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What is Required in SMS Marketing Call to Actions?



I’m Derek Johnson with tatango.com and I’m here to answer the question, “What is required in a text message marketing call to action?”

So when I talk about required, this is required by the CTIA and the wireless carriers. They’re essentially the ones that put the guidelines out there as to what you can, and cannot, do with regard to text message marketing. So the CTIA and the wireless carriers have come up with guidelines for advertising your text message marketing campaign. They say there are a few things that, when you advertise your text message marketing campaign, usually, it’s whenever you’re advertising your short code or encouraging people to opt in, and again, this is for recurring text message campaign, and there’s a few things that they want to have present in the ad. If they’re not present, you could be subject to a short code audit, which if you go through that and it fails, you could have your short code suspended. So it’s very important to make sure that, in your advertisements, you have exactly what both the CTIA and the wireless carriers want. So what are these few things?

The first thing is a product description. So this would be to make it very clear as to what the consumer is opting in for. Is it weather alerts? Is this for a mobile VIP program or weekly offers? You just have to be clear as to the description of the campaign.

The second one is a service delivery frequency. So, essentially, this is telling consumers that by opting in, they’re gonna receive recurring text messages. This is a problem in our industry, because a lot of people will, maybe, mislead consumers by not saying that they’re opting in for recurring text messages. But then when they opt in, they’re opted into a recurring text message campaign. The carriers and the CTIA wanna make it very clear to consumers that if they’re going to opt into a recurring text messaging campaign, they’re made aware of that in the advertisement before they actually engage with the campaign. So that’s the second part that the CTIA requires.

The third is a complete terms and conditions link. So that would require you, in the advertisement, to put a link to your mobile terms and conditions. And one of our other videos will include what actually needs to be included in that mobile terms and conditions. But for now, all you need to know is when you’re advertising your text message marketing campaign, you have to have a link that says, “Terms and Conditions.” And then put the link in there that allows the consumer to go and see the terms and conditions for the mobile messaging program.

Another one is a link to the privacy policy of the mobile messaging campaign. There are a few different ways you can do this. One is, you can say, “Terms and conditions link, Privacy policy link.” Or, what I think the most popular way to do it is to say, “Terms and conditions/Privacy policy” and then just have one link which, at that one link on the website, includes both the terms and conditions and the privacy policy. Again, you don’t wanna make this too confusing for consumers, so you don’t wanna have all these different links and everything. So I usually just say combine your mobile terms and conditions and your privacy policy in the one page, one webpage, and then link to it in the call to action, by saying something along the lines of, “Terms and conditions may apply/Privacy policy,” and then put the link. So that’s another thing that is required by the CTIA and the wireless carriers.

The last one here is that message and data rates may apply. You still have to put “Message and data rates may apply” in that disclosure. And again, just so we’re all clear, this is for if you’re advertising and print. If you’re advertising in a website in, let’s say, a television commercial, these disclosures that the CTIA and the wireless carriers are telling you, need to be in the actual call to action. So if you’re displaying the short code and saying, “Hey, opt in here,” text this to the short code. Somewhere on that page, it has to be readable, but it doesn’t have to be the biggest thing ever. It has to say all these different things. So if you look in most print advertising that’s done correctly, you’ll see the big call to action, you know, colors and, you know, people and phones, and a big call to action text. And at the very bottom, kind of like, you know, terms and conditions usually are, you’ll see all the little stuff at the bottom here.

So hopefully, that answers the question as to what needs to be included, or what is required, when you are advertising a text message call to action.

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