Mobile Marketing via SMS 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:
- Make it easy to remember
- Keep it short
- Avoid the use of special characters
- 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.
- Describe the program: you are required to state specifically what the subscriber is opting in to (i.e. To receive coupons and specials)
- “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.
- Provide a resource for help: such as a website or phone number, which can be replaced with “T&C, text HELP”
- Opt-Out instructions: OPT-out, Text STOP
- 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.(http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/legal-privacy/14234.html)
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.