How to Unsubscribe from SMS Campaigns

Dmytro Kudrenko, co-founder of the Yespo Omnichannel CDP, explains how to add unsubscribe options to your SMS newsletters. Advertising through SMS is not cheap compared to other channels, for example, email. Some experts think mass messaging will give good results, but it most likely won’t. Therefore, it's more profitable for a company if its SMS campaign messages are received by an engaged audience. Customers must be given an easy way to unsubscribe from SMS campaigns.

According to a survey by LEAD9 Mobile Marketing, more than 90% of subscribers read SMS marketing messages. Typically, sending an SMS from a brand the user has subscribed to causes less annoyance and a lower unsubscribe rate than sending without permission. Messages perceived as spam can have a strong negative impact on the brand and may even minimize the return on marketing investment.

SMS marketing aims to identify customers interested in the offer, not randomly bombard everyone with messages. Therefore, it is crucial to have a method for the recipients to unsubscribe. It's much easier with email campaigns: every email has an unsubscribe link (at least it has to), but SMS messages don’t always have a clear option.

Companies can add different unsubscribe methods to their SMS campaigns:

1. Send a reply SMS

The most common method of unsubscribing from promotional SMS campaigns is to send a message to a special short number or to the number from which the campaign is sent with the word STOP or a code. Recipients may avoid this method of unsubscribing because sending an SMS to a short number can be expensive. Therefore, it is recommended that you segment your contact base by operator and offer each user the option to unsubscribe by sending a message to their mobile operator's number. The simpler the unsubscribe method, the more likely you are to get a clean contact base.

2. Unsubscribe on the website of the company sending the newsletter

On the company website, the user has to fill in a short form stating their phone number, i.e., the phone number to which the unwanted SMS messages are sent.

Some forms may have two stages: the first stage is a request to unsubscribe, and the second is entering a confirmation code sent to the user. Sometimes, users can immediately unsubscribe from SMS and email in the unsubscribe section. However, the most popular forms are one-step forms that do not require additional confirmation from the customer.

3. Call a toll-free number

A toll-free number can be mentioned in the SMS or on the company's website. Recipients can then call this number if they want to unsubscribe.

An answering machine or operator can be set up to handle the calls. This method will help companies find out the reasons for unsubscribing.

4. Link to unsubscribe in the SMS text

Many subscribers have mobile Internet, so it's convenient to go directly to the link in the message. It is not recommended to include such a link in every SMS, but to add it occasionally, for example, once a month.

Don't neglect to ask customers permission to send them newsletters. People always notice messages that they perceive as spam, and if they don't find a way to unsubscribe, they will try other methods: with a special app that blocks SMS and calls from unwanted numbers or by complaining to the mobile operator. Sending messages only to those who expect them will also save you money. Customer segmentation will help you determine the channel where the subscriber is most active, and sending to multiple channels will yield more results.

If you want to maintain a good reputation with your customers and avoid being flagged as spam, ensure your users can easily unsubscribe using one of the above methods. 

The opinion of the authors of the guest post may not coincide with the position of the editorial board and Netpeak Agencies Group specialists.

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