (10-20% off) their first order. Historically, these opt-in offers have been email-only; they were primarily used on desktop versions of the website, and often hidden on mobile due to bounce rates.

More recently, mobile has gained the majority share of web traffic for eCommerce by over 80%. SMS list building methods are the key to ensuring that you maximize lead capture across all your marketing channels. Here are some best practices that will quickly get you to purchase conversion in the customer journey.

Opt-In Offer

In order to capture a lead, brands need to provide something of value to the user. The majority of successful opt-in offers use a 10-20% discount off of purchase. Bear in mind, discounts are not appropriate for every brand, and they are also not always required for an effective offer.

Other SMS sign up incentives include:

  • Early access to new product drops

  • Give-aways and free samples/gifts

  • For brands that haven't discounted in the past, focus the offers on very specific older or slower moving products to not cannibalize sales from your best sellers

  • Offering a free piece of content for signing up is another tried and true method. This could be recipe lists, style guides, or special video content

Opt-In Flow

With SMS we are able to control the flow of messaging as part of the signup. This allows you to build fully customized opt-in flows for each sign up source (on the website, in a store, on the packaging) and direct customers to specific offers and landing pages.

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Opt-in flows can be customized for special opt-in campaigns:

  • Product waitlist - "You'll be the first to know when our [new item] launches. In the meantime, check out our latest collection:"

  • In store - "Here's your coupon for 10% off your in-store order today."

  • Event - "Thanks for stopping by our booth at MAGIC. Get your VIP offer by clicking this link:" We have an article dedicated to many more in-person event ideas here.

  • Product Packaging - "Thanks for getting on our exclusive list. We hope you enjoy your new threads. Share on social media for a chance to win a $500 gift card:"

Email Strategies

Capture SMS Alongside Emails

For brands that do find success capturing email on mobile web modals, we recommend giving visitors the choice to choose their signup method for the welcome offer:

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Secret Sale Email

One of the most bulletproof strategies for kicking off SMS marketing is to convert a portion of your email list into SMS subscribers. This SMS subscriber list is a particularly useful outreach channel with high engagement during the holidays, especially when email inboxes are flooded and vying for attention with multiple messages over a series of days.

We recommend building SMS-only offers, and sending an email with language similar to below, with the mystery of the offer amount and product it applies to leading to higher signups, without as high of an offer:


Website Strategies

SMS Only Modal on Mobile

We have found that a SMS dedicated modal to be the single most effective method for brands to convert mobile visitors into subscribers and most importantly customers. If you are using an email capture modal on your mobile homepage, we recommend deactivating this for mobile visitors.

Capture SMS on 2nd or 3rd page view

If you don't want to show a welcome modal on first page view, brands also find success moving the welcome modal to the 2nd or 3rd page view. These high intent users have shown greater interest in the brand or its products. This also gives visitors time to decide if they want to sign up for the welcome offer. Voyage SMS supports this kind of versatile customization.

On-Site Keyword Opt-In

Opt-In keywords enable you to capture leads across various areas of your site:

  • Footer - "Text 'keyword' to 71023 for 10% off your order today"

  • Checkout Success Page - "text 'keyword' for early access to new products"

  • Product Detail Page (coming soon/waitlist) - "text 'productname' to 71023 to get notified when this product drops"

  • Blog Content - "text 'recipename' to 71023 to get access to this recipe list"


Create custom keywords for advertising campaigns that you can segment and track for attribution. Include opt-in CTA on Podcasts, Billboards, Signage, Email Footers, Instagram Posts, etc. "text 'podcastname' to 71023 for 20% off your first order for podcast listeners only!"

Social Media

Include an opt-in keyword or Voyage Deep Links on your Instagram bio to convert social media followers into real customers with a special offer "text 'brandinsta' to 71023 for 20% off the purple collection".


Include an opt-in keyword either on your product packaging, on the product itself, or on a shipment insert. This is a great way to build your list while selling through 3rd party retailers and distributors where email capture would be impossible.

In Store

Include signage in store with an opt-in keyword or QR code. If you are a brand with multiple store fronts you can create a keyword for each store location so that you can target for specific local promotions and COVID-era shopping restrictions. Incentivize in store customers by sending them a coupon to use in store. No need to set up an iPad (not sanitary) and hard to build segmentation capability. SMS requires no technical set up!


Create a keyword for events and tradeshows. You can either show on a sign or your staff can simply tell people "text 'brandmagic' to 71023". Learn more about various engagement ideas for events here.

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If you have any additional questions please contact us at [email protected].

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