There are many different considerations you need to make to create the best foundation for your texting campaigns. In addition to basic etiquette, there are also certain guidelines and rules that you must follow. Although some of the guidelines might be seen more as best practices, there are also laws in place that if you break, you might set yourself up for a lawsuit or worse. Following are some of the most important rules to follow from the get-go when you launch your SMS marketing campaign.
Do not send marketing texts before you have written permission.
SMS marketing is a permission-based medium. The FCC has determined that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act cover text messaging. This targets auto dialing for marketing purposes, so it does not necessarily apply to all text messages, such as appointment reminders, emergency alerts, and transactional messages.
This means that in order to send marketing messages to clients or customers, you must have their written permission. This includes an opt-in text message from the client, an online form submission, a written agreement or any other type of documented evidence that clearly demonstrates that the person has agreed to receive marketing messages from you. If you are simply sending appointment reminders or emergency alerts, it is always a good idea to get permission, but you must do so for marketing texting campaigns.
Make It Easy to Opt Out
Just as you have to get permission to text, you also have to make it easy for those who have changed their mind and decided to no longer receive texts from you to opt out. There must be a free, legitimate and easy way to do so. Typically, it is through the individual texting the word STOP as a reply to a text.
If you regularly text, it is not necessary to always include information about how to opt out, but it should be frequent enough that any follower will know how to do so. If you only occasionally send texts, then you will need to include the opt out message every time. You also have to take action if someone has requested to opt out through another method, such as during a phone, in person or email exchange with an employee.
Make it easy for subscribers to find and read the terms and conditions.
It is also important that you are clear to your customers as to what they can expect from the program. This includes the frequency, description of the program and more. For example, in your promotional material about the program, include language that details it is a subscription. If there are any other aspects of the program, such as whether there are premium fees or other components, it must be clearly disclosed upfront. You should also declare that message and data rates may apply.
These rules are the most important to follow. They are also relatively easy to do so, and it also ensures that you offer the best customer service possible. It is also beneficial to always include a signature when you send the text so that clients or customers know it is from you, especially if you frequently change the number from which the texts are sent.
Contact us to learn more about the laws and guidelines governing SMS Marketing.