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What is an opt-in text message?

Irene Rufferty
26 April, 2021

One of the most powerful and fast-paced digital marketing channels is text messaging. Given their ultimate open rate, there is no tool superior to SMS for a live communicating with your clients. However, there is a range of new terms to learn for shaping SMS marketing framework. Like you may wonder what does opt in mean, and why it is crucial for best practice compliance. Let’s take a closer look at this concept and how your company can take its advantages.

Any texting requires obtaining consent. Otherwise, that may be perceived as an invasion of privacy violating the opt in regulations, such as Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the US, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU. The word “opt” eponymizes “make a choice”: users give permission to text them. Marketing departments commonly use opt-in text messaging to further inform people about updates, including those in terms and conditions, special promotions, last moment offers, broadcasts, discounts and giveaways.

An opt-in is indelibly linked with an opt-out ― a path for a user to unsubscribe from sending. It may be included to a message in form of:

  • a short URL;
  • a STOP keyword (can go alone or follow a sender name or initial keyword);
  • zero-rated shortcode.

At least every 4-5 campaigns, you need to place an instruction on how to unsubscribe at the end of a message. The practice varies globally, but in the developed countries this possibility is an obligatory part of any text. Opt-out helps to retain a high-quality database, save your efforts and keep only the most engaged and supporting people in your contact list.

How to get customers to your transactional and promotional SMS lists

Even if you’ve built a flawless messaging campaign, it won’t work unless your consumers have consented to hear from you. Depending on the SMS type ― transactional or promotional, SMS opt in rules have their special aspects. The transactional texts are necessary primarily for customers themselves to perform an interaction with business ― they are in all cases expected. An opt-in is given by default when the phone number is being entered, e. g. when they place an online order or during checkout. The examples are two-factor authentication, order confirmation, password reset, tracking code.

In contrast, promotional messages are sent out solely for marketing or sales purposes (offers, discounts, coupons etc.) Here, an express consent is essential and usually legally required. Below are a few SMS opt in examples with appealing invitations:

“Drop into the Club! 🙌 Text YES to sign up for the Mamamia 🍕 Pizza mobile messaging 💬  list for weekly promos on our delectable fried dishes.”

“Reply VIP to join the mobile text club of the Cinema Line. 🎬 As a VIP member, you’ll get early access to the first runs. 🎟 We’ll also send occasional texts about the latest debuts and looks behind the scenes.”

“This is Lawrence’s Pub. Text DAILY to get daily updates or WEEKLY to get weekly updates on our showcase and highlights.” 

You can find a bunch of engaging and attractive bulk SMS templates for all scales and areas of business. However, only with an established digital marketing provider, such as BSG World, it is possible to finely customize a bulk SMS campaign, as well as to segment recipients by interest, demography and many other criteria.

After subscribing, e. g. when the keyword is texted to the promoted number, as best practice, it should trigger an auto-response, a notification of the service activation with a reminder that the user can stop it any time by replying with the stop keyword. Common ways for the opt in SMS list growing include advertising a keyword:

  • on a business’s website (pop-ups, footers etc.);
  • on social media pages;
  • on printed signages, posters in-store, on-site or at events;
  • on receipts;
  • on QR-codes;
  • on digital and print advertisements (leaflets, business cards etc.);
  • on an email.

Other means to collect your SMS opt-in database include:

  • placing a checkbox in the online sign-up / booking / application / purchase forms;
  • running an email campaign (especially for the limited-time proposals);
  • running a sweepstake;
  • collecting opt in mobile numbers manually in one-to-one talks with a pen and paper (e. g. at the events, in store);
  • providing exclusive membership or VIP access for SMS subscribers;
  • using chatbots with an automated opt-in.

Double opt-in for SMS marketing

Unlike the single opt-in requiring people only to submit their phone numbers, double mobile marketing opt in is a kind of two-way conversation between the customer and the brand. The confirmation step is the key difference. With double opt-in, the subscriber has to respond “YES” to confirm a desire to participate in a messaging program. That may either be an above-mentioned shortcode, a keyword, or filling out a web form.

And with a single opt-in, there’s a risk that users claim they didn’t understand that texting to a company would allow it to text them back. Another risk are mistakes in phone numbers, as well as dropping the wrong numbers into a web form with ill intentions ― so your bulk SMS will arrive to people who have actually never subscribed. Double opt-in gives marketers crystal-clear confidence in a consent, protects them against spam reports and low-quality leads. And, of course, such consented dialogue may be further extended, based on the recipient’s characteristics and answers.

Final tips and takeaways

Needless to say, all messages have to be coherent and concise.  In particular, with a first message, you should introduce yourself or remind who you are. In a text message, opt in information should come with a clear explanation of the enticement for consent. You should let the subscriber know beforehand, how frequently you’ll contact them. And choosing the right business text software enables fine-tunes audience segmentation, monitoring and optimizing a campaign performance metrics. Last but not least, be courteous. People trust you with their most sensitive channel ― personal phone number. Take good care of this privilege.

The possible penalties for incorrect collecting of phone numbers are stiff. The good news is that many representatives of your target groups probably want to be communicated ― more than 75 percent of consumers have reported to wish to receive offers in SMS. All your team has to do is to develop smart  ways to have them opt in to an SMS service.

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