Email Marketing

Build a Cyber Monday SMS List Now

Cyber Monday is a high holiday for retail ecommerce. Merchants will compete for a share of the anticipated $11 billion in online sales in the United States alone.

Text-message marketing could be an opportunity.

The channel uses text messages — short message service (SMS) or multimedia messaging service (MMS) — to promote products. Consumers opt-in to receive those messages in exchange for discounts, product updates, or other special offers.

The opt-in part is important. It’s not impossible, but it does require some work.

Let’s be clear. I’m writing this in October, roughly six weeks from Cyber Monday. Making a splash with SMS or MMS marketing this year could be challenging if you’re starting from zero. Yet the effort could be worth it, especially if other marketing plans are in place.

The hypothesis goes like this. Text-message marketing is nascent and, therefore, not overcrowded compared to advertising on, say, Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Hulu.

Building a Text List

The first step is to pick a text-messaging platform. You have options, including Textual, Klaviyo, and Attentive.

Here are five ideas for building an SMS text list quickly.

1. Use a text-to-join keyword. A text-to-join keyword is a word or phrase that someone texts to a short code or text number to opt-in. The keyword can even be a number, but it’s generally concise, easy to remember, and associated with your brand.

You will presumably need to offer folks something of value to entice them to sign up. Beardbrand, for example, offers a free beard grooming consultation.

Screenshot of Beardbrand's Twitter profile

Beardbrand includes a text messaging option on its Twitter profile.

WineText, Gary Vaynerchuk’s successful text-to-buy service, promises exclusive discounts on wine in exchange for the opt-in.

Otherwise, consider offering exclusive Cyber Monday deals. Don’t be afraid to share the offer across all social media channels and in your email newsletter.

2. Add an opt-in form to your site. Borrow from email marketing and place a sign-up form on your home, category, and product pages.

Include the same offer, such as Cyber Monday discounts, as encouragement. You might A/B test text-message forms versus email. Which produced the most subscribers?

3. Use contests. Contests have long been a staple of social media marketing. In this case, use social media (organic and paid) and your email list to encourage folks to opt-in to text messaging for a chance to win a prize.

You don’t need to give away the store. Lots of folks will sign up just for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate.

4. Put affiliates to work. Ask affiliates to promote your new text-messaging service. Consider paying $1 or $2 for each new text-message subscriber who stays on the list for 14 days.

Affiliates can jump-start a new text-message program. With luck, many will continue for the long term.

5. Add SMS to your checkout. Lots of shoppers would rather get transactional info — order confirmations, shipping notices — via text message instead of email. Add text messaging as an option at checkout, and include a promotional-message opt-in, too.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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