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SMS Compliance Guide

Opt-In Methods

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We’ve highlighted the fact that you can’t send customers texts without their permission. In this section, we’ll overview different sign-up or opt-in methods as well as everything required from you to ensure the process is as legal and smooth as butter—nay, margarine.


Once you’ve picked a number for your business or organization, it’s a good idea to create keywords. A keyword is a word or phrase that people can text to your number in order to sign up for your messages. If someone texts in a keyword, this counts as express consent.

[Watch: How to Set Up a Keyword]

Part of your responsibility when using keywords is to advertise them properly. You must include your campaign purpose, message frequency, info about message and data rates, plus a link to your terms and conditions and privacy policy. Below is an example of compliant call-to-action. We’ll show you more examples of compliant CTAs in the next chapter.


To finalize the opt-in process, new contacts must get an immediate reply that includes: your business/program name, STOP instructions, HELP instructions, frequency of messages, and finally the phrase “Msg&Data rates may apply.” At SimpleTexting, we set up this message for you. All you have to do is adjust how many messages you plan to send per month a.k.a the frequency. We’ll take care of sending it out when someone signs up.

Graphic Generator

This tool enables you to create an eye-catching graphic to promote your keyword in minutes. Importantly, we also automatically generate CTIA-compliant terms for you, greatly simplifying the process. All you have to do is enter a few details, like how often you plan to text your subscribers.


Mobile Sign-Up Widget

You can also make an engaging sign-up experience for potential and existing customers. Create a button that opens up a pop-up with a graphic promoting your SMS program. When your customers click on the call-to-action, it launches their messaging app, with both the SMS prewritten and your contacts prefilled. The best part is that, similarly to the Graphic Generator, your pop-up graphic is 100% CTIA-compliant.


Web Forms

Another straightforward way to gain subscribers is with a webform. We’ve built the ability to create sign up forms right into our platform. Adding one to your website is as easy as copying and pasting a small piece of code.

However, if you decide to add a phone number field to an existing form, be sure to have a box that users must check to opt-in for messages. This checkbox cannot be pre-checked.

[Watch: How to Add a Sign-Up Form to Your Site]

Paper Forms

We get it. Some people like to keep it old school. You can absolutely use a paper form to collect phone numbers and get express consent. Just like with a web form, your paper form should have a checkbox that people need to tick off to sign up for messages. Never send a message to someone who hasn’t clearly checked the box, and always store your completed forms in a safe place for reference.

Of course, the methods above only work if you promote them. In other words, you need to tell customers about your keyword, drive traffic to your web form, and get your paper form in front of people. In the next section, we’ll go into requirements you should follow when promoting your SMS marketing list.

💡 Key Takeaways:

  • Opt-in is the process of a customer giving their express written consent to a business for the purpose of receiving promotional messages which, in turn, makes them subscribers of your text marketing platform.
  • People can opt-in to your messages using keywords, web forms or even paper forms.

Disclaimer: Please note that this advice is for informational purposes only and is neither intended as nor should be substituted for consultation with appropriate legal counsel and/or your organization’s regulatory compliance team.


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