With the pandemic increasing smartphone usage (US adults averaged over three hours per day in 2020), text messages are surging in popularity. Smart businesses are taking advantage of that momentum by emphasizing SMS (Short Message Service) marketing. In fact, 378% more SMS messages were sent in 2020 than in the previous year.

Along with questions about how to optimize your SMS marketing, you may also be wondering about compliance. Specifically, how often should you send SMS messages to maintain TCPA and CTIA compliance?

Why Should You Worry About SMS Compliance?

SMS marketers must adhere to TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) and CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) regulations. These laws are in place to protect consumers from unsolicited messages and ads, and companies face substantial penalties for violations.

When utilizing text message marketing, businesses must prioritize SMS compliance. Not only is compliance necessary to avoid fines, but remaining compliant also results in better experiences for your customers. 

SMS compliance covers a number of texting practices, and one aspect that businesses commonly overlook is the send cadence, or how often you send messages. Let’s look at the cadence required for compliance, as well as how often you should send to maximize engagement.

How Often Should You Send SMS Messages?

To remain compliant, you need to send at least one message per month to your full list. Easy enough, right? Yes, but you need to make sure you include specific information for compliance purposes.

What information does your monthly message need to include?

Instructions on how to ask for help and how to opt-out (i.e., HELP and STOP) must be sent to all subscribers at least once per month. However, you don’t need to send a separate message with this information. You can include it in your regular marketing broadcast message. Here’s an example text that would fulfill compliance requirements:

STYLE: New arrivals just dropped! Come see our latest trends: https://www.style.com Text HELP for help, STOP to opt-out

The best practice is to consistently include this language on either the first or last message of each month. Listrak customers can easily insert HELP and STOP instructions into a message with just one click.

Okay — now you know the minimum SMS cadence required (and what information to include) to maintain compliance. But what if you want to maximize engagement and revenue? To make the most of your SMS marketing program, you’ll need to increase your frequency.

The Best SMS Cadence to Maximize Customer Engagement

If you want to see the best results from your SMS marketing efforts, you should send one message per week to your entire list. This regular cadence is especially important for businesses in the first six months of launching an SMS channel. When you’re just getting started, a few reasons you should send weekly messages include:

  • Building Awareness – Sending consistent, frequent messages creates multiple touchpoints. The practice helps you build brand awareness with users within the channel.
  • No “Warm up” Period Needed – With a new email list, you need to “warm up” the list by initially limiting outgoing messages, then gradually sending more over time. Fortunately, SMS lists don’t require the same considerations, so you can start sending to your entire list immediately without repercussions.
  • Breeding Engagement – Consistent sending breeds consistent engagement. By sending out a message every week, you’re inviting your customers — at consistent, repeated intervals — to engage with your brand. Soon, they start to expect and anticipate your messages and look forward to engaging with them.

What About Established SMS Programs?

If you have a more mature SMS program, should you follow a different cadence? Actually, the weekly send cadence is ideal for established programs as well. You want to keep up consistent outreach, so even inactive contacts receive regular touchpoints.

When your broadcast cadence starts to lose consistency, engagement is likely to decrease. That’s when click-through rates can take a nosedive. The lesson? When you’re not consistently, frequently sending messages to your list, you’ve leaving revenue on the table.

Need Help Maximizing SMS Revenue?

Whether you’ve got an established SMS channel or you’re just launching one, staying compliant is a must. By sending a minimum of one message per month (containing the requisite information) to your entire list, you’re in the clear. For brands looking to boost revenue, shoot for one message per week. 

Want more guidance on maintaining compliance and maximizing your SMS revenue? Contact us today and get the conversation started for either SMS, or a complete best-of-breed integrated marketing platform to orchestrate your entire campaigns.

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