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SMS Opt-In And Opt-Out Best Practices
SMS Marketing 101

SMS Opt-In And Opt-Out Best Practices

Opt-in and opt-out practices need to be focused on because they have heavy compliance around them, and it’s the hello and goodbye for your brand which will affect your CLTV (customer lifetime value). In this post, we’ll go over all the best practices you need to know about the SMS opt-in and opt-out processes. 

September 7, 2022

98% open rates, the ability to hyper-personalize, and your marketing messages showing up alongside conversations with loved ones are just a few reasons SMS is such an incredible marketing tool. Before you can start working the SMS marketing magic, it’s vital to understand compliance and best practices of this marketing channel. 

Opt-in and opt-out practices need to be focused on because they have heavy compliance around them, and it’s the hello and goodbye for your brand which will affect your CLTV (customer lifetime value). In this post, we’ll go over all the best practices you need to know about the SMS opt-in and opt-out processes. 

SMS Opt-In Best Practices 

How Customers Opt-In to SMS

There are multiple ways that customers can opt into your SMS list. You want to utilize as many opt-in options as possible to grow your list effectively. 


A Modal is a pop-up window that is used to ask for a customer’s email and/or phone number. Modals are often used to incentivize customers with a discount or special offer in exchange for subscribing to your marketing list. 

SMS Keywords

SMS Keywords are words or phrases that users text to your company short code to opt into receiving text messages from your brand. These different Keywords correspond directly to specific campaigns and can help you track their effectiveness. An example is a brand advertising 'Text "newcandles" to XXX-XXX-XXXX'. This will opt-in users and create a targetable segment. 

Voyage Deep Link

When your customer clicks a Deep Link on their mobile device, a text message automatically opens that allows them to opt-in to your SMS list. With this functionality, your brand can build your SMS list across all web platforms—including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Opt-In at Checkout

By adding SMS opt-ins to the natural flow of your checkout forms, you can reach high conversion rates for your SMS list. For example, Shopify merchants can easily add an opt-in option at the end of the Contact Information just before going on to shipping or under the shipping details at the bottom of your checkout page. 

SMS Opt-In Compliance Elements 

At Voyage, we view compliance as an opportunity to build quality brand relations and enhance your customer’s long-term experience.

Rules from trade organizations like the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), federal legislation such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and government entities like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) help companies navigate the intimacy of SMS.

Double Opt-In 

Double opt-in is where a customer opts in to receive text messages by providing consent twice. For example, the first consent can be filling out their information and clicking the button on a modal window, and the second consent is replying ‘Y’ over text to join the text list. Double opt-in can apply to subscribing to an email list as well. It's meant to add another step to the opt-in process to confirm consumer interest and verify contact information. 

Standard compliance language is: "By joining via text message, you agree to receive recurring marketing messages from [brand name] at the mobile number used to send the join text message. Msg & data rates may apply. Msg frequency is recurring. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Text STOP to unsubscribe, HELP for help. View Terms & Privacy".

Obtain Express Written Consent

As the FCC puts it: “For commercial texts, your consent must be in writing.”

No consumer should be confused about a message they receive from a brand or company. They should have explicitly opted into SMS marketing alerts with their express written consent. 

Your modal or CTA should have explicit messaging for authorizing future marketing text messages. The CTA should match the intent of the campaign and set expectations on the types of messages and frequency.

Explain and Confirm Opt-in

Per the CTIA, companies planning recurring SMS eCommerce campaigns should “provide Consumers with a confirmation message that clearly informs the Consumer they are enrolled in the recurring message campaign and provides a clear and conspicuous description of how to opt-out.”

This confirmation should provide details on the product or service, the frequency of messaging, information on associated fees and charges, and contact information for customer care.

By setting expectations around frequency and content types within your opt-in campaign messaging, your new subscribers know what they are opting in to and will ultimately reduce churn. 

Opt-in Best Practices for CLTV

Opt-in compliance is a must-have, but opt-in is also the first hello from your brand through this marketing channel. You want to put your brand’s best foot forward. Welcome messages are an opportunity to showcase your brand personality and greet your new subscriber with a warm welcome. We recommend including an image reflecting your brand's voice and tone to build a deeper relationship with your customers. We’ve also found that including images in your welcome messages can directly increase initial conversion rates.

SMS Opt-Out Best Practices 

Goodbyes are always the hardest, but it should be easy for your customers to opt-out of SMS at any time. Subscribers can opt-out by texting:

  • Stop
  • Unsubscribe
  • Cancel
  • Stopall
  • End
  • Quit

It’s also a good idea to put an out-out of SMS option under customer account management areas. If you have email or other account management available on your site, incorporating SMS management will give customers full control over their communication preferences in one place.

SMS Opt-Out Rate (OOR)

SMS opt-out rate is the percentage of subscribers who opt out of receiving text messages. A good opt-out rate should be below 5%. If you are noticing that your opt-out rate is higher than that, you may want to rethink your current SMS strategy. 

Fuzzy Opt-Out

Fuzzy opt-outs are when a customer uses an opt-out keyword in their text. Voyage created logic around this situation to make sure that customers get the desired outcome from their text. For example, a subscriber might send a message along the lines: "Please cancel my order". 

Rather than automatically opting-out the user because of the keyword “cancel”, our fuzzy opt-out logic will detect the keyword and automatically send the following reply to the subscriber:

“It appears that you may want to opt out. Please text STOP to confirm, otherwise ignore this message.” 

Fuzzy opt-out logic makes sure that everyone gets what they need without opting out loyal subscribers. 

Voyage Makes Hellos and Goodbyes Easy 

The Voyage platform enforces compliance from opt-in to opt-out and everything in between. We have dedicated resources consistently canvassing the SMS regulatory landscape, and we always embed relevant updates into our service and product accordingly. 

For example, in the Voyage platform, the pre-populated opt-in text message for every list-building method deployed includes the language “receive other exclusive SMS messages” — which eliminates ambiguity and protects your brand from claims of invalid consent.

To learn more about what Voyage can do for your brand's SMS strategy, request a demo today! 

Looking for more SMS best practices? Download SMS Marketing 101: The Definitive Guide now and equip your company with all the knowledge and tactics needed for a successful SMS voyage.

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