Even the best of us are reliant on and attached to our smartphones. For businesses, this makes them an excellent gateway to customers and a powerful marketing tool. However, exploiting access to phone numbers and misusing SMS messaging is the quickest way to rack up customer complaints and find yourself in court. It is important to be compliant and transparent in your marketing practices so that you can avoid problems and experience results. Here are some text messaging practices that will land you in hot water.
Don’ts of SMS Messaging for Marketing
- Don’t purchase phone numbers. There are plenty of shady ways to acquire customer data for sms messaging, but this approach will only work against you. Make sure that you are only using phone numbers from potential customers who have given you prior express written consent.
- Don’t use mobile phone numbers from another business to market your business. Whether you obtain numbers from another business you own or a friendly fellow business owner, it is never okay to use numbers that you haven’t expressly collected for your business through the proper channels.
- Don’t misuse phone numbers that have been collected expressly for transaction purposes. Phone numbers collected at the point of sale to send receipts may not be used for marketing.
- Don’t message customers who haven’t provided express written consent to receiving marketing messages.
- Don’t text prohibited content. The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) has regulations that prohibit SMS message content related to sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, and tobacco (SHAFT). These restrictions extend to CBD and cannabis. Mobile carriers enforce these regulations and a single violation is enough to trigger consequences.
- Don’t send marketing messages before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. in the recipient’s time zone. TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) stipulates that text messages may only be sent between these hours in the time zone your recipient is in.
- Don’t message too frequently. Tell your recipients the frequency of texts they are opting into and stick to it.
- Don’t fail to identify your business in each text message. The recipient should know exactly who they are hearing from and why.
- Don’t neglect to include clear opt-out instructions. Customers should be able to stop receiving messages at any time.
- Don’t require customers provide messaging consent to do business with you.
Why TCPA Compliance Is Important
- When used correctly and in compliance with industry and regulatory guidelines, SMS messaging can be a highly effective tool. Just remember that there is little tolerance for those who abuse the process. Violating the regulations, even by mistake, can result in a legal nightmare; penalties may include steep fines which can have a major impact on your business. Contact Preferred Patron for more information about SMS messaging best practices and how this tool can be leveraged to help your business.