What Does “Opt” Mean?

In the context of text messaging, “opt” means to give or retrieve permission to receive text communication from companies. When it comes to opting in and opting out with text message marketing, it’s essential to understand the legal frameworks to comply accordingly.

It’s illegal to send texts to customers without written consent from the recipient beforehand. This is an Opt In, and it must be specific to the medium of text messaging.  In fact, guidelines set by The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) make it imperative for customers to have the option to accept or reject text communication from businesses. This is to prevent potential harassment from companies with bad etiquette and avoid the invasion of phone users’ privacy. Some of the established key guidelines include:

  1. Get user consent before sending SMS (short messaging service) messages.
  2. Clearly state the company name.
  3. Inform the recipient of any additional costs or fees.
  4. Notify recipients of the number of texts they should expect to receive each month.
  5. Make it clear to subscribers they can back out of receiving business texts at any time.

What Does Opt In Mean in Text?

In text messaging, users can “opt in” to receive text messages from a business. If a customer chooses to opt in for your SMS marketing campaign, this means you’ve been granted permission to send promotional texts to that customer’s phone number. This is the customer response you should aim to achieve in your SMS marketing strategy.

What Does an Opt-In Request Look Like?

To get customers to opt in for your marketing campaign, they must first receive a permission-based text where potential subscribers can either accept or reject the request. But, how do you format a request that appeals to customers? Here’s an example of what an opt-in request could say:

“Get 20% off [selected products] now — Offer ends Friday! Want to receive more special offers like this? Text back ‘YES’ to keep up-to-date on [company name]’s best deals and discounts!”

In this example, customers are not forced to sign up — instead, they’re encouraged. The company name should be clearly laid out in the text so customers know who they’re opting in for. Also, consider offering a discount code for your opt-in campaign to give customers an initial incentive to sign up and, if the recipient decides to opt in, you can send a follow-up text which clarifies the amount of texts they should expect to receive each month.

Double Opt-In Method

Another common opt-in strategy is to send what’s called a double opt-in message. Double opt-ins function as a form of recipient verification and they guarantee that you’re complying with the TCPA guidelines by requesting written consent from the recipient. Here’s an example of a double opt-in text:

“Hey! We see you’ve opted in for [company name]’s SMS service! To confirm, please text ‘VERIFY’ to this number, or text ‘NO’ if you don’t wish to receive our special offers.”

By adding an additional layer of certainty, you ensure that recipients are aware  they have opted in for your SMS marketing campaign. This method can maintain positive relationships with your customers by offering complete transparency and, in turn, build trust.

What Does Opt Out Mean in Text?

When a customer chooses opt out, the person who was previously subscribed to your text marketing campaign has revoked their permission for you to send them promotional texts. This means you can no longer contact them via SMS.

You’ll want to do what you can to prevent this response from customers, but to stay in compliance with the TCPA, you must give customers a clear option to unsubscribe.

Opt-Out Keywords

Some of the most standard ways for businesses to offer an opt-out option is by using keywords. In the same way a customer can text ‘YES’ to opt in, they can also text a ‘NO’ to opt out. Other uses of opt-out keywords include:

  • ‘CANCEL’
  • ‘OPT OUT’
  • ‘STOP’

Why Are Opt-In and Opt-Out Options Important?

For a moment, put yourself in the shoes of a customer. You buy a one-time item from an online store and all of a sudden, you’re receiving texts from this company three times a week. You realize you were thrown off by the excessive number of tick boxes during checkout. Unsubscribing isn’t straightforward and one thing’s for certain, you’re not shopping there again!

Giving customers the option to choose whether they subscribe to your marketing campaigns is absolutely essential to customer satisfaction. To establish a positive relationship, customers shouldn’t feel like they’ve been tricked into opting in for your company’s promotional texts. That’s why it’s important to optimize your opt-in strategy.

How Do I Build an SMS Opt-In List?

When building an SMS list, one of the main things to consider is how your texts benefit the customer. What will customers get from your messages? Do they have an incentive for subscribing to your promotional SMS campaign?

A great motivator for customers is to send out special offers and exclusive discounts. According to Attentive Mobile’s Consumer Report, dollar-off discounts are the number one incentive for signing up for an SMS program.

But, to make the most out of your company’s text message marketing, it’s key to understand the best practices.

Best Practices for SMS Marketing

1. Get a Shortcode
Before you get started, you’ll need an SMS code for your business. Shortcodes are the perfect way to share your promotional marketing SMS and keep in touch with your customers. At Swift SMS Gateway, we offer shortcodes that not only let you select your own keywords, but access reports that derive meaningful analytics from your campaign data. They can also be used for additional consumer perks, such as two-factor authentication.

2. Keep Texts Short and Sweet
Avoid wasting customer time and make sure each SMS message is no more than five sentences long. Short and sweet messaging will do the trick to keep your customers engaged. It’s best practice to make sure your promotional texts are concise and meaningful to prevent recipients from opting out.

3. Be Timely
When using your opt in and opt out list, make sure that it’s current and regularly updated. You shouldn’t expect customers to remember that they subscribed to your text message marketing 6 months ago. If you do, you may experience abnormally high opt out rates. In cases where opt out rates are high, mobile carriers are alerted of potential abuse, which may result in your number getting blocked. 

4. Utilize Your Website
Adding an opt-in form to your website can let you collect contact information to build your SMS list. If this option is advertised and website users are interested in your products and special offers, then they can opt in for your campaign quickly and easily. You may want to send a double opt-in message to confirm their phone number.

5. Invite Your Email List
Why not make use of the contacts that you already have? Inviting your email list to sign up for your SMS campaign can give them the opportunity to gain access to additional discounts. This can be a great way to get your SMS list up and running. 

Build Long-Term Relationships

A strong text message marketing campaign can form long-term connections with your customers. The key to a successful campaign is to have the right foundations. With Swift SMS Gateway, you can get business codes with global SMS coverage. If you’re searching for a champion provider and want to get a feel for our services, we offer free demos to get you started.

Reach out to the Swift SMS Gateway team to find out how we can help. We’re ready to assist you as you work to achieve your organization’s text messaging goals.