It is common for businesses to gage their success in SMS marketing based on the number of people who opt-in to receive their messages, however, there is also the alternative side to this which is: how many people opt-out of them. In a business’ ideal world, no customer would ever choose to leave their list, they would instead continue to purchase their products or support their organisation for as long the business chose to message them.

However, in reality, businesses will always encounter a number of people, who for their own reasons, will decide they no longer wish to receive messages from a particular business. When this occurs, businesses are required to remove their phone number from the company’s marketing list. This is often referred to as placing their number on the “blacklist”, or a list of numbers a business never wants to contact again. The reason for never messaging them again in the future is because if a client is contacted again after opting out, a business could be faced with potential legal issues and fines to pay. For this reason, it is vital that businesses do everything they can to ensure they do not re-market to clients who have already opted-out.

Although admittedly, the blacklist does provide businesses with a means of avoiding fines, there are also a lot of other things which companies can learn from their blacklists. While there is slight variation between some industries, the average opt-out percentages are usually under 5%, anything significantly higher than this and you should probably work to improve it.

In order to understand why customers opted out, businesses must ask themselves the following questions:

Were too many text messages sent?

Your clients, like anybody, do not enjoy being pestered. If as a business you assured your customers you wouldn’t send them more than five messages per month, ensure that no more than five messages were sent. Or maybe a message was sent daily, informing them of a current sale or offering them a discount code. If all the clients who chose to opt-out did so after receiving these messages, businesses can accept that their demographic has a low tolerance for day-to-day messages. In other words, if a business increased their message frequency shortly before a large quantity of clients opted out, they should re-evaluate their messaging strategy.

Is the customer fully aware of what they have opted-in to? 

Poor clarity surrounding what is actually being subscribed to can leave your subscribers receiving content they were not expecting, and increases the risk of opt-outs.  It’s a legal requirement that you gain informed consent, meaning your subscribers have to actually be aware that they have agreed to receive messages. Making things clear by using actions like clicking a button will ensure that your subscribers made a conscious decision to receive your messages, and will reduce the number of opt-outs.

Were the messages sent at the wrong time of day or week?

If clients are receiving messages during hours when they don’t wish to be disturbed, they could very easily become irritated enough to opt-out of them. Businesses should inspect when their campaign’s text messages were sent and received and then adjust their future SMS messages accordingly. Furthermore, studies have found that messages which are received during weekends are five times as likely to result in an opt-out than those which are received during the week. This is most likely due to clients viewing weekends as their time off, becoming annoyed at the nagging when they’re enjoying time to themselves.

Is the offer relevant to the individual?

Following a high percentage of opt-outs, businesses should evaluate whether they offered something different to what the individual is expecting or needs. It’s important to establish whether it was the offer that has lead to the opt-out, or one of the other factors discussed above. However, it may not be a single offer, it may in fact be the final message they are willing to receive in a string offers they feel irrelevant and somewhat irritating to the point they wish to opt-out. In order to truly grasp the reasons behind opt-outs, businesses must take some time to scrutinise their opt-out data.