In this article we will cover all you need to know about SMS opt-in and opt-out so you stay compliant.
What does opt-in mean?
A contact provides their mobile phone number and consent to receive exclusive content. This process may happen directly from their mobile device, through submission of a form, or a variety of other ways.
What does opt-out mean?
A subscribed contact chooses to unsubscribe via SMS typically by texting a word or phrase from their mobile device like STOP, QUIT, UNSUB, CANCEL, etc.
Types of SMS opt-in
We included only those applicable to the SMS marketing industry. Regulations vary by country.
A double opt-in is when a subscriber is asked in the subscription process to reply (Y, YES, etc.) to confirm opt-in to receiving future SMS marketing campaigns. This is not required by US texting laws, but it is recommended.
Using double opt-in is considered best practice to ensure you're communicating with subscribers that are genuinely interested and will reduce the likelihood of you being reported as a spammer.
A single opt-in does not require any confirmation from the subscriber before you may begin sending marketing messages. The disadvantage of this opt-in type is that people can give incorrect/invalid and there is not a chance to confirm or correct the error. Simple/single opt-in can lead to SMS lists that are of poor quality.
A soft opt-in also requires no confirmation from the subscriber, in-fact, it does not require the subscriber to be directly involved. The opt-in is assumed when they bought products, services, or even showed interest in company by providing their data.
This type of opt-in is not considered best practice. If you choose this strategy, be sure to include consent in your business agreements, legal documents, etc.
SMS opt-in and opt-out legislation
Guidelines can vary by state, country, or country group like North America, European Union, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East North Africa have their own SMS legislation. It's important that you not only understand the laws in your country, but in the countries of your SMS subscribers.
This articles is provided for informational purposes. It should not be considered legal advice.
There are some principles of SMS marketing that we recommend regardless of where your audience is.
- Explicitly ask for permission before sending SMS messages. Here are a few ideas to promote list growth:
- Share your SMS code & keyword in e-newsletters.
- Use subscribe forms to collect mobile number & opt-in authorization.
- Update contracts and service agreements to include permission.
- Make your CTA clear so subscribers know that they are opting into SMS communications, explain what kinds of messages they will receive, and how many messages to expect each week/month, etc.
- Preserve evidence of opt-in to receive SMS marketing. One easy way to do this is by using a Delivra form. A SMS form will stamp the subscriber's record with the authorization.
- Send SMS marketing messages during typical business hours (between 8 AM and 9 PM local time). SMS marketing stats indicate that mid-morning and mid-afternoon receive the highest response rates.
- Include information about how to opt-out in every SMS message. For example, "Reply STOP to Stop".
- Include information about possible carrier costs for received SMS messages.