6 Key SMS Lead Generation Tactics to Grow Your Business

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Your business needs leads to constantly pour in so you can grow. But how do you generate those leads in a way that is affordable and doesn’t take up too much of your team’s time?

We recommend texting because a) it’s the #1 consumer preferred channel, and b) the ROI speaks for itself.

You just need the right tactics to help you harness the power of SMS lead generation. That’s why we put together six of the best ones to help you grow your business.

How powerful is SMS lead generation?

Texting captures interest and qualifies leads fast. The average text message is read within 90 seconds, and 99% of texts are opened. You can’t get the same short, immediate exchanges from email and voicemail that you can from text (let alone know if the lead actually saw your message).

That’s why text message leads are 600% more likely to convert than email or form submission leads!

Here are six tactics every SMS lead generation strategy needs to successfully grow a business.

Related: Text Message Lead Generation: The Ultimate Guide

1. Tell leads to text you in your call-to-actions.

People have to know texting you is an option before they can actually do it, so your SMS needs to be advertised everywhere, including on your:

  • Website
  • Social media pages
  • Emails
  • Landing pages
  • Adwords
  • Any print materials

All you need to add is a simple call-to-action (CTA) on each of these, like:

You can text us your order!


Text us to get a quote.

You want to tell people to text your business, which is what CTAs can do.

90% of leads who read the other copy on a marketing material will also read your CTA, and the effects of that can be enormous. For example, emails with CTAs can increase click-through rates by 371% and sales by 1617%, while CTAs on social media pages can increase click-through rates by 285%!

CTAs can particularly stand out on your website, if you add one to an SMS Chat widget.

SMS Chat allows leads to text you directly from your website while simultaneously displaying your CTA and letting people know they can text you. Customers have questions when they first discover your site, and SMS Chat allows them to contact you directly instead of searching for those answers.

This starts leads down your sales funnel immediately, plus gives you their phone number for follow ups.

CTA’s like these can help increase your conversion rates anywhere from 30% to 100%!

2. Be the fastest to answer leads’ questions with autoresponses.

You’re going to have an influx of leads messaging you once you advertise they can text your business. That means you need a way to respond to them in a timely manner, so leads stick with you instead of moving on to a competitor.

50% of sales go to the first person to respond to the consumer. So that first responder needs to be you, if your SMS lead generation strategy is going to be successful. Otherwise what’s the point of all that texting speed?

Setting up an autoresponses can ensure that your leads always know you’re going to get back to them. You can even start them down the sales funnel while they wait for your response by formatting your autoresponses to include a message like:

Thanks for contacting Pondside Pet Clinic! Text us your pet’s name, species, breed, and reason for appointment, and our techs will get back with you shortly.


Thanks for choosing Ridge Rentals as your mountain getaway! Tell us your vacation dates and number of expected occupants, and we’ll get back to you with available cabins soon.

Leads love instant gratification like this. It makes them feel like they’re making progress on the need they’re trying to satisfy, plus keeps their hands from being idle and reaching out to other competitors while they wait for your response.

Autoresponse texts are a great tool for new leads from form submissions, too.

3. Create a keyword to capture interest.

80% of marketers say interactive marketing is more effective than static marketing. Keywords can be just that when you use them in fun and creative ways to engage leads.

A keyword is a word people text you to receive information or a deal related to that word.

For example, Little Nan’s, a pop-up cocktail bar in London, got more than 200 new contacts during its opening weekend by advertising a free shot for people who texted the keyword “Nan.”

Your own keyword can be a way for leads to opt-in for content, learn more about a specific product or service, or receive updates on your latest deals. But they’re best utilized when they’re advertised in ways that spark interest and excitement.

Starbucks did a great job of capturing that energy with the bright colors and peppy copy used in their “Frappaccino fun all summer long” keyword campaign.

PC: CleverTap

4. Convert your email subscriber list into a SMS subscriber list.

You most likely already have an email subscriber list you use to gather leads. And whether it’s for your blog or industry news, you still have a ton of contacts that are begging to be converted on that list.

Why not start doubling down and engaging them with texts too? You'll likely get more engagement through text, plus it’s a great way to take a group of contacts you already have (instead of searching for new ones) and further convert them into qualified leads.

All you need to do is ask your email subscribers if they're interested in opting in for additional perks by joining your SMS subscriber list (we’ll talk more about what those perks could be next).

75% of emails are read on smartphones, so between your texts and the emails, your audience will see your business’s message on their phone. And the more times someone sees something, the more likely they are to go from a lead to customer.

5. Offer perks in exchange for your leads’ numbers.

Perks are not just limited to discounts and VIP clubs (although those are awesome too). They can also include access to free demos, training, tailored blog posts, eBooks, and other educational content that will further qualify your lead. And all your lead has to do to gain access to them is provide their number!

It benefits both of you, moves the lead further down the sales funnel, and gives you their number for future follow ups if they like what they saw.

Here are some more examples:

  • Provide seminar attendees with a copy of the presentation in exchange for their number
  • Allow people to schedule a demo after they provide their number
  • Offer exclusive eBook series releases when a lead subscribes to them with their number

Just make sure the content you provide is tailored to the audience you’re trying to attract. 66% of people say encountering content that isn't personalized would stop them from making a purchase.

You can use our Custom Buyer Personas guide to ensure your perks fit the leads you want to target.

6. Text previous customers for reviews.

90% of leads read online reviews before moving on to visit a business's website. So whether or not your business has positive, negative, or any reviews at all, will determine if they make that next click to your home page, because:

You can draw in more leads if you increase your number of positive reviews, and there's no faster way to do that than to text previous customers for them.


70% of people will leave you a review if you just ask them directly. And since 99% of text are read, you can expect previous customers to acknowledge your review request when you send something like: 

Hi [name]! How'd you like your [product or service]? Tell us by leaving a review here: [link]

The more positive reviews you collect, the more leads you'll attract. Businesses that improve their review star rating by 1.5 out of 5 have received 13,000 more leads.

All of our SMS lead gen tactics are compliant, and yours should be to.

The best part about each of the tactics we covered is they keep you compliant, since the lead always provides you with their number.

You can only message a lead when they opt-in for your message, and they should always have an ability to opt-out if they decide they no longer want to receive your texts.

Text Request can help your SMS lead generation stay compliant with our automated opt-out function. Every message is also time-stamped and saved, so there's a permanent record of all conversations.

Qualify your leads through texts!

Texting your leads to move them from one stage of your sales funnel to the next guarantees a higher conversion rate than just emailing or calling them.

It’s the ultimate tool that needs to be included in any lead generation strategy, and our Lead Gen Power Play can help you best learn how to utilize SMS alongside other tools and strategies!