★ Ultimate guide to sms marketing ★



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When done properly, SMS marketing campaigns leave both customers and businesses happy. But when done improperly, texting campaigns can become intrusive or spammy. To prevent this, you need to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Express written consent

This is the most important aspect of compliance. The TCPA requires that you get “express written consent” from your recipients before you add them to your text marketing campaigns. Customers can express consent and opt in to your program by texting in a keyword, submitting a form on your website, or filling out a paper form. Failure to get consent from recipients before sending them text market messages is a TCPA violation.

It’s important to note that this written consent can’t be buried in a pages-long consent form full of legalese. Consent must be clear and conspicuous, so the recipient knows what they’re signing up for.


Once a subscriber opts in, they should receive a confirmation text containing relevant information about the program and important disclaimers. All of the information below should be contained in the confirmation message, though abbreviations are allowed.


  • Validation

    You should confirm that the user has successfully subscribed to your text marketing program.

  • Your identity

    The business or organization’s name should be in the confirmation text to prevent any possible confusion.

  • Message frequency

    Include the approximate number of messages the customer should expect to receive in a given week or month. This will prevent any unexpected or intrusive texts.

  • Opt-out language

    This information is critical. You must include the keyword a customer can use to unsubscribe from your text marketing list. This usually takes the form “Text STOP to stop.”

  • Help language

    If a customer is confused, they should be able to get help by texting the appropriate keyword (usually “HELP”) to receive additional ways of contacting the business, such as an email address or a phone number.

  • Message and data rates

    Even though unlimited texting is becoming more common, many users may not have unlimited texting or data, so you must inform your subscribers that these charges may be incurred.

The industry

Like many industries, there are a few governance bodies to pay attention to. It’s important to be aware of the roles they play in enforcing compliance rules.


  • SMS aggregator

    A service that relays a text message from an SMS software platform to individual wireless carriers.

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    SMS software platform

    An online program that a business uses to manage their text marketing campaigns.

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    Wireless carrier

    The mobile phone companies such as Verizon and AT&T that deliver SMS messages to their subscribers.

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    The company that creates and manages all 5 or 6 digit phone numbers (SMS short codes) in the United States.

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    Originally the “Cellular Telephone Industries Association” and now known as “The Wireless Association,” this trade group enforces certain industry rules via audits.

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    The Federal Communications Commission, charged with enforcing federal law and TCPA regulations.

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    The Mobile Marketing Association, an organization of text marketing firms that publishes industry best practices for text marketers.

Now that we’ve covered industry standards and best practices, it’s time to dive into what you can do to make your campaigns stand out to your customers.

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