You know what they say about first impressions -- you only get one shot. It's as true for ecommerce brands as it is for people.

An SMS opt-in message is the first text your customer will receive after signing up for your list. It's a critical moment in the consumer-brand relationship, and you want to make sure it goes well.

Below you'll find a few SMS opt-in examples that you can use for inspiration or copy directly (we won't tell!). But first, let's talk about what makes an engaging — and compliant — opt-in text message.

What goes in an SMS opt-in message?

First and foremost, your opt-in text message should provide the recipient with the following information:

  • Your company's name

  • How often they will get messages from you

  • If message and data rates apply

  • What type of content they can expect

  • How to opt-out from your list

But just as essential, your opt-in message should incentivize customers to keep receiving texts from you. This could mean offering something like a discount code, an exclusive offer, or interesting information about your brand — something that makes them feel good about subscribing to your list.

SMS opt-in examples

Getting shoppers to opt-in to your text messaging list is the hard part (more on that later). Once they give you permission, your job is to get them engaged and excited about the benefits of joining your list. Use these examples as a starting point.

Ask recipients for confirmation

Use your opt-in text message to confirm that your recipient wants to receive SMS notifications from you. This will help you ensure the customer entered their phone number correctly, that you're compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and avoid a hefty fine for texting without permission.

"Welcome to [Brand]! Reply 'YES' to confirm your subscription and start getting special offers every week. Msg & data rates may apply. Text 'STOP' to opt out."

This kind of double opt-in text message also helps establish trust with the recipient. It lets them know that you're an ethical business that is not interested in spamming them.

Thank new subscribers for signing up

Show your appreciation and give customers a reason to stay subscribed by thanking them for joining your list.

"Thanks for signing up! Keep your eyes peeled for weekly offers from [Brand]. Msg & data rates may apply. Text 'STOP' to cancel."

A simple "thank you" message can go a long way toward creating a positive customer experience. And according to research from PwC, 63% of consumers would share more information with companies that provide a great experience.

Create a sense of exclusivity

Make customers feel like a VIP. Tell them what kind of perks they can expect now that they've signed up for your SMS list.

"Welcome to [Brand]! As a member, you'll get early access to our newest products and exclusive discounts. Frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text 'STOP' to cancel."

When your subscribers feel special, they'll be more likely to stay engaged with your business.

Offer an incentive to shop

Nothing gets people's attention quite like a good deal. Offer customers an exclusive discount or coupon code for opting-in to your list.

"Welcome to [Brand]! Reply 'YES' to get 20% off your first purchase. Msg & data rates may apply. Text 'STOP' to opt out any time."

SMS messages like these can help engage subscribers and encourage them to buy from you. It could be a one-time discount code, free shipping on their first order, or whatever incentives you can dream up.

5 best practices for opt-in text messages

Opt-in messages are a critical piece of your mobile marketing strategy, helping you build your list and drive conversions from your SMS marketing. Keep these best practices in mind when writing yours.

1. Make opting in easy

Your opt-in message is actually the second step in building your SMS subscriber list. The first is getting people's permission to send them marketing text messages (which, as we mentioned, is the challenging part). Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a simple opt-in form that shows to website visitors who aren't on your subscriber list

  • Offer an incentive to sign up, like a discount, exclusive offers, or freebies

  • Add a link to your email newsletter that subscribers can click to add their phone number to your SMS marketing list

  • Send an email campaign offering an incentive for joining your list and a link to sign up

The more effortless you make it for customers to sign up for your messages, the faster your list will grow.

2. Keep it concise

Your opt-in message should be brief and direct. Include just the essential information to avoid confusion or misinterpretation.

Keep in mind that text messages longer than 160 characters may be split into separate texts when you send them, depending on the subscriber's device. Many modern phones can stitch texts back together for the recipient, but they'll still count as multiple messages.

3. Limit textspeak

Textspeak (using "u" instead of "you," for example) might be acceptable in some places if it's on brand, but stick to commonly used abbreviations to avoid confusing your subscribers. Common abbreviations like "msg" or using "+" instead of "and" are acceptable ways to keep your texts short. But don't overdo it.

4. Lean into your brand

It can be challenging to include your brand voice with such a limited character count, so you've got to infuse it into every word. It will grab the recipient's attention and give them something to relate to. For example, if you sell Western wear, you might consider using "Howdy!" as your opener. Or if you sell cutesy beauty products to Gen Z shoppers, you might use all lowercase texts and on-brand GIFs.

5. Stay compliant

Last but certainly not least, make sure you stay compliant with TCPA regulations. (Fines start at $500 and go up from there.)

Include all the essential information in your opt-in text message (your brand name, carrier costs, and opt-out instructions). And never send SMS marketing messages to anyone who hasn't given you their express written consent.

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