The One Statistic Every SMS Marketer Should Know

I was recently in Chicago speaking at the Mobile Marketing Strategies Summit and I was telling the audience that one of the best ways to grow an SMS campaign is to incentivize the opt-in, much like Seattle Sun Tan has done in their advertisement below in offering $20 off your next tanning purchase when a customer joins their mobile VIP club. Lets be very clear here though, this isn’t a bait-n-switch tactic that you’ve seen us write about in the past, as companies like Seattle Sun Tan make it very clear that for customers to receive the $20 off coupon, they must first join the SMS campaign.

Tanning Salon Text Messaging Campaign

After I told the audience this, one attendee asked if I knew what type of opt-out rate they could expect as some customers were likely to opt-in to receive the incentive, then immediately opt-out of receiving future SMS promotions. Great question, the only problem was that I didn’t have a clue as to a range, or even an average immediate opt-out rate for an SMS campaign with a significant incentive offered upfront, much like what Seattle Sun Tan had done with their campaign.

While most in our industry are content with quoting incorrect statistics, or just saying screw it and completely making up statistics, that’s not how we roll at Tatango. To answer the woman’s question, I tasked Steve Rose, one of our amazing account managers to find four SMS campaigns of significant size (5,000 – 40,000 subscribers) that are offering significant upfront incentives to join, and see what the opt-out rates looked like.

After doing some number crunching, Steve determined that the amount of people that opted-in to receive the incentive, then opted-out within 24 hours was between 1.3 – 6.1%. That means for every 100 people that received the incentive, 94-99 people remained in the SMS campaign. If you look at the average opt-out rate after receiving the incentive, it was only 2.3%, which would mean that out of 100 people opting in, you’re going to be retaining 98 of those.

Like I said at the very beginning of this post, one of the best ways to grow an SMS campaign is to incentivize the opt-in. With the metrics Steve was able to pull, it also doesn’t look like this tactic will result in a significant amount of subscribers opting in, then immediately opting out after they’ve received the incentive.


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