Can You Send Anyone a Text Message?
You’re anxious to get started using text messaging. After all, you’ve read how easy, effective and inexpensive it can be. Now you can just upload your email list and start sending away SMS text messages, right?
You probably could, but you really shouldn’t.
SMS messages are classified as email communications in the Privacy and Electronics Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. That means text messaging is subject to the same opt in requirements as email. In other words, you can only send to subscribers who have given you their consent to receive the messages.
In some cases this may mean your business can send a text message to a customer without explicit permission if it relates to a specific enquiry they made. This is called a “soft opt in”. This can be perfectly legal in the strictest sense. But it may not make the best business sense.
The problem with soft opt ins is you don’t know if the customer wants to receive texts. Maybe they don’t like texting or reserve texting for just family and emergencies. Perhaps they are old fashioned and actually prefer a phone call instead.
Also you don’t know if the recipient wants to send text messages in reply. In many cases when someone responds to your text message they, not you, will be paying for the message. Some mobile users may not realise this and be quite angry at you for costing them money.
So how do you get started texting your customers? Here are a few options:
- Contact your list via email. Send them a quick note letting them know you’ve begun using text messaging. Inform them how to opt in to receive your texts. Make sure the opt in method is clear and easy for them to do.
- Send a single text message asking if they’d like to opt in to future text messages from you. Provide them a shortcode or number to reply to in order to opt in. Make sure you tell them they won’t get any more messages if they don’t reply. Always make it clear who is paying for the messages if they reply.
- If the customer has a profile on your website, ask them to provide their mobile number and check a box accepting text messages. If they ever want to stop the messages they can return to your website and uncheck the box. Make sure the process is as simple and clear as possible.
Not only will asking permission first ensure you’re in compliance with the law, it will garner trust from your customers. Whether they opt in to receive your messages or not, the good will your process created can only help your business in the future.
When conducting an SMS marketing campaign, there are a number of compliance regulations you should be aware of, to ensure that your communications are as effective as possible, without being potentially damaging to your campaign or your business. If you're marketing to a UK market, the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) gives clear guidelines on what falls within the rules. Here we've highlighted some key tips to ensure your next campaign is compliant, based on common questions that arise.
In last week’s blog I covered how the Trump campaign sent unsolicited SMS messages to voters. This week I’m stuck on the same topic, but from a totally different angle: what we can learn from that failure. Because honestly, their biggest issue might not be violating the law. It might be the people they have writing their SMS messages. It’s time to dissect the message that spawned the law suit, and learn what we can from it.
If you are looking to get going with SMS marketing it's worth learning a bit about the "tricks of the trade" so you avoid the common pitfalls and get off on the right foot. Read about three important marketing concepts that will maximise your success in this venture.
How hard is it to use SMS marketing? If you’ve been told it’s complicated, you heard wrong. Using SMS is simple, though there are a few things you should know. This blog shows you how simple it can be, and provides links to useful resources.
"UK B2C data for SMS marketing" - That was the search result headline I found while researching online. Interesting I thought. It must be relating to SMS marketing statistics for B2C (business to consumer) sales. Since I was searching for some updated information and studies about SMS I decided to click and read.
One of the most interesting use cases for SMS messaging is the financial industry. Just a couple weeks ago I wrote a blog on 7 ways the financial industry can use SMS messaging to communicate with customers. In this blog I'll expand on the topic from a different perspective: personalisation.
As an entrepreneur, it is notoriously difficult to get your message out there. It's even harder to get seen and heard in a meaningful way that doesn't offend people. Email marketing has been the darling of entrepreneurs for years, but it's time for something new. Something that supersedes the email and circumvents the spam folder.
SMS spam is a problem worldwide. But in the UK, we’re less likely to get it than many other countries. Find out why that is, see some examples, and how you can do your part to keep your SMS messages free of spam.