You’ve seen it.
Instructions along the lines of: “Text xxxxx to ###-###-#### to receive updates on [XYZ].”
You’ve even signed up for text subscriptions yourself… whether it’s prescription updates at your local pharmacy or deals at your favorite online store or updates from a local restaurant.
But what if you’d like to set up these kinds of text subscriptions for your own business?
How exactly do you go about that?
Is it hard? Is it stressful?
Nope and nope.
We’ll walk you through 3 easy steps to create a text subscription for your business.
Here’s the great news…
Setting up a text subscription doesn’t have to be difficult.
You don’t even need to know any coding. Or really have any prior knowledge of anything.
All you need is an account with a texting platform like Mobile Text Alerts.
Texting platforms allow you to manage a system of contacts and send out automated texts, as well as mass texting campaigns.
You’re able to set up a text subscription regardless of technical ability.
You’ll first just need to find a text platform that works for your situation and your budget. Check out the 14 Best Text Messaging Services for 2023.
A free trial will help you get a feel for how a texting platform will work for you. You don’t even have to provide your credit card so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to cancel if it doesn’t work out.
Better yet, a free demo will give you a one-on-one walkthrough as well, so that you can get all the info you’re looking for and get live answers to all your questions.
Once you have a free account set up, you’re ready to start getting your campaign started.
Once you’re set up on a texting platform, you’re ready to create your text subscription campaign.
There are a few options for going about this, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.
If you already have a series of messages in mind to send to all of your subscribers, you can set them up in a text drip campaign.
All you need to do is write up the content for all of your messages into a flow within your texting platform.
With a drip campaign tool, you’re able to create as many messages as you’d like to have in your flow.
You can also have as many delays in between messages as you want as well.
This means you could set up an automatic messaging flow similar to the following:
In this way you can “drip” out your text subscription campaign over a series of messages and delays that you specify.
A “drip” subscription is ideal for…
Another option when creating a text subscription is to set up an automated conditional campaign using “Smart Replies.”
These “Smart Replies” are specific words you can set up that will trigger specific automated responses.
In this way, you can create a texting “bot” of sorts that your subscribers can interact with according to the trigger words you set up.
Here’s an example:
So your text subscription can be entirely hands-off and automated if you decide to go this route.
A “smart” subscription is ideal for…
You may want to just set up a general text subscription.
By “general subscription,” we mean something you don’t have to totally pre-plan ahead of time.
For example, maybe you’ll be running irregular promotions so you can’t set something up beforehand.
You can get your subscribers to opt in by providing them with some sort of discount or free item or giveaway entry. (More on that here in a bit.)
Then you can send your campaign messages whenever you’re ready by just typing out your message from your texting platform and scheduling it for the time you’d like it to go out.
You can segment your subscriber list into groups to help keep your text subscription campaigns organized and targeted.
Once you have your texting platform up and running, and you have your campaigns set up (or at least have an idea of the kinds of campaigns you want to send), you’re ready to start getting subscribers.
So once your campaigns are set up, how do you actually get subscribers to receive your messages?
This question can be broken up into 2 parts:
In other words, what are the mechanisms to add subscribers into your text list, and how do you actually convince people to subscribe?
Your texting platform will offer several methods to add people into your texting database.
Some of these include the following…
If you collect subscriber information and opt-in consent from an external source, you can load that information into your database manually.
For example, is there a way to get people from your CRM into a texting database?
The answer is yes!
You can do this either individually one-by-one, or by importing a list from a spreadsheet.
This is the most tedious of the methods to add people to your text subscription database, but can be useful if you already have an existing list you’re working with and don’t want to start from scratch.
People can opt themselves into your text subscription by sending a text into your account’s dedicated phone number.
Once they send a text into your number, the system will automatically opt them into your texting database.
You can even assign “text-to-join” keywords to particular groups on your account, so that when people text in, they are automatically added to one of your group segments.
This method is the most popular method because it is convenient. The main disadvantage of it is that you won’t get any identifying information for your subscribers other than their phone number.
Your account will come with automatically-generated QR codes you can share with would-be subscribers.
Then they can scan the QR code to be subscribed.
This method is particularly convenient if you have an in-person location.
The QR code allows you to physically advertise an opt-in method to get people to join your text subscription. So you can include your QR code at check-out, throughout your store or physical location, at the front door.
Then people can just whip out their phones then and there to scan the code.
Your texting platform will also come with a free link you can share with your customers. The link will lead them to an online form.
Once they fill out the form, their phone number and other info will be automatically loaded into your texting database.
This method is less convenient than the text-in or QR code methods mentioned previously because it requires would-be subscribers to go through a few more steps.
However, this option gives you more opportunities to collect more information on your subscribers - because it allows them to provide their name, email address, or whatever other data you want them to provide.
You can use one, several, or all of these methods to get subscribers loaded into your text subscription. (You can also use automations via API or other integrations.)
But… how do you actually get people to subscribe?
Here are some strategies to try to entice people to join your text subscription list…
The best strategy to get more subscribers is to offer a really enticing incentive.
The more appealing the incentive, the better.
What kinds of incentives can you offer?
It varies widely depending on your business, your budget, and your comfort level. But some examples would include:
People may sign up just to get the free incentive. But they may also stick around because they enjoy the content you send.
You could call this the “brute force” strategy…
It involves advertising your text subscription sign-up instructions everywhere you possibly can.
Do you have a social media page? Post the instructions there.
Email campaigns? There too.
Webinars? Snail mail campaigns? In person? Yep, yep, and yep.
Note that if you want to try this “brute force” strategy, this should be done in addition to the incentive strategy mentioned above.
If you want to get and maintain a large subscriber list, it goes without saying that you need to send content that your recipients consider valuable.
Texting is a highly effective way to communicate.
But access to your subscribers’ texting inbox also comes with a weight of responsibility.
While people can tolerate more “fluffy” content in their email inboxes, they are not so patient with texts.
You have to make yourself worthy of interrupting their day by giving them content they actually want to see, and by not sending too many messages.
If you clearly communicate the value your text subscription will provide, that will help you get more people to subscribe
As a side note related to this, make sure to let people know upfront that they can opt out anytime by replying “STOP” to any message. (This feature is handled automatically by your texting platform.)
Not only is including this disclaimer generally required anyway, it will help give potential subscribers more confidence knowing they can easily unsubscribe whenever they want.
The next step in deciding if you should get a text subscription going for your business is to try out a texting platform and see for yourself how it works.
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