Compliance

Compliance Rules and Best Practices

Text Message Marketing Compliance

Introduction

Text message marketing is a great way to connect with your target audience and promote your brand. We believe it is the best, and most cost-effective marketing tool for connecting with customers!

There are some specific compliance rules and best practices that should be considered in order to help ensure you avoid any regulatory attention. These are some best practices to consider for maintaining text message compliance.

What Regulations Are There?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires that customers must actively volunteer to receive your messages. If you text people who have not actively given their permission to do so, it is considered spam. In this way, texting is a form of permission-based marketing, and means that consumers should only receive your messages if they have provided their explicit written consent. Consumers can also decline, or opt-out from receiving your messages and you must comply.

How to Get Their Permission

Attaining subscribers can happen in several ways. Keyword campaigning is one way to gain consent. This is when you promote a keyword, let's say the word "SIGNUP", and people text that keyword in to your textline number. They are giving their consent to receive text messages from you. You can announce your keyword(s) on marketing materials, billboards, and other advertising mediums to encourage people to subscribe to your messages.

Other ways to gain consent are; through email communication, through online signup forms, and even physical signup forms. It's a good practice to maintain these consent requests in whichever form you receive them in.

The Double Opt-In

This is a two-part method for making sure the consumer wants text messages from you. Initial consent is given through one of the ways described above, and then a second request for consent is sent confirming and clarifying what they are signing up for. Typically, the double opt-in is used when the initial request is made through a non-text format.

How Do Consumers Opt Out?

At any point, a subscriber may text the word STOP, QUIT, END, or UNSUBSCRIBE in response to a text message, and that number will be opted out and will not be sent any further messages. This is a CTIA best practice and a regulatory requirement. With Connections this is all handled for you and does not require any additional setup or response work on your part. The number will automatically be blocked from receiving any future messages unless the recipient conveys their consent again, through any of your consent request formats.

Sending Financial Services Offers

Financial services messages cannot be sent on a shared short code due to carrier policies. An exception to this is if you’re working for a financial institution and are sending information to existing customers such as payment reminders, low-balance notifications, or information about an existing service.

The following categories are considered financial offers:
AUTO LOANS
DEBT CONSOLIDATION AND REDUCTION
CREDIT REPAIR PROGRAMS
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
LOAN ORIGINATION AND MATCHING
MORTGAGE LOANS
PAYDAY LOANS
SHORT-TERM LOANS
STUDENT LOANS
TAX RELIEF PROGRAMS
WORK FROM HOME PROGRAMS

Overall Best Practices

Clear communication with your audience is critical. Managing their expectations can reduce your opt-out rates significantly. Be sure to explain the types of messages they may receive, the frequency, and the specific days they will receive them (if you follow a schedule). This is the best way to maintain your subscribers consent. Give them ways to learn more and also how they can opt-out of your campaigns.

A customer who provides you with their phone number is not giving you consent to contact them via text. They have to understand why you are collecting their contact information and then agree to receive text messages from you. If not, you will be non-compliant and potentially susceptible to legal action. Written consent is important.

Collecting phone numbers offline or through an online form may include a checkbox or a yes/no option for consumers to expressly give their permission to receive texts from you. These forms must expressly state that the consumer is agreeing to receive text messages, and that the permission they are giving is not based on a condition of their purchase or any promotion. This is a TCPA requirement.

An example of a CTIA compliant web opt-in message:

By checking this box you are giving consent to receive text messages. Your consent is not a condition of purchase and is completely optional. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. You will only be contacted in reference to specific specials, product surveys, information requests, warranty notifications, and other product or service related items. Your privacy will be protected and your information will not be shared. Text STOP to (your textline number) at any time to opt-out. Text HELP to (your textline number) or call us for more information.

Stay Up To Date

Keep your subscribers up to date on any changes to your policies via text. You may ask that they text you back their continued consent with a simple "Yes" or "No" response.

Keep Your Terms and Conditions Clear

It is always a good practice to display your text message marketing terms and conditions and privacy policy in as many places as possible. Anywhere you display your keyword(s) or gather consent, you should consider displaying or linking to them.

Consumer's Forget

Sometimes it's a good idea to remind your subscribers that they signed up for your text messages. A monthly reminder text that identifies your company and mentions their consent can help illeviate any confusion that may lead to their opting out because they forgot they gave consent previously.

Conclusion

We are constantly working to help our customers remain compliant. If you have any questions about what the best practices are for building a robust text messaging relationship with your audience in the most compliant manner possible please contact us and we will gladly help you!

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