In this guide, we'll walk you through how to send effective SMS messages while staying on the right side of the law.
Learn about SHAFT guidelines, obtaining consent, respecting quiet hours, and more. By the end, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to run successful SMS campaigns that engage customers and build trust.
Complying with TCPA Regulations and SHAFT Guidelines
To ensure a successful SMS marketing campaign in the US market, it's vital to adhere to regulations and guidelines set by industry authorities like the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA). Below you will find the steps you need to follow.
The CTIA has established clear guidelines known as SHAFT, representing prohibited content: Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco. It's imperative to avoid including any such content in your SMS messages to maintain compliance. By adhering to these guidelines, you avoid legal issues and foster positive relationships with your recipients.
Toll-free Number Verification
Starting from April 1, 2023, Omnisend users who wish to send SMS messages to the US market must have their phone numbers verified using a Toll-free number verification process.
This verification helps ensure compliance with industry regulations and reduces the risk of message filtering on Toll-Free traffic to US networks. The verification process has specific limits for restricted and pending toll-free numbers, with daily, weekly, and monthly message limits. Verified toll-free messaging is essential for sending messages to the US market and requires adherence to TCPA guidelines.
The setup process involves generating a phone number, taking a screenshot of the signup form, and providing business contact information for verification. The verification process may take up to a 5 business days.
Once approved, the sending limits increase, and users can send SMS messages to the US market.
Obtaining Opt-ins and Consent
Engaging in SMS marketing requires explicit consent from your customers. This consent ensures you only send messages to those who genuinely want to receive them. We will tell more about it in the next part of our course.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal law regulating telemarketing communications, which includes SMS messages.
To comply, ensure you have obtained explicit customer consent to receive marketing texts. It's not enough for customers to be subscribed to your email marketing; they must specifically opt in for SMS communication.
Understanding Quiet Hours and Sending Limits
Maintaining a positive customer experience involves respecting their preferences and delivering messages at appropriate times. Key considerations include:
Quiet hours are specific time periods during which SMS messages should not be sent to recipients. Understanding and adhering to these quiet hours is crucial based on the recipient's time zone. This practice ensures your messages are not disruptive or inconvenient for your audience.
Sending limits define the maximum number of SMS messages you can send each recipient daily. Implementing sending limits prevents overwhelming customers with excessive messages and helps you avoid potential compliance issues. By adhering to these limits, you enhance the overall effectiveness of your SMS campaigns.
Benefits of Being Complaint
By aligning your SMS marketing strategy with regulations and guidelines, you stand to gain numerous benefits:
Legal Protection: Adhering to regulations helps you avoid legal consequences and financial penalties associated with non-compliance.
Customer Experience: By not bombarding recipients with messages and sending them at appropriate times, you significantly improve their experience with your brand.
Cost Savings: Implementing sending limits can help you manage costs by reducing unnecessary message volume and ensuring messages are sent at times when they're likely to be effective.
Building Customer Trust
Compliance and adherence to best practices are fundamental in building customer trust. By respecting their privacy, preferences, and time, you cultivate positive relationships that can increase customer loyalty and engagement.
Tips for Successful SMS Marketing
To make the most of your SMS marketing efforts, keep these tips in mind:
Obtain explicit consent from customers before sending SMS messages.
Communicate the type of messages customers are opting in to receive.
Include a straightforward opt-out option to respect customer preferences.
Craft engaging and relevant content that provides value to recipients.
Be mindful of recipient time zones when scheduling messages.
To address common questions regarding SMS compliance:
What happens if I exceed the daily limit?
If you exceed the daily message limit, the message will not be sent. If quiet hours are enabled, and the message is initiated during that time, it will be postponed until the next day.
How do I handle SMS during quiet hours?
Messages sent during quiet hours will be postponed until the next available delivery timeframe.
Is quiet hours compliance required?
In separate states in the USA, TCPA mandates no messages before 8 am or after 9 pm in the recipient's time zone. However, specific states may have additional restrictions.
Stay proactive about any changes or updates to regulations, as this will help you maintain the compliance and effectiveness of your SMS marketing strategy over time.