Opt out - the two single scariest words for any business. But they needn’t be. With the right tools and approach, offering your audience a simple way for SMS opt out can be both simple and beneficial for your business. Find out how in our latest blog. 

What is an SMS opt out?

It is a way for your SMS audience to tell you that they no longer want to receive text messages from you. Usually, this is done by texting a keycode, such as “END”, to a five-digit shortcode - but more on that, and what happens after, later. 

The benefits of an SMS opt out

Offering your audience a clear and straightforward way to opt out of SMS marketing, appointment reminders, information and other messages is beneficial for your business. How?

Legal and regulatory compliance

It is necessary for GDPR and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations compliance - making it easy for your audience to stop receiving messages from you. 

Audiences

It keeps your audience relevant and interested - allowing you to target and tailor your campaigns accurately. 

Brand image

Providing an easy way for people to stop hearing from you shows that you’re a helpful brand that cares about its audience’s choice of communication. 

Feedback

Opt out rates are also a useful KPI, showing what marketing campaigns are working well and what ones need to be tweaked. 

Time and cost

And finally, all of the above benefits allow you to concentrate your effort and budget on a receptive audience with the right messaging - increasing your ROI. 

See - we told you SMS opt outs could be beneficial - but how do you offer them?

How to offer an SMS opt out

There are four main ways to implement SMS opt outs into your text message campaigns, each with their own perks and considerations. 

1. Manual opt out

If you’re not yet using an SMS marketing and communications platform, you need to implement a manual opt out method. Ask your audience to inform you via phone, email or letter and then remove their number from your address book yourself. While this is a simple method for businesses just starting out, it can be both time-consuming and error-prone - leading to unhappy customers. 

2. Shortcode opt out

The most common opt out method is using a keyword along with an eight-digit shortcode. Customers message the keyword to the shortcode (e.g. “END” to 88080) and your SMS platform automatically removes their number from your active audience list. This is by far the quickest and most convenient method for everyone involved, but it comes with a fee to your customer.

Unsure what an SMS shortcode is? Find out everything you need to know in our ultimate guide to SMS shortcodes. 

3. URL opt out

Alternatively, you can offer your audience a free URL opt out method. Include a tiny URL in your text messages that takes users directly to an opt out form online, removing them automatically from your audience list.  For smartphone users, this can be as easy as the shortcode method, but for non-smart phone users, or those on restricted data plans, this can be a little more hassle. 

4. Telephone opt out

Finally, you can go old school and provide your customers with a telephone number to call to unsubscribe. The benefit of a telephone opt out method is the opportunity to speak with the customer about why they’re leaving. The negative of a telephone opt out method is the additional effort required by your audience. 

The best method? We recommend using a combination of the above - catering to every person who unsubscribes and their needs. 

How to reduce SMS opt outs

We couldn’t write an article on SMS opt-out without including some useful tips for decreasing SMS opt outs. To reduce the number of people unsubscribing from your most powerful communication channel, you need first to understand why someone would unsubscribe. The most common reasons we see are:

Not relevant

Someone signed up to your marketing list to receive 25% off of puppy toys. It’s two years later, their puppy now weighs 60kg and you’re sending them a bulk SMS offer on cat flaps!? Keep your messages relevant and tailored by using shortcodes to segment your audience. 

Too many messages

SMS messages offer a sanctuary from the communication overload on social media and Gmail, so it’s important that you respect this 1:1 communication space by not overdoing it. Keep your message volume relevant to your audience and your message. 

Didn’t sign up

If someone didn’t sign up and doesn’t want to hear from you, there’s not much you can do to convince them to stay. What you can do is reduce the number of inadvertent signups with the use of keyword opt ins through an SMS communication platform. 

SMS opt out - key message

Not everyone wants to hear from you - and that’s ok. SMS opt out provides your audience with an easy way to unsubscribe from your text messages, while providing you with a more interested and relevant audience to target your SMS budget on. Win-win.