SMS Opt-In Rules and Policies: How to Stay Compliant
Obtaining permission from your subscribers to send them SMS messages is crucial to maintaining a legal and compliant text messaging program. SMS opt-in rules protect consumers from unwanted spam text messages and give them control over the SMS messages they receive.
As a best practice, you should always obtain explicit permission (opt-in) from your subscribers before sending them SMS messages. There are two ways to do this:
1. Single Opt-In: Subscribers can text a keyword to your short code to sign up for SMS messages.
2. Double Opt-In: Subscribers first text a keyword to your short code to sign up for SMS messages, and then they must confirm their subscription by replying to a confirmation message.
In addition to obtaining explicit permission from your subscribers, there are a few other SMS opt-in best practices you should follow to ensure a legal and compliant text messaging program:
1. Include an Opt-Out Option:
Every SMS message you send must include a way for subscribers to opt out of receiving future messages. Typically, this is done by including the keyword “STOP” in the message. This provides customers with an easy way to opt out if they no longer wish to receive SMS messages from you.
2. Honor Opt-Out Requests Quickly:
Once a subscriber opts out of receiving SMS messages, you must stop sending them messages within a reasonable time frame. By honoring their request, you will not only maintain a legal and compliant text messaging program, but you will also build trust with your subscribers.
3. Check the “Do-Not-Call Lists” Regularly:
You should check the National Do-Not-Call Registry and the state-specific do-not-call lists regularly to ensure that you are not sending SMS messages to numbers that have been registered. Sending text messages to numbers on the do-not-call list is a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and can result in hefty fines.
4. Telemarketer Registration:
If you plan on sending SMS messages for marketing or sales purposes, you must register with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a telemarketer. This includes filling out the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) form and paying the associated fees.
5. Disclose Your Identity:
All SMS messages you send must include your company name or the sender name associated with your short code. This helps subscribers identify who the message is from and can prevent your messages from being considered spam.
With strict adherence to these SMS opt-in best practices, you can ensure a legal and compliant text messaging program that builds trust with your subscribers.