What you need to know about government regulation of text message marketing

Text message marketing is a great way to extend your business beyond its physical location. Either by itself or incorporated into a larger strategy, SMS messages help increase customer engagement and revenue.

Before you begin a SMS marketing campaign, there are things every company should know in order to comply with government regulations and ensure its success. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the main oversight body within the federal government for all manner of communications, including text messages. When it comes to text message marketing, there are two laws that dictate what companies can and can't do in their campaigns: the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CANSPAM). The situation is similar in Canada. There, the oversight body of the government is the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) regulate marketing and other messaging, including SMS.

All of these laws boil down to is that you can only market to people if you have their permission, you must provide a way to opt-out of messages and messages must be identified as an advertisement. In addition, you must disclose message frequency and potential carrier costs.

Getting written consent doesn't necessarily mean having a customer fill out a form. There are several ways to foster opt-ins, like adding a form to your website or having them initiate a text and then confirming. This is when you should provide all the disclaimers, like frequency rate. 

Opting out should be simple and clearly defined ahead of time. Having an efficient opt-out strategy often increases opt-ins, as it can instill confidence in customers. Opt-outs should happen immediately and, if there are technical limitations preventing that, customers should be notified ahead of time how long it takes to opt out.

Implementing a text message marketing strategy doesn't have to be complicated. Swift SMS Gateway offers the SMS API and gateway needed to launch an effective text message campaign across North America.