SMS compliance is essential for any small business marketing team hoping to engage in sending marketing campaigns or supporting customer service via text messages. In the United States, SMS campaigns have to abide by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), specifically, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
This means that to send your prospects and customers SMS messages, you have to gain express written consent and comply with the rules outlined in the TCPA.
In this post, we’ll explore what you need to do to comply with the TCPA, under which conditions you can send text messages to a contact’s phone number, and the rules you need to follow about sending a call to action or permitting a customer to unsubscribe.
Table of Contents
What is Text Message Marketing?
SMS marketing campaigns involve marketing from business to business or business to consumer via text messaging. There are many guidelines and regulations relating to text marketing and the sending of promotional text, but it’s also a low-cost and convenient way for your business to communicate with customers.
Most businesses using SMS marketing messages use it to send out promotional messages, transactional messages, and to provide customer service via two-way text messages. This is because it’s easy to provide customer service this way and due to the high ROI of text marketing.
Who Regulates Your SMS Program?
The aforementioned TCPA, along with the CAN-SPAM Act, are the primary pieces of legislation governing text message compliance and SMS regulation:
The TCPA ensures that you receive prior express consent before sending message content to consumers. To comply, your marketing program needs to include an explicit consent message (for example, “Do you opt-in? Confirm with a Y for Yes or an N for No.” This consent language must be obvious per the legislation). The TCPA also states that you should inform customers about the data rates that may apply when they receive messages from you, the sending of opt-out instructions, and quiet hours (you can implement quiet hours by list segmentation to ensure you’re sending at appropriate times across all time zones). The TCPA is federal law.
The CAN-SPAM Act is a 2003 law concerning e-commerce, specifically commercial email campaigns — yet it spills into other areas of telemarketing. This regulates robotext and ensures you include opt-out options for recipients.
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) is a trade group representing major players in the communications industry internationally. Their domain includes wireless communications and other personalized communication services, like specialized mobile radio. They lobby for fair communications practices and help ensure the enforcement of legal compliance requirements when companies use cellular networks to send marketing messages via text.
Note that there are different rules and regulations for sending messages to customers in Canada, and messages sent to European Union customers must adhere to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards.
SMS Campaigns and Your Marketing Strategy
Standard messaging principles also apply to your SMS campaigns. Don’t give customers notifications when they don’t want to receive them on their mobile phones. Provide messages they would be interested in or want to enjoy. Make sure you’re only contacting them via their mobile device when they are interested in hearing from you. Not only will that help you comply with federal regulations, but it will also help you increase your sales numbers.
Gather Data for SMS Campaign Compliance
The easiest way to ensure your team stays compliant with the FCC’s rules is to prove it. With a customized number for your campaigns, you can track open rates, opt-out requests, and more. This marketing channel comes with a lot of SMS communication rules, but with the right type of phone service and SMS marketing software, you can ensure compliance with mobile carriers in your mobile marketing.
Whether you’re aiming to support your customers via SMS messaging, send meaningful, seasonal marketing messages, or inform your customer base of flash sales, it’s crucial to follow the federal regulations regarding text marketing campaigns. Make sure this happens with the right business phone number partner and software.