Building Your SMS Marketing List While Staying Compliant

Building Your SMS Marketing List While Staying Compliant

by Jeff Gordon
May 07, 2021
Whether you’re a local business or an international ecommerce site there are certain local and federal compliance standards that apply to everyone. Regarding SMS messaging, we want to make sure you are following the rules and messaging customers that want to hear from you. Because you will have the privilege of direct access to consumers there are some guidelines that must be followed to respect everyone’s privacy. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is all about guidelines to protect your company and the consumers in the text platform.

You’re more than welcome to read through the entire TCPA handbook! But on the off chance that you don’t have the time, here are the top 5 points to take away from it:

You must always receive expressed written consent to send marketing messages. 

Depending on whether the consumer opts in with a short code or you send the initial message inviting them to subscribe, there must be written consent showing that the individual is knowingly allowing you to contact them. This goes for ALL contacts; the older ones you are importing along with the new ones you acquire. The only exception here is if they have already opted in to receive text messages.

Call-to-Action Requirements

These are the messages that require individuals opt into receiving campaign messages. They should include basic information to set their expectations of what they’re signing up for including the purpose of the campaign. The frequency you’ll be messaging them.  Message and Data Rates – even though most people have unlimited data and text plans these days, it is still required that we clearly state that small fees may be included. Instructions for allowing the customer to unsubscribe or opt out. Usually that is included in your message and most often notated like “Reply STOP to unsubscribe” or “Reply STOP to Stop.” 

Confirmation Message

Your first message should ALWAYS be a compliance message confirming their opt-in. This should include: 

·         Confirmation that they successfully subscribed to your campaign.
·         Your business’ identity.
·         Messaging frequency.
·         Opt-out language.
·         Help language.
·         Message and Data Rates.

No Inappropriate Content

In best practice, there are certain topics that should be avoided. These are SHAFT (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco). If you include any of these topics in any of your messages, it is considered a violation and may result in immediate ban from texting services.

However, there are a couple exceptions to alcohol and tobacco. These would be messages to do with happy hour promotions. These types of campaigns can only be sent to individuals 21 years or older. If this is your case, please contact our team to navigate our services while maintaining compliance.

Good News

Being compliant with text messaging is something we take seriously. There are security and compliance features designed to help keep you texting the right way! For example, we auto-append frequency and opt out messaging to every message you send. While you can go and edit it, we recommend you keep it at least for the first message although maintaining opt communication frequently is considered best practices. We also apply no-send rules to customers that opt out. This means there is no way to accidently text an opt out… unless of course they opt back in. These are just a few of the many ways we go the extra mile to ensure you are protected and compliant. Chuckatext is the future to real text marketing without the risk.