Why Are SMS Opt-Outs Important?
Gives Control to the Recipient
Offering customers the option to unsubscribe gives them the power to control their engagement with your brand. Personal preferences and levels of tolerance for marketing communications vary from one recipient to another. An opt-out choice honors those preferences and prevents marketers from bothering recipients with messages they don’t want to receive. This is key to maintaining a positive customer experience.
Fewer Chances of Being Labeled as Spam
With the option of SMS marketing opt-out, you can reduce the chances of customers labeling you as spam. Unsolicited text messages can be annoying, intrusive, and potentially result in a negative perception of your brand. Allowing customers to easily opt out is considered a sign of respect for their preferences.
Ensure Compliance With Regulations
There are certain laws that regulate telemarketing and SMS texts sent to mobile phones. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), for instance, requires businesses to get permission from customers before sending them SMS messages. Giving recipients the choice to stop receiving your messages ensures compliance with these regulations. This is key to avoiding legal consequences like fines and penalties.
Saves Resources and is Efficient
Besides maintaining a good reputation with audiences, text message opt-outs are also essential for optimizing resources. This means businesses can shift their efforts and resources towards an audience that is more receptive to their marketing messages. On the other hand, reaching out to individuals who are not interested in your campaigns is a waste of time, money, and effort.
Opt-Out Guidelines and Regulations
Acknowledgment of Opt-Out Requests
When subscribers opt out of receiving text messages, businesses must acknowledge the requests and stop texting those individuals immediately. It’s important to set up a system that automatically handles opt-out requests to guarantee compliance with this regulation. Delaying or ignoring opt-outs can result in legal consequences and damage the company’s reputation.
Clear Opt-Out Instructions
The first message a business sends when a customer opts in should include instructions on how to unsubscribe from future communications. These opt-out instructions need to be clear and easy for the recipient to understand. Using simple language and certain keywords like “QUIT,” “STOP,” or “CANCEL” makes the process more intuitive. Instructions that are unclear or confusing can frustrate subscribers and result in non-compliance with opt-out regulations.
Companies should send a confirmation text in response to each opt-out request. This confirmation serves to acknowledge the request and inform the customer that they have successfully unsubscribed. It assures the subscriber that they will no longer receive text messages from the business. To avoid any issues or confusion, the confirmation message should go out directly after the customer opts out.
Opt-Out Instructions in Local Languages
A business that sends messages in a language different from the subscriber’s should offer instructions in that language, too. This allows all recipients to understand how to opt in and opt out, no matter what language they prefer. Sending texts in more than one language ensures audiences from different backgrounds won’t have trouble unsubscribing.
Non-compliance with opt-out regulations for text messaging can result in significant legal implications. Regulatory authorities, like the Federal Communications Commission, may impose heavy fines ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars for each violation. The exact amount depends on how severe or frequent the violation is.
Failing to acknowledge opt-out requests may also lead to legal action being taken. Companies that are found guilty of non-compliance may end up paying damages to the plaintiffs. This can not only lead to significant financial losses but also damage the business's reputation. Moreover, companies may face investigations by regulatory bodies, resulting in further penalties.
Examples of Opt-Out Texts
Businesses often include opt-out instructions in welcoming texts or at the end of marketing messages. Examples of these SMS opt-out messages include:
Reply “STOP” to unsubscribe from our marketing list.
If you want to stop receiving text messages from us, please reply with “END.”
Reply with the keyword “QUIT” if you don’t want to receive our messages anymore.
Whenever a subscriber opts out, a confirmation text should be sent out acknowledging their decision. Below are some examples of opt-out text message confirmations.
We have processed your request and won’t send you messages anymore. You may opt back in by texting “START.”
Sorry to see you go! You’ve been removed from our SMS list and won’t hear from us anymore. Text “JOIN” if you change your mind.
You successfully opted out. We’ll stop sending you messages. To stay informed, feel free to visit our website anytime.
Opt-Out Requirements in Different Types of Messaging
Opt-out requirements differ between types of business messages. Certain forms of SMS communication require it while others don’t.
Payment confirmations, OTP verifications, and other types of transactional messages don’t require opt-out options since they are necessary for customers using the product or service.
In promotional texts like flash sale ads, recipients should have the option to opt out since the aim of these messages is to boost sales or promote products and services.
Customers should have the choice to unsubscribe from informational texts such as appointment reminders and welcome messages.
In conversational messages, the customer has provided explicit consent by initiating the chat. Therefore, you don't need to offer an opt-out option.
Opt-Out Best Practices
1. Regularly Monitor Opt-Out Procedures
Keeping track of opt-out procedures is key to ensuring regulatory compliance and maintaining a healthy relationship with your subscribers. This means checking for requests on a regular basis and immediately processing them. You should ideally have an automatic processing system in place for this. Closely monitoring this system will help you identify and solve any glitches that may prevent customers from unsubscribing effectively.
2. Consider a Double Opt-In Process
A double opt-in process provides an additional layer of confirmation before adding a contact to your SMS marketing list. It involves sending an opt in text message asking subscribers to verify their intent after they show interest in signing up. This helps in guaranteeing that the contact is genuinely willing to receive marketing messages from you. You may follow up on your confirmation message with instructions on how to opt out.
3. Make It Easy With Keywords
Opting out of text messages should be as simple and straightforward as possible, without any confusion. A common and effective method is to provide certain keywords that customers can text to unsubscribe from your SMS campaigns. For instance, you may allow subscribers to opt out by texting “CANCEL” to a dedicated short code. Clearly communicate the keyword by including it in your footers or in your welcome messages.
4. Don’t Sell or Share Opt-Out Subscriber Lists
Once someone has opted out of SMS messages, make sure not to sell or share their contact information with third parties. These customers have expressly asked not to receive further communications and have opted out for a reason. Selling or sharing personal data like phone numbers can harm your reputation and violate privacy laws.
Allowing SMS Opt-Out With Dexatel
If you use Dexatel’s business messaging platform to send SMS to your customers, give them the option to opt out of receiving messages. Simply click on the “Opt Out” button, which will automatically generate a link and add it to your text message. Once a customer clicks on the link, they will opt out of your SMS campaign. This process ensures that your customers only receive texts that they want and won't be bombarded with unwanted messages.
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