When you are first getting started with SMS marketing, filling out your audience and growing your subscriber base can seem like a daunting task. Even if you are able to import contacts from another CRM solution, you still have to go through the SMS opt-in process to secure their interest and avoid unwanted fines.
Thankfully, there are a few different ways that you can nail down this process and begin your SMS campaign with your best foot forward.
In this article, we are going to take a look at 7 tips and best practices for optimizing the SMS opt-in process. Often, this is going to be the most challenging part of an SMS campaign, but if you are able to do it correctly, you will have an engaged and dedicated audience ready to interact with your brand.
What more could you ask for? Without further ado, let’s first take a look at why we take this process so seriously.
Importance of the SMS Opt-in Process
Now, before we get into best practices and tips, we quickly wanted to touch on the importance of the SMS opt-in process. Not only does having your customers either request or accept being a part of your list make them more receptive to messages, but is also legally required.
The fastest way to have your mobile marketing campaign shut down is by falling to comply with these rules and regulations.
However, those who are hoping to begin their SMS marketing campaigns should not fret. In fact, this is a blessing in disguise. Like we mentioned, having an SMS opt-in can keep away users who are not interested in your services.
Although most marketing professionals might say you want to reach as large of an audience as you can, the reason SMS marketing can boost a 98% open rate is because of restrictions like these.
Here are some best SMS opt-in Examples,
Long story short: stick to the rules when it comes to the SMS opt-in process and you will be set for a successful campaign. With that in mind, let’s look at the best way to land the opt-in and increase customer engagement.
Tip 1: Be upfront about your SMS campaign
The first tip we have for the SMS opt-in process is to be transparent and upfront with your customers about the SMS campaign you are running. What does this mean, exactly? It means that although special offers and promotions should be fun surprises, most of your campaign should be expected by your audience.
The way to do this is by setting the proper expectations, which user engagement metrics show improve customer relationships. Right off the bat from the first text your audience should know the following:
- Purpose: Although they should already have some idea of the purpose of the campaign, given that they opted-in for it, you should still remind them of why you will be texting them.
- Frequency: Next, you should let them know how often they should expect messages. Most SMS professionals advise less than 8 per month and no more than 2 per week, so try to keep your frequency within these boundaries.
- SMS and data rates: Even though it is uncommon for mobile plans to have a set messaging limit, make sure you inform them that standard messaging rates do apply.
By sharing all of this with your audience from the get-go, you are building trust with them. If you can do this well, customers will be excited to receive messages from you, not dread them.
Tip 2: Follow the rules
While we have already gone over industry guidelines, this is vital to creating a high-performing SMS campaign. Like Fight Club, we think this a rule that is worth repeating. Something that should be said as well is that providing a clear opt-out is important for your audience at all times.
By knowing that they can stop messages at any point, customers feel more in control. This can be included at the bottom of the first few messages and then periodically throughout the campaign to keep it fresh in your audience’s minds.
Tip 3: Offer an incentive
Once you go through the process of receiving consent for an opt in, there are a few best practices for completing the SMS opt-in process. One best practice is to offer an incentive right off the bat. Think of it as a way of saying thank you. For instance, if someone replies YES to your campaign, you can send them a message like this:
Thank you for subscribing to Example Company’s Text Reminders! Use offer code SAVINGS for 20% off your next purchase.
Right away you are cementing the relationship and showing the value of the text marketing program. Now, customers will not only be more receptive to your messaging, but they might even look forward to it.
Tip 4: Keep it simple
This brings us to our next tip for the SMS opt-in process known as K-I-S-S, or Keep It Short and Simple. Consumers value SMS marketing due to the fact that it is often quick and painless. When you start to blow up their inbox with lengthy messages is when you will begin to lose them.
For instance, instead of writing something like:
Example Company: Hey there! Did you know that you can save 20% this weekend when you shop in our stores? Don’t forget to mention our texting campaign at the register!
You could follow the K-I-S-S rule and write something like this:
Example Company: Save 20% off this weekend! Show them this message or go to Example.com/offer for more details.
As you can see, this conveys the same point, but in a much simpler fashion that will likely lead to higher conversions.
Tip 5: Provide value with every text
While the SMS opt-in process is mainly focused on the actual act of adding subscribers, there are some things you can do to ensure that even after customers have opted-in that they stay engaged. One of these tips is to provide value to your audience with every text you send. By showing them that you are there to help them out, you build trust that will lead to higher retention and a better customer experience.
An extra tip here is to always try and include a call-to-action within every text. Due to the intimate nature of SMS, customers will expect there to be a next step to take when you reach out to them. By including a call-to-action, you can again meet their expectations and improve their experience.
Tip 6: Always provide a way out
Another tip for the SMS opt-in process actually has to do with opting out. Under the TCPA, subscribers must always have an easy way out. You can even see this in the first example message we went over.
Please reply YES to receive updates from Example Company. Std. msg&data rates apply. Approx 5 msg/month. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.
That part at the end, “STOP to cancel,” is important. Even your most dedicated subscribers like to know that they have a way out if they need it. Make sure you include this in regular messages so that your subscribers don’t feel as if you are trying to work one over on them.
Tip 7: Measure results and repeat
Our final tip almost goes without saying in our data driven market, but it is simply to measure everything. Although you may be able to set up most of your texting campaign when you first get started, creating an exceptional process takes time and maintenance throughout. By measuring your results, you can perform A/B testing and hone your craft.
For instance, this text message:
Example Company: Thanks for subscribing! Find more info at Example.com
Might perform better than this message:
Example Company: Thank you for subscribing! Be sure to check out our website for more info.
Even though they are almost the same. Without the right tools for measuring this, you wouldn’t ever know. Make sure that whichever text marketing software you are using allows you to track user engagement metrics. These will be invaluable to you and your business moving forward.
Now that you have a better understanding of the SMS opt-in process and how to get started with SMS marketing, we hope that you can take this knowledge and use it to better serve your audience.
2018 is the time to start listening to your customers and make their lives better by providing value to them through online and mobile marketing channels. If you can truly make a difference, you can establish customer relationships that last a lifetime.