There are many generally accepted best practices for mass text messaging, but companies also have to establish their own unique program centered around their customers and industry. This means that you may not always follow every general best practice to the letter. However, no matter what type of company or organization you manage, there is one rule you must follow when it comes to mass text messaging: get permission. If you text people who have not opted into your campaign, you could open yourself up to lawsuits, penalty fees, and more. Furthermore, it also damages your reputation and can lose you customers. Here’s some helpful information about getting permission to text.
It’s the Law
You must get permission to text people or else you break the law.
The number one reason that you cannot break this golden rule of mass text messaging is simple: it’s the law. The FCC and CTIA have created very clear regulations and guidelines about commercial texting programs. If you don’t want your messages to be considered spam, you have to have explicit permission from your subscribers in writing.
The Dirty Details of Permission
The important thing to recognize with mass text messaging is that you have to have permission to contact your subscribers in the way in which you plan to do so. If you plan to send out mass marketing texts, then you have to be clear to your subscribers that that is what you plan to do. You cannot obtain permission from them to text appointment reminders and then text them marketing and promotional information. You also need to have written consent that demonstrates your subscribers are aware of the parameters of the program.
Be Open with Your Subscribers
With any text message program, it’s important to be clear about your intentions to your subscribers. When you promote your program, use language that easily imparts what they can expect. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy explanation. For example, you can simply state, “Sign up to receive special offers and discounts.” It is also important to have your terms and conditions easily accessible. When you write out your terms, be sure to include what type of messages you plan to send, whether marketing, reminders, one-off messages, or others.
It is also crucial that you state how often subscribers should expect to receive messages. If you tell your customers that you will only send 1-2 per month and then you send 11-12, then you will be in breach of contract which can result in potential lawsuits and other problems.
How to Get Permission
Send a confirmation text after people have opted in to ensure you have permission.
It is not hard to ensure you have written permission from all your subscribers. The initial opt-in keyword works as your first step. To ensure that your subscribers know what they are getting into, it is best to send a confirmation text that requires action. In this message, include a brief breakdown of your terms and conditions and a link to a longer one. When someone texts to confirm their subscription, you obtain written permission to send them future messages. If you ever change your program, it is important that you inform all your current subscribers so that you remain compliant with regulations.
Although there are many general best practices related to mass text messaging, the most important rule by which you must abide is to obtain permission from your subscribers before sending messages. It is not enough to have permission to email them or contact them through other means; you must have explicit, written permission to text them using an automated system for marketing purposes.
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