If you’ve never heard of the TCPA and CTIA, here’s a quick primer for how to follow best practices and guidelines for SMS marketing in the US.

In this article, we will discuss the concept of the TCPA, best practices, and guidelines for text messages marketing. The information contained here should not be relied upon as legal advice if you have any questions regarding any points, we recommend contacting professional.

Contents

What is the TCPA, and why should I care?
What is the CTIA, and why should I care?
SMS Compliance Guidelines

What is the TCPA, and why should I care?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (or TCPA) was passed by Congress in 1991. It’s designed to safeguard consumer privacy by restricting telemarketing communications such as voice calls, SMS texts, and fax.

The violation of this policy may result in a penalty of $500 for each text message you send. And it may get even worse. If the court finds that you broke this policy intentionally, it may triple the penalty up to $1,500 per text message. It sounds like a lot of damage can be brought by simple negligence of the TCPA policies. So keep reading this article to find out how you can make your business completely TCPA compliant! 

What is the CTIA, and why should I care?

The CTIA, or Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, represents the U.S. wireless communication organizations, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and many more. CTIA's principal goal is to encourage market best practices, including those of suppliers and carriers.

Unlike TCPA, CTIA is not federal law. Therefore, you can't be sued for the violation, but the effect may be completely unpredictable, it may even result in your SMS program shut down by one or more carriers.


SMS Compliance Guidelines

Even though we still recommend to consult with the attorney, some of the most general rules are enclosed below:

  • Acquire an explicit consent from the customer to receive your marketing texts. It is not enough for the customers to be subscribed to your email marketing and provide their phone number, they need to subscribe to the SMS channel too. Find more information in the SMS opt-in collection guidance.
  • Clearly explain what type of messages your customers opt-in to. If they opt-in to receive an Order Confirmation message, that's the only message you can send. You should clearly state that your customers opt-in for weekly updates or any other marketing materials.
  • Provide an automated way for them to opt-out from your message by replying with a STOP keyword.
  • Send engaging content. Add some incentives, offer the discount, or notify about the upcoming sale. Do not include materials with illegal actions or drugs, abuse, adult content such as nudity, profanity, or hate speech.
  • Consider your customers' time zone. Send your messages with the appropriate timing, at least within 9 am and 9 pm window. 
  • Make sure you don't overwhelm your customers with the SMS messages sending. Do not send your Campaigns too often and adjust your automation workflows settings.


Important! Not all of the customers will reply to your message with the STOP keyword when they want to opt-out of your messages. No matter what channel they use to contact you, their request should be processed asap.

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