How to Grow Your Email List Using Text Messaging


It’s easy to grow your email list online. When you’re online, you have pop-ups, slide-ins, forms, lead magnets, and landing pages, all perfectly optimized to help you grow your email list. It’s also easy for consumers to give you their email addresses, because all they have to do is type their email addresses into a browser. Simple.

How do you grow your email list OFFLINE though?

Up until now, one of the only options was to use pen and paper, meaning you’d have to ask customers to write down their email address on a piece of paper. Or maybe a customer would give you their business card in exchange for a raffle… but that’s definitely not a strategy that you can implement all the time, and the awkwardness of having to wait for someone to write their name down (or have a business card handy) means that you’re pretty limited with how fast you can grow your email list. It seems ridiculous that with all the technology available to brands, they’re still relying on pen and paper to grow their email lists or old-school business cards, doesn’t it?

But this is not the case with IHOP, as they’ve embraced technology—specifically mobile technology—to help them grow their email list using text messaging. To show you how they’re doing it, I headed down to my local IHOP. As you can see below, IHOP is advertising their new MYHOP loyalty program on every table in the restaurant.

How to Grow Your Email List Using Text Messaging - iHop Example

As you can see in these photos, IHOP is telling customers to text their email address to the phone number 31732 to join their “MYHOP” loyalty program. When customers join, they receive local offers and news, online ordering, and most importantly… free pancakes!!!

Just like when collecting email addresses online, it’s a smart move on IHOP’s part to incentivize customers to provide their email list in exchange for a coupon, reward, promotion, product, or discount. It not only increases the chances of someone signing up, but it gives them a reason to visit IHOP and feel excited about being part of their email community.

It’s interesting to note that IHOP also includes both a web address and a QR code to join, but the main call-to-action is to send a text message. That’s because texting is so much easier than opening a browser on a mobile phone and typing in a URL. Some people might be unclear exactly how QR codes work, and wary of using them, or just not into the hassle of figuring them out. But text messaging is something that everyone knows how to do these days, and do quickly. So all a customer has to do to get their reward is quickly text their email address to the phone number provided. The ease of this system makes it a no-brainer for clients, and enables IHOP to grow their lists even faster thanks to text message marketing. Win win.

How to Grow Your Email List Using Text Messaging - iHop Example - Close Up

After I texted my email address to the phone number 31732, I received back a confirmation text message, telling me that an email confirmation was on its way to my inbox. Not only does this give the customer instant gratification–they immediately see a response from IHOP—but it gives them a way to take action purchasing an IHOP product immediately. If a customer had given their email by writing it down, who knows how long it would take for them to receive a coupon or rebate in the mail, let alone all the steps and employees that would have to be involved to make that happen. But text message marketing makes it instantaneous and automatic. All IHOP had to do was set this up once, and the program practically runs itself.

iHop Email List Growth Strategy Using Text Messaging

After receiving my text message confirmation to my mobile phone, I received the following email in my inbox. All that was left was a few clicks, and I had my coupon for a free stack of IHOP pancakes. And more importantly for IHOP, they had my email address. The important thing to point out here is that the real value for IHOP isn’t just getting me to purchase free pancakes this one time. It’s the massive life-time value of me (and other customers) going into an IHOP restaurant whenever they send me an email. That makes whatever the cost of running the text message marketing program negligible in comparison to what they can earn from me as a committed email subscriber. The text message marketing program essentially pays for itself, many times over.

IHOP Email

Now that I’ve shown you how you can grow your email list using text messaging, it’s time for me to enjoy my IHOP pancakes!

Interested in doing what IHOP did for your own brand? Click here to message us. We can help you make a game plan based on what your goals are, show you how much you can earn (in both emails AND revenue) from a text message marketing program, and give you a ton of practical tips on growing your email list as fast as possible. No old-fashioned pen and paper included.

Derek Johnson from Tatango Eating iHop Pancakes

If you think you’ve seen this strategy used by other brands to grow their email lists, you are correct. Check out how the following brands are using the exact same strategy that IHOP is using to grow their email lists, including:

Plus, all these other brands who use text message marketing, too.


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