How Subscribers Can Text Stop to Opt Out: The Complete Guide

August 11, 2022 | By Sam Pelton
How Subscribers Can Text Stop to Opt Out: The Complete Guide

It’s an unfortunate reality.

Some people will want to opt out of your SMS campaigns, no matter how valuable the content you’re sending is.

And for these (hopefully few) people, the opt-out process needs to be EASY.

Aside from the need to comply with anti-spam guidelines and regulations, you simply don’t want the stress and hassle of dealing with angry subscribers who continue to receive texts after attempting to opt out.

These unhappy folks can try to cause you a lot of grief, so you want to avoid all of that.

You need an easy and convenient way for people to unsubscribe - something that’s both simple for your subscriber to do on their end, and simple for you to manage on yours.

Mobile Text Alerts provides a convenient and automated way to manage unsubscriptions for people who text stop to opt out.

Why You Need to Allow Subscribers to Text Stop to Opt Out

Imagine you’ve subscribed to a text alert system for a local retail store.

You love their products and their prices. Since you love them, you don’t at all mind receiving texts on the latest deals and products available.

But then you move across the country for a job opportunity.

You have nothing against that store and you wish them all the best, but you have no need to receive their text alerts anymore because they don’t exist in your new area.

But you’re not sure how to opt out.

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You become quite frustrated as you continue to receive texts - Your time is precious and you don’t want to spend it going back and forth with reps trying to figure out how to remove your number.

So you don’t reach out to them. And gradually, you become more and more detached from that store’s brand until you’re frustrated enough that you leave a negative review online. (You realize later that you should have contacted them first to try to rectify, but damage was already done.)

Situations like that (in addition, obviously, to the existence of real spam and fraudulent messages) are why anti-spam guidelines and regulations exist.

Sending messages to people who don’t want to receive them can have several consequences:

  • It can potentially get you into legal trouble with the subscriber
  • It can raise red flags with phone carriers and providers, so that they start preventing your messages from being delivered
  • It can jeopardize your account with your SMS platform since it’s against platform policies
  • It can damage your brand’s reputation if it leads to bad reviews or negative word-of-mouth

You want to avoid all of that. And you don’t want your subscribers to feel frustrated at receiving messages they no longer want (like in that imaginary scenario).

Thus, you need to provide simple opt-out instructions. Your SMS platform makes this easy by automatically removing people who text STOP to opt out from your text list.

How Subscribers Can Text Stop to Opt Out

So you recognize you need an easy opt-out process, and you know the platform provides an automated way to do it.

But how, exactly, does it work?

Put simply, your subscribers can reply STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE to any of your messages in order to be automatically taken out of your texting database.

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When they do this, they will also be placed onto a “blacklist,” so that you can’t accidentally add them back in.

And upon sending that STOP response, the subscriber will also receive a final automated notification letting them know that they have been successfully removed. (That way, your subscriber can be confident that the unsubscription worked correctly.)

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So all you need to do on your end is make sure that your subscribers are aware of the opt-out instructions.

You’ll want to include your opt-out instructions (for example, “Reply STOP to opt out”) when your subscribers are first signing up for your texts.

It’s also recommended to include the “opt-out” instructions at the end of every message you send.

This automated opt-out process saves you the hassle of having to sort through your subscriber’s replies and manually remove them. It can also ease your concerns about accidentally sending messages to them in the future, since you’re not able to add unsubscribed contacts back in.

Other Ways Subscribers Can Be Removed

But what about if someone asks to be taken off your list without using the STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE trigger words? Or what if they tell you that they want to be removed via an email or phone call?

Is there still an easy way to remove them?

You can easily unsubscribe people from your text list by using the platform’s SMS Inbox. From there you can view your conversations with subscribers, and there’s a simple “unsubscribe” button on each conversation thread.

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That button not only removes them from your database but puts them on the “blacklist” that we mentioned before, so that they can’t be accidentally added back in again.

Another simple way to remove subscribers is from your Manage Contacts page. This page allows you to delete any of your text contacts. (Note that removing contacts on this page does not add them to the “blacklist,” so you are able to add these users back in.)

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Having these other options for removing subscribers means that you can remove contacts whenever you need, so that you’re not stuck in an awkward situation with subscribers struggling to opt out.

How to View People Who Text Stop to Opt Out | Opt-Out Report

You may think it’s great that people can easily opt out, but you also want to be able to see who has unsubscribed.

You want to be able to track and manage who all has removed themselves from your text list. That way, you can be better informed about who’s receiving your messages and how many people have opted out.

You can then use that information to help you make decisions about how to go about your texting campaigns, or about whether you should reach out to the unsubscribed individual via some other means.

So is there an easy way to view all of that?

Yes! You can view the full list of everyone who sent the text STOP to opt out (or who were unsubscribed from your Inbox page). This is called the Opt-Out Report.

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The report will give you the full list of all people who have opted out, including their name, phone number, email address, and date of opt-out.

This report is the “blacklist” we mentioned earlier. This means that any subscriber listed on this report won’t be able to be accidentally added back in from your Manage Contacts page or by importing in a spreadsheet.

What Can You Do with This Report?

The ability to see everyone who has opted out will give you insight to help you determine action steps in several areas:

  • Are you seeing a low number of opt-outs? Be encouraged that you’re on the right track with your messaging.
  • Are you seeing a large number of opt-outs? Consider whether you need to have more enticing content in your texts or need to clarify your opt-in process.
  • Are you seeing a low number of automated STOP opt-outs but a lot of other individual responses in your Inbox asking to no longer receive messages? Give more straightforward opt-out instructions in your texts.
  • Are you seeing unexpected names on the opt-out list? Think about giving them a call or shooting over an email to see if you can get insight on why they opted out. (Be careful with this, however! If they opted out from your SMS, they may not want to hear from you via a different channel either.)
  • Are you seeing an uptick of opt-outs on a particular date? Check your Sent Messages Report for what message was sent that day which led to the increase in opt-outs. Observe what might have gone wrong with the message so that you can create more effective messages for the future.

These are just a few of the ways you can use the information from the Opt-Out Report to bring about action steps for the improvement of your business/organization.

(Want to see how it works? Sign up for a free account today to try it out!)

How Subscribers Can Be Added Back In After They Text Stop to Opt Out

So what do you do if someone changes their mind about opting out?

In the example from earlier, what if someone who opted out (because they moved away) moves back into town and wants to receive your messages again? Or what if people only want to be resubscribed during certain times of the year (such as when there’s a big event, for example)? Or what if they unsubscribed by accident?

As mentioned previously, people who have unsubscribed can’t be added back in on your end via your Manage Contacts page or by importing a spreadsheet.

But don’t worry!

If the unsubscribed individual wants to be added back in again, they do one of the following:

These various options ensure that your subscriber is able to easily and quickly add themselves back to your text list.

How to Prevent People from Wanting to Opt Out

Although people should have a simple and convenient way to opt out if they so choose, the obvious desire on your end is that no one will even want to opt out.

The more people you have on your text alert list, the more engagement you can encourage, the more information you can dispense, and the more sales you can drive through your SMS campaigns.

So how do you prevent people from wanting to opt out in the first place?

Here are 4 tips to keep in mind.

1. Make Sure People Know What They’re Signing Up For

People should clearly understand what they’re signing up for when they initially opt in to receive your texts.

If you’re vague or unclear when promoting your text list, people will opt out once they realize it wasn’t what they expected.

And not only will they unsubscribe, it may give them negative opinions about your brand.

You don’t want that.

2. Don’t Be Wordy

You're used to sending emails.

With emails, being long-winded and wordy isn’t as much of a deal, and is sometimes useful.

SMS is different. The definition of SMS is literally “short message service,” after all.

With that said, texts generally work better when they are short, sweet, and to-the-point.

Every word is precious, so make each one count, and keep your messages under 160 characters whenever possible.

This can help keep people’s attention so that they don’t lose interest and unsubscribe.

3. Send Messages Sparingly

People don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to their texts.

With emails, they expect to receive a lot of promotions and “junk mail.” With texts, people are mostly used to communicating with friends and family.

This is both the benefit and challenge of texting.

It’s a benefit because people pay close attention to their texts (since it’s a familiar, in-your-face mode of communication). It’s a challenge because if you abuse your audience’s attention you may lose it.

So generally speaking, you shouldn’t send texts every day. In most cases you shouldn’t even send them every week.

While you know your audience best, we would generally recommend sending 1 or 2 texts each month (usually 4 at the most, in a busy month).

4. Send Valuable Content

This goes without saying, but make sure the texts that you send provide real value to your audience.

Don’t send messages that are irrelevant, or too pushy, or obnoxious.

Know your audience well enough to know what they want, and then give it to them in your SMS campaigns.

The goal is that when they see they got a text from you, they’ll be excited (not annoyed).

So think about how you can foster that kind of excitement through valuable content.

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Conclusion

Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief.

Why?

Because the ability for subscribers to text STOP to opt out means that managing these STOP requests is one less thing you have to worry about.

The easy, convenient, automated handling of opt-outs will allow you to focus less time on managing contacts and more time and attention on maximizing your SMS effectiveness.

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