A company has spent months of planning a marketing campaign, going through the correct process to receive consumer consent for sending an advertising text message. The system is in place to run the month-long campaign. However, shortly after the bulk messages get sent out, the company receives replies through their marketing messages app stating the message could not get delivered to several phone numbers. Usually, this is followed by an error message code from the telephone service provider confirming the message was blocked. Most have gone through as planned, with positive responses. Considering most of the communication worked, why didn’t all the messages reach the intended recipients?

Blocked By The Mobile Service Provider

A business owner might be somewhat frustrated if all the hard work and money put into their marketing campaign gets wasted because a percentage of the sent messages were not delivered. However, the intended recipient may not even know that the messages are blocked because the mobile service provider has blocked it before it gets to the recipient’s mobile phone. Many network service providers offer consumers the option of blocking certain types of SMS messages. They can block all incoming messages that incur a fee for the consumer, block messages from a specific number, or block messages from numbers that are convicted spammers. Message blocking is not done automatically by the cell phone provider, so the consumer has taken a step to avoid receiving marketing or spam messages. If a company has made its way to the blocked list of a mobile services provider, it means the sender has been reported by consumers, as spam marketing messages can get forwarded to one of the main mobile service providers by sending the message to 7726.

Blocked Number Due To A Consumer Opting Out

Sometimes, the consumer does not want to receive marketing messages from a company. As per the rules of the TCPA or Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a business must provide an opt-out option that allows consumers to unsubscribe from any future marketing. Alternatively, a consumer can apply the National Do Not Call Registry. If the bulk SMS app the company uses picks up such a number, subject to the system, the message won’t go through. Despite losing out on a potential customer, this is for the best as contacting a consumer on a Do Not Call list can lead to a TCPA claim. Such lawsuits that have turned into class-action suits have costs companies millions of dollars. 

Blocked By The User

SMSHyperloop-What-is-an-smsA consumer also has a selection of using a third-party mobile phone app that can do the job for them. These apps contain a database of numbers of companies with harassing marketing techniques, spammers, and scammers, and will instantly block the calling number. If a business has its Caller ID listed in this database, it might be time to reassess its marketing strategy before making further calls or sending messages. 

Alternatively, a customer doesn’t need an app and can use the in-built blocker of their smartphone. Using this feature won’t block all future marketing messages. However, it can allow a user to block messages from specific numbers that they either don’t want to receive messages from or ones they have consented to, but find the marketing becoming too frequent. How a consumer would add a number to their block list, ensuring they never receive an unwanted message, depends on their device.

  • Apple Users – A owner of an iPhone needs to open a message of the offending company and click the information icon in the top right. Doing so will show a screen with further info relating to the number. Clicking on the number on that screen will then provide a variety of actions, with one being the option to block the number.
  • Android Users – An Android phone owner, such a Samsung phone, also needs to open up the message of the number they wish to block. On the screen displaying the message, there are three dots in the upper right corner. Pressing these will open up a new menu, blocking the offending number on this menu. A user simply needs to tap block. 

Android phones also have an additional line of defense in blocking unwanted calls and messages. Through the settings app, the main menu has a Caller ID and Spam option. If a consumer turns this on, the phone user will receive a notification each time a call or text consists of spam content. Unfortunately for consumers, a company, legitimate or not, can change their number away from the blocked contact number. However, a legitimate company would abide by the terms of TCPA and accept that the consumer has withdrawn consent, as they are unlikely to unblock the number. 

Why Would A Consumer Block Marketing Messages?

Unfortunately, there are one too many horror stories of scams that take consumers hard-earned money and give nothing in return. These stories make potential customers wary about receiving marketing messages from companies that aren’t on their contact list. Of course, if a business takes the time to establish a relationship and obtain the consumer’s consent to send them marketing messages, their worry becomes less.

However, a customer might block a test message, not because they are worried about their security, but because they are fed up with receiving constant marketing prompts throughout the day. Voicemail clogging up memory or calls at all hours might also drive a user to block a number. It is a company’s responsibility to use common sense when performing its text message marketing, as once a block is in place, it is infrequent for a consumer to unblock the number.

Avoid Blocked Messages By Gathering Consent

As with all aspects of a business, telemarketing needs to be efficient, and having text messaging blocked is the exact opposite of efficiency.  The best way to ensure a marketing SMS isn’t blocked is to let the customer know to expect a message by getting their consent. The best way to gather consumer consent for texting is to ask for it when they purchase goods or services from the company performing the marketing. There is no better sign of a customer’s interest in a company than purchasing from them, so this interaction is great for a company to propose further marketing messages, to keep the consumer informed.

Many companies have also been successful in gaining consent by running competitions and promotions. A special coupon code or competition that can only get entered via an SMS message with the consumer then providing consent to receive further marketing benefits both parties. The customer has an incentive to submit their details, and the company gains consent for texting correctly. Competitions might be a viable way to get a previous consumer to unblock a marketing number to obtain that incentive. 

Blocked SMS Messages? Explore Alternative Marketing

If a company’s SMS marketing campaign takes a hit, then the best option might be to reassess how they are performing that advertising. SMS marketing is indeed one of the most efficient forms of marketing, with a high read and open rate, and with Apple’s iMessage, more customisability when texting. But if they can’t seem to gain consumer consent, and keep having their messages blocked, there might not be another choice. Social Media advertising, especially on Facebook, can be an excellent tool for a company to utilize, with a large amount of customizability not found elsewhere. However, it comes with a steep learning curve, as there are algorithms that need to be understood and have a lower conversion rate than SMS marketing. It’s not a better solution, but it is an alternative. 

The same is said for email marketing. Marketing via email also comes with customizability and can be cheaper. However, the open rate is lower than the SMS alternative, and an email can also get picked up by a spam filter, effectively blocking the message. Many email apps, such as Gmail, allow users to implement their own blacklist of either IP addresses or email addresses.

Instant message marketing through a messaging app has also gained traction in recent years, though very specifically. Apps like FaceTime allow a company to interact directly with a small group of consumers. This type of marketing lacks the reach of other alternatives, though a group text does have its place. 

Ideally, to ensure maximum reach, even when text messages are blocked, a company should use multiple marketing techniques.