Text messaging is one of the best ways to reach your customers and spread the word. No one likes getting spam, whether it be unwanted phone calls, emails, or text messages. So, before you get started, it is essential that you know how to comply with the various laws and regulations surrounding text message marketing, including:
- the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA),
- the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), and
- the Do Not Call Implementation Act (DNCIA).
These laws are complicated, so we’ve broken it down into the important bits. There are three general best practices:
1. Obtain written consent
Only add someone as a contact if they voluntarily opt-in to receive text messages.
Express, written consent is required by the consumer to send them promotional text messages. You might have a sign-up sheet at the front desk, include an opt-in paragraph as part of your intake forms, or post a form on your website or in the customer portal.
- Let customers know how often they’ll receive messages, what those messages will contain, and how they will be sent (automatic or manual).
- Customers should be added only to the contact list(s) they have expressly agreed to. For example, if someone agreed to receive messages about their appointments, they may not have agreed to receive messages with marketing content.
- Do not use rented or shared consumer opt-in lists. Any contact you are messaging should opt-in directly with your company.
- Do not send message content that is unlawful, deceptive or misleading, fraudulent, unwanted, or illicit.
2. Ensure that consent is informed
Message senders should display clear and conspicuous disclosures about the type and purpose of the messaging the consumer will receive.
Appropriate disclosures, known as a “call-to-action,” should include:
- the program or product description,
- the specific identity of the organization or individual being represented, and
- clear and conspicuous language about scope of opt-in and mechanisms for opt-out.
With each message, include a signature that clearly identifies your business and a link to opt out. The signature can be anywhere in the text, but posting it at the beginning makes it easy for customers to identify your message when scrolling through their message history or when it pops up in their notifications.
Here are a few examples:
- Jiffy Tires: You're signed up for recurring automatic marketing messages. (Reply STOP to stop, HELP for help)
- Maisel has an appointment at the Animal Hospital on July 3. Reply "C" to confirm or call 555-123-1234 to reschedule.
- Your order has shipped! Track it here: link.link -- Woodsy Things (Text STOP to opt-out)
3. Facilitate and honor opt-out requests
Ensure that consumers are able to opt-out of receiving messages at any time.
Maintain and update recipient lists by processing deactivation/opt-out requests daily. Failure to process opt-outs can lead to serious financial risk from TCPA violations.
Learn how to Manage Opt-Outs in the Business Text Messaging portal.
When a customer does ask to opt out, you can send them one final text message to confirm that they will no longer receive these messages, but it’s often best to not respond and simply remove their number from your contact lists. If you want to keep their number in your system for other reasons (for example, they may still opt in to appointment reminders but not marketing messages), you could add them to a do not contact list, like “Marketing Opt Out.”
Remember, text messaging is a conversation tool, so keep your messages conversational. Talk to your customers, be helpful, ask questions, encourage responses, send a clear and compelling call to action, and don't just jump to the pitch, even with sales and marketing messages.
The information provided here is just a start. For more detailed information, refer to CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practices. For guidance on political messages, refer to CTIA Political Campaign Messaging Explainer.
Not HIPPA Complaint
Business Text Messaging is not HIPAA compliant. Do not send any protected health information through this application.