How to Grow Your Klaviyo SMS List

Whether you’re just getting started with SMS or you’ve had this in your marketing arsenal for some time, finding new ways to grow your SMS list is crucial. SMS open rates are as high as 98% and approximately 100% of people read all their text messages [source]. This means that when you’re sending a text message to your customers, they’ll have an extremely high probability of reading. Email open rates, on the other hand, only see an average of less than 16%. 

We’ve deployed SMS marketing strategies for many of our clients through Klaviyo, and other platforms. We’ve found SMS to be a fantastic way to reach customers through highly targeted messages. 

Learn More: Text Message and SMS Marketing Tips for eCommerce Brands

Right now, SMS is an underutilized marketing channel and one that we recommend fully taking advantage of!

Is Klaviyo Good for SMS?

When it comes to SMS, Klaviyo allows you to send individualized campaigns and also incorporate SMS into your flows. This means that whether you’re sending a one-off message or a sequence of messages that go out based on customer behavior, Klaviyo has you covered. 

Most SMS companies will allow you to send out SMS campaigns. Where Klaviyo really shines is with the ability to include SMS in your flows. If you’re sending an abandoned cart flow, for example, you can send your first message as an email and send your second as an SMS. This means that you have another way to reach your customers if they aren’t converting through email.

Below is an example of how we use SMS in a browse abandonment flow for our in-house eCommerce brand, DermWarehouse. As you can see, after we send our initial email, we wait one day. If the customer is opted in to SMS, we’ll send them a text message. If not, we’ll send them another email. This ensures we’re getting our messaging to our customers no matter what!

Learn More: How to Set up a Successful eCommerce Abandoned Cart Flow

How Do I Create a Klaviyo SMS List?

Creating a list or segment for your SMS subscribers within Klaviyo is easy. Just navigate to the “Lists & Segments” section on the left side of your Klaviyo screen. 

If you’re creating a segment for SMS subscribers, you’ll want to choose the condition “if someone is or is not consented to receive SMS.” Keep in mind that SMS consent is extremely important and you should always make sure you’re only sending SMS messages to customers who have explicitly opted in.

How Do I Grow My Klaviyo List?

Starting your SMS list from scratch can seem like a daunting undertaking, however, there are some extremely effective ways to start growing your list. You know what they say… The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Even if you’re feeling like you were a little late to the game in starting your SMS list, it’s never too late to get going. Here are some great ways to begin growing your list.

Popup Form on Site

One of the most effective ways to start growing your Klaviyo list is to include an SMS opt in form on your website. Klaviyo does a fantastic job with their on-site pop ups. They make it extremely easy to collect both emails and phone numbers right from your site.

You’ll have several options for your popup. You can collect only email, you can collect only SMS or you can collect both. For DermWarehouse, we originally only ran pop ups to collect email addresses. We always felt that emails were the most important to collect (and I would still agree), so we always wanted to make sure we got that first. I worried that if people had to put in both their email and SMS at the same time, we would lose them. What I love about the Klaviyo forms is that you can collect email and SMS in two different steps.

In step 1, you can collect the email address. Since this is the most important piece of information to acquire, this ensures you collect emails right off the bat.

In step 2, you’ll collect phone number. The really nice thing is that in step 2, the customer can choose not to give their phone number and still get to the success screen. This way if you’re offering a promo code, your customers can still get to that even if they don’t want to provide their phone number. This ensures you don’t end up with angry/frustrated customers.

I was hesitant at first about adding in the SMS section on the popup form, so I ran an AB test (something else Klaviyo does very well). The popup with the SMS opt in at step 2 actually performed better than the form without it on both mobile and desktop!

Opt In at Checkout

Klaviyo makes it extremely easy to collect consent on checkout for SMS. This means that anyone placing an order who opts in will get added to your SMS list and this will help grow your list tremendously!

Here are instructions on how to add this onto your site. Just follow the instructions below and your checkout page will pull in the SMS opt in.

Click to Text Campaign

Another great method to help grow your SMS campaigns is to create a click to text email campaign. If you have a large email list but are just getting started with SMS, you can leverage your email subscribers to get them to opt in for text messages as well! 

NOTE: The actual click to text functionality won’t work with all email service providers (such as gmail), so I recommend having customers manually text your number to subscribe. 

In the below example, you’ll only be receiving consent. If I were setting up this campaign, I would set up a flow for anyone who joins my SMS list from this campaign and send them a follow up email with a discount or promotion. This will immediately get your SMS list to engage with you.

Here are the step by step instructions for setting up a click to text campaign from Klaviyo:

In the editor (when you’re editing your email campaign), add a text block with content “Text <subscribe_keyword> to <your_sending_number>.” Be sure to insert an active subscribe keyword (e.g., JOIN) and your actual sending number here. (To find your sending number, navigate to Account > Settings > SMS.). 

If you want to create an actual click to text campaign (keeping in mind that it won’t work within Gmail or Outlook), set the first block to desktop only. Then, copy that block and set it to mobile only.

In this mobile-only block, click Source and then add the following text so recipients have the click-to-text experience. Use link text:

<a href=”sms:+1<sending_number>?&amp;body=Send%20this%20text%20to%20subscribe%20to%20SMS%20Updates!%20%28ref:JOIN%29″>

Text JOIN to <sending_number>


Here too, make sure to replace <sending_number> with your sending number. Then send the campaign to your main subscriber list. 

In Closing

  • Having an SMS strategy for your business is essential!
  • Klaviyo is a great platform for SMS as you can add text message campaigns and build them into your flows.
  • Creating an SMS list within Klaviyo is easy!
  • Grow your Klaviyo SMS list through a popup form on your site, an opt in at checkout or through a click to text campaign.

Stefanie Parks

Stefanie is the Co-Founder of The Media Captain. She's currently the CEO of DermWarehouse, The Media Captain's in-house eCommerce brand. Stefanie is an expert on all things eCommerce. She's grown DermWarehouse to beyond $5 million in annual revenue and has a customer base beyond 250,000. Stefanie provides helps with eCommerce strategy development for The Media Captain. She's a frequent contributor onto the TMC blog.

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