SMS marketing is a highly regulated field.
Every country has its own governing bodies that are responsible for framing the regulations regarding sending text messages.
Non-Compliance with such regulations can lead to heavy fines being imposed as well as cancellation of that particular SMS program.
Although the regulations vary for every country, here are a few common ones that every company should follow.
(1) Compulsory OPT-In
It’s mandatory that brands ask for the consumer’s consent prior to sending them text messages. The opt-in must be received through one of the following sources:
- A message containing a subscriber keyword, with which an interested consumer has to text back the brand.
- A phone number shared online by a customer.
- Through a subscribe button clicked by the customer on a mobile webpage
- Through a sign-up button at the point of sale
(2) Opt-Out options
Similar to having Opt-Ins, a brand should also ensure that they provide easy opt-out options for their subscribers who want to unsubscribe themselves from a brand’s SMS database.
Brands can send out text messages with keywords “END”, “ CANCEL” OR “ STOP” that can allow the customer to opt-out of an SMS campaign at any time.
SMS campaigns that involve sending more than one SMS to customers must ensure that they send these “opt-out text messages” at least once a month.
(3) Customer Care
This is another mandatory SMS that brands have to send out to their subscribed customers on a regular basis.
Your SMS can have the keyword “HELP” that can be sent to customers.
Secondly, when a customer replies back with the “ HELP” text, he should be informed with the particular SMS campaign he is subscribed to and further information about how to get in touch with the brand.
Like opt-out messages, customer care messages should also be sent out at least once a month by brands.
(4) SMS Context
It’s necessary that the underlying context of your SMS campaigns must be absolutely clear.
In other words, no component of the SMS should be deceptive about its functionalities, content, or features/benefits.
This includes your CTA, the actual text that is sent, terms and conditions, etc.
SMS marketing content should inherently promote a positive user experience and should not include any illicit content types like:
- Content that endorses violence
- Adult-based content
- Promoting profanity/hate speech.
- Promoting illegal drugs
(6) Clear calls-to-actions
Text Messages that are sent to solicit subscriptions from customers should always have a clear and explicit CTA at the end.
Prior to signing up for the SMS campaign, a customer should have a clear idea of what exactly is the signing up for.
(7) Unsolicited Messages
The consumer’s consent is of prime importance when it comes to SMS marketing.
Therefore it’s illegal to send messages without prior and explicit consent from the customer.
Also, messages sent to customers after they have opted out of the campaign is illegal as well.