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How To Collect Phone Numbers For SMS Marketing With Pop-Ups

How To Collect Phone Numbers For SMS Marketing With Pop-Ups

Renata Liubertaitė

If you’re reading this, you clearly understand the importance of building a solid SMS marketing list. Whether you’re new at it or have been using text marketing to connect with customers for a while, there’s always room for a few more subscribers to join. But let’s not stop at only a few, shall we?

SMS marketing is reliving its renaissance which means that now’s as good a time as any to add it to your overall marketing strategy. With so many people spending so much time on their phones, it just makes sense to reach them via the channel they won’t likely ignore (hint: thanks to whopping 98% open rates!).

But how to collect phone numbers for SMS marketing and keep building your subscribers list, you ask? In this post, you’ll learn about a few different ways of collecting phone numbers and take a deeper look at how to do it with pop-ups, one of the most-used methods to achieve this goal.

Different ways to collect phone numbers for text marketing

Come up with a memorable keyword

Keyword in SMS marketing is a word that shoppers can text to your number and opt-in for your text marketing campaigns. It should be simple enough to remember and can sometimes offer something in exchange for digits. For instance, if you’re running a handmade jewelry business, you could place a banner on your website saying “Text HANDCRAFTED to 786598 and get 15% OFF!” This way, your potential customers will feel more motivated to opt-in as they can also benefit from it.

Let your email subscribers know about the SMS marketing opportunity

If you have an email marketing subscribers list, you can offer them to opt-in for SMS messages. Some of them might not even know about the opportunity and the others could probably use a little nudge to the right direction. Sending a friendly email with instructions and benefits of subscribing for text messages can help you win some of them which is great for yet another reason – combining these two channels is proven to convert higher than using just one of them.

Use a sign-up form on your website

Another widely used method for collecting phone numbers is leaving a sign-up form on the website. If someone is visiting your store, it likely means that you already got their attention. Why stop there? Allow them to find out about the latest updates in the future by opting-in for your SMS marketing campaigns. Usually, such sign-up forms appear somewhere along the footer of the website, making it easy to access them from anywhere.

SMS marketing sign-up form on Pura Vida website

Organize a “text-to-win” competition

Adding a dash of excitement to your marketing game rarely disappoints. People love gifts and they're active in online competitions – use this to your advantage. Decide the incentive, whether it’s one of your products or a motivating discount, and invite people to participate by subscribing to your text messages.

Suggest to opt-in at the order confirmation

The order confirmation is the highest point of your customer’s trust, which also makes it a great time to expand your phone number collection. You can either just show a sign-up form as mentioned above encouraging to become a subscriber, or, for instance, offer to tick an opt-in box below the number already provided for shipping updates.

Use pop-ups on your store

Pop-ups are still one of the most-used and effective ways to add more subscribers to both email and SMS marketing lists. Therefore, let’s look at some tips and tricks on how to make the best out of pop-ups on your website.

Why use pop-ups?

SMS marketing pop-up example on Nine West store

In case you don’t know, a pop-up is a new window that appears (or, in other words, pops up) on the website while you browse it.

It can be used to promote products and services, reduce cart abandonment, to upsell or cross-sell. It can also help to drive more sales, or, you guessed it right, grow your subscribers list.

Sure, it’s not a secret that pop-ups have their downsides – they can sometimes feel a bit too intrusive and interrupt the shopping experience. On the flip side, pop-ups still convert a lot of traffic by being clearly focused on a single message and grabbing visitors’ attention whether they want it or not.

You can succeed with pop-ups, yet under one condition – they have to be done right.

9 best practices to make pop-ups work

1. Keep your pop-ups simple

Keep pop-ups simple: email marketing pop-up example

The main idea behind a pop-up is to encourage the desired action immediately, as soon as it appears on the visitor’s screen. However, you have a very limited amount of time to do that, so keeping it simple should be one of your main objectives while creating highly converting pop-ups.

Therefore, make sure not to overwhelm your store visitors with information. This would make it much more difficult to prevent them from simply dismissing your pop-up, not to mention the frustration it might cause.

To grab visitors’ attention, write only what’s necessary and avoid giving too many options to choose from. For example, three different incentives that all require different actions might be too much to digest on a casual stroll through online shops. Pop-ups should require as little thinking as possible – if you want your visitors to sign up for your text messages, simply say so.

2. Make sure your pop-ups are easy to get rid off

Let’s say that you didn’t manage to convince a visitor to act on your pop-up or s/he is not interested in what you have to offer. That’s alright. But remember that you might have just interrupted their shopping experience and they will be annoyed if there’s no easy way to close that pop-up and continue.

This is a crucial point where you can keep them in your store or encourage them to leave. To avoid the latter, make the “X” in your pop-ups clearly visible and/or provide an easy option to say “No, thanks” to those who are not interested.

Easy-to-close pop-up example on Under Armour website

3. Offer real value in return

If you want your visitors to share their contact information, like a phone number that feels particularly private, you have to make it worth it. Simply asking to subscribe to your text messages might not do it. When you think of it, why would they? But offering something in exchange makes it a lot more appealing. Especially, when they can get it now.

One of the most popular approaches is to offer a discount on the first order. For instance, once your potential customers enter their phone numbers to the required field and press submit, it triggers a text message with a discount code or link, followed by their number being added to your subscribers list.

Some other incentives to consider besides discounts:

  • Offer free shipping
  • Share a free ebook
  • Give access to quality content, such as how-to guides or checklists
  • Offer a sample of your product or free trial, if applicable
  • Invite to join a webinar or other online event for free

4. Gamify the pop-up experience

If you want to take your pop-ups to the next level, try turning them into a game. Instead of a regular pop-up that simply offers something very specific in exchange, build some suspense and give visitors a chance to “win” something valuable.

Adding such a fun twist to pop-ups is not that often used marketing strategy yet, but already proved to work. A well-designed, gamified pop-up can not only increase your chances of achieving your goal but also boost your customer experience.

There are different types of gamification pop-ups that you could find interesting to try, such as the game of cards, "spin to win" wheels, the reel of coupons, and so on. For example, a visitor can spin a wheel and get one of the several incentives, like free shipping, a discount, or whatever else you can come up with.

5. Think about the timing, twice

With pop-ups, timing is as important as any other practice of effective pop-ups that we’ve already gone through. You might think that it’s best to grab visitors’ attention as soon as they enter your store, but that might actually give you the opposite effect.

Since you would likely let your potential customers at least take a quick skim in a physical store before offering help or, in this case, asking to subscribe to your promotional text messages, you should practice that online, too. Entry pop-ups can be extremely intrusive and drive visitors away before you know it.

Instead, show your pop-ups based on engagement and user behavior in your store. Generally, it is recommended that the pop-up would appear after the visitor has scrolled through 75% of your page or has been there for at least 15 seconds. You can also adjust your pop-ups to complement a specific site, go with relevant content, show up after visiting a few pages, or appear when a visitor is about to leave.

Oh, and one more thing – don’t spam. If someone has already taken good use of that "X" in the corner, that's your clue to keep it quiet.

6. Keep mobile visitors in mind

Mobile-friendly pop-up example on Pepsi website

More and more people are shopping online on their smartphones – in fact, mobile sales are expected to account for 54% of all retail e-commerce sales in 2021 already. Likely, even more use their mobile devices to do their research. That's too big of an audience to ignore so make sure that your pop-ups are 100% mobile-friendly.

The mobile-responsive design, of course, comes first. It should follow all the same rules as a regular desktop pop-up, such as easy exit, creative copy, the right amount of information, etc. Mobile pop-ups can cover the whole screen or appear at the top or the bottom of it. What's great about it is that people who visit your store on mobile and sign up for your text messages will get the confirmation with an incentive (if you offer one) to the same device they're using, which would hopefully encourage them to take advantage of it right away.

7. Include a clear call to action

Understand the importance of a good call to action (CTA) – it’s one of the key elements of any marketing or ad campaign, any website, and anything else there is. It tells your visitors what exactly you’d like them to do next. Without a clear call to action, there’s just no direction to go, and that’s where your pop-ups are destined to fail.

For collecting phone numbers, a few of the most popular, commonly used CTAs are simple “Submit,” “Subscribe,” or “Sign up.” This way, after entering a phone number, the visitor is very clearly told what will happen and is encouraged to complete the action by choosing that specific option.

Yet you can (and should) leverage your CTA based on the incentives you offer. For instance, once you enter the Starbucks website and accept the cookies, a pop-up appears offering you to order a real one. This brings a fun twist to the customer experience and takes advantage of the right timing to boost sales.

Clear call to action (CTA): Starbucks pop-up example

8. Update your pop-ups through the year

Updating your pop-ups from time to time is important for several reasons. First, this might help you attract more subscribers as different people are interested in different incentives (meaning that those who haven’t signed up before, might do so). Second, it provides a more personalized experience. Finally, showing pop-ups that people find relevant is always more effective.

What you might do if you want to collect more phone numbers is to adapt your pop-ups for special occasions. Take Black Friday, for example. Or Christmas. By offering something like “Get 20% off anything from our Christmas gift guide” in exchange for a phone number, you are likely to get yourself a deal.

9. Bonus tip – use an app to collect phone numbers

Last but not least, if you want to grow your subscribers list easily, consider using an app to collect phone numbers. Apps that allow you to do it, such as Senderium, can guide you through the whole process and ensure it’s done right.

All you have to do is choose the colors, incentives, write the texts (although there are usually some default ones that you can use), and save it. It takes a lot of the burden off your shoulders and allows you to start growing your list immediately.

Start growing your subscribers list today

SMS marketing is continually growing and so should your SMS subscribers list. Pop-ups might seem a bit deterrent at first – yet don’t let the prejudice fool you. When done right, pop-ups can be a highly effective tool to attract people’s attention and encourage them to share their contact information with you for future communication. With SMS, you can keep your customers in the loop and boost their engagement. During such uncertain times, those who keep coming back are one of the most important assets of your e-commerce business.