Are Opt Outs Bad?

Topic: Communication, Did you know, How to:

Esendex Australia’s Key Account Manager Leah Madafferi-Lowe on opting out.

The equivalent of an email Unsubscribe, in the world of SMS Marketing, is an opt out.

Not long after I joined Esendex, one of our customers summed it up perfectly, “I don’t want to waste my time and money on them, if they don’t want to hear from me.” An opt-out isn’t always a goodbye and there are plenty of examples of customers who have re-enlisted into marketing communications, they may just need a bit of a break.

Can I keep sending marketing messages to a recipient that has opted out?

In regards to marketing messages, definitely not.

Firstly, it’s important from a legal perspective to keep your client database up to date. It is your responsibility to ensure that each recipient who requests an opt out, is removed from all automatic marketing lists. You don’t want to fall foul of ACMA. We highly encourage looking over the Australian Spam Act 2003 and if you’re operating in another country, to ensure you are complying with the appropriate laws.

This does not apply to transactional messages necessary for their ongoing account with your business (for example, a click and collect or delivery notification). However, we’ve found that having a chat with the customer in regards to their communication preferences can foster a stronger relationship. This will ensure they are aware that transactional messages may still be sent in the future. And it gives them the opportunity to suggest another contact method they’d prefer.

Secondly, you should track your opt out rate to see if there are changes over time. And correlate all data to any specific messaging creative to provide insight into how it was received.

Typically, you will find the first time you do an SMS Marketing campaign, your opt out rate will be higher than average and higher than your ongoing opt out rate.

This is most likely to be your database is not 100% up to date, and the customers who do not want to receive marketing messages will opt out straight away.

This isn’t a bad thing.  It helps you clean up your database and focus your marketing efforts on engaged customers. 

How to minimise your opt outs over time:

  • Gain permission to market – before adding a contact to your marketing list, ensure you have express or inferred permission. Inferred permission is not via a single purchase. Reading up on your countries anti-spam law will ensure you only market to interested contacts and don’t risk a fine.
  • Don’t abuse the channel – like anything, if you overuse a single marketing channel your opt out rate will increase.
  • Make your message relevant – targeted campaigns are always more successful.
  • Don’t repeat messages – if your campaign is over a set period of time and you want to send a second follow up message, change the second message to highlight the CTA (and if you can, identify and remove customers that have already taken up the offer).
  • Less is more – sending multiple SMS in one hit with long-tail messaging can be difficult to read. One possible solution is working with your Account Manager to construct a short and engaging SMS designed to entice a click-through. Creating a CTA with a short link to either a custom mobile journey or mobile landing page can decrease your opt outs and provide important information in an easy-to-digest manner. Additionally, the click-through analytics will help you identify engaged receivers.

Managing opt outs doesn’t necessarily mean monitoring an SMS chat inbox to catch the occasional ‘opt out’ or ‘stop’. Many SMS providers offer an automation service that tracks opt outs on 2-way-chat VMNs. With the Esendex free opt-out feature, any mobile number that has opted out is recorded. SMS recipients that have opted out can be viewed via the ‘Opt Out’ tab, next to ‘Sent Items’ in your Echo online account (and you can use our API’s to automate updating your database too). Not only do you have the opt out list to maintain your database, as a failsafe the Esendex service will prevent you from accidentally messaging that number in the future.
It’s also important to keep in mind that replies aren’t possible to messages sent via a Custom Sender ID, in these cases, it’s important that you add your VMN to the end of the SMS to allow customers to opt out. Eg To OptOut, reply STOP to 04xxyyyzzz

And for the consumers out there, if you receive an SMS that says ‘to opt out reply stop’, just reply ‘Stop’ and nothing but ‘Stop’.

Opt out management is normally an automated process so replying ‘Need to opt-out stop’, ‘unsubscribe’ even ‘stop please’ – can mean you haven’t opted out. It’s dependent on how the account was set up and what the automation recognises as a notification to opt out.

Things you should look for when considering SMS providers:

  • Do you receive a list of opt-outs?
  • Is there a fail-safe to prevent contacts from receiving future marketing messages if they have elected to opt out?
  • Does your Account Manager offer support to write engaging messages?
  • Can you connect your mobile messaging account to your CRM?

If you’d like to learn more about harnessing the power of SMS for your business, click here. Alternatively, if you have any questions about the above or anything messaging related we have a contact form below.

Do you have any further questions? We’d love to help.

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Author Avatar
Leah Lowe

National Account Manager at Esendex Australia PTY Limited