Maintaining compliance with text messaging regulations is absolutely mandatory in the SMS industry. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant legal and financial consequences. In addition, staying up-to-date with the latest regulations and guidelines can help businesses build and maintain a positive reputation with their customers. For more information, read about Twilio Messaging Policy here.
Let's go over some important points.
Consent / Opt-in
Before sending the first message, you must obtain your contact's agreement to communicate with them, known as "consent". It is important to clearly communicate the type of messages they will receive. An SMS opt-in is the action a contact takes to show that they’ve given you permission to text them for marketing purposes. Some popular opt-in methods include keywords and web forms.
An SMS is a word or phrase that people can send via text message to a specified phone number to trigger an automated response and subscribe to future text messages. SMS keywords are a popular and effective way to build customer engagement, support, and even lead generation. By using SMS keywords, you can tailor your messaging to specific groups of customers, making them feel more connected to your brand and more likely to engage with your messaging.
In addition to building different contact lists based on customer interests, SMS keywords can also be used to track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. By assigning unique keywords to different campaigns, you can see which campaigns are driving the most engagement and adjust your strategy accordingly. Overall, SMS keywords are a valuable tool for any business looking to improve customer engagement and grow their brand.
Web form opt-in
When collecting opt-ins through a web form, certain requirements must be met. These include:
- CTA (call-to-action) disclosures, such as a program name and/or a description of the messages that will be sent
- Organization or individual being represented in the initial message
- Fee disclosure ("Message and data rates may apply")
- Service delivery frequency or recurring messages disclosure ("4 messages per month", "Message frequency varies", "1 message per login", etc)
- Customer care information (typically "Text HELP for help" or Help at XXX-XXX-XXXX) - not required for single message programs (i.e 2FA)
Opt-out instructions (typically "Text STOP to cancel") - not required for single message programs (i.e 2FA)
- Link to Terms and Conditions describing terms of service
- Checbox option that end-users must select in order to receive SMS messaging. The checkbox can not be pre-selected. The checkbox provides the end-user the ability to agree or disagree to receive SMS messaging.
Double opt-in is a way to ensure that your contacts really want to join your text messaging list. It requires each contact to respond with "YES" to your message to confirm that they want to receive your messages. This provides businesses with confidence in each contact's consent and helps prevent spam complaints.
Although not legally required, double opt-in is highly recommended. It guards against contacts who only opt in once and then claim they didn't know they were giving permission to receive texts. It also protects against the possibility that someone entered the wrong phone number into a web form. With double opt-in, it's difficult for people to claim they didn't know what they were signing up for. For businesses, it's important to know that they are responsible for proving they have consent to text their customers.
Your contacts must have the option to withdraw their consent at any time by responding with a standard opt-out keyword. Once a contact chooses to opt out, you can send a final message to confirm that the opt-out has been processed. You cannot send any additional messages after this confirmation. When your last SMS to a contact was sent more than 7 days ago, it will be sent with this mandatory opt-out text. It helps you stay compliant with mobile carriers' policies. By default, this text is the following:
Send STOP to opt-out
The length of the opt-out text will be added to the length of the SMS and may affect its price. The opt-out text contains 21 symbols but can be changed in Settings.