Earlier this year, we reviewed the standard rules and regulations for Text Message Marketing and how to maximize acquisition potential while staying fully compliant. These are all important for a fully deliverable program to your subscribers and to remain in good standing with the major mobile carriers. With that, it is critical to remember ongoing frequency compliance rules and strategies to maintain engagement and channel awareness. Whether you've been sending SMS for years or are just starting, regular and thoughtful communication with your subscribers is vital to meet your goals and earning top ROI results.

Why Should I Worry About SMS Compliance?

Text Message Marketing programs must adhere to TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) regulations, which are 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 set of guidelines put 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 send cadence and frequency, send 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 potential penalties and protections for Canadian subscribers. Compliance rules can change at any point in time, and Listrak's dedicated team of experts is plugged in to keep you apprised of updates and program adjustments needed for you to succeed.

A Consistent Frequency Maintains Engagement & Compliance Plus Earns Revenue

Because SMS opt-in requires explicit consent to receive messaging, understand that your subscribers WANT to hear from you in that channel! So, building a consistent broadcast frequency from the start is critical to build channel awareness and train your list to expect your messaging. You should strive to send broadcasts to your entire list at least twice a week and plan to grow your calendar over-time to include additional targeted campaigns, automation, and Two-Way SMS Conversations. In a recent month-long test, a Listrak SMS client sent two broadcast text messages per week: One to their full list and one segmented (50% of the list). Both message types earned the same average Revenue/Message KPI, making the full-list sends 2x total revenue. The test provided ample data to approve an expanded calendar with two weekly broadcasts to their complete list.

But this consistent frequency doesn't just come with engagement and conversion benefits – It also checks essential compliance boxes and ensures your subscribers are reminded of their consent to opt in. All your messages should begin with your program name, and at least one monthly broadcast send needs to include HELP and STOP instructions. You should never send less than one broadcast a month, as that alone is also a requirement. Listrak has tools to keep track of broadcast send activity to your subscribers, including automatically injecting said HELP and STOP language (and recording the send date) and scheduling messages at a recurring frequency so you never miss a touchpoint.

Listrak's In-Platform Compliance Tools Take The Guesswork Out

In addition to minimum frequency requirements, compliance rules also dictate the maximum number of messages a contact can receive in 24 hours and when to send them – Florida even wrote their own legislation in the last year limiting what's known as 'Quiet Hours' to a smaller window. Your program's Text Message Marketing campaigns should never be sent in the middle of the night or early morning hours, but instead between 8 AM And 8 PM local time. Narrowing in on a smaller window in the middle of the day, between 10 AM and 6 PM local time, helps improve engagement KPIs like Click-Through Rate and Conversion Rate even further. Within your Listrak account settings, you can set your specific Quiet Hours to alert you when anything is scheduled to send outside of that window and ensure compliance.

Frequency Cap settings can also be used to confirm a contact is not sent more marketing messages a day than what compliance rules ordain. In general, no more than three marketing-based campaigns should be sent in a 24-hour period. So, only plan on scheduling that, even on your busiest shopping days. Email is the perfect avenue for cross-channel orchestration where you CAN send more than three messages, including in the early and late hours of the day.

Some Messages May Be Sent At Any Time

With all these rules, it's important to remember certain message types can be sent regardless of frequency or time of day – Some even regardless of opt-in status. Responses to requests for help (i.e., texting in the HELP keyword) and opt-out (texting in STOP keyword and variations) should be sent out immediately, no matter when. These are considered System Messages, and automated responses need to be sent right away, even if a contact isn't currently opted into your program. Additionally, those requests for opt-out should be processed right away. The carriers even test these messages during the provisioning process!

Transactional messaging, or updates related to a recent purchase, may also be sent at any time. If a contact purchases and consents to receive their order updates via text, even in the middle of the night or early morning, we recommend they receive the corresponding opt-in flow right away and any applicable order updates (order confirmation, payment failure, etc.). Consumers expect to receive these critical messages via text now, so don't wait to send them if you have a status change to their orders. Consult your legal counsel for their approval of these practices, and be ready to adjust as needed if any rules change.

Get Started/ Have Additional Questions?

Listrak takes compliance rules very seriously, and our team is dedicated to keeping you abreast of changes, news, and updates needed for your programs. Keep your frequency consistent and campaign calendar full without sending too much per day. Ensure your system messages, opt-in flows, and Transactional campaigns are equipped to go out immediately upon activity. For more information and assistance, reach out to your Account Manager or get started with Listrak’s SMS. 

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