In the world of SMS marketing, compliance refers to laws that protect consumers from unwanted and/or spammy texts. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), along with its implementing regulations, which took effect in 1991, is the U.S. law that governs compliance when sending autodialed text messages.
In other words, compliance is not optional.
If you’re in the text marketing business, you are required to obtain express written consent before you send your campaigns—or face lawsuits and penalties.
The good news is, compliance is not difficult.
Fortunately, complying with the TCPA is pretty straightforward. It’s just a matter of making sure you’ve received prior express written consent to send the recipient a marketing message (or ‘prior express consent’ if it’s an informational message, but having written consent will always qualify as express consent, so the lower-risk practice is to simply get written consent for all of your messages). The written consent can be digital, and is TCPA compliant as long as it is given with the recipient’s understanding that:
The message is marketing or promotional
The message may be sent by an autodialer
The consent to receive messages is not conditioned on any purchase
And these terms must be clearly and conspicuously displayed where they give their consent – not hiding in small text or a hyperlinked document on another page.
On top of the legal requirements in the TCPA, you’ll also want to be sure to comply with the industry standards set out by the CTIA, an association of mobile carriers, who set the rules for best practices in SMS marketing. It’s not a law per se, but they deliver your messages—or not—based on your compliance with their guidelines, so for practical purposes it’s fair to treat it as one. The CTIA requires that you include the following information in your call to action:
The purpose of your campaign
Disclosure: “Message and data rates may apply”
Link to terms & conditions
For a good illustration of what this might look like in an ad, check out this article about SMS compliance.
Thanks for reading, and we hope you’ve been able to learn a thing or two. Now, go forth and fill the earth with many wonderful and compliant text messages!
To learn more about SMS marketing, you can visit our Education Center & Marketing Resources page. You can also just sit there and twiddle your thumbs, but we don’t recommend it. 😉
Got questions, comments, complaints, or lofty observations about this article—or about SimpleTexting in general? We want to know—so just contact us. 😀