In the video above, Tatango CEO Derek Johnson shares the requirements that brands need to meet in order to text message their customers. Prefer to read instead? No problem, please see the post below. You can also find answers to all of your SMS marketing questions in our Q&A video library; click here to browse.
Can I Text Message My Customers?
Yes, brands that work with an SMS software provider to obtain consent and a proper opt-in process are definitely able to text message their customers. But, the answer is not so simple for those who have an existing database that they collected outside of an SMS software provider. Usually, brands that collect customer phone numbers outside of an SMS software provider do not have proper documentation proving that each customer has given legal consent to received auto-dialed text messages from the brand. So, in that instance, the answer would be no.
What Are the Legal Requirements for Brands to Text Customers?
There are several legal requirements that need to be met in order for a brand to text message their customers. These requirements are based on federal law, under the FCC. The FCC has established the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which allows consumers to sue brands that are violating legal guidelines with their text message marketing practices.
When a consumer provides their phone number to a brand, they have to opt-in by agreeing to receive auto-dialed marketing messages. This has to be clearly disclosed to the consumer. It is important to note that if a consumer provides their phone number when making a purchase, but there was no agreement to receive auto-dialed marketing messages, the brand is not legally able to text message that consumer.
Without consent to receive auto-dialed marketing messages and proper opt-in by your customers, you are not even legally allowed to text your consumers and ask for their consent. Doing so would be a violation and leave your company vulnerable to being sued under the TCPA.
What is the Best Way to Build a Phone Number Database?
The best practice and safest way to build your phone number database is to use an SMS software provider, like Tatango. An SMS software provider will ensure that you are obtaining consent and using the right disclosures in your marketing efforts. Oftentimes when brands have a list that they have been building with their own methods, SMS software companies will not use those numbers without a record of proper consent.
Another issue that can occur, although this is not a law but definitely a best practice for collecting phone numbers and why you should use a software provider, is the verification of phone numbers. For example, if a concert attendee fills out a paper card at an event, even if they give proper consent, outside of SMS software, the venue can not verify that it, in fact, belongs to that individual. This is especially true for numbers that have been collected some time ago outside of an SMS software system.
SMS software providers like Tatango are the safest and best way to go when starting an SMS marketing journey. Partnering with an expert like Tatango will ensure that the entire process is simple and quick, this includes everything from getting a short code to growing your subscriber list.
If you’d like to learn more about Tatango and what you can do with our software, please click here.