To avoid these issues, you should always use a double opt-in process, which consists of sending a text to the phone number that opted in and confirming that they want to receive your texts.
Keep records of consent
Keeping records of consent will ensure you remain in compliance at all times. Since the penalties for noncompliance are steep and can open your business up to a class-action lawsuit, obtaining proof is crucial. Therefore, your SMS marketing platform should keep a record of everyone who has consented to receive your texts and how they consented.
If you collect phone numbers for marketing purposes using another method, you should keep written records. For example, if you talk to your customers on the phone regularly, you should make a note of any that have agreed in person or via phone.
In those cases, it's especially crucial to use a double opt-in process to obtain written documentation of their consent.
Create compliant SMS campaigns
While consent is one of the most significant components of remaining SMS compliant, the content within your text messages can be non-compliant. Even if you obtain consent, your actual SMS campaigns must also remain in compliance to ensure customer privacy, avoid prohibited content, and ensure you're avoiding "quiet times" determined by regulatory bodies.
Content guidelines for SMS messages
There are several types of messages you can send your customers: transactional, conversational, and promotional texts.
Transactional text messages communicate important information about a customer's relationship with the business and recent actions taken. They may include things like reminders, order confirmations, and shipping notifications.
It's crucial to ensure subscribers understand that by providing you with their phone numbers, they may receive these types of texts, so you should have some language on the opt-in form or page and the double opt-in text message.
Conversational texts are messages between customers and the business. For example, customers can start conversations by texting the business, and the business can reply. This type of communication is often used for customer service. In these instances, since the customer initiates the text, they've given consent for the business to text them back.
Promotional messages are regular marketing messages that promote the brand, its products and services, and deals. They typically have a call to action (CTA) with a hyperlink that guides subscribers to the desired website page.
Promotional texts require written consent, so describing this type of messaging in your opt-in process is crucial so subscribers know what to expect.
In addition to obtaining consent for the various types of content you might send your subscribers, you should be aware of content that is prohibited under various wireless carrier guidelines. For example, you can't legally send subscribers under the age of 21 promotional text messages about alcohol. Other prohibited content includes things like sex, hate messages, firearms, tobacco, cannabis, loans, and gambling.
Frequency and timing of SMS messages
As we've mentioned, you're restricted to the times you can send SMS campaigns. Unlike emails, which you can send any time of day, the TCPA has guidelines for quiet hours. Ultimately, you can send messages between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm.
Anything before or after that is illegal, so it's crucial to determine your subscribers' time zones. If you have customers throughout the nation or world, you should consider segmenting them based on where they're located.
Opt-out options for recipients
As we've mentioned, having opt-out options is just as crucial as having consent. Your subscribers must be allowed to opt out of text messaging at any time, and you should have clear instructions for how they can do this. You should continuously provide these instructions throughout your SMS campaigns and have information about opting out on your website.
Stay up-to-date with SMS regulations
SMS compliance laws can help businesses stay compliant and ensure their customers receive their texts and have the best experiences with their brands. It's crucial to stay up to date with SMS compliance regulations to review changes to TCPA and CTIA guidelines and understand the consequences of noncompliance.
Ensure text message compliance with Mailchimp. Create opt-in forms, terms and conditions, privacy policies, and more with our website and form builders. Then use our text messaging options to communicate with your customers.