Text Leads: How to Get Started with SMS Lead Generation 2024

May 31, 2024 (Updated) | By Sam Pelton & Jake Meador
Text Leads: How to Get Started with SMS Lead Generation 2024

What's the 1 tool missing in your lead generation strategy?

Text messages.

Yes, you can (and should) actually text leads - so that you can capture those qualified contacts and convert them into customers.

Because everyone sees their text messages.

Try it for free now.

Or check the article below for all the info you need to know about getting started with texting leads...

Why Text Leads?

One legitimate question is… why text leads? We have so many other effective marketing channels and maybe you just don’t have the bandwidth to look into implementing another one.

But texting leads is beneficial for a number of reasons…

High Read Rates

SMS has reported read rates of up to 55% with 100% of SMS messages being at least viewed.

This makes sense when you think about it—how often do you let any text message ever go unread? Most likely, not too often.

Well, everyone else is like you too.

For businesses, this means that when you send a text message, you can be confident that people will at least see your message (which is certainly not true for most other marketing methods).

This alone makes texting a powerful option for reaching leads with valuable content to help drive conversions with a greater likelihood of success.

Cutting Through the Noise

Many people have their phones on hand almost 24/7. By some reports, Americans check their phones an average of 46 times per day.

With how glued people are to their phones, the ability to text leads gives you access to really reach them with the messaging that you want them to see, in a way that they’re less likely to ignore than if you relied solely on emails, social media, or other marketing avenues.

Personal Approach

Texting has a more personal and direct nature than many other forms of communication. Even with email, which is also direct, people are so used to getting inundated with marketing emails that they've trained themselves to ignore most messages.

Remember how we asked before how many texts you typically allow to go unread? (And we determined, probably not too many.) Now think about how many emails you let sit there in your inbox, remaining unread for all of history.

(For myself, my Apple Mail app currently shows 32,284 unread emails. My test messaging app? None.)

Texting, on the other hand, reaches your leads in the same place that they’re communicating with their friends and loved ones—which is not so much the case anymore with email.

The potential effectiveness of this form of personal communication is obviously significant.

Wide Reach

With texting, you can reach almost anyone, anywhere.

Case in point: Pew Research Center reports that 97% of Americans own a cell phone.

This makes text messaging a particularly ideal channel for businesses looking to expand their reach and target leads in different geographical areas.

With texting, similar to email, you don’t need to rely on people seeing a billboard or hearing a local radio ad. Your texts can reach people no matter where they are.


While many marketing methods, such as online ads or print media, can add up costs quickly, texting doesn’t have to break the bank.

Part of the reason for that is you only pay for the messages you need to send.

Furthermore, since texting has a greater effectiveness in reaching and engaging leads, you don’t need to send as many messages as, say, email, in order to see a positive ROI.

So since you don’t necessarily need to send a lot of messages, you don’t necessarily need to pay for a lot of messages.

Text Lead Generation Service Features

So what kinds of solutions actually help with lead generation via text message?

  • Text-to-join keywords: This is one of the most common lead gen solutions for text messages. With text-to-join keywords, you can give prospective customers a way to send a text message into a particular number and be automatically added to your text alert subscription list.
  • SMS drip campaigns: You can use SMS drip campaigns to create a workflow of automated messages to send out to your leads, helping to nurture them along your sales funnel.
  • Auto-replies: Being able to set up auto-reply messages means that you can trigger pre-set text messages automatically when people send a text message to your business. This means your leads get an immediate response when they submit a text message, which is good for lead nurturing.
  • Personalization: SMS is already a personal means of communication, but you can personalize it further by automatically including info such as recipient names, or by targeting messages by data points such as the location or activity of the recipient.
  • Mass texting & 2-way chat: With an SMS platform you can enjoy the flexibility to send mass text messages to your leads, or to engage in individually 2-way conversations.

How Texting Leads Works

To text leads, you can collect phone numbers the same way you do email addresses: by asking for them on your website, social media accounts, in-store, and so on.

For example, include a note on your website inviting people to sign up to receive text alerts from your store. You can incentivize them to do this by offering some kind of benefit: 20% of your first purchase or some other kind of special deal.

The goal here is that you are building a list of phone number contacts. Once you have that list, there are many ways you can help move these people from simply being a contact to actually being a lead and even on from there to being a sale.

You'll use an SMS platform (or an SMS API) to send or automate text messages and manage your conversations.

Strategies for Generating New Text Leads

So you understand that text leads are valuable and that texting is a powerful solution for converting people into customers.

But how do you generate those leads—particularly in the initial stages of the lead gen process? How do you even get them interested in giving you their phone number?

Here are a few strategies.


In order to make people interested in signing up for your texts, you typically need to offer some kind of incentive.

The incentive must be appealing enough that it entices people to give away their precious phone number. (Because people are more protective of their phone number than they are of their email address.)

Sometimes, more immediate incentives can be better—for example: “Get a free appetizer if you join our exclusive text club!” But you can also incentivize with things that don’t really impact your bottom line much—such as “raffle entries” for a giveaway item.

This concept of incentivizing applies to any tactic you use for collecting text leads.

Optimize Your Website for Lead Generation

Through your website, you can generate text leads in many of the same ways that you generate other kinds of leads. This can include:

Landing Pages

Make sure you’re creating compelling landing pages that really speak to your prospects and make them actually interested in providing their phone number so you can send them texts.

Include copy that really speaks to their pains and their wants, and use CTA’s that are clear and persuasive.

Side note: when it comes to CTAs, Copyhackers suggests that it’s best to avoid friction words like “buy,” “submit,” and “sign up.” Even words like “join,” “start” or “learn” can have an element of friction that may subtly give visitors pause. Instead, it’s better to use words like “get” or “discover.”

Whatever verbiage you use, make sure the CTA’s clearly communicate the benefit of signing up for text updates or exclusive offers.

Pop-ups & Web Banners

Pop-up forms and web banners strategically placed on your website can help you capture new text leads.

Pop-ups can be triggered based on specific user behaviors or time spent on your site. What is sometimes useful are “exit intent” pop-ups which are triggered when your visitor is about to leave the site.

(Just try not to be annoying when implementing these!)

Use Social Media

Social media isn’t the most reliable way to communicate things to your audience (hence why you want to use SMS). But it still might be able to help you collect a few text leads.

You can create posts including your incentive to join your text list, with a link to a page where people can provide their phone number. Or you can include instructions for people to text-to-join—a feature available with SMS platforms that allows people to text in a particular word in order to be automatically added to your text list.

Publish your opt-in instructions across all of your social media channels at strategic times and see if it helps you grow your list of text leads.

Use Email

You already have a list of email leads. (Even though I don’t actually know you or your business, I think this is generally safe to assume.)

Although the people on your email list are already technically leads, you can generate them into text leads as well, giving you more potential to reach and convert them into customers.

Just like with social media, you can send out email blasts offering your incentive for people to sign up. You can share a link to your text sign-up page or your “text-to-join” instructions.

Simple blasts like this could do a lot to help you grow your text list.

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Tips and best practices for text lead generation

Strategies for Nurturing and Converting Text Leads

Once you have leads added to your text list, you can start sending them text campaigns to help nurture and convert them into customers.

Here are a few ways you can do that.

Offer Discounts and Promotions

The most common way sales-based businesses use texting is to offer discounts and promotions.

For people who would not come in under normal circumstances, a special deal can provide the motivation they need to buy or visit the store—which also provides you an opportunity to give them a great experience and turn them into a regular customer.

Sending a promotion via text gets the discount right in front of your prospective customers, which makes them much more likely to follow through with a purchase.

For example, Theo, who runs a meal-delivery service, sent a text saying:

Use the code HolidayCheer” to receive 10% off your next purchase! [link] Expires Sunday 11:59PM PST

However, you’ll want to be careful not to send too many discounts, or else you’ll not only annoy people but you’ll also make them hesitant to purchase from you at full price.

Provide Valuable Content

Aside from promotions, you can offer other types of valuable content that will be helpful to your prospects.

For example, here at Mobile Text Alerts we use SMS to offer prospects a personalized 1-on-1 demo as well as links to educational content so they can get more info.

If you provide content that’s actually useful, your leads will be more likely to stay subscribed—and eventually convert.

Engage in Automated Drip Campaigns

You can incorporate texting into your drip campaign flows for leads, sending out different series of messages automatically with the intention of engaging and converting.

We’ll touch more on this a bit later, but you can change your journey messaging according to different factors such as:

  • Stage of awareness
  • What actions users have taken
  • Demographics (age, gender, location, or other demographic factors)

Experimenting with different kinds of copy, messaging cadences, and interplay between SMS and email will help you determine what types of flows work best for your messages.

Send Reminders and Follow-Ups

When leads express interest or take action with regards to your site or products, you can use texting to respond promptly with personalized interactions.

Send personal reminders and follow-ups as appropriate to help nurture that lead into conversion.

An SMS platform like Mobile Text Alerts allows you to have easy back-and-forth communication with leads via texting in a dedicated online inbox.

Optimize Based on Data

After some of your nurturing efforts have been going on for a while, you’ll be able to start analyzing data on your campaign results.

You can then optimize your campaigns based on that data to help you have the most successful campaigns possible.

For example…

  • Are certain times of day getting you better results than others? Keep sending at those times.
  • Is including images in your messages getting you better results than text-only? Keep sending texts with images.
  • Are shorter messages getting you better results than longer messages? Keep sending shorter messages.

By closely monitoring and analyzing your text leads' performance, you can make data-driven decisions to enhance conversion rates and overall campaign effectiveness.

Text-Exclusive Labor Day Deal! Get a free ebook with any purchase. Shop here: [link]

Coupons and Discount Codes

Offer a coupon, discount, or one-time deal.

This is an excellent way to reach contacts less likely to purchase: Offer them a fairly specific, high-value perk that will motivate them to buy.

For people who would not come in under normal circumstances, a special deal can provide the motivation they need to buy or visit the store—which also provides you an opportunity to give them a great experience and turn them into a regular customer.

For example, Theo, who runs a meal-delivery service, sent a text saying:

Use the code HolidayCheer” to receive 10% off your next purchase! [link] Expires Sunday 11:59PM PST

Webinar Alerts

Use text messaging to promote your webinar.

One of the classic ways to collect contact information from potential customers is through offering a webinar.

But then the hardest part about webinars is getting people to actually attend. If you ask for their phone number when they sign up, you can automatically send them reminder texts a few minutes before the webinar begins.

We have seen webinar hosts increase attendance by 24% with SMS reminders.

For example, Nehemiah has set up a webinar reminder text that is sent out one minute before his webinar starts:

We are live. Join the webinar now! [link]

Product Launches

You can use multimedia text messages to launch new products.

Launching new products is one of the most important (and difficult) things you do as a business.

On the one hand, a new product can open up new sales opportunities and generate additional revenue. On the other, a new product requires a great deal of time and money to create and launch. So if it fails, you could lose a lot of money.

MMS messages can combine images and text to inform your contacts about new products your business is offering.

For example, if you own a store that sells musical instruments, you might send out a text message when new instruments are in stock to let your customers know.

Who Uses Text Lead Generation?

All kinds of businesses use text messaging for lead generation, including but not limited to:

  • Ecommerce
  • Coaches
  • Retail
  • Agencies
  • Non-profits
  • Healthcare
  • Service-based businesses
  • Restaurants
  • Gyms & fitness centers

Best Practices for Text Lead Generation

Here are some best practices you should keep in mind when using texting leads...

  • Get proper consent: It's best (though not always required) to get proper consent before you send text messages.
  • Follow mobile carrier regulations: Make sure you follow mobile carrier regulations, particularly when it comes to filling out brand registration forms that help you register your traffic for pre-approval.
  • Don't send too many messages: It's easy to overuse SMS as a channel, but people can get fatigued quickly if you send too many messages.


How much does a text lead gen service cost?

Plans can vary depending on the volume of messages that you send.

At Mobile Text Alerts start at $20/month (billed annually), which allows for 500 messages.

Can Zapier text leads?

Yes, you can connect Mobile Text Alerts to Zapier in order to text leads.

Going about it via Zapier can help you create seamless flows for your leads' journey.

Try a Lead Texting Service Today

Texting leads is the piece of the lead generation journey that you're missing.

Try a lead texting service for free now.

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