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Texting Tips: Increasing Engagement and Minimizing Opt-Outs

So far in 2022, Americans check their phone 344 times a day, resulting in over 98% of text messages getting read.  When supporters subscribe for texting updates from your organization, they want fresh, relevant information keeping them prepared and engaged for what’s next.  But how, when, and what you say can make the difference between hitting “reply” or “unsubscribe.”  Today, Team Hustle’s here to take the guesswork out of brainstorming new texting strategies for improving audience engagement with new and returning supporters while reducing opt-outs.

For the foreseeable future (and arguably beyond), smartphones and other mobile devices serve users as dual life companions and crisis managers because they let us share and receive short bursts of valuable information on the go.  The mobile-friendliness of conversational communication (SMS, MMS) makes it a champion outreach channel that fosters thoughtful communication intended to inform, resonate, and propel supporters into action.  

Treat Phone Contacts With Care

In a person’s day-to-day life, personal contact numbers aren’t usually distributed freely. Giving your number to an individual or organization is a conscious, intentional decision.  Think about your mobile device and the last time you shared your contact with a person, organization, or business. What drove that connectivity? Typically, interest and excitement about a movement, product, or service compels individuals to share personal information and continue learning more. In exchange for direct contact numbers, mission-based organizations and businesses alike have the responsibility to treat mobile numbers with consideration and intentionality.

Hustle Audience Engagement vs. Opt-Outs

“Engagement” and “opt-outs” are commonly used terms across the many communication channels, but what do they mean to Hustle Administrators?  

Audience engagement includes the responses received in Hustle and actions completed in and out of Hustle, such as:

Inside Hustle:

  • Clicking links
  • Making a call
  • Completing a call-to-action

Outside Hustle:

  • Making donations
  • Attending events

Opt-outs are instances when a contact no longer wants to receive texts from your organization. Your audience members can do this by responding with a keyword like “stop” or “unsubscribe” and will automatically be opted out. They can also reply in free form, and an agent (or admin) can opt-out that contact. While opt-outs may appear problematic, they can disguise valuable opportunities for organizations to learn more about audience communication preferences. Opt-outs also help Hustle Admins identify an organization’s more loyal and engaged contacts, saving hours of attempted conversation time with uninterested people. 

Lastly, opt-outs within the Hustle platform serve admins as valuable data collection opportunities. See our opt-out reasons and agent notes to learn why, and check out the opt-out report for further analysis. 

Now that we’ve established the difference between engagement and opting-out within Hustle, let’s explore more tips for turning text into action.

Texting Engagement Tips 

The primary goal for using Hustle is positive engagement, which also means minimal opt-outs. Here are a few tips from our team on how to optimize each text for success:

  • Target audience catering. Create a considerate message cadence so supporters you’re texting can begin expecting to hear from you. Outbound messages should always be timely and relevant to the recipient.
  • Mix it up. Think about how to keep a thread and relationship fresh and exciting. Use more than text, like custom images, trendy GIFs, or Video Stories (Video messages coming soon!).
  • Practice mindful texting. After your texts launch, give your audience time to digest the information before springing into your follow-ups. Remember, you’re usually contacting a person’s private line. Do not encourage opt-outs by over-texting. 
  • Create opt-outs strategically. Consider creating opportunities in your messaging to integrate opt-out language instead of blunt opt-out language at the end of your text (ex: “Text STOP to end”).
  • Leverage time through deadlines. Your peer-to-peer text message campaigns have a finite start and endpoint. During this duration, including helpful donation deadlines creates a sense of urgency and keeps your organization a topical interest.
  • Simplify decision-making with call-to-actions. Make it easy for your support network and compel them to give. For example, include specific dollar donation amounts in your call-to-action messages.
  • Build trust with custom links. The opportunity to reach out via text is a personal experience for your audience. In this time, build trust with your contacts, embedding custom links for informative pages or additional resources. Custom links are essential for performance tracking, and they are helpful in not leaving a negative, spammy impression.
Continue Your Hustle Today

While the above tips may take time to discuss, organize and implement within your teams, here’s one tactic you can execute today.

Commonly, we see that Hustle Administrators will create a new Hustle Group per text messaging outreach (If you need a refresher as to what a Hustle Group is, see our Glossary of Terms). While this is okay, the better approach would be to execute & create more Hustle Goals within an existing Hustle Group. 

When a Hustle administrator creates a new Hustle Group, the administrator will:

1) Title the Group name 

2) Indicate the Area Codes and the phone number your contact should receive a text message form. Use this to your advantage to build a relationship and limit your opt-outs! Here’s how: 

  • As the phone number will be the same each time you create a new Hustle Goal within a Group, conversational history will be intact. Your contact will have their conversation history from your previous interactions.
  • The more you can keep the phone number consistent, the more you build trust with your contact, helping cultivate the relationship. 
Peer Texting Solutions Nurture Relationships and Mobilize Action 

If you have a question about your engagement approach, reach out to your Client Success Manager today. A strong strategy combined with a focus on mobile number acquisition will allow your team(s) to engage with your organization’s most passionate base – your champions. 

Contact Hustle today, and let’s turn text into action.

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