Understanding the SMS Marketing Laws in the U.S.

3 mins
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Are you trying out SMS marketing in your business for the first time? Ready to see how a new communications channel can help to grow your opt-in list, improve sales and boost your business’ bottom line? Great! However, before you jump right in, you first need to understand the SMS marketing laws within the U.S. and how they can impact your marketing efforts.  

Marketing through electronic commercial messages, such as SMS, MMS or instant message that offers, advertises or promotes a business, goods or service is governed by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Can-Spam Act. These laws set out what you can and can’t do when it comes to setting up and launching your SMS campaign.  

As the law is pretty text-heavy, we’ve set out the key points below on what you need to follow and understand when sending any form of SMS marketing to your audience.

Gain Customer Consent

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act states that before sending an SMS, you first need to have gained their consent (or permission) called Prior Express Written Consent (PEWC).

The term "Prior Express Written Consent" has two key elements. 

  1.  When you invite your customers to join your text message marketing program, you must inform them that "by participating, you agree to receive text messages sent through an automated telephone dialing system".  This automated dialing system is a software or an equipment designed to send automated text messages.
  2. This disclosure about the "automated telephone dialing system" must be presented to your customers in a manner that is clear and easily noticeable before they decide to opt in to your SMS marketing campaign.  

Identify Yourself 

The second key point of the SMS marketing law is to ensure you clearly identify yourself to your audience. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act states that you must not send an SMS unless: 

  • The message clearly and accurately identifies the individual or organization who authorized the sending of the message, and  
  • The message includes accurate information about how the recipient can readily contact the individual or organization 

There are many ways for you to identify yourself when sending an SMS marketing campaign to your audience. This includes: 

  • Body text – simply state who you are in the body of the SMS message. 
  • Adding a CTA – identify yourself by allowing your audience to explore your website through the SMS 


Provide an Easy Way to Unsubscribe

The last key point that you need to understand when it comes to abiding by SMS marketing laws is to ensure that the SMS message you send contains an unsubscribe method. The main way this is done is by providing your audience with the ability to opt-out. This can be done a number of different ways: 

  • Tap on an SMS hyperlink to opt-out – when the opt-out is tapped, a new page is opened with the unsubscribe option. 
  • Reply to the SMS to opt-out – give your audience the option to reply to the SMS with a keyword e.g., STOP to opt-out, automatically unsubscribing them once they have replied. 
  • Call to opt-out – ask your audience to give your business a call to unsubscribe by providing a phone number in the body of the SMS. 

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act states that senders must adhere to the following guidelines when addressing consumers' opt-out requests:

  • Consumers should be given a guarantee that they can opt-out of receiving messages at any time.
  • Senders should recognize and respect all consumer opt-out requests by dispatching a single final opt-out confirmation message for each campaign.  This confirmation message should inform the consumer of their successful opt-out and ensure that no additional messages will be sent thereafter.
  • Consumers should be furnished with clear information on the procedure and specific wording required for opting out. 

Get Your SMS Campaign Up and Running Today

As soon as you’ve got a good understanding of the SMS marketing laws in the U.S., you’ll be ready to launch your SMS marketing campaign. Notifyre’s SMS toolkit is designed for all organizations across the U.S. to take your business communications to a new level. Create your account today and start sending SMS with pay-as-you-go pricing. 

To learn more about the benefits of SMS for your business, check out: 

SMS Solutions
Security & Compliance
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