Content Marketing

5 Quick Ways to Grow an SMS List (w/ Arri Bagah of Conversmart)

by Heather Farrat

By Ezra Firestone & Arri Bagah | March 16, 2021

“From Gen Z, Boomers, Millennials… They all prefer text messaging over any other channel.”

-Arri Bagah

For the first time ever, in 2021 mobile sales are projected to beat out all other devices.

And in the next few years, I’m predicting that text messaging will be a top-3 revenue channel for my brand (only behind email and ads).

That’s why I asked my good friend Arri Bagah to create this training for you on mobile messaging.

Arri runs an agency called Conversmart. They’re experts at combining text messaging with email into conversational marketing — a new method of communication for driving sales and engaging customers.

But you don’t have to be an expert to start seeing real results from text marketing; fundamentally, it’s no different than email.

The important thing is to start building your SMS list early (like right now!) while it’s cheap and easy.

To help you do that, Arri is going to show you 5 quick ways to acquire mobile subscribers that you can do yourself with any SMS app.

5 Ways to Start Acquiring Mobile Subscribers

Arri: When I talk about text marketing I’m not talking about, Email is dead. Let’s forget about email marketing…”

That’s not what I’m saying. Email is still a very profitable channel for direct-to-consumer brands.

“The power for forward-thinking marketers of today is combining both email marketing and text marketing.”

You get the reach of text marketing which is 99% open rates and 30% clickthrough rates, and when you combine it with email that’s the best duo I’ve found to this date.

#1 Mobile Acquisition

SMS pop-ups and messages for mobile acquisition.

This is the simple pop-up we’re using on mobile traffic to collect a visitor’s email and phone number. Quite a few platforms are going to allow you to do this.

The cool thing here is that you don’t have to go all-in on text marketing. Like I said, I’m not telling anybody to quit doing email marketing. I do not advise that. You want to combine both.

“So if you want to dip your toe into text marketing you want to collect the email first and then the phone number second.”

This pop-up is a tap to opt-in, so when they click “Get $25 Off Now” it automatically opens up their messaging app with a [pre-written] text to get subscribed. It’s a very seamless subscription method, and so many brands are acquiring SMS subscribers doing this exact funnel.

And the other cool thing here is that there’s no way anybody can put in a wrong phone number. This is something brands always worry about:

“What if people put in a bunch of fake numbers just to get a discount?”

You’re never ever going to have a wrong number on your list, because every customer has to engage with your brand in order to subscribe.

#2 Desktop Acquisition

Example creative for SMS acquisition on desktop.

You can do the exact same thing for your desktop traffic.

Now, here the customer could enter the wrong phone number, but because we are very smart marketers, we make sure they have to text us back to confirm.

That means your list is always going to be clean.

Pop-up and message creative for SMS acquisition on desktop.

You cannot do this over email.

That’s why a lot of brands have open rates of 5% (or less), because a lot of their list is a bunch of fake emails.

“With text you know that everytime you send a text, your customer is going to receive it and [99% of the time] they’re going to open it.”

The cool thing here is that by having the [desktop] customer engage first, it helps them commit and build a small engagement with your brand.

And the next time you text them, they’re not surprised because they’ve already texted you to get opted in.

#3 Shopify Checkout Acquisition

Example of SMS acquisition in Shopify checkout.

I’m recording this training during the holiday season, when everyone is abandoning carts at much higher rates.

But if you’re on Shopify, all you need to do is add this checkbox (above) to your checkout to turn some of those abandoned carts into SMS subscribers.

This is super easy to get done. All you have to do is enable the feature inside the settings of your Shopify store, and you’ll be good to go.

#4 Social Acquisition

Image and video creative for SMS social acquisition.

If you have a following on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, MySpace — whatever platform you have, you can create images and videos like these to get users on those platforms to join your text list.

And once again the reason you want to transition these followers and fans into joining your SMS subscriber list is because SMS is by far the more responsive communication channel.

Create these posts and get your customers to click the link in your bio or use the swipe-up feature to join your list.

#5 Email Audience Acquisition

Pop-ups and banners from owned audience acquisition for SMS.

People always ask me for that 1 thing they can do today to bump up their list…

Well, this is it: if you already have an email marketing list then using that audience is a great way to build your SMS list, too. Just add a banner like this one to your emails.

Then after the click, you send them to a landing page where they put in their phone number, confirm their subscription, and they are good to go.

You can use a discount like this brand did or offer early access to your next promotion, which I’ve seen work really well for BF/CM promotions.

“Honestly, the possibilities are endless. Anywhere you can collect an email lead you can also collect a phone number.”

These are just 5 of the easiest mobile acquisition strategies to start with.

We’ve also had a lot of success using lead generation campaigns on Facebook, running multi-week sweepstakes & giveaways on social, and even collecting numbers at PoS for brick-and-mortar stores:

"3 Facebook SMS lead generation ads for the brand Paw Ramp."

But these strategies are a little more advanced. I wouldn’t recommend you do any of that stuff before you get these 5 acquisition strategies in place first.

Ezra: Ok, now I know what you’re thinking: “How legal is this stuff?”

We’re not lawyers, nor do we play ones on the Internet. There are rules and regulations about how you collect phone numbers and what you do with them.

It’s called the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), and we hired a real lawyer to make sure our brand was in complete compliance before we started text marketing.

The good news is that most SMS apps now make it very easy to comply.

I’ll be releasing more content on mobile marketing very soon, including new SMS trainings on the apps we use, our automated flows and our most profitable sales broadcasts.

Learn more about Arri Bagah’s agency at

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