Ensuring your store remains compliant as you grow your SMS program is our number-one priority, so we've put together this article to introduce you to foundational compliance knowledge.
SMS Compliance Overview
In short, SMS compliance is adhering to the rules and regulations that dictate how businesses can use SMS and MMS messages to contact their consumers. This includes how shops collect subscribers, the content of the messages that shops send, how frequently shops can send messages, and what time of day messages can be sent.
Shops are obligated to comply with these rules and regulations. Non-compliant shops run the risk of being shut down by wireless carriers, and once this happens, the process to regain access can be time-consuming and frustrating. Shops also run the risk of expensive and time-consuming class action lawsuits.
SMS Compliance Laws and Regulations
SMS compliance is informed by two entities: the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA).
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and its accompanying regulations control how companies can use SMS and MMS text messaging services to reach out to their consumers.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you understand and are complying with all relevant TCPA regulations when using Postscript to send messages to your consumers. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with all applicable TCPA laws and relevant industry guidelines that build on these laws, including the CTIA guidelines for text message marketing.
You can boil down the TCPA’s regulation of SMS marketing campaigns to the following:
Consumers have the right not to receive unsolicited marketing communications via SMS, and companies should not send consumers automated SMS marketing text messages unless they have obtained a consumer’s prior express written consent.
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association represents the wireless communications industry in the United States and sets forth messaging principles and best practices enforced by the carriers.
This is a set of voluntary best practices that help maintain the trust that consumers have in SMS as a marketing and brand communications channel. Maintaining a good experience for your subscribers beyond what is legally required is a fundamental part of Postscript’s way of doing SMS.
Key Elements of Compliance
We've identified four key elements of compliance that your shop should be mindful of when collecting and messaging your subscribers.
You should include TCPA and CTIA-compliant consent language anywhere a consumer is giving their consent to receive automated marketing messages. Missing or incorrect consent language is a TCPA violation and can result in major fines or class-action lawsuits for your shop.
- Popups (desktop and mobile)
- Social media stories or posts
- Print media (package inserts, flyers, product packaging, etc.)
- QR codes displayed in print or digital media
- Forms or landing pages on your website
- Banners, website footers, email campaigns, or anywhere else you display the call-to-action "Text KEYWORD" and your toll-free number or short code.
Below is TCPA and CTIA-compliant consent language:
Message copy, or what it is you write in the message you send to your subscribers, should adhere to TCPA and CTIA rules and guidelines. This includes being free of unlawful, harmful, abusive, obscene, and misleading language. You can learn more about acceptable message content here.
Subscribers can request to opt-out of SMS marketing texts from your shop by texting "STOP" to your toll-free number or short code at any time.
You must also include opt-out language in campaigns at least once a month. You can learn more about subscriber opt-out compliance here.
Topics covered include:
- Which STOP alternatives that Postscript recognizes
- How to manually unsubscribe a subscriber
- How to include opt-out language in your campaigns and automation messages
Quiet hours are specific times during the day when you should avoid sending text messages to your subscribers (e.g., early in the morning, late at night, when they are sleeping, etc.). Learn more about quiet hours here.
Postscript's current global waking hours are as follows:
Global legacy campaign waking hours:
- 5 am - 8 pm PT (US/CAN excluding Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Washington)
- 8 am - 8 pm local time (Florida, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Maryland, and Washington)
- 8 am - 9 pm local time (New Jersey)
- 8 am - 9 pm local time (US/CAN excluding Florida, Oklahoma, Maryland, Connecticut, and Washington)
- 8 am - 8 pm local time (Florida, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Maryland, and Washington)
- 8 am - 9 pm local time (New Jersey)
- Want to do an SMS Compliance deep dive? We've got you covered with our SMS Marketing Compliance Overview Guide.
- Curious how Postscript helps you stay compliant when it comes to subscriber opt outs? Learn more in our Subscriber Opt-Out Compliance article.
- Did you know Postscript recognizes "fuzzy opt outs"? In our How Postscript Protects Your Shop with Automatic Subscriber Removals article, we discuss fuzzy opt outs and more.
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