Text messages are a highly effective tool that you can leverage to reach your target audience. Stats show that SMS messages have the highest open rates of all marketing channels and are usually opened within 3 minutes of being received. This means it can be an extremely valuable channel of communication for marketers. However, the disruptiveness of an SMS message also means that marketers must be very careful with the content sent to ensure that it’s valuable for end contacts, while also ensuring compliance with regulations.
Text messaging is governed by an entirely different set of requirements compared to emails. In the United States, text messaging governance is controlled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because a cell phone is classified as a radio transmitter. The governing law is the Telephone Consumer Privacy Act (TCPA) because a cell phone is a telephone. In Canada, the law governing text messages is Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).
The laws governing SMS marketing is very strict and the penalties for non-compliance are extremely heavy — more so than enforcement and penalties assessed for non-compliance to laws governing email marketing. Therefore, ensuring compliance with the regulations is critical.
Compliance with SMS marketing regulations requires express consent from your contacts. Maropost does not currently support 'Text-to-Join' capabilities, therefore you are responsible for securing express consent from the cell phone owners before you can subscribe them as a contact and send them marketing text messages.
The most common means of acquiring consent and cellphone numbers are from an online form. To ensure compliance with regulations, your online form MUST contain the following elements:
- A clear description of what the person is opting-in to receive when they provide their cell phone number
- A link to a Terms and Conditions page that explains what the SMS marketing program is all about.
The example below shows proper compliance for a web capture page for mobile numbers. Note how each of the required elements is clearly explained in the form.
Terms and Conditions
Your website’s online Terms and Conditions page must include a section that specifically addresses your text messaging program. This is the first page that wireless carriers will look at when evaluating whether or not you are compliant with their requirements. Consult with your legal team to ensure the proper verbiage. At a minimum, the T&C must mention the following:
- An outline of the maximum message frequency subscribers may receive
- A statement indicating the carriers are not liable for any delayed or undelivered messages
- A statement indicating that Message and Data rates may apply to any text/SMS communication
- Information on how a user/subscriber can opt-out (for example, “reply STOP to opt-out")
Managing SMS Campaigns
In order to activate the SMS Messaging feature, you will first need to complete a pre-screening assessment to ensure that your SMS marketing program is in compliance with the regulations.
Once the feature has been activated in your account, in the Navigation, go to CAMPAIGNS, and then click SMS Campaigns to access the feature. If you are unable to see this, please contact your Customer Success Manager to start the activation process.
The SMS Campaigns page is the starting page on which you can view and manage the previously created SMS campaigns and also create the new SMS campaigns. You can create a new campaign from scratch by clicking the Compose Your Message button (to learn more, see Creating SMS Campaigns) or duplicate it from a previously created campaign. Once a campaign is sent, you cannot make changes to it; however, you can edit or delete a campaign that is in Draft status.
To know how you can manage your contacts for sending SMS campaigns, see Managing SMS Contacts.
The following screenshot shows the SMS Campaigns page: