Are you looking for ways to increase the size of your SMS marketing list?

SMS may not be the shiniest tool in your mobile marketing kit, but its immediacy, high reach and strong engagement make it hard to beat. In a recent study of 1,180 national retailers, Cellit found that SMS produced engagement rates that were 6-8 times higher than the expected norms!

Perhaps you’re finding the first step – building a subscriber list – to be the toughest one, or you would like to increase the size of your existing list. Check out these tips for gathering mobile opt-ins:

1. Target your existing fans.

It’s likely that you already have some avid supporters out there – on Facebook, Twitter or maybe those that subscribe to your email newsletter. Since this group has already shown a willingness to communicate with you, this is where you should start your acquisition efforts. Try adding a custom form to your Facebook page or a strong call-to-action to your emails.

2. Incentivize.

A good reason for customers to sign up for your text alerts is so that they can receive offers or discounts. What better way to encourage sign-up than to offer them something in exchange?

Just remember to make the offer enticing and relevant to your business. A dentist’s office could probably gain a few subscribers by giving away movie tickets, but those subscribers may only be interested in the tickets – 20% off of a cleaning would be more appropriate.

3. Go offline.

Signing up for SMS alerts is quick, easy, and can be done from almost anywhere, so there’s no reason to limit your acquisition efforts to mobile or online channels. Consider adding your short code and keyword to in-store displays, receipts, print ads, direct mail, product packaging and out-of-home ads.

4. Make it simple.

Correction: signing up for SMS alerts can be easy, as long as marketers follow a few best practices. Mobile Marketing Watch published some great tips regarding keyword selection – generally, it’s best to pick a short, single word that’s easy to remember. Very important: test to see what a device’s auto-correct does to the keyword you’ve selected!

One trick to avoid typing issues is giving customers the option to scan a QR code that generates a text message with the correct keyword. However, in your promotional material, make sure you display the keyword and short code alongside it for feature phone users.

5. Deliver good content.

If you’re not providing information or offers that your audience finds useful, you’ll lose the subscribers you have and discourage new sign-ups.

When possible, personalize your messaging with user-specific information like location, preference or purchase history. Also, make sure that you’re not messaging too seldom or too often – start with 2-4 messages per month and adjust based on user response.

Follow the tips above and you could be working with a sizeable list in no time! Starting a new program from scratch? Check out our post How to Kick Start Your SMS Marketing Program.

About the Author: Cory Gaddis is a regular contributor to the 60 Second Marketer and helps Mobilize Worldwide create mobile marketing campaigns for a wide variety of clients.