SMS Marketing Best Practices for Web Opt-Ins

SMS Marketing Best Practices for Web Opt-Ins
One of the fastest ways to grow your SMS marketing list is to offer a method for customers to sign up online. That being said, it’s important for your business to follow best practices when it comes to collecting web opt-ins for your SMS marketing campaign. This blog post will highlight the most important aspects of what you need to do to remain compliant on your web opt-in forms.

 

TCPA vs CTIA

One of the most important things to understand when looking at best practices for SMS marketing is the difference between the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the CTIA. The TCPA is a federal law in the United States that protects consumers from receiving unwanted text messages. The CTIA is a trade organization for U.S. based wireless carriers (Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, etc). The CTIA creates guidelines on behalf of the wireless carriers for SMS marketers.

Unlike with the TCPA, it is not possible for consumers to sue brands when they violate the CTIA guidelines. Examples of CTIA guidelines are when you’re told to state that “message and data rates may apply”, “text HELP for help”, or “text STOP to unsubscribe”. That being said, violating the CTIA guidelines can still get brands in trouble. The CTIA can make the decision to shut down or suspend an SMS marketing campaign for a violation of their rules.

For more information, check out the video below.

 

Website Requirements

The Basics

The following information should always be disclosed to consumers as a best practice wherever they’re opting in to an SMS marketing campaign.

By participating, you agree to the terms & privacy policy {insert link} for recurring autodialed marketing messages from (insert business name) to the phone number you provide. No consent required to buy. Msg&data rates may apply.

Requiring a Mobile Phone Number

If your web opt-in requires that consumers give you their mobile phone number, it’s best practice that you give the consumer the option to opt-in to receive SMS marketing messages by giving them a checkbox to select to opt-in.

Pre-Checked Checkboxes

Recently some wireless carriers have put out guidance on best practices for using checkboxes to opt-in customers to receive SMS marketing messages. As of April 2020, wireless carriers require that all opt-in checkboxes must be unchecked when a consumer initially lands on the page. This means that the consumer would have to check the box to opt-in to receive SMS marketing messages from a business. More information on this topic in the video below.

If you’re only collecting a mobile phone number in your form, and it’s clear to consumers that you’re collecting it to subscribe them to your SMS marketing campaign, then you don’t need a checkbox.

 

TCPA Compliance

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) compliance is relatively simple, as the TCPA is very clear, that you can only text message people after you’ve received their express written consent. That being said, there’s a . For TCPA compliance we recommend checking out these videos, then talking to a TCPA attorney before starting any sort of SMS marketing campaign.

 

Double Opt-ins

What is a SMS Double Opt-in?

In SMS marketing, double opt-in is when a brand requires that a consumer reply “YES” via text message to confirm they want to be included in a recurring text messaging program. This request from the brand to opt-in can either be in response to a consumer text messaging an SMS keyword to a short code, or entering their mobile phone number into a web form.

While double opt-in is not a requirement of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the level of confirmation a double opt-in requires, makes it the only practical way of meeting the requirements of the law.

SMS Double Opt-in Example

Here is an example of a double opt-in SMS message that meets the best practices standards for SMS marketing.

SMS Double Opt-In Example

Required SMS Double Opt-In Language

As a best practice for SMS marketing, we recommend the following language in your SMS double opt-in message.

{insert brand name}: Reply YES to agree to terms 4 recurring autodialed mktg msgs {insert t&c link} @ this # No consent reqd2buy Msg&data rates may apply

When the consumer replies “YES” to confirm they’d like to opt-in, we recommend the following language that should be sent as a follow up SMS message.

{insert brand name}: You agreed to terms for recurring msgs at {insert t&c link}. Txt STOP 2 end, HELP 4 help. Msg&data rates may apply.

Is Double Opt-In Required for SMS Marketing?

Even though double opt-in is not strictly a requirement of the TCPA, the burden of proof to establish that a consumer provided consent be a part of a brand’s recurring messaging program lies with the brand. This means that it’s the brand’s responsibility to prove that by text messaging a short code, or entering a mobile phone number into a website form, the consumer was aware that they were consenting to be a part of the brand’s recurring text messaging program.

In a perfect world, the act of a consumer text messaging a short code, or entering a mobile phone number into a website form would be good enough. Unfortunately, TCPA plaintiffs can claim that they were not aware that they were opting-in to a recurring text message program when they text messaged a short code, or entered a mobile phone number into a website form. TCPA plaintiffs can make this claim even if the brand thought they were clearly and conspicuously disclosing this information before consumers took either of those actions.

A double opt-in creates a digital text messaging trail of a consumer’s consent to opt-in to receive a brand’s recurring text messages, ensuring that the brand can prove the consumer knowingly opted-in, if they ever needed to.

 

New Rules for Shopping Cart Reminders

On May 2, 2020, we were informed of a new T-Mobile Policy regarding abandoned shopping cart text messages. This new policy went into effect immediately. It’s important for all ecommerce stores that are using abandoned shopping cart text messages to update their purchase pages in order to comply with this new policy. For more information on these new rules, check out this blog post.


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