Mobile Marketing Compliance

Mobile Marketing is a very powerful tool that allows organizations and brands to stay in touch their customers, subscribers, fans in a very personal way – through their mobile phones. Because Mobile Marketing is such an intimate and direct method of communication, there are a few strict compliance rules that need to be followed in order to protect subscribers’ privacy. In this article, we will be talking about compliance regarding different text message campaigns as well as providing an example of how damaging it could be if the compliance rules are not followed.

The first and most important rule to follow is that Mobile Messaging campaigns are strictly OPT-IN.

You are never allowed to TEXT somebody who did not voluntarily OPT-IN.

The Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act considers unsolicited text messages as spam. Subscribers must provide a written consent in order to receive commercial text messages. One way of obtaining such consent is by asking your audience to text your keyword to your short code. Also, another practice in asking your subscribers to OPT-IN is by creating an online web sign-up form.

A short code as you know is a short number, five or six digits. You can have your own dedicated short code (our team can help with that), or use one of ProTexting’s already provisioned short codes.

Choosing a keyword

To select a good keyword, you should follow a few simple rules:

  1. Make it easy to remember
  2. Keep it short
  3. Avoid the use of special characters
  4. Stick with one word when possible

Promoting your Campaign

A Mobile Subscription campaign may be advertised everywhere including TV, newspapers, Social Media, as well as word of mouth.

When advertising it, you must include a few specifics, mandated by both the mobile phone carriers and the Mobile Marketing Association’s U.S. Consumer Best Practices.

  1. Describe the program: you are required to state specifically what the subscriber is opting in to (i.e. To receive coupons and specials)
  2. “Msg&Data rates may apply”. This exact phrase is required below the call to action within the advertisement. It is inserted automatically by ProTexting for you.
  3. Provide a resource for help: such as a website or phone number, which can be replaced with “T&C, text HELP”
  4. Opt-Out instructions: OPT-out, Text STOP
  5. Frequency of SMS campaign: make it clear to the subscriber how many text messages you will be sending per month.

It is very important to follow all these rules of compliance with the SMS campaigns. Also, it is crucial that the campaigns are interesting enough to keep the subscribers from Opting-out.

An example that shows the importance of subscriber OPT-IN compliance is the class action suit Papa John’s faced over text messages allegedly sent to 500,000 customers that had not opted in to receive promotional text messages. Under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, it is illegal to send out text messages to customers who have not opted in to receive such communication. The Papa John’s lawsuit has the potential to be the largest damages awards recovered under Telephone Consumer Protection Act.(

Mistakes like this during an SMS campaign could be very costly, so you need to make sure that you follow all the rules for a successful one.

Reflecting on SXSW – 2013

As last year, ProTexting participated in this year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) interactive. I wanted to take some time and share a few great things that I saw and experienced this year at SXSW.

SXSW 2013

This year SXSW Interactive was different from the last few times that we have been there. The organizers toned down the heavy hitter bands and mega stars appearances, the whole conference felt calmer and more grown up. This was all a part of a master plan to bring the focus back on disruptive innovation rather than having people searching for the hottest parties and concerts each day. Don’t get me wrong, the partying and the social activities, SXSW is famous for, were still there, but it really felt like the focus had shifted back to it’s main purpose  – a glance at the future of technology, entrepreneurial spirit, and social improvements.

Key areas of interest:

Big Ideas and Major Technology Advancements
Elon Musk spoke about going to Mars and coming back on the same space rocket. He had a good point; space travel is the only form of transportation that requires a new ship each time a mission is launched. Imagine if you had to get a new car each time you had to drive somewhere. Elon also spoke about the electric car being the future of ground transportation.

More hardware instead of virtual systems
3D printing, 3D cameras, Google Glasses and other hardware driven ideas were also dominating this year. There were teams on the streets of Downtown Austin carrying 3-D printers and materializing 3-D figures in front of everyone. Google did an impressive demonstration of its Google Glasses technology as well.

Crowdfunding may be the most disruptive innovation for the entrepreneurial world. It is not a surprise that this year SXSW was full of panels and discussion on this topic.  Access to more accessible capital opens a whole new opportunity for the creative entrepreneurial minds.

Last but not least, Shorter Badge Pickup Lines
Kudos to SXSW organizers for implementing the new quicker checkin and badge pick up. The difference was unbelievable. It took me 4 hours to get my badge last year. This time around I had a badge in 10 minutes. Thank you SXSW!

Because we are in the Mobile Marketing and Engagement industry, I have to mention that many of the events around the SXSW campus had an element of interactive real-time mobile crowd voting. ProTexting itself sponsored the mobile voting for the HATCH Startup Competition. More on how we did it, and what challenges we faced and solved will come in our next blog.

Until then, share your own experiences from SXSW. Let us know if you agree with what we felt were the main differences this year.

Taking Mobile Marketing to the next level – Location Based Services

This week I will be talking about Location-Based marketing as it is becoming a big trend in the marketing world.

What is Location-Based marketing?
It is delivering the right message to the right person at the right place and time!
Location-based marketing is pushing targeted content based on mobile location and time-of-day to maximize call-to-action or response.
Examples of different industries that will benefit from Location-Based Mobile marketing are:
How it works?


  1. Subscribers opt-in to receive location-based messages.
  2. You create GEO-Fences
  3. Deliver location aware messages to only the people within the pre-defined geo-fences (the right time and the right place): sending your message to anyone in the geo-fence at the scheduled time

Why location-based marketing/services?

Benefits to marketers:
  1.  Low cost of entry (no need for APP development)
  2. 100% reach – no GPS chip or smart phone needed
  3. No download or user action dependencies – Opt-in users always receives content when phone is “on”.
  4. Improved response – Reach your clients with only relevant offers and information
  5. Higher marketing ROI with better SMS/MMS geo-targeting
  6. Maintain the responsiveness and integrity of your mobile community
  7. Rich analytics on “when” and “where”
 Benefits to the subscribers
  1. Subscribers receive only relevant messages
  2. Great “NOW” deals and alerts that subscribers can take advantage of at the right time and the right place
  3. No need for an app download
  4. No extra charges to recipients
  5. No phone battery drainage due to app running in background for obtaining location information
  6. No need to own a smart phone in order to receive special deals and alerts
  7. Ability to opt-out and stop messages at any time
Types of location: Carrier-based vs. App-based
App-based location:
  1. App-based location can address only 17% of US mobile subscribers
  2. Actual reach is much smaller since only 1-3% of users will download a specific app
 Network-based location:
  1. Network-based location addresses near 100% of the US mobile subscribers
  2. Feature Phones and Smart Phones
  3. GPS-enabled and non-GPS
Ideas on the types of location campaigns you can run:
  1. Delivery of SMS/MMS based on real-time location lookupSchedule multiple location ping times for the same campaign for multiple GEO fences
    1. Set-up Location and Geo Fence
    2. Set-up campaign and Choose contacts to locate
    3. Finalizing the LBS Campaign/Setup Location Times
  2. Delivery of Different Auto-Replies to users who are signing up based on a real time location lookup
  3. Real-Time location Lookup upon signup (save PRIMARY location for later geo re-targeting)
Obtain real-time location HEATMAPS of your demographic


Mobile marketing is powerful!
SMS/MMS plus Location is
  1. More targeted
  2. More impactful
  3. More actionable
  4. More cost-efficient


Mobile Marketing as a service tool for Education

This article is the last of the series of three blog articles:

1. Healthcare industry and Mobile Marketing
2. Auto Industry and mobile marketing
3. Education and mobile marketing

So what is the benefit of group text messaging within the education industry? Well, the answer is quite simple. Nowadays, students use their mobile phones more than they use their computers, and they carry them all the time. The same is actually true for everyone of us. So, it would be much easier and simpler to reach students, parents and faculty through the use of group text messaging, rather than going the traditional route of emails that might be ignored or read late.

Here are few examples on uses of Text Messaging for Education:

1. Text to learn when registration opens and where to go to register
2. Text to view the daily homework assignments
3. Text TESTS to 63566 to see when the next test is coming up

Since 96% of all text messages are read within minutes of receipt, and 98% of the US population owns a mobile phone, text message proves to be the most effective way to communicate with students and faculty. Other uses of Group Texting:

1. Appointment reminders
2. Emergency alerts
3. Weather related cancelations and news
4. Invitations to school events and RSVPs
5. Faculty meeting communication

Parents and students can text back the teacher, school or administrator, and this way stay engaged with constant interaction when needed. For example, when a teacher or administrator sends out a group text message with a reminder about the upcoming event, he or she may ask students and parents to respond back so they can RSVP, with a short answer of YES, NO, or MAYBE.

Text DANCE2013 to 63566 to RSVP for the school dance and to get reminders about upcoming events. In conclusion Group text messaging may be the right way for you to engage students, parents, and faculty. Try it out for yourself.

As always, thanks for reading and please stay tuned for next week’s blog. Please feel free to share your stories in regard to group text messaging for education. Thanks.