How to improve SMS opt-in (and reduce opt outs!)

Topic: SMS, SMS Marketing

With an average open rate of 98% and nearly half of consumers (47%) making a purchase as a result of a text, SMS holds huge potential when it comes to driving sales and engagement. This is why it’s important to grow and nurture your SMS subscriber list. 

Here are some tips on how to improve SMS opt-in and simultaneously, reduce opt out.

  • Offer an incentive
  • Show value
  • Set expectations
  • Create exclusivity 
  • Promote opt-in everywhere
  • Simplify the opt-in process
  • Deliver compelling content
  • Give recipients a chance to respond
  • Send at the right frequency
  • Don’t forget about the post-purchase experience

Offer an incentive

Give people a reason to sign up to your SMS newsletter. For example, offering an incentive, such as a gift card, an exclusive promo code or the chance to earn more loyalty points, can boost opt in. 

Show value

For many consumers, their phone number is a lot more personal than their email address. They’ll only part with it if they can clearly see the benefits of being an SMS subscriber and/or trust the brand. So, clearly communicate the value of receiving SMS messages from you.

Set expectations

When someone signs up to your SMS newsletter, explain what it means to be a subscriber. How often will people hear from you? What kind of content can they expect to receive? What value can they get? This can be a great opportunity to launch a welcome series.

Create exclusivity 

Offer benefits that are unique to those who have signed up to your SMS newsletter. For example:

  • First access to sales and product launches
  • SMS-only discounts
  • Exclusive content e.g. behind the scenes, celebrity interviews
  • Complimentary gifts and samples
  • Special treatment at events

Promote opt-in everywhere

One of the first places you should promote your SMS newsletter is at checkout. Once your customer has reached checkout, they’re likely to be excited about their purchase. So, if it’s an online purchase, include a checkbox and if it’s in-person, use a QR code that allows them to subscribe to your SMS list.

Here are some other places you should promote SMS opt-in:

  • In your email signature
  • Social media
  • Your website
  • In live chat and chatbots
  • On product packaging
  • Print ads
  • In email marketing

Simplify the opt-in process

Make it easy for people to opt into your SMS newsletter. It’s one thing to offer an incentive but if your opt-in process is long or confusing, people are less likely to complete it.

Your opt-in process should:

  • Be short
  • Be user friendly
  • Be clear
  • Only collect the data you need to collect

Deliver compelling content

Great content is what will not only attract subscribers but will entice them to stay. Here are some tips on creating engaging content:

  • Aim for short, snappy copy – texts are supposed to be short so get straight to the point and focus on how you can consistently deliver value.
  • Be conversational – your messages should feel familiar, like texts between friends.
  • Personalise – this helps your recipients feel more special, whether that’s addressing them by their first name, sending exclusive promos or tailoring content based on their preferences.

Give recipients a chance to respond

Build relationships with customers when you have conversations, rather than simply sending them notifications that they can’t reply to. With SMS, you can use a Virtual Mobile Number (VMN) that’s unique to your business and allows people to reply to your text messages or to message you directly. 

Send at the right frequency

It’s important to find the right frequency for sending SMS messages. Send too often and you may irritate your subscribers which can lead to them unsubscribing. On the flip side, if you don’t text enough, they may forget about you which can lead to churn when you do eventually reach out.

Here are some tips on finding the right balance:

  • Start with a lower frequency e.g. sending 1-2 messages a month and gradually increasing depending on how your subscribers respond to that.
  • Ask them how frequently they want to hear from you.
  • Segment your subscriber list and adjust your messaging frequency according to their preferences and type of message.

Don’t forget about the post-purchase experience

If there’s one message that nearly every customer engages with, it’s the order confirmation one. Take advantage of this and add an SMS opt-in opportunity along with your order confirmation email. 

Or, if your customer is shopping in person, have a point of sale sign or a business card that includes a QR code so people can quickly and easily sign up to your SMS newsletter.

Let’s get started with your SMS opt-in strategy

Emails can end up in spam, social media ads can be ignored and direct mail can literally end up in the recycling bin. SMS, on the other hand, presents an opportunity to directly connect with customers and communicate with them, one-on-one. 

The first challenge is to persuade them to opt into receiving SMS communications from you. The best strategy is to use a combination of the ones covered in this blog. 

Want to learn more about SMS as a channel and how you can maximise its impact? Check out our cheat sheet that dissects exactly how you can build SMS messages that are designed to convert and minimise churn.

Unlock the secrets of high-converting SMS messages with our cheat sheet – your shortcut to engaging, persuasive texts that drive action.

Author Avatar
Prachi Bametha

Marketing Coordinator, Esendex Australia