What Are Text Subscriptions & How to Use Them

Consumer satisfied by the speed and offering of text subscriptions
March 10, 2023
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What Are Text Subscriptions & How to Use Them

Some messages you can't miss, and that's why customers like text subscriptions. And while email is great for subscribing to your favorite newsletters or online retailers, it's not practical for urgent or immediate action.

Only 19% of consumers check their emails as soon as they receive them (with real-time notifications). However, 83% of millennials will open a text within 90 seconds of receiving it.

When time is of the essence, trust text messaging to get the job done. But to text your customers, they'll have to opt into your text subscriptions and give you permission to message them.

Below, we'll explore what text subscriptions are and how you can use them to communicate with your customers.

What are text subscriptions?

To message a customer, they have to subscribe to your SMS services. Regardless if they've provided you with a phone number at checkout or elsewhere in the onboarding process, you need explicit consent to text your customers marketing, billing, or account-related messages. This text subscription gives you permission to message them.

Ideally, you’ll want to let your customers choose which text message topics you send them. For example, some customers might only want appointment reminder texts, while others prefer to receive promotional messages—and some want both. Instead of having your customers opt into all or nothing, give them a choice with their text subscription.

Here are text subscriptions to consider offering your customers:

  • Promotional messages
  • Appointment reminder texts
  • Shipping notifications
  • Emergency notifications
  • Weather updates
  • Road closures
  • Suspicious account activity
  • Billing reminders
  • New product releases
  • Feature updates
  • Support ticket updates

Keep in mind that more isn't necessarily better. So choose the text subscriptions that'll offer your customers the most value.

How to use text subscriptions

Text subscriptions can be an effective way to communicate with your customers, but you'll need to follow a few steps to get the most out of them.

1. Get your customers to opt in

Obtain permission before you start texting your customers. To do this effectively, you’ll start with awareness building—your customers can't subscribe to your text messages if they don't know about them.

Next, add opt-in forms to your website, blog, and mobile applications. Then, ask your customers for their phone numbers during the sign-up and checkout processes, and obtain permission to text them.

Ideally, you’ll want to give your customers a good reason to sign up. After all, their phone number is personal, and they don't want to give it out on a whim. So show them the value your service can provide.

2. Simplify opting out

Make it easy for your customers to opt out of text campaigns or change their preferences. This could be as simple as accessing a preference page online or on a mobile application. You could also enable customers to opt out by texting a certain key phrase to the associated number.

Businesses that make it challenging to opt out end up with a bad messaging reputation. And future customers might be hesitant to subscribe or re-subscribe if word spreads of their frustrating experience.

3. Provide value

Don't start a text subscription just because everyone else does it. Ensure you can provide value to your customers. In other words, if you can't find a relevant use case for texting your subscribers, hold off on starting a text subscription service.

4. Set clear expectations

Let your customers know what to expect from the text subscription. Tell them what content to look for (maybe even show them an example) and let them know how often you'll send them messages (e.g., weekly, monthly, emergencies only, etc.).

5. Be consistent

Stick to the cadence you tell your customers. If they sign up for a monthly product update, keep it monthly, even if your messages have a high engagement rate. And if you want (or need) to change it to weekly or biweekly, let your customers know and allow them to opt out if they're not interested.

Use Twilio’s trusted platform to manage your text subscriptions

Ready to start your business' text subscriptions? Sign up for a free Twilio account (no credit card required) to begin sending.

We provide developer-friendly APIs to let you send and receive text messages at scale from one trusted platform. Once you build your subscriber base, you can grow with pay-as-you-go pricing and scaling discounts easily.