SMS opt-outs are inevitable. You might be doing everything right and still notice people unsubscribing from your SMS campaigns. Interests, needs, and consumer habits are constantly changing, leading to such results, and that’s okay. Sometimes even for the better since you’re left talking only to the people who really want to hear from you.

However, when your SMS opt-out rates start to rise a little too much and too fast, that’s when you should begin a closer investigation.

So without further ado, let’s focus on the most common reasons why subscribers opt-out of text messages and see what you can do to fix it.

What does opt-out of SMS mean?

SMS marketing is strictly permission-based, meaning that if you want to send your customers promotions, updates, or any other information via text, you have to get their consent. In other words, they have to opt-in for your SMS marketing campaigns.

On the contrary, when someone you’ve been texting to decides to opt out of your text messages, it means that they no longer want to be a part of your SMS marketing list and receive your marketing messages.

SMS opt-out message example

SMS opt-out message example


Text message template with opt-out option:

Hi Jason, our Fall sale starts NOW! Get up to 55% off all coats and sweaters & make sure you’re warm and cozy this winter. Shop now: [store_link]. Reply STOP to opt-out.

5 common reasons why subscribers opt out of SMS messages and campaigns

1. You’re sending too many messages

One of the main reasons why people choose to opt out from SMS campaigns is receiving too many messages too often.

Although it might be difficult to find the right balance since your subscribers' habits and preferences vary a lot, it's important to prioritize value and quality over quantity. SMS is a highly personal channel that has always been used for keeping in touch with friends and family, therefore, no one really wants to see their inbox flooded with marketing messages.

It will get annoying, and it will happen fast – and that’s when you’ll start noticing your SMS unsubscribe rate grow.

2. You send your messages at the wrong time

Porrly-timed SMS message example


Although the timing may seem irrelevant as people can, in theory, check their messages whatever they feel it’s most convenient for them, the reality is slightly different.

Various research show that users tend to read up to 95% of SMS messages within the first 3 minutes of delivery. It means that nearly all of the messages you send are likely to be opened almost immediately (which is great if you play your cards right).

On the contrary, if you schedule your marketing messages for the wrong times, like Sunday mornings or just in time for a relaxing family dinner, here’s where you can expect to lose subscribers. Not to mention that you greatly reduce your chances of users taking action on your offers.

3. Your messages are not relevant

Knowing who you’re talking to is the key if you want to succeed with your marketing campaigns (and who doesn’t?).

To put it simply, if you're sending offers and/or information that most of your subscribers can’t even relate to, you can’t expect them to stay on your SMS marketing list.

Messages that are too generic and can be applied to everyone, usually don’t bring the results you may aim for. This is because the scope of your subscribers’ needs is simply too broad to fulfill them all with a single text. Without knowing your audience, you carry the risk of offering something that they won’t find beneficial.

Therefore, if they can’t benefit from your marketing messages, what’s the point of receiving them at all?

4. Your messages sound unprofessional

Using slang and abbreviations in text messages - SMS example


Varying between different content when creating and sending SMS campaigns is important, but what also matters is how you present it to your audience.

Depending on the type of your business, the people who buy from you, and how you position your brand, you might want to choose a formal, quirky, or any other very specific tone of voice to spread the word about your company.

However, overdoing it can also become one of the reasons for increasing opt-out rates.

If your subscribers can’t grasp your idea at a glance and have to work hard just to understand what you’ve wanted to say with your message, that’s where you might want to rethink things. The more room you leave for misinterpretations, the better are the chances of being misunderstood.

5. You fail to provide value

The only reason why people opt-in for marketing campaigns in the first place is that they either want to benefit from a good offer immediately or expect to get some additional value from your messages in the future.

Naturally, if you fail to meet these expectations, your messages will sooner or later become meaningless to your subscribers.

Lack of relevant offers or diversity (e. g. you only send promotional text messages, or the only thing you want your subscribers to check are your latest blog posts) can harm your relationship with customers rather than enhance it. They will no longer see the point in staying connected with your brand if they can’t benefit from it, which will encourage more opt-outs.

What you can do to minimize SMS opt-outs and retain subscribers

Use a double opt-in

Double opt-in example in SMS marketing


Double opt-in in SMS marketing means that a subscriber has to confirm (reply YES) that they want to be a part of your SMS marketing list. This is a common practice used for making sure that the user was aware of joining a brand’s text messaging program, for instance, after entering their mobile phone on a company’s website.

Double opt-in will help you avoid misunderstandings and will filter the subscribers who agreed to receive your marketing messages by accident. Therefore, you'll be communicating with the people who don’t bother interacting with your SMS marketing messages.

Inform about the frequency of your messages in advance

It’s a good practice to send a welcome message once a new subscriber joins your SMS marketing list.

Besides welcoming them, set clear expectations about how often you are planning to reach out with your marketing messages. Best practices indicate about 4 times per month (so more or less once per week), yet if you feel that such numbers don’t work for your business, make sure to state the frequency you prefer in the first message you send to your subscribers.

Segment your audience

Segmenting your audience will help to divide your subscribers into different groups united by similar interests or buying behavior. This way, you will be able to tailor your messages to these specific people, increasing the chances that the particular segment will be more interested in what you have to offer.

Therefore, you'll ensure that the messages you send meet customers' preferences and needs, reducing the chances of them opting out of your campaigns.

Use personalization

Personalized SMS example


Personalization is an important element of any marketing campaign. Personalized messages can not only make subscribers feel more cared for and valued but also help you improve the performance of your SMS campaigns.

Various SMS providers can give you access to the data that can help you learn more about your customer habits, needs, and wants. It means that you can choose more relevant incentives, identify offers that worked in the past, and see what can work best in the present day.

Oh, and of course – addressing customers by their names is what can strengthen your relationships and make you appear “more human.”

Avoid slang and abbreviations

What might seem obvious to you, doesn’t necessarily seem so obvious to your subscribers.

Slang, abbreviations, or various industry terms can leave your audience confused, meaning that the messages you send won’t serve any purpose at all. Even humor, no matter how funny it sounds to you, can still be offensive to some people, so use it carefully and only when you’re 100% sure of it.

Mind the timing

Clearly, it's not the best idea to announce a new sale around 1 AM on a Sunday night.

To get the best out of your SMS marketing campaigns, stick to the business hours (roughly 10 AM-8 PM). If your subscribers are international, make sure to schedule your messages accordingly.

This way, you'll increase the chances of people acting on your offers, not to mention reduce the number of people who would be left annoyed by your poorly-timed offers.

Offer different incentives

As we’ve already established, incentives play the leading role in SMS marketing opt-ins. They’re also something that can keep your subscribers engaged along the way.

It can quickly get boring if you stick to similar deals all the time. Is it really worth following a brand that always offers 5% off the same products and nothing more?

To maintain your subscribers, make use of your creativity when crafting your offers. Vary your incentives, send different types of content, share tips and give advice. Put simply, keep your customers interested by offering a wider variety of possible gains.

Keep track of your SMS opt-out rates for the best results

SMS unsubscribe rate can be a good indicator of the quality of your SMS marketing campaigns. Whether it’s a sudden drop or an ongoing process, people opting out of your text messages can signal that you might be doing something wrong.

Concentrate on providing users with a real value, consider the frequency and tone of your text messages, and make sure you’re sending them at the right time. When done right, all these factors will not only help you reduce your SMS opt-out rate but also add up to better customer engagement and higher conversion rates.

So don’t rush to send your next SMS marketing campaign – first, evaluate all of the above to shoot for the very best!

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