How People Can Subscribe to Text Messages in 2024

December 26, 2023 | By Sam Pelton
"Subscribe" button with someone on phone

When we need to get in touch with someone, we all know texting is one of the best ways to go.

And that’s why many businesses incorporate texting into their workflow.

For example, by one report 50% of people would subscribe to an SMS loyalty program in exchange for incentives. Another report says that over 76% plan to invest in SMS marketing and 62% of consumers receive texts from brands.

But how can people actually subscribe to text messages? What does that process look like? Why should you offer it as an option? And how do you set it up?

This article explores all of these questions and more, so that you can take full advantage of the effectiveness of texting for your business.

How Subscribing to Text Messages Works

There are a few different ways that you can allow people to subscribe to text messages. You can use any or all of these methods to give your audience a convenient method to sign up to receive your updates.

1. Texting in a Keyword

One of the most common methods people use to subscribe to text messages is by texting in a “keyword” to a designated phone number. This method is often used for contests, promotions, or exclusive offers.

For example, a restaurant might prompt customers to text "DINING10" to receive a 10% discount on their next meal. The keyword serves as an easy-to-remember identifier that automatically adds the individual to the relevant subscriber list.

2. Submitting a Sign-Up Form

Another popular approach involves providing a sign-up form on a website, social media page, or in-store location. These forms typically request the individual's phone number and consent to receive text messages.

Once the form is submitted, you’ll have the subscriber’s information so you can send them relevant updates and promotions.

3. Scanning a QR Code

QR codes offer another easy way for people to subscribe to text messages. You can display a QR code connected to your SMS subscription in physical locations or online, allowing individuals to scan the code using their smartphones. Upon scanning, the code directs the user to a web page or sends a text message that initiates the subscription process.

4. Manually Submitting Information

If you don’t want to use a more automated method like the ones mentioned above, you can manually collect people’s information on your end with paper sign-up forms, orally, or via some other manual method.

You can then manually enter this information online or import a spreadsheet.

(Alternatively, you can also sync up automations between your SMS platform and your CRM or data collection systems.)

Why Let People Subscribe to Text Messages?

"why let people subscribe to text messages?" infographic

Incorporating another communication method into your business process may seem daunting. Is it worth it?

We touched on this a bit previously, but here are some benefits you’ll get by sending regular text messages that people can subscribe to…

Enhanced Engagement and Direct Communication

Sending texts will give you a direct and immediate way to reach customers—bypassing the clutter of email inboxes and social media feeds. With open rates significantly higher than email, text messages provide a more impactful way to share important announcements, promotions, and exclusive offers.

Effective Updates and Alerts

Text messages are an ideal way to deliver real-time updates, order confirmations, shipping notifications (facilitated by smart delivery management), and critical alerts. The kind of immediacy possible with SMS keeps customers informed and connected, which enhances the overall customer experience.

Exclusive Offers and Promotions

Text messaging offers a unique platform for sharing exclusive deals and promotions—which can, of course, lead to increased customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and positive word-of-mouth.

2-Way Communication and Feedback

Text messaging can foster two-way communication more so than other communication channels. Which means that you can gather valuable feedback, answer questions, and address customer concerns promptly so that you can get the most customer satisfaction.

So by allowing people to subscribe to text messages, businesses can use the power of a direct communication channel to (1) enhance customer engagement, (2) promote brand loyalty, and (3) drive business growth.

How to Set Up a “Subscribe to Text Messages” Solution

In order to implement your own “subscribe to text messages” process, you’ll need to get set up with an SMS platform provider such as Mobile Text Alerts.

These platforms have built-in subscription tools, including those mentioned in the “How Subscribing to Text Messages Works” section above. These tools give you options to allow people to subscribe to your text messages so that you can get a text message process up and running.

Here are the steps…

Step 1: Choose an SMS Platform

The good news is that most major SMS platforms will offer all of the opt-in tools that you need. So you’ll likely want to choose an SMS platform based on factors such as the ease of use, quality of customer support, and budget requirements.

Step 2: Choose the Subscription Method

Once you have an SMS platform set up, you’ll need to decide which subscription method to use. You can use any one of the aforementioned subscription methods (texting in a keyword, submitting a sign-up form, scanning a QR code, manually submitting information, or integrating with one of your current services). You can also use a combination of these methods.

Decide which method(s) would most resonate with your intended audience. (More on that later.)

Step 3: Set Up the Desired Subscription Method

Log in to your SMS platform dashboard to set up your desired subscription method.

Here’s what it’s like to set these up in Mobile Text Alerts…

  • Keyword: Designated the desired “text-in word” and the desired auto-response message you want people to receive when they text it in.
  • Sign-Up Form: Build your custom web sign-up form with a drag-and-drop editor, and you’ll be given a share link and embed code you can copy and paste.
  • QR Code: Customize a QR code directly within the online platform and you’ll be able to download it to share with your audience.
  • Other: Import an existing contact list directly into the platform via a spreadsheet, or integrate with services via API or

Once you do all that, you’re ready to go and you can start getting subscribers for your text messages.

Which “Subscribe to Text Messages” Option Should You Give Your Audience?

Get a Free 14-Day Trial with Mobile Text Alerts

set password visible
Different "subscribe to text messages" options - pros and cons

So with all the different subscription opt-in methods to choose from, how do you know which one to use for your audience?

The most suitable “Subscribe to Text Messages” option for your audience depends on your specific business goals, target demographics, and overall marketing strategy. Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons of some of the different methods to help you make an informed decision:

Texting in a Keyword


  • Easy to do
  • Creates a sense of exclusivity


  • Requires prior knowledge of the keyword
  • May not be accessible to all audiences
  • Does not provide information about the subscriber other than phone number

Best For:

  • Promotions
  • Contests

Submitting a Sign-up Form


  • Captures additional information about subscribers
  • Helps weed out unqualified audiences


  • May require more effort from subscribers
  • Not as immediate as texting a keyword

Best For:

  • Initiatives for collecting more robust information
  • Qualifying leads

Scanning QR Code


  • Contactless and convenient
  • Seems more cutting-edge
  • Reaches tech-savvy audiences


  • Requires smartphone access and a level of technical sophistication
  • Not easily accessible for people browsing online
  • Does not provide information about the subscriber other than phone number

Best For:

  • In-person initiatives
  • Appealing to younger audiences

Ultimately, the best approach is to offer a combination of subscription options to cater to different preferences and accessibility levels. For example, you could give people the option to either text in a keyword or scan a QR code. Then within your SMS platform, you could set up an auto-response text message to send out whenever people subscribe. This auto-response message could contain the link for your sign-up page so that you can collect more information about your subscribers.

Combining approaches in that way gives you the positives of all the different subscription methods.

Start Allowing Your Audience to Subscribe to Text Messages Now

Interested in taking the next step forward in allowing your audience to subscribe to your text messages? Get a free SMS platform account now so you can get a feel for how it works.

Get a Free 14-Day Trial Account

Start sending mass text messages to your entire list today!