Text to Join

Use a keyword to collect SMS opt-in seamlessly

Ira avatar
Written by Ira
Updated over a week ago

With Text to join, your customers can easily sign up for your SMS marketing list by texting a keyword to your number. All that’s left for you — promote your keyword in different ways, like email or Facebook, to gather new leads.

In this article, we’ll show how to set up the Text to join feature and use it to comply with customer privacy regulations.


How to get a phone number

To start using text to join feature, you’ll need to get a phone number for your store. You don't need to worry about it, as we’ll provide one for you for free in your Store settings → SMS → Phone number.

Make sure to verify the phone number you get per toll free verification procedure described in our user guide.

Keyword to subscribe

A keyword is a term or phrase that customers will send to your sender's phone number to subscribe to the SMS channel. The keyword is what initiates the opt-in procedure. For now, the only default keyword is JOIN.

Everyone who texts JOIN to your phone number automatically subscribes to your list. Their phone number is collected for the future, added as SMS subscriber and can be found in your Audience.

Once you get a number, you can start promoting text to join for your customers; learn some ways how to do it below🚀

TCPA Compliance

When working with an SMS channel, following The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (or TCPA) is extremely important. It’s designed to safeguard customer privacy by restricting telemarketing communications such as voice calls, SMS texts, and fax.

The TCPA requires that when you acquire subscribers, you provide the necessary compliance text informing customers that they are opting into SMS messages from your store. Therefore, when you use keywords, one of your responsibilities is to advertise them appropriately. To ensure compliance with the TCPA, your messages must disclose clearly and conspicuously that the messages your customers will receive are marketing/promotional in nature. You should also explain what type of messages your customers opt in to. If they opt-in to receive an Order Confirmation message, that's the only message you can send.

IMPORTANT! Including TCPA text in the messages where you promote text to join is obligatory. You need to acquire explicit consent from the customer to receive your marketing texts. Read more about SMS compliance here.

Here's an example of the TCPA-approved compliance language:

* I consent to receive automated marketing text messages (e.g., cart reminders) at the phone number supplied on a recurring basis. Consent is not required for buying. Rates for SMS and data transmission may apply. The frequency of msg exposure varies. Reply HELP to request assistance and STOP to cancel. Consult our Terms of Service and Privacy Statement.

Ways to ask your audience to opt-in

Encourage customers to sign up for text messaging by texting the keyword to your phone number, and make sure to include TCPA text in your promotions. Some ways to ask for opt-in include:

  • Emails. Promote your keyword in email campaigns and automations. Transactional emails, like order confirmation, are sent to customers who engaged with your product, so collecting SMS subscribers at this stage can play a vital role in your email marketing strategy.

  • Facebook. Is your business on social media? Include your keyword in your bio or posts on Facebook. This will make it simple for new followers to begin connecting with your company.

  • Instagram stories. Create Instagram stories asking to join your SMS subscribers list. Make sure to offer a small discount and include TCPA consent part.

There are plenty of other ways how to promote text to join – let your imagination run wild. Use Paid Social Ads, add banners on your website, and use your keyword in receipts or email signature, and you can even include it on your product packaging.

Notify customers about successful opt-in

You may want to notify your customers about a successful subscription. Create automation with a short SMS reply to keep in touch with your customers.

Step 1. Create a segment with customers that are subscribed via text to join. For this, navigate to Audience → Segments → Create Segment → Create from scratch. Pick Tag filter → value is source: sms join.

Save the segment and name it “Contacts subscribed by keyword JOIN” or anything similar for you to differentiate it from other segments.

Step 2. Create an automation that would trigger when a contact enters that particular segment. You can create automation from Automations → New workflow → Create custom workflow. Pick the "Contact enters a segment" trigger and specify your segment in the Trigger filter:

You can now add an SMS block to your automation and customize the text. Below, you can see what the final setup should look like.

Note! Add a 1-minute delay to allow contacts to enter the segment and trigger automation as a result.

⚠️If you promised a discount in your text to join promotion, don’t forget to add a discount code to your SMS.

That's it! Now, your customers will get an auto-reply message after they text JOIN to your phone number.

Ask customers to subscribe to the email channel

To get the most out of your contacts, suggest subscribing to email as well. You can do this by creating a landing page form and sharing a link to the form in your auto-reply message.

Step 1. Create a landing page from Forms → Create Form → Landing page. Work on the design and customize the form. Don't forget to add both email and phone number fields to link the email of the user to an existing phone number.

You will be able to copy a link to the created form at the last stage of form creation.

Step 2. Add a link to your landing page form to your auto-reply SMS automation:

Voilà! All customers who open the link and fill out the form will be subscribed to the email channel automatically 🚀


Which countries can use text to join?

For now, only US/CA customers can use text to join feature.

How can I find customers who subscribed using text to join?

You can find them in your audience by filtering by Tag named source: sms join. These will be all of your contacts that subscribed. You can go an extra step and set up welcome automation, by sending an SMS.

If a customer sends more than the keyword join, will they be subscribed?
Yes, as long as the message contains the word "join", they will be subscribed. For example, if a customer sends you a full sentence e.g. “I want to join”, they will get subscribed.

If I already have the customer's email, and they text join, will this information be mapped together?
Sadly, we can’t identify if a person who received an email texted JOIN. Therefore contact will be created as a separate SMS subscriber. This means that if a user who is already subscribed to an email channel uses text to join - their phone number won't be mapped to their email and will be registered as a separate subscriber. Both contacts will be counted in a monthly charge for paid plan users.

Do I need to have SMS credits to use text to join?
No, you don’t. It doesn’t cost you anything to start using text to join.

Does sending an SMS cost my customers?
It depends on their phone plan. Most plans these days offer free SMS, but if the customer doesn’t have free SMS included in their phone plan, they will be charged as any typical SMS sent. That’s why it’s important to include the TCPA message.

Can I collect subscribers from the EU?
No, it’s not supported to collect EU subscribers.

Can I add other keywords, not only JOIN?
For now, only the JOIN keyword is available.

Will welcome automation be triggered for people using Text to join?

We don’t count using text join to subscribe as form subscribers; therefore, the default automation with sign up as a trigger won't be triggered automatically. You’ll need to trigger automation by using segment in and text to join tag. You can read more here.

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