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What Makes Customers Opt-out of SMS Marketing?

Are your subscribers unhappy with your text messages?

Are your subscribers unhappy with your text messages?

Anyone can launch an SMS marketing campaign, but not everyone can do it well. In fact, some companies and organizations trudge along blindly, completely unaware that their text message marketing tactics are doing more harm than good. They barely even notice as their supporters flee from their subscription lists like rats from a sinking ship. And one day, when it’s already too late, they turn to each other and ask, “What did we do wrong?”

This doesn’t have to be your story. Your SMS campaign can be a vast success, and you can ensure that your results surpass your expectations by learning how to keep your subscribers entertained and engaged. The best way to do that? To learn exactly what it is that makes subscribers opt out of SMS campaigns. Almost always, one of these four mistakes is to blame:

1. Text Message Marketing Frequency

Frequency is the number one culprit behind dropped subscriptions. Here’s what usually happens – a local company, let’s say a restaurant, signs up for text message marketing services. They’re so excited to see their new marketing strategy at work that they go a little overboard. They send daily texts announcing the soup of the day. They text discount codes by the hour. Sometimes, they send the same duplicate message over and over again. And their subscribers, feeling smothered and annoyed, quickly unsubscribe.

How can you avoid this? By learning to time your texts properly. This will vary depending on your campaign, but here’s one example. Say you own a pizza shop. On your boxes, you print “Text “Pizza” to 6874 for a free offer!” When texters send the message, they receive one back offering them a free order of breadsticks with their next purchase. Two days later they receive another text that reads, “Don’t feel like cooking today? Why not order a pizza and use your promo code to get a free order of breadsticks?” Try a campaign like this and you’ll be surprised by how many additional orders you receive. After this initial interaction, wait a week to contact your new subscribers again.

2. SMS Marketing Tone and Content

It’s not just what you say, it’s also how you say it. Many subscribers turn away because they dislike the tone of the texts you send them. While trying to win over customers with humor, a local diner might text a joke that many subscribers find offensive. The owner of a museum may text using 10-dollar words and lofty platitudes that alienate supporters. A salon might hard sell their services so often that they start to sound like shady used car salesmen. These are all examples of tones that can break a relationship instead of build one.

Even recipients who give your tone a thumbs-up may be turned off by your content. They might feel like the knowledge and updates you share have little significance or impact on their lives, or that your announcements of events or promotions are of minimal interest. They may even start to wonder why they subscribed in the first place. When subscribers feel this way, it’s easy to understand why they’d choose not to receive further messages.

So in order for SMS marketing services to be utilized to their full advantage, your tone and your content need to work, and they need to work together. To make sure your tone hits the mark, try this – read every message aloud before you send it. Does the message sound like something you’d say to a customer or supporter in person? If not, you may want to consider a revision. To optimize your content, mix it up. Try not to send the same “kind” of message twice or three times in a row. The more diverse your text message marketing campaign is, the more likely subscribers will be to find your messages useful and relatable.

3. Incentives from SMS Marketing

Promotions and incentives play a huge role in most text message marketing campaigns. Free appetizers, discounted haircuts, buy one get one half off event tickets – they’re all great tools for helping your business, and your subscriber list, grow. But again, your strategy for how you offer incentives will determine your success.

First, you need to ask yourself how valuable your offers are to customers. A 10% discount on a $200 ticket to a charity ball isn’t much of a deal. But a free child’s admission to a local zoo is an offer that many subscribers may actually redeem.

You should also be wary of the frequency and variety of your promotions. If no customers redeemed your free appetizer promo code the first time you sent it out, texting it five more times over the course of two weeks isn’t going to suddenly make the incentive a big hit. In fact, your incessant messaging may lose you dozens, or even hundreds of subscribers. Don’t go overboard with your messages. Track each promotional offer, then adapt your efforts to focus on the promotions that were redeemed the most and don’t waste your time sending out the types of offers that were mostly ignored.

4. Brand Experience Outside of Text Message Marketing

If you think you’ve covered all your bases, and that your SMS marketing strategy is close to perfect, there may be an outside force that can cause your subscription list to shrink. As you know, your company or organization reaches far beyond your text message marketing services. You may have a chain of restaurants, a volunteer street team, or a weekly radio show. There are plenty of ways you can connect to customers and supporters outside of texts, and if someone has a bad experience in one of these arenas, they may choose to cancel their subscription to your messaging campaign.

A rude waitress, an offensive disc jockey, a less than helpful customer service department – all of these things can leave a bad taste in subscribers’ mouths. Try SMS polling to get feedback from your current subscribers. And if you learn that a recent ad campaign, a defective product, or a dirty restaurant is a problem, focus your efforts on fixing the problem as soon as you can. When customers see you responding to their feedback, your relationship will become stronger than ever.

If this seems like a lot of information to take in all at once, don’t be dismayed. It’s true that using these tips will help you craft a winning strategy with your SMS marketing services, but at the end of the day the most important thing is that you know your business and that you know your customers. You know what your customers need, what your supporters believe in, and you know what your business or organization can do to help. And an effective text message marketing campaign is just an extension of that relationship. So if you feel a little uncertain that your efforts are hitting the mark, just think about that relationship and try to evolve a strategy that will nurture it and help it grow.

Need a little help? Contact us to learn how to put SMS marketing services to work for you.

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