Three of the most important best practices for text marketers to follow are to get permission to send texts to subscribers, explain the texting program clearly, and show subscribers how to opt out of the texting program if they choose to.
1. Get Permission
- People must give permission before text messages are sent to them. It’s the law.
- Without the recipient’s explicit consent, marketers who send texts will not only be breaking laws and risking legal penalties, but may also send messages perceived as spam, “create a bad name for their organization, and annoy their audience”.
- If subscribers opt in by texting to join, then that action provides their permission. But if a marketer manually uploads a list or adds contacts one at a time, the marketer needs written consent from each subscriber.
- “This may be the most important best practice for any SMS marketing program”, according to SlickText.com.
- According to BusinessNewsDaily.com, “[t]he key takeaway is to have, and follow, specific agreements with a customer. It’s one thing to receive an opt-in confirmation for a few messages, it’s another to send dozens of texts without the customer’s consent.”
2. Explain the Texting Program Clearly
- Subscribers need to know “exactly what they’re signing up for when subscribing to [a] text marketing list.” The text marketing program’s purpose or intent should be clear. Expectations should be set about what texts subscribers will receive and how often.
- Presenting the texting program clearly can be done in the opt-in language for the text program and “in the auto-response subscribers receive after they first join.”
- Subscribers don’t want to receive an excessive amount of text messages from a business. One service provider recommends sending “no more than 2 – 6 SMS per month… Any more may annoy… subscribers.”
- Be sure subscribers know how often they will receive texts. Tell them how many they can expect per month.
- Add the frequency to the first auto reply to the offer of the text marketing program: “Receive up to 4 msgs/ month.”
3. Show How to Opt Out
- It’s important for subscribers “to know that they can opt out of [a] text messaging program at any time.”
- When customers sign up for a text messaging list, they should be told that “Msg & Data rates may apply”, and that they can “txt STOP to cancel”.
- These instructions will not be included in every text sent to subscribers. However, it’s a “good practice … to occasionally include those instructions” to remind people how to opt out if they want to do that.
- The opt-out process should be simple. If customers can’t opt out or don’t know how to opt out, they may “start complaining to their wireless carrier, leading to potential filtering of your messages down the road.”