Texting is a quick and easy way to reach your customers. You hear all the stats…98% of text messages are read, no one answers their phone like they used to, email opens are less than 30%. So you might think to yourself “this is easy, let’s just text everyone!” Unfortunately, it isn’t quite that easy, and in fact, there are some really important things to slow down and consider before you send a mass text.
There are some pretty strict guidelines that were enacted in 1991 and expanded in 2013. You can’t just dump your database into an SMS platform and call it a day. Yes, it’s easy, yes people will receive, read and potentially respond. But you might be breaking several rules by doing so.
Let’s clarify one point, one individual texting another individual is totally fine and completely different than mass texting so don’t worry about those personal and direct text conversations.
Automatic to peer (A2P) is the regulated variety – sending alerts, marketing, promotional offers, one-time information request responses, etc. in mass is what you need to pay attention to.
Some things to keep in mind before you mass text and potentially face a fine of up to $1,500 per instance:
Written Consent: (MOST IMPORTANT)as of 2013 implied or verbal consent is not acceptable. You must now have someone checking a box or writing their consent to be contacted via mass text. Or as the amendment states, “ Unambiguous written consent”. So just because you have a phone number and it’s in your database, doesn’t mean you can text them in mass. You cannot use an existing list of phone numbers, even if provided to you by your customer unless they specifically gave explicit permission to join the text message program.
Opt Out: Even though you have written consent, you still need to provide an Opt Out. Why? Because, a company or organization advertising via mass calls or texts must maintain a Do Not Call (DNC) list of recipients who do not wish to be called or texted. Opt-out requests must be honored for at least five years. You need to have a clear way to maintain that database.
Check the DNC: Anyone registered in the National Do Not Call Registry cannot be a recipient of an organization’s mass calls or texts
Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991
Unless recipients had given prior consent, as of 1991, companies wishing to employ mass texting or calling had to heed the following restrictions:
Below are some additional important excerpts of the TCPA. If you are following these rules you are in great shape. However, here are a few things builders need to pay attention to.
We are huge believers in texting as a viable and relevant form of communication. But with great power comes great responsibility. Use texting wisely! We aren’t trying to scare you, but we do want you to be completely informed before undertaking any new initiative.