What Is SMS Compliance and How Can Your Business Follow It?

Matthew is a Marketing Copywriter with a B.A. in Professional and Public Writing from Auburn University. He aims to learn a little more about the SEO world each day, and share as much of that knowledge with you as he can. When he's not striving to put out some fresh web content, he's usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.

You’re at home one night watching TV when you see a new text notification pop up on your phone. The text turns out to be an ad from a local clothing company. You didn’t sign up for any texts, but the company keeps sending them anyway over the next few days.

At that point, you would probably be more than a little irritated with the company sending those unsolicited texts. The same could be true of potential customers for your own business if you send them unwanted text messages and aren’t practicing SMS compliance.

It’s not just your audience that will be irritated with unsolicited texts, though. The law would also have something to say about it, as SMS marketing is regulated by a number of rules. If you want to avoid legal trouble for your business, you should make sure to stay SMS compliant.

But what is SMS compliance, and how can you implement it for your SMS marketing? Read on to find out. Then subscribe to Revenue Weekly — our email newsletter — to get more digital marketing tips from the agency with over 785 client testimonials!

What is SMS compliance?

SMS compliance is the process of adhering to laws regulating SMS marketing texts. Spam texts are both highly annoying and privacy-violating, so there are laws regulating how businesses are allowed to engage with users through SMS.

SMS compliance is about obeying those laws when your business performs SMS marketing.

Why does SMS compliance matter?

The primary reason that SMS compliance matters is simple — it’s the law. 

Additionally, it’s bad for business. To start with, if your business isn’t SMS compliant, that probably means you’re spamming users with unsolicited texts, which is bound to drive them away. Ultimately, that means you lose customers and decrease your revenue.

Furthermore, breaking SMS business laws could result in you having to pay hefty fines. That’s even more money out of your pocket.

The bottom line is that SMS non-compliance is both illegal and highly unprofitable.

4 steps to ensure you stay SMS compliant

Now that we’ve established what SMS compliance is and why it matters, you’re probably wondering how to stay SMS compliant. If so, don’t worry — there are steps you can take to stay on the good side of both your audience and the law.

Before we go on, make sure you’re aware that nothing in this post is official legal advice. If you’re concerned about the minutia of SMS business laws, go research the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and CAN-SPAM Act, or chat with a lawyer.

In short, following these steps can do a lot to help your business stay SMS compliant, but in no way are these steps a 100% comprehensive look at the laws in question.

That said, here are some of the most important things you can do to stay SMS compliant!

1. Obtain informed consent

The first thing you should do when starting an SMS marketing campaign is obtain informed consent from anyone you intend to text. Both words in that phrase are crucial — you must inform users what they’re signing up for, and they must clearly consent to it.

Start by outlining all the details of your SMS program. Make it clear who the texts are from, what they’ll contain, and how often you’ll send them out. Additionally, make sure users know all your terms and conditions, as well as your privacy policy.

After that, make sure you get clearly recorded permission from users that they want you to send them text messages. They can check a box, write out a sentence, or sign their name, so long as they clearly express consent.

Finally, the first text you send each person should be to verify their consent. Have them respond to it with a particular keyword as a final confirmation. If they don’t respond to the confirmation text, don’t send them anything else.

2. Use appropriate timing and frequency

Once you have informed consent from your users, the next step is to make sure you only send texts at appropriate times, and with appropriate frequency. Don’t send out marketing texts too early, too late, or too often during the day.

It’s a good idea to send messages no more than once a week. Furthermore, everything you send should take place during daytime hours — specifically, between 8 AM and 9 PM. Don’t send anything outside of those hours.

Also, be sure to consider time zones. It might be 8:30 PM for you, but for the person receiving your text, it could be after 10 PM.

3. Include required and appropriate content

In addition to being conscious of the timing of your texts, you should be conscious of the content they include. There are certain things you shouldn’t incorporate into your text messages.

More specifically, you should avoid including any kind of banned content. There are five major types of banned content:

  • Sexual content
  • Hateful content
  • Alcohol-related content
  • Firearm-related content
  • Tobacco-related content

You legally can’t have any content in your SMS marketing that fits into one of the above five areas, so be sure to stay away from those topics.

One thing you always should include in your texts is your business name. Specifically, you should incorporate your company name into every message you send.

That’s because users might not save you as a contact, so if they delete your old messages, you’ll have to remind them who you are each time.

4. Allow for easy opt-outs

It’s absolutely essential that you give users the ability to opt out of your text messages. Just like you would include an “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of an email, you should provide instructions on how to stop getting your texts.

Generally, businesses let users opt out of texts by replying “STOP.” Whatever your method is, inform users of it when they sign up for your texts, and remind them periodically in the text messages themselves. Anytime users opt out, be sure to respect their wishes, and avoid sending them any more texts.

Also, don’t text anyone on the National Do Not Call Registry. That list refers to texts as well as calls, so be sure to stay away from any numbers listed there.

WebFX can help you drive better results through SMS marketing

Ready to start driving results for your SMS marketing campaigns? WebFX can help! We have over 25 years of digital marketing experience, and we can’t wait to drive results for you through our mobile advertising services.

In addition to having decades of experience, we have a rich history of driving results. In the past five years alone, we’ve generated over 7.8 million leads and $3 billion in revenue for our clients. When you partner with us, you receive the same exceptional service we provide them!

To get started with us, just call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!

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