SMS Marketing has become a significant revenue-contributing channel for retailers and is bigger than ever. With such accelerated growth in the market, digital marketers must follow the rules and guidelines put in place by various governing bodies of consumer protection. These are important for a fully deliverable program to your subscribers and to stay in good standing with the major mobile carriers.

Listrak is proud to be a member of the CTIA with an in-house team dedicated to Mobile Compliance, as well as work with a Tier 1 Aggregator partner to host top-performing, compliant programs for over 1,000 retailers.

Why Should I Worry About SMS Compliance?

Mobile text marketers must adhere to TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) regulations, which are put in place to protect consumers from unsolicited messages and ads. Companies face substantial penalties for violations. Additionally, the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) has its own guidelines set forth by the carriers. When running SMS Marketing programs, businesses must prioritize SMS compliance. Not only is this necessary to avoid fines, but remaining compliant also ensures better experiences for your subscribers. Mobile compliance covers several texting practices, including sending cadence and frequency, sending time, message content, and more. And the carriers must approve a program before going live to consumers.

International countries also have 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.

Are There Any New Rules?

There has been a lot of activity in the SMS Marketing sphere over the past few years, including new rules and regulations. In 2020, requirements were created for Cart Reminders (also known as Shopping Cart Abandonment campaigns). These include double opt-in rules, updates to Terms & Conditions, and more. In 2022, more carrier-specific requirements were set and could continue to come up in 2023. These messages bring some of the highest engagement and ROI and are critical for closing a complete customer journey. 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 last year came out of Florida regarding adjusted Quiet Hours. The federal TCPA rule for sending SMS Marketing dictates that messages must be sent between 8 AM and 9 PM per the recipient’s local time zone. Florida 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.

What Do I Need In Place For This Year?

It’s always important to regularly audit your program for top-performing strategies and areas for optimization and 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 assist and answer any questions you might have, but here’s a short checklist to have in your arsenal:

  • Link to T&Cs and Privacy Policy present on all subscription Calls To Action
  • Double opt-in enabled for all acquisition campaigns, including a reference to Cart Reminders in messaging types
  • Subscription confirmation is triggered immediately, including HELP and STOP language, message frequency, and message data rate details
  • Minimum one broadcast sent a month, including HELP and STOP language
  • Marketing broadcasts should only be sent between 8 AM and 8 PM local time, ideally between 10 AM and 5 PM, with Time Zone Optimization enabled
  • Unsubscribe confirmation is triggered immediately, including notice that messages will no longer be sent
  • 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, confirming that the contact is 18+ (depending on business needs).

How Can I Ensure My Program Is Compliant?

There are many built-in and customizable settings within the Listrak platform to confirm compliance and work with our Mobile Compliance team and your Account Manager directly. 

Within your account, you can adjust the System Messages required by the carriers. These are the texts sent when a contact unsubscribes, asks for help, or sends an unrecognized message. Our compliance team initially crafts and sets up these messages, but you can edit any time with regulation changes. This includes the HELP and STOP messages mentioned above.

Quiet Hours within account settings are also available, ensuring your messages aren’t sent outside the regulated send times. 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 has continually updated resources outlining current requirements and recommendations that you can use as needed for audits and to answer any questions you might have.

Get Started/ Have Additional Questions?

Listrak is here to ensure your SMS programs are fully compliant. We take compliance 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.

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