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.
Any UK business that collects, stores and uses other people’s personal data for purposes such as marketing and selling is subject to the rules of the Data Protection Act, and those using SMS marketing are no exception. Having a basic understanding of the DPA legislation and its main requirements is useful to maintain best practice in direct marketing such as SMS marketing and also helps to uphold your hard won customer trust - as well as avoid the potentially costly consequences of falling foul of the law. Read this article to learn how to avoid the simple pitfalls and get your SMS marketing campaign off to the right start.
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.
As with anything in business, there are rules and regulations that need to be followed. Some of the key ones are laid out in the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR) - and while this can seem like a daunting document at first, it doesn't need to be...
One of the major metrics in SMS marketing is how many people opt in to receive your messages. But there’s a flip side to that metric: how many people opt out. In the ideal world, no one would ever leave your list and instead continue to make purchases or support your organisation for as long as you decide to message them.
Enterprises are large companies. Sometimes that means they think they should be able to do everything themselves. But when it comes to SMS messaging, building an in-house gateway is more difficult than you might think. Read why finding a good SMS service provider is a better option.
Late last month reports surfaced that the Trump US presidential campaign had sent unsolicited SMS messages to voters in the Chicago area. One man, Joshua Thorne, and his lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the Trump Campaign violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA, the US equivalent of the PECR).
SMS Marketing, also known as test message marketing, is one of today's most powerful and cost efficient marketing tools when used correctly and offers endless opportunities with a little creativity added to the mix. However, whether careless or intentional, some mistakes can be harmful to your brand and reputation - as well as leaving you in legal trouble in certain circumstances. Luckily, this is extremely rare and it is easy to stay safe and make sure your SMS Marketing is an all round success. In this article, we look at come examples of how not to do things and offer our advice for ensuring your campaigns are effective and profitable.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued seven monetary penalties against companies this year. We’ve read through them all – so you don’t have to – and discovered two lessons every company should learn about SMS marketing if they want to be successful.