I answered the following question on Quora a short time ago. I though I’d reproduce and expand upon it here, since it’s a question that comes up once in a while.
What is a Typical Number of Opt-Ins for Your SMS Marketing Campaigns?
If you’re considering an SMS marketing campaign to build a list of subscribers for long term marketing and relationship building, it’s pretty natural to wonder how many opt-in you can realistically expect to get.
But coming up with a number is not easy.
There are Far Too Many Variables
There are so many variables involved it is impossible to say with any degree of accuracy what a typical opt in rate might be for any campaign.
- Is an incentive being offered? Incentives can significantly impact the success rates of your campaigns.
- How valuable does the prospect perceive it to be?
- Is the incentive aligned with the needs/desires of the prospect?
- Does the prospect trust you? Does he or she believe your company will respect her and send only occasional, value-oriented messages?
- Have you eliminated all uncertainty? In other words, does the prospect know exactly what she’ll experience if she subscribes?
- Is the prospect passionate about your business’ products and services?
- Has your company made it clear that there is no cost for the service, and that the prospect’s data is secured, private, and will not be sold to a third party?
- Are the benefits of “opting in” being articulated?
- Is the prospect actually “seeing” the call to action? Many companies do a terrible job of this. I was trying on some jeans in a local Old Navy, and it was in the change room that I saw their “call to action.” Unbelievable. It was an invitation to opt in to their text promo service. It printed off an injet printer onto a piece of 8 X 11 paper that was cut in half (presmuably so they could get two calls of action onto 1 sheet). The sheet looked like it had been crumpled up and thrown in the garbage, then retrieved and taped the wall. It wasn’t on the mirror – where you’d look if you are trying stuff on – but off the side on the wall, so I almost missed it. It’s only because I saw the word TEXT out of the corner of my eye that I even bothered reading it.
- Does the prospect feel that the business’ current communication channels (i.e., email, social media) are already keeping her connected to the extent that she wants to be?
As you can see, there are a LOT of variables here, and almost all of them are critical. Here, however, are the 4 most critical elements to any SMS marketing camaign…
4 Ways to Boost the Opt-Ins of Your SMS Marketing Campaign!
Your SMS opt-in campaign must…
1. Offer a Powerful Incentive
Consider this your “ethical bribe”, or what you’re willing to give in exchange for the opportunity to deliver your marketing messages directly to your customers’ and prospects’ mobile devices.
You must provide a VALUABLE incentive, as it will increase the number of opt-ins dramatically (incentives are usually discounts or coupons or coveted “freebies”).
Consider the value of being able to bypass the clutter of traditional advertising and deliver your marketing messages right into your customers’ hands.
That’s worth something, isn’t it?
I would argue that’s worth a LOT. So it’s very likely worth giving a little more to earn that privilege. Remember…
A prospect has to both subscribe and redeem the incentive for this to cost you something. Not everyone will redeem the incentive, and for those that do, well… you`ll make your money back very quickly, provided you don’t annoy your prospect by contacting them too often, and compell them to unsubscribe.
The right incentive is key to the success of any SMS marketing campaign.
2. Provide a Powerful Benefit (or 3!)
As a consumer, we’re used to businesses asking us to connect with them on social media, subscribe to their email newsletters, etc. etc,. Most of the time, we don’t bother, because the business doesn’t articulate a clear benefit for doing so. When was the last time you signed up to receive “updates” from anyone?
Yeah. Never. Me neither.
Your SMS marketing campaign will be no different.
While your incentive is handy for tipping the scales in favor of a subscription, you still need to provide a “why?”. As in “why would I provide you with access to my most coveted device, to which I am connected 24/7?”
If you can’t answer this question, you can’t expect your prospect to get excited about subscribing.
The most common benefit offered is exclusive access to deep discounts and special offers.
3. Eliminate ALL Uncertainty
Unless your prospects have a personal relationship with you and your business, they will most likely be a little leary of handing over their cell phone numbers unless they know exactly what to expect when they subscribe to your bulk text messaging service. For example, telling them that you’ll…
“… send special offers to your phone!”
… isn’t nearly definitive enough. How many? Once a day? Once a week? Every month? Every hour? What?
This is better…
“To receive one exclusive deal directly on your phone each week, text MUFFINS to 613 707 8956.”
Now your prospect knows exactly what to expect; one message, every week.
Anything else they may feel uncertain about?
Like, what happens to their cell phone number when they subscribe?
Is it shared or sold? Is it secure, or can anyone access it? The last thing ANYONE wants is a bunch of spam on their cell phones.
Technically, any promotion of your SMS opt-in campaign should include the standard disclaimer which looks something like this…
“Maximum 4 messages per month. Message and data rates may apply. For help, respond help, to stop, respond stop.”
However, this doesn’t address the privacy issue, nor is it particularly “user friendly” or simple to understand. Most people won’t know what “message and data rates may apply” means, and some will even assume that there’s a fee to use your service, even if there is not.
We once did a campaign where we translated the standard disclaimer into “English”…
“We’ll send you between 2-4 messages per month, never more. There is no charge to use this service, short of what your carrier may levvy for sending and receiving text messages. Unsubscribe at anytime by repsonding to any of our messages with the word “stop.” If you need help, reply with the word “help”.
P.S. Your phone number is never shared with anyone and is 100% secure.”
Obviously, this only works if you have the space for it, and in this case, it was going on a promotional flier, so there was plenty of room.
The key here is that you are aware that many of your customers will have concerns of some sort, and you will need to address them if you expect to achieve to obtain the maximum opt-in rates your campaign can acheive.
4. Offer Exclusive Discounts Not Available Elsewhere
If your SMS marketing blasts out the same offers that you’re offering on social media or email, you’re wasting a critical benefit: exclusivity. While there’s still a benefit to subscribing (convenience), it may not be powerful enough to elicit an opt in.
Make opting in a complete “no brainer” by offering channel-exclusive offers; special offers only available to your mobile VIPS.
The only way to access?
Think carefully about all aspects of your SMS campaign before executing. With these 4 tips, you have everything you need to ensure success!
Remember… assuming your prospect will be as excited by your program as you are is a grave mistake… you have to give them a reason to subscribe!