Finance

What marketers must know to stay compliant with the regulations of SMS marketing

Ever since the advent of mobile phones, SMS messaging has become the mainstay of non-verbal marketing communication. SMS is attractive as it can happen anytime, anywhere and between any numbers of cell phone owners. This gives marketers to be on the job while on the go. Any businessman will vouch for SMS as a highly effective channel for communication that still has the shine and sheen despite being more than two decades old. Most importantly, you can send bulk messages for business almost dirt cheap that makes the returns even more attractive. Companies are eager to connect with customers at a personal level for which there is hardly anything better than sending SMS messages. When marketers want to send some personalized marketing communication, they naturally fall back on SMS.

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The liking for SMS is evident among customers as surveys show that 64% customers welcome business messages sent via SMS for interacting with them. More than 80% marketers have expressed their willingness to pursue SMS marketing aggressively and are even willing to enhance the budget for it. Mass messaging platforms are excellent for running a wide variety of marketing campaigns,from appointment reminders to personal birthday greetings, payment confirmations as well as sales promotion. Go through this article to read more about the need for integrating messaging into your business strategy while staying compliant with the regulatory requirements.

Integrate messaging into your business strategy

The success of a business depends largely on your style of communication with all stakeholders, especially customers. Engaging closely with customers at a personal level is an effective marketing technique for which you must have a proper communication strategy. SMS is most effective in sending personalized messages at the appropriate times, and the channel of communication receives good response from customers. Since almost everyone is familiar with SMS due to its convenience and ease, customers are ready to engage in communication via SMS and welcome business messages too. Timely messaging is essential for business, and with SMS it is super easy to shoot out messages at will. The speed and flexibility of SMS messaging give a shot in the arm to marketers who can stay in touch with customers without any concern of annoying them. The channel of communication is highly effective for creating a reliable customer support infrastructure.

Understand the regulatory requirements

Before you implement SMS marketing, you should understand the regulatory requirements and the laws that govern it. Telemarketing began in the early nineties, and it necessitated some laws to regulate the activities of marketers and create a framework for operations. It is essential to adhere to the laws for which marketers must have a proper understanding of it.

The laws

The first law, The Telephonic Consumer Protection Act or TCPA came into force in 1991 and aimed at regulating the telephone marketing calls as well as the use of pre-recorded messages and ATDS or automatic telephone dialing system. The law aims at protecting the privacy of consumers from intrusive marketing calls and messages from marketers and companies, most of which could be unwanted. The law allows individuals to file lawsuits and even collect damages for unsolicited calls and messages for marketing which includes auto-dialed or pre-recorded calls as well as fax messages.

As technology advanced, it became necessary to modify the rules that resulted in new TCPA regulation that came into force in 2013. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)issued an order in 2015, TCPA Omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order that includes the clarifications of the rules that expand the scope of the law to bring new technologies like text messaging within its ambit.

The rules stipulate the dos and don’ts for businesses concerning telephonic messaging services of which SMS marketing is a part. It sets the limits for businesses in contacting consumers for marketing needs. However, violations keep occurring and in no small measure. In 2016 alone, more than 4 billion US consumers filed complaints with the FCC stating that they still received unsolicited calls and texts despite requesting the senders to stop it.

To stay compliant with the law, marketers must follow the stipulations regarding obtaining the consent of customers and including the feature of opting out from the messaging service.

Written consent is a must

According to the law, marketers planning to launch telemarketing campaign should obtain the written consent of customers before including their names in the list to send out messages. Marketers or Companies should clearly tell customers that they would receive calls, pre-recorded or auto-dialed, related to marketing messages and that the consent does not entail any purchasing obligation. The consumer should declare a designated phone number for reaching them which the marketer should not disclose to anyone in any manner.

Although such consent is not required for SMS marketing, there are some separate guidelines to follow. The customer must expressly request for the text message. The message must be in response to a customer request and must contain only the piece of information requested and no other advertorial or marketing information.

Right to opt out from messaging service

The consumer is at liberty to revoke the consent whenever they want and can even verbally communicate it to marketers. Consumers can revoke the consent by calling the marketer on their own or during a conversation with the marketer during a telephonic call made by the marketer. They can even inform in the store about revoking the consent.

For text messaging, consumers can type STOP and massage it back to the marketer. It would mean that the consumer is requesting to opt out from all text messaging programs subscribed earlier. The messaging to the consumer should stop immediately on receipt of the STOP message.

To stay compliant with the laws, marketers must refrain from trying to manage the SMS number database by themselves. It might lead to phone numbers of unwilling consumers still appearing in the database who could still be receiving unsolicited messages. The use of a bulk messaging platform with features of automated opt in and opt out could eliminate the risk of staying non-compliant.

 

About author

I work for WideInfo and I love writing on my blog every day with huge new information to help my readers. Fashion is my hobby and eating food is my life. Social Media is my blood to connect my family and friends.
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