How are companies sending all those SMS messages illegally?
Last month the Information Commissioner issued enforcement notices to two companies that violated regulations by sending marketing text messages to people who had not agreed to receive them.
Help Direct UK sent SMS messages regarding people’s pension values. The text implied that by replying, people would get help in recovering money lost over the last few years. An investigation into the 659 complaints received revealed the company had sent 187,960 SMS messages over nine months covering a variety of financial topics.
The other company, Sweet Media Ltd, sent 4.5 million marketing messages over a period of 8 months. The ICO received 796 complaints before issuing the warning. The details of the messages are not mentioned in the enforcement notice, but Sweet Media is a Lead Generation company according to the Information Commissioner Office (ICO).
How can these companies send so many SMS messages without prior permission? Well, they generally buy lists of mobile numbers. Even though regulations have changed so you aren’t supposed to send email or text messages (or any “electronic communication”) to those who haven’t asked for them, there are still companies out there selling the lists. Those that buy them are either unaware of the rules, or don’t care about them.
So while it might be tempting for you to buy a list of mobile numbers to get your SMS marketing campaigns started, don’t do it.
The first good reason not to do that is you’ll be added to the list of companies receiving enforcement notices. That’s because when you send marketing texts to people who didn’t ask to receive them, they will complain to the ICO. The investigation will then result in a notice to you to stop sending text messages to people without permission. If you want to know more about the regulations, you can find them on the ICO website.
The second good reason is that it just isn’t good marketing. One of the huge benefits of SMS marketing is that you have a fairly captive, and interested, audience after they choose to opt in to your offers. Unlike email, with low open and conversion rates, SMS isn’t about having the biggest list. It’s about having people choose to receive your messages, which means they will be more interested in your offers than a bunch of random people. In the end, you send less messages, therefore spend less money, and have a higher ROI because your offers are exactly what your list members signed up to receive.
If you have questions about how to grow your list legally, just give us a call or grab us in our live chat. We’re happy to help you build a list that fits your business, and keeps you out of trouble.
Companies use contests and giveaways all the time. It turns out that doing them over SMS messaging works really well, and offers some advantages over other channels. Read our blog to see the types of results various companies achieved when using SMS giveaways.
Does the thought of cold calling fill you with dread? You might think it would be easier to use SMS messaging instead. And though it’s legal to do so in some circumstances, you might want to rethink using it that way. Read the full blog to find out why.
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.
The first thing to remember is that legally, you must give the customer the chance to both opt-in and opt-out of your SMS campaign - but the good news is people are happy to opt-in - 49% of them according to a 2014 survey. So all you need to do is stay compliant and follow some basic guidelines to grow your list.
Executed properly, SMS direct marketing is a hugely effective and successful means of building customer loyalty and improving sales. But even genuine and honest marketing companies can suffer huge damage to reputation or even break the law through simply lacking knowledge or not double-checking before releasing campaigns. Read this article to learn more about the definitions of spamming and harassment, current UK law and how to avoid simple but costly mistakes.
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.
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.
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.