Recurring SMS Marketing Programs

SMS Marketing Compliance Guide

Are you ready to run a recurring SMS marketing program? Awesome! Before you get started though, let's make sure you're equipped with all the compliance details. Then, once you take flight, you'll be worry free. Detailed below are all the CTIA guidelines that apply to recurring SMS marketing programs. Coupled with our own recommendations, this advice is necessary for SMS marketing success.

Opt In Messaging Requirements

Customers can opt into a recurring SMS marketing program using one of two sign up methods. They can use their mobile phone to text into a designated shortcode. This is the most common opt in method, and rightfully so, is called mobile opt in. On several occasions, interested customers might opt in via website widget, which is then called web opt in.

Mobile Opt Ins

When a mobile subscriber sends a message to a designated short code, intending to opt in to your SMS marketing list, you must send back an immediate reply. In this automated reply, you need to include the following information.

  • Business / Program Name
  • STOP Instructions
  • HELP Instructions
  • Frequency
  • Message and Data Rates May Apply
  • Link to Terms & Privacy Policy

Here is an example of a compliant auto reply.

Stu's Sandwiches Mobile Rewards Program: Thanks for joining! Show this text for a free bag of chips.

Text STOP to end. Text HELP for help. 4 msgs/month. Msg & data rates may apply. Terms & Privacy @ http://bit.ly/1OqQwsk

Web Opt Ins

When it comes to web opt in, the CTIA guidelines get a bit more complicated, but that's exactly why we created this helpful guide.

Now, put yourself on the subscribing end of this situation. You visit your favorite online retailer, and up pops a website widget encouraging you to sign up for their text marketing rewards list. If you step back and think about this, it's fair to say that anyone can enter YOUR mobile number into this widget. If your Uncle Ned wants to give you a hard time, he could enter your number into a Victoria's Secret website widget.

For this reason alone, the CTIA requires all web opt ins to double confirm or "double opt in". This means they enter their mobile number into the online widget, and then receive a message on their mobile device asking them to confirm their subscription. This double opt in message requires the cellular device owner to reply Y or YES, as a way of confirming their enrollment into the designated SMS marketing program.

If the mobile phone owner fails to reply to this automated message, they will never be added to the list. This prevents any black hat marketing managers from adding phone numbers to their list without expressed permission.

In your double opt in message, you also need to include the following information.

  • Business / Program Name
  • Frequency
  • Message and Data Rates May Apply

Check out this simple example.

Stu's Sandwiches Mobile Rewards Program: Reply Y to join. 4 msgs/month. Msg & data rates may apply.

When a mobile subscriber replies Y or YES to the text message above, you must send back a text message, with the following information.

  • Business / Program Name
  • STOP Instructions
  • HELP Instructions
  • Link to Terms & Privacy Policy

HELP/STOP Requirements

The CTIA requires HELP and STOP instruction. They have strict guidelines about what information you need to initially provide, as well as the type of messages to send back to subscribers. The HELP and STOP functions allow your subscribers to ask for assistance or simply unsubscribe from your SMS marketing list. Both of these options are required.

HELP Messages

When an SMS marketing subscriber responds to any of your campaigns with the word HELP, you must include the following information in your reply.

  • Business / Program Name
  • STOP Instructions
  • Frequency
  • Message and Data Rates May Apply

Keeping all this in mind, here's what a HELP reply might look like.

Stu's Sandwiches Mobile Rewards Program: Text STOP to end. 4 msgs/month. Msg & data rates may apply. For more help, call 1-800-688-6290.

STOP Messages

When a mobile subscriber responds to any of your messages with the words; STOP, END, CANCEL, UNSUBSCRIBE, or QUIT, you must remove them from your SMS marketing list, and send a reply that includes the following information.

  • Business / Program Name
  • Confirmation of removal

Check out this STOP reply example message.

Stu's Sandwiches Mobile Rewards Club: You've opted out of our exclusive list, and will not be receiving any messages in the future.

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