SMS Opt-In: Why You Want It and How To Get It
1 in 10 smartphone users grab their phone as soon as they wake up. That’s how fundamental smartphones have become to the way we communicate. In a Price Waterhouse Cooper study, 80% of those surveyed said they’d be happy to share their personal details with a company, as long as the company were upfront about how they intended to use the information. The point is, people are happy to opt-in – 49% of them according to a 2014 survey. After all, if your customers have explicitly stated ‘yes, please contact me’ and you provide them with timely, relevant and personalised information, then it is definitely a win-win for both of you.
The Opt-In: Why You Need It
The first thing to remember is that legally, you must give the customer the chance to both opt-in and opt-out of your SMS campaign – the default effect is not in play at this point, unfortunately. Satisfying the ICO requirements is fairly straightforward, as long as you:
- Indicate who you are
- Be transparent about your intentions
- State what your promotions are, and the T&Cs
- Clearly indicate a way to opt out e.g. text STOP to 87007.
Running an opt-in campaign can be hard work, and it’s tempting just to buy a list of pre-approved numbers where mobile users have given general agreement to be contacted by ‘third party retail partners’. There are some very good reasons why buying a list is not a great idea, like the case of the Leave campaign during the run-up to the EU referendum.
A strong opt-in campaign doesn’t have to start from scratch – you can leverage your more traditional marketing channels and your social media presence to create opt-in. Offering an incentive like a coupon or discount motivates nearly 30% of us to opt-in. And once we’ve opted in, then the default effect does come into play, with less than 3% bothering to opt out again.
Why Shortcodes and Keywords are Your Friends
We’re all familiar with shortcodes – the 5 or 6 digit numbers that appear on opt-in texts and are memorable and easy to use, perfect for creating awareness and brand identification. Shortcodes are used with keywords, which are the ‘Open Sesame’ that unlock the door to the discount or promotions on offer.
SMS marketing can offer you 2 options when you use a shortcode:
- A shared shortcode with a keyword that identifies you as the user, routing opt-ins directly to your company – this is the cost-effective, easy set-up option for a smaller business
- A custom shortcode where you control as many keywords as you like is an option for bigger organisations, who may be running multiple SMS campaigns, each with their own identity.
The Opt-In: How To Get It
We’ll assume that you’re not going to be doing any TV, billboard or radio advertising, though a guest spot on a local radio show would be a good way to promote your opt-in campaign by highlighting your shortcode and keyword. Let’s say you run a local bike shop, with a website, a Facebook page and an active Twitter account. You can leverage all these platforms, plus your bricks and mortar, to incentivise your customers to opt-in.
- In your store: actively promote your shortcode and keyword either on posters around the store or by word of mouth. Offer a free gift like a branded water bottle if customers sign up there and then.
- At the point of sale: encourage staff to offer customers a 10% discount on their purchase plus future special offers when they opt-in at the till
- On your website: use a call to action on your website with an incentivised offer, for example free shipping on your next order
- Email: you’ll certainly have an email list for newsletter subscribers, so include the call to action in your next mail out, offering access to a secret club when your customers opt-in to receive SMS messages
- Social media post: value doesn’t have to come in the form of a discount – opting in could unlock tips on bike maintenance, exclusive bike reviews or competitions to win gear, accessories or a bike fit.
How to Keep Customers Opted-In, Not Opting-Out
First, you need to make your communications relevant, so hit the right customer at the right time with the right information. Use your metrics cleverly and you’ll send hyper-personal information that your customers appreciate. If you have reservations about frequency, then use SMS to ask your customers how often they’d like to be contacted and with what information.
Now start a conversation with your customers. 64% of consumers prefer to communicate by text, so use SMS to your advantage. Follow up on new purchases with a short customer satisfaction survey and a personal discount code on completion. Engage your customers with gamification – for a bike shop, running a fantasy Tour de France league with regular updates and a killer prize on offer for the winner will begin to build a buzzing mobile community around your brand and encourage others to opt-in and get involved.
Finally, be very clear on phrasing – keep it short and to the point. Funny is often better, but whatever phrasing you choose, make sure you keep your wording consistent across all platforms, otherwise your campaign will seem confused and risk customers opting out.
So Why Do I Need Opt-In Again?
- Legally, your SMS campaign must be in compliance with ICO rules and for that you need opt-in
- You’ll know your customers want to hear from you
- You can target campaigns to specific groups of customers
- You can integrate a call to action across all your platforms
- Shortcodes and keywords build brand awareness.
At FastSMS, we offer a full range of SMS marketing services designed to help you get the optimum opt-in and then run an SMS marketing campaign. Contact us for more details.
Electronic marketing is a tricky thing. There are rules and regulations you need to follow, and it can all seem pretty intimidating at first. To help you get started, I’ve gathered five of the most commonly asked questions about SMS marketing and the regulations and summed them up here.
SMS Marketing, also known as test message marketing, is one of today's most powerful and cost efficient marketing tools when used correctly and offers endless opportunities with a little creativity added to the mix. However, whether careless or intentional, some mistakes can be harmful to your brand and reputation - as well as leaving you in legal trouble in certain circumstances. Luckily, this is extremely rare and it is easy to stay safe and make sure your SMS Marketing is an all round success. In this article, we look at come examples of how not to do things and offer our advice for ensuring your campaigns are effective and profitable.
Starting an SMS marketing campaign can be a daunting task. Gathering explicit opt ins can take time, as you need to make an investment in advertising. So why not just get a jumpstart and buy a list of mobile numbers from an organisation that already has the opt ins? You could do that, but it’s probably harder than just getting people to opt in on their own. Here’s why.
Is SMS marketing the worst idea ever? That’s the opinion of one author in Entrepreneur Magazine. He gives five reasons why companies should never bother sending SMS messages to customers. I take him on, point by point to show why he’s wrong and SMS marketing is the best idea ever.
Executed properly, SMS direct marketing is a hugely effective and successful means of building customer loyalty and improving sales. But even genuine and honest marketing companies can suffer huge damage to reputation or even break the law through simply lacking knowledge or not double-checking before releasing campaigns. Read this article to learn more about the definitions of spamming and harassment, current UK law and how to avoid simple but costly mistakes.
The UK may be leaving the EU, but the GDPR is still coming. Find out what it means for your business, and your SMS messaging, in our post that looks ahead and reviews the ICO guidance to prepare for the new rules.
Is SMS marketing a viable strategy for SMEs to grow their businesses? A recent article by a US SMS provider suggests not but we debunk that view. Read how and why Fastsms can help small businesses can succeed with SMS marketing without breaking the bank.
Any UK business that collects, stores and uses other people’s personal data for purposes such as marketing and selling is subject to the rules of the Data Protection Act, and those using SMS marketing are no exception. Having a basic understanding of the DPA legislation and its main requirements is useful to maintain best practice in direct marketing such as SMS marketing and also helps to uphold your hard won customer trust - as well as avoid the potentially costly consequences of falling foul of the law. Read this article to learn how to avoid the simple pitfalls and get your SMS marketing campaign off to the right start.