Opt-in text messaging mandatory. It is the only legal way for a company to text its audience. Here are some of the most important factors brands should consider before they text.
What is opt-in text messaging?
Opting in gives your audience the chance to let you know it’s okay for you to communicate with them via text. Opt-in means they choose to get texts from your company — whether they’re from marketing, order updates or customer service — and they can opt out any time. Getting your audience to opt in is a great way to get buy-in to your messages and avoid spamming your customers.
What are the regulations for text messaging?
Opt-in text messaging is regulated by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This law prevents companies from calling and texting consumers without explicit consent. In other words, you’re not allowed to contact your audience or leads by phone unless they give you clear and obvious permission.
According to the TCPA, your business must provide certain information to your audience before asking them to opt-in. This information includes what you’re going to be texting them about. Are you sticking to order updates and billing reminders or are you going to use text messaging for customer service or for sales and marketing? You need to tell your audience exactly what types of messages they should expect to see from you. This way, they’re informed when they make their opt-in decision.
The opt-in is your friend, not your enemy
You may be wondering why it wouldn’t just be easier or faster to simply purchase and upload a list of contacts that you can send messages to. Obviously it would be, but the law doesn’t allow for this type of contact with customers. If you do reach out through this method, your messages will be considered spam.
Building a list the slow and steady (and legal) way is actually much more effective for you in the long run. Consumers who feel comfortable enough with your company to agree to receive text messages from you to your phone are consumers who are at least interested enough in your brand to want to hear from you. This is an audience that is likely to be engaged and enjoy your communication with them. If you don’t go through the proper channels to procure your list, not only are you in violation of TCPA and your audience’s privacy, you’re also not reaping the benefits of an already-engaged list.
Plus, telling your contacts exactly what and how often you’re going to text them is an even better way to build a solid contact list. This means that your contacts already know what to expect from you, and they like it enough to get your messages sent right to their fingertips.
How to get your audience to opt-in
There are a number of effective ways to entice your audience to opt-in to your text messages. One of the most powerful ways is to incentivize them through a special offer or promotion for opting in. This gets your contact through the door and gives them something valuable in return. You can do this by advertising your deal on your website, via email or an ad with a keyword that they can text to you to opt in.
You can also get customers to join your text messaging list by giving an option to provide their phone number and opt in right at checkout. This is a great strategy for companies looking to engage existing customers, and sending existing customers special promotions can engage them even further.
Companies should always be open to one-to-one conversations with customers. For this, text messaging can be a great choice. If you’re going this route, for customer service or scheduling, for example, you could provide an option for the customer to reach out to you via text first. Then, you follow up with an opt-in message to get their explicit consent. This message can take the form of the conversation — casual and personal — but must achieve explicit permission before you can continue the conversation.
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