How to Build Your Mobile List: Add a “Call to Action” to Your Existing Media

One of the strengths of a mobile campaign is how seamlessly it can integrate into your existing outreach. You can use all of your communications – TV commercials, email newsletter, website, radio spots, and more – to get people to sign up for your mobile list. All you have to do is add a “call to action.”

The “call to action” is the quick sentence where you tell people to “Text a KEYWORD to a SHORTCODE.” The SHORTCODE is the 5 or 6 digit number that people text to. The KEYWORD is the word that you ask people to text in. For example, to join the Mobile Commons SMS list, you’d text HELLO to 877877.

A mobile call to action is a simple and convenient way for people to take action, no matter where they are when they see your message. People carry their phones with them all the time, so it’s easy for them to quickly text in a keyword response to a powerful PSA or billboard. That way, you capture their top of mind attention. Conversely, by the time people get home to their computers to visit your website, they’ve often forgotten what moved them. Indeed, research shows that adding a mobile call to action prompts up to 4 times as many responses as a web call to action.

Once you’ve decided on a call to action, the next step is to get people to actually see it. You can easily use any of your existing communications to add in the mobile call. Below are a few examples to get you going. And if you want more, click here to check out a number of other great examples.

SMS Call to Action in a TV spot:

SMS Call to Action on a Billboard:


SMS Call to Action on a Bus:


Protesters at a rally carrying signs with a call to action:


Have celebrity endorsers make your call to action for you:

You can use anything you have at all. If you’re Stonyfield Farms, that means the top of your yogurt lids!


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Stephen Fishbach writes marketing, communications, and press materials for Mobile Commons. He also heads up the Mobile Commons blog. Before joining Mobile Commons, Stephen worked as Director of Strategy at, where he developed media campaigns for Lions Gate Films, After Dark Films, Epic Records, and more. Stephen has a BA in English from Yale University. In 2009, he was runner-up on the 18th season of CBS’s Survivor.

Stephen Fishbach
Word Nerd
Mobile Commons