Text Message Marketing is a significant revenue-contributing channel for retailers, earning more engagement from consumers daily. With such accelerated growth in the market, digital marketers must follow the compliance rules and regulations put in place by various governing bodies to ensure their program’s success. Compliance impacts deliverability, customer trust, and, perhaps most importantly, revenue. Listrak is proud to be a member of the CTIA – The Wireless Assocation, with a compliance-focused organization from Product to Client Services to Support and everywhere in between. Our in-house team dedicated to Mobile Compliance has over 30 years of combined experience, and we work with a Tier 1 Aggregator partner to host top-performing, compliant SMS programs for over 1,000 retailers.

Why Is SMS Compliance So Important, Anyway?

Mobile text marketers must adhere to Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations, which are put in place to protect consumers from unsolicited messages and ads. Companies face substantial penalties for violations. Additionally, the CTIA has its own guidelines set forth by the carriers. When running Text Message Marketing programs, businesses must prioritize SMS compliance: Not only is this necessary to avoid fines, potential lawsuits, and other penalties, but remaining compliant also ensures better experiences for your subscribers. This covers several texting practices, including message cadence and frequency, send time, campaign content, and more. And the carriers must approve a program before going live to consumers, through a thorough application and provisioning process. They even conduct regular audits to check-in on programs as they mature!

International countries also have their own mobile compliance rules and regulations, like Canada’s requirements for both English and French message copy. With that comes their potential penalties and protections for Canadian subscribers.

Have Any New Rules Recently Been Written?

There has been a lot of activity in the Text Message Marketing sphere over the past few years, including new rules and regulations. In 2022, carrier-specific requirements were set for Cart Reminders (also known as Shopping Cart Abandonment campaigns) and could always continue to come up. These messages bring some of the highest engagement and ROI, so it’s crucial to be mindful of all the associated requirements to stay in good standing with the carriers and trigger these messages effectively. We’ve helped our clients adjust their existing programs to account for the ongoing changes and set up new programs with this in mind. And we additionally have solutions in place to check for this sort of compliance and what a contact qualifies to receive.

Another big update from 2022 came out of a few states regarding adjusted Quiet Hours. The federal TCPA rule for sending SMS for marketing purposes dictates that messages must be sent between 8 AM and 9 PM per the recipient’s local time zone. Florida, as one example, has shortened that window for their residents to 8 AM to 8 PM, based on the area code in their phone number. It’s essential to be mindful of this rule and ensure you’re targeting your subscribers in the middle of the day for optimal engagement and compliance. We recommend choosing send times between 10 AM and 6 PM, with Time Zone Optimization enabled.

The Florida Telemarketing Sales Act has gotten a lot of attention over the last year and a half, with additional rules for opt-in calls to action and how subscribers can get in touch with customer service. While a lot of the legislation is gray and can be interpreted differently, there have been an increase in court cases filed under the provision. 

What Do I Need In Place For My Program Today?

It’s always important to regularly audit your Text Message Marketing program for areas for optimization to accelerate performance. And with that exercise, it’s also a good idea to do a quick review for compliance. Listrak’s dedicated Mobile Compliance team can answer any questions you might have, but here’s a short checklist to have in your arsenal:

  • Double opt-in is in place with ALL acquisition strategies
  • Subscribers are only collected with ‘express written consent,’ meaning by explicitly opting-in
  • Thorough disclaimer language is present at ALL subscription points, including links to your Mobile T&Cs and Privacy Policy
  • Your Program Name is included in ALL messages sent
  • HELP and STOP instructions are included in at least one full-list broadcast message sent each month
  • Campaigns are NOT sent outside of 8 AM to 8 PM local time Quiet Hours, and Frequency Capping is enabled to manage volume
  • Only one message is triggered as part of the Shopping Cart Abandonment campaign within 48 hours of the abandonment event
  • If you have a business that sells merchandise for an adult audience, you’ll want to include an Age Gate at the time of subscription

How Can I Ensure My Program Is Compliant?

There are many built-in and customizable settings within the Listrak platform to confirm compliance: Quiet Hours within account settings are also available, cautioning you when messages are scheduled outside of regulated send times to dynamically recommend otherwise. At a minimum, these are set to current regulations (8AM to 8PM local time) but can be updated to a smaller window, like our recommended 10 AM to 5 PM local time.

Journey Hub is the perfect place for automated cross-channel campaigns like Shopping Cart Abandonment, Post Purchase, and more, and there are checks in place for details like double opt-in status, carrier, and engagement. This ensures you send text messages to the proper, fully compliant subscribers.

Finally, our Help Center is chock full of resources outlining current requirements and recommendations that you can use as needed for audits and to answer any questions you might have. The articles within are also routinely updated with changes in policies, guidelines, and legislation, and your Account Team will share corresponding news with you directly. Always consult your legal counsel for final direction, as well!

Have Additional Questions?

Listrak is here to ensure your Text Message Marketing programs are fully compliant. We take these rules very seriously, and our team is dedicated to keeping you abreast of changes, news, and updates needed for your programs. For more information and assistance, contact your Account Manager or get started here with Listrak’s SMS solution.

The information outlined herein is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You are responsible for ensuring your marketing program complies with all federal and state laws. It is recommended that your legal team reviews and approves your marketing program.

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