If you are the owner of a business and you have been using email marketing to attract customers, you might have noticed that lately, people are moving away from email and toward a more modern communication platform.
The future is in text messaging, and if you want to stay relevant as a company, you will need to employ new marketing strategies via SMS messages. This guide will walk you through opt-in text message marketing and the legal boundaries you must remain within.
What Is Opt-In Text Messaging?
You are likely already familiar with email marketing, as this strategy has been employed by many businesses, big and small, for several years and with much success. However, you may have noticed that in recent years the trend of customers engaging with emails has waned somewhat.
If you are interested in a similar but more modern approach to marketing, you should consider using text message marketing for your business. The strategy allows you to connect with an audience via SMS (short message service, known by most as text) messages. Your marketing team can send out automated, personalized messages when someone subscribes to your list.
These texts can contain calls to action, such as prompts to check out your website or contact your sales team, for instance. The first marketing SMS messages your company sends should include text such as “text YES to receive more information…” or “text STOP if you do not wish to receive these messages” so that you can confirm the recipient has given permission. Once the customer has replied YES, you can send a follow-up text with promotional marketing, like “use code save25 to save 25% at checkout”.
SMS Marketing: The Legalities
If you are unsure about how to professionally and legally attract subscribers to your opt-in text message marketing list, remember that the word “opt” means that a person is giving their express permission to be contacted. Subscribers must choose to receive these messages and provide their phone numbers so that your business can legally send texts directly to their mobile phones.
It is essential that your company gains each person’s permission to send marketing text messages to their devices because it is illegal to text customers without their agreement to receive this content from you. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) provides clear guidelines in order to stay within legal boundaries of Opt-in TXT messaging. You must get clear and concise consent from the recipient before sending text messages, inform the subscriber that they can unsubscribe from your list at any time, reveal any potential fees or costs, state your company name in the message, and tell subscribers how many texts they are likely to receive each month.
Opt-Out Text Messages
Remember that opt-in text messaging naturally has another side to the coin, which is opt-out text messaging. The idea behind giving consent to receive these messages is that a customer also has the legal right to refuse them.
You do not need to provide an opt-out option, such as “text STOP/ END/ CANCEL” if you are sending an informative SMS message about a customer’s order, such as “your order has been shipped”, or a thank you message, like “thank you for using our services, we hope to see you again.” However, when the content of the SMS message is promotional, and details your products or services, the permission detailed above is essential.
When composing your SMS marketing messages, it is best to keep them concise and punchy. Your customers will not read a massive paragraph and you will lose potential sales and interest by boring them with too many words. Your promotional text messages can also include links or images to draw customers’ attention and encourage them to visit your website.
A great way to get permission from customers to receive text message marketing is to include the option in your online forms and on your website. For instance, when customers are contacting you about your services, make sure there is a box they can tick that says “I give permission to receive relevant information via SMS”, or something along those lines.
Text message marketing is a great and modern way to reach out to potential customers or to retain current customers for your business. Remember that you are legally obliged to get recipients’ express permission to contact them with promotional content. You can read the TCPA guidelines online to ensure your company is within the legal boundaries of SMS marketing.