What’s Prison Food Like? Break These Text Marketing Laws and You’ll Find Out

What’s Prison Food Like? Break These Text Marketing Laws and You’ll Find Out

text message compliance

Even though text marketing compliance isn’t the most thrilling topic to learn about, understanding how to stay on the right side of the law when sending mass text messages is crucial to the longevity of your marketing efforts. Growing your list, increasing sales, and strengthening customer relationships should always be your main text marketing goals but, in order to reap all these awesome benefits, you have to do things the right way. No black hat text marketing practices here, we want to make sure you’re completely in line with current text marketing laws.

Now’s the time to review these illegal practices. You might not have even been aware that some of the ways you are operating your text marketing campaigns are actually illegal. That’s why you should do a quick audit of your processes. If you’re using any of them as part of your texting strategy you should find alternatives. Here are some commonly used black hat text marketing practices and what you can do instead.

Text marketing practices that will get you in legal trouble

You probably won’t get jail time for these, but you could face a lawsuits and fines that significantly handicap your business goals. While some business texting services will turn a blind eye to these tactics, the most reputable ones are serious about making sure your text message marketing campaign is a win-win for both you and your subscribers. In the end, these rules are in place to ensure that and, even if they weren’t legal rules, they’d probably prove to be great best practices.

1. You add phone numbers to your text marketing list without expressed permission

You need to get consent to add numbers to your text marketing list. Failing to do so is not only is this bad practice, it’s completely illegal. You absolutely cannot add phone numbers to your list without expressed written or verbal permission. Although verbal permission does apply, we always recommend you get something in writing, just in case you have to prove permission at a later date.

This applies even if you’re using an old list of text subscribers that your company might have collected before you got there, or that you collected years ago before you knew you needed to have permission. Keep in mind that you also can’t add numbers from people in your company’s database who use your services or have purchased from you but who haven’t specifically said they want text marketing messages from you.

What to do instead: There are four ways you can get subscribers to opt in to your text list. You can create paper records of them opting in, which might be useful if you’re working an event or collecting subscribers on the go. Alternatively, you can have subscribers opt-in via a form on your website. SlickText makes it easy to create a form through our business texting platform and embed it directly into your website. You can also have users text-to-join manually or click and opt-in link which automatically populates all the text-to-join information in their cellphone

2. You leave out a compliance statement in your opening auto reply

The auto reply that lets people know they’re joining your text list has to contain specific information about what they can expect when you send them texts. This is an absolute necessity in order to properly adhere to the guidelines the CTIA has set forth when it comes to upholding the laws of the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act. compliance statement in your opt in auto reply.

What to do instead: Make sure you have an auto-reply that goes over all the necessary compliance details. If you’re using SlickText, this auto-reply is generated for you and all you need to do is customize it. This statement could read something such as, “Receive up to 4 MSGS a month, MSG and data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel.”

3. You don’t include opt out directions in your initial auto reply 

No one wants to feel trapped into receiving marketing messages from you, even if they really like you at the moment. Have you ever tried to unsubscribe to email newsletters and not been able to figure out how? That how people will if you don’t give them specific instructions on how they can stop receiving text messages from you. Maybe they’ll never want to stop, but what’s true is that most people definitely at least want to know how to stop if they need to.

What to do instead: You must always give your subscribers directions on how to unsubscribe from your list. If you trap them into opting in, or staying on your text marketing list, you are breaking text marketing law. You don’t have to be elaborate. Simply writing something such as, “Text STOP to cancel,” is enough.

4. You don’t honor your stated frequency

When a subscriber first opts in to your list, they will receive a simple compliance statement detailing how many messages they can expect to receive. If you break this frequency, even by one message, you break their trust. On top of that, this bad habit could result in some serious legal trouble. If you consistently go over the stated frequency, this could result in spam complaints and the possible suspension of your short code.

Consumer research shows that customers react poorly if they suspect you have spammy marketing practices, so use your best judgement when it comes to how often you’re sending out text messages. Surveys show customers want brands to contact them in ways that are appropriate and helpful. Try to spend less time advertising to your customers and more time thinking of simple but powerful ways you can truly help them through your mass texting campaigns.

What to do instead: Plan out your promotions at least one month in advance so you already know what texts you’ll send and when. Make a commitment internally to stick to this plan knowing that if you don’t you could see a dramatic uptick in opt-outs and eventually even spam complaints or more serious legal issues.

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