Are You Complying with the Rules of Text Message Marketing?

Rules for Text Messaging

While text messaging seems like a casual medium, there are very serious consequences if you don’t follow the rules. In fact, you can be sued for up to $1,500 per text!

Who has the power to govern your program and what are the rules for compliance? Read on for a breakdown.

Governance, Guidance and Best Practices

Overall, there are 3 industry groups involved:

  • The FCC regulates SMS programs under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) which limits solicitations by phone. Text message marketers can be sued (and have been) under the TCPA. In fact, big companies like Facebook, American Eagle and eBay are currently facing lawsuits.
  • The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) is a trade association of wireless carriers, including AT&T, Sprint and others. It publishes guidelines for SMS and while it doesn’t have legal authority, it can report your program to the carriers, which can, in turn, suspend your account.
  • The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) is also a trade association. It offers marketing best practices for SMS and publishes documents to help marketers optimize their mobile programs.

Rules for Communicating by Text

There are some very strict guidelines you must follow when sending marketing messages by text. Here are some simple tips to help you avoid any violations:

Make the consumer opt in
Whether they sign up by text or web form, consumers must opt in. If you’re using a web form, follow it up with text asking the customer to confirm their opt in. This ensures the consumer does in fact want to receive your messages and that someone else didn’t enter their number by mistake.

Include required disclosures
There are some key pieces of information you need to include when you advertise the program and BEFORE a consumer opts in. They are:

  • Business name
  • Program name (or the keyword for the program)
  • Frequency of messages (Ex: “up to 4 messages a month”)
  • A disclosure that “data and messaging rates may apply.”
  • A notice of written consent: “By participating, you consent to receive text messages sent by an auto phone dialing system.”
  • Confirmation that “no purchase is necessary.”

Tell them how to opt out
You must also tell the consumer how to opt out. Ex: “Text STOP to stop.”

Link to your terms and conditions, privacy policy and/or rules.

An example message could look like this…

Get $5 off your next purchase at Acme Sporting Goods!
To sign up for this and other discounts and alerts, text ACME to 65047.

Message & data rates may apply. Up to 4 messages a month. Text STOP to stop. No purchase necessary. You consent to receive autodialed text messages from Acme Sporting Goods. See privacy/rules at www.acme.com/mobilerules

Keep in mind also that text messages are not allowed to be sent outside the hours of 8 am and 9 pm—in the consumer’s time zone, not yours.

Following these rules is a small price to pay to reach your customers on a powerful platform and the device they attend to the most… their mobile phones!

Contact us for help with your text message marketing compliance.

Text Message Marketing Best Practices

Text message marketing can be extremely effective. However, there are a few guidelines that must be followed. They help you get the most return and make sure your program follows federal rules. When done well, a text message marketing campaign can yield fantastic results. To make the most of your text message campaign, here are best practices.

  1. Stay professional
    While it may be tempting to use texting shorthand or abbreviations it’s best to avoid them (think ‘u’ instead of ‘you’) and  only use regular abbreviations when necessary to save space (“exp.” instead of “expire,” for example). Your brand’s message should still be a professionally crafted message. Also, brevity is key – do not try to fill all 160 characters if you don’t need to.
  2. Make it easy
    Opting in (or out) of any text message campaign should be easy for the user. Keeping codes short, or asking the user to text a number should be something short. Pro tip: the best way to get a large number of entries on your list is to host a sweepstakes. Keep it short and easy to get the biggest number of entries!
  3. Plan what, then when
    It’s important for these text messages to come at a time that will not seem intrusive to the client. Acceptable hours for your text to go out should be business hours, around 9 am – 6 pm. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a client’s personal phone and to be respectful of it.
  4. Comply with the TCPA
    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was made to protect the very people you are trying to market to. To avoid any legal issues, make sure that everyone on your mobile list has opted into receiving messages from you. There are also certain messages that should be included in your opt-in language (“Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to stop. You provide consent to receive autodialed text messages.”)

These tips will  help improve customer response and ensure a successful campaign.

3 Good Reasons Why QR Codes For Sweepstakes Entry Are a Bad Idea

Instead of making the process of entering a sweepstakes easier and faster, QR codes make the process of getting to the sweepstakes entry form cumbersome.

  1. Participants needs to understand what to do with the QR code. Does your target understand what the pixel black squares are  for?
  2. Participants needs a QR a code app to read the QR. Do they have a smartphone? Doe sit have a QR code reader app? Do they have to download a QR code reader app?
  3. It takes 3 additional steps to get to the sweepstakes entry from a QR code. 1. Launch QR app. 2. Scan QR code and 3. Go to the destination website.

You are better off just printing your sweepstakes entry page URL or simply asking participants to send a text message  to enter the mobile sweepstakes. Ex. Text BRAND to 65047 to enter.

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Mobile Coupon Program Results for Retail Summary

Mobile coupon via text SMS with couon code -momares
Mobile coupon by text SMS message with coupon code
  • Our mobile coupons campaigns average 10% redemption rates.
  • Text (SMS) coupon delivery rates are 95%.
  • Mobile coupon program customer retention rates are 98%. (very low unsubscribe, opt-out rate)
  • Mobile coupons are stored in the customer’s mobile phone and are carried with the customer to the store. Coupon code can be offered for redemption or a barcode mobile coupon shown for scanning.
  • Mobile Sweepstakes and Contests are the most effective way to build a database of mobile customers.
If you are interested in setting up a mobile sweepstake or adding mobile coupons to your marketing, contact us at support@momares.com 
 

The Best Way to Give Away a Coupon

This ad showing the woman drinking milk out of the Skim Plus carton got my attention. It was eye catching and the tag line “A glass just slows you down.” was clever, humorous and it says it’s so good don’t wait to pour in a glass just drink it straight form the container. It’s not easy to sell milk and I think this ad did a good job plus it offered a coupon.

The paper coupon conundrum

The ad offered a paper tear-off coupon that I thought was a good idea, my only concern is what happens to the plan when the coupons run out? I decided to give the ad a week and see if the coupons would in fact run out. They did.

The coupons are gone??

Next time a saw the Skim Plus ad, I saw and empty coupon booklet attached to a nice ad. My next question was how many lost opportunities did this promotion waste? How fast did the coupons run out? Did that lady take more than one coupon? Will someone come to replace the coupon booklet? Let me try the QR code…nope that just takes me to their Facebook page.

Coupon on my phone

A better way to distribute a coupon and not have to worry about replacing them when they run out is to simply add a mobile coupon call-to-action. Something like “Text SKIM to 65047 for an instant $2 coupon.” Done. Coupons never run out and the customer gets the coupon instantly in their phone. For the marketer she has the option to continue to offer new coupons via text as it builds a mobile database of interested customers. It’s a simple and elegant solution to distribute coupons to the customer’s mobile phone. Looking to do mobile coupons? Contact us.