SMS Marketing Program Best Practice: MO v. Form-based Sign-up

Written by: Stefanie Gray

Common practice is to sign-up consumers to an SMS marketing list using an MO-based opt in. As depicted in the image below, using text messages is not very customer friendly and certainly not considered an SMS marketing program best practice. For example, compare this experience to joining an email marketing list where all a customer has to do is enter their email address. Due to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), enacted by the FCC, several text messages are required to get the job done.

sms marketing program best practiceSigning up to receive text messages from a retailer includes a consumer texting in a keyword (JOIN) to the retailer’s shortcode (78527) to initiate sign-up. Before joining, a customer needs to be made aware of the marketing program basics (per TCPA):

  • Number of messages they can expect per month (or week),
  • Purchase is not required,
  • Access to the retailer’s Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy, and
  • How to stop receiving text messages from the retailer.

Then, and only then, can the retailer invite the customer to join the program (Reply Y to join). The welcome message is delivered and the customer is signed up and will start to receive text messages from the brand.

Pro: Easy to set-up.


  • SMS marketing program sign-up only,
  • Demographic information cannot be collected easily.

SMS Marketing Program Best Practice: Form-based sign-up

If a retailer wants to do more targeted marketing by integrating their SMS marketing and loyalty programs, then a form-based sign-up is the way to go.

sms marketing program best practicesYou can use form-based registration to:

  • Sign-up customers to an SMS marketing program, loyalty program, an email list, or all of the above.
  • Collect demographic data: a CRM record match to a full CRM record.
  • Display a full set of TCPA terms (legal departments like this) when creating SMS lists.
  • Create a much better customer experience.

Retailers have found that form-based sign-up is very effective.

  • 85%+ completion rate (including demographic data).
  • 20,000 people sign-up per day.
  • Captured the data required to do follow-on marketing.

Bonus SMS Marketing Program Best Practices:

  1. Collect customer data at sign-up. This is a point where they are most engaged and willing to provide personal information to become a member of your program).
  2. Interface your SMS marketing program with your CRM system to select personalized content that will be delivered to their customers.

Stay tuned for more SMS marketing program best practices or, you can click on SMS marketing list to learn how SMS marketing list sign-up can be quick and easy.