Similar to calling, your SMS messages need to adhere to strict best practices to ensure you don’t breach end-recipient trust and industry compliance requirements. It’s more likely for your audience to engage with high quality, well-formatted SMS content, which also reduces the risk you’ll be marked as a spam or scam. Use this list to help:
1. Obtain and Store Direct Consent
Always collect consent directly from your end-recipients yourself. Don’t use consent acquired from a third party. Someone’s consent can never be bought, sold, rented, transferred, or shared.
Additionally, your SMS recipients must explicitly opt in to receive messages from you. Your opt in process must clearly explain to your customers that they consent to receive SMS messages from you after opting in.
Last, mobile carriers may ask you to provide proof, so keep a record of text message consent for any contact you text.
2. Use One Recognizable Source Number
Using a primary number for both text and voice calls is recommended—avoid running all your business traffic on multiple numbers for the same messaging campaign. The use of multiple numbers isn’t prohibited, but it can make you look like a potential spam, scam, and non-compliant business.
3. Enabling Voice Components
If you’re only interested in messaging campaigns, enable voice recording for a better end-recipient experience. If you don’t, consumers could receive the “this number is not in service” message if they call the phone number you’re sending messages from. That could encourage them to flag the number as spam or scam. If you don’t want to enable voice service, consider a voicemail message that includes your business name and directs the consumer back to the messaging experience.
4. Use One Recognizable Domain Name
Associate each program with your web domain. A full domain is preferred, but a short, branded URL can also be used to deliver custom links. This adds a level of continuity with your end-recipients to improve brand awareness and confidence in the links you send.
You should also avoid using public URL shorteners, like Bitly. Messages that contain these links are often immediately blocked by the carrier because so many spammers, scammers, and fraudsters employ this tactic.
5. Use Natural Language
Always use natural language in your messages. Always avoid weird, unnatural, and non-standard spelling like: “H3y th3re.”
6. Set Expectations On Frequency
Always set expectations for how often your end-recipients will receive messages from you. If you’re sending 2 SMS messages each month, disclose that you’ll do so on the first interaction with your audience.
7. Business Recognition
Include your businesses’ name within the SMS message so your end-recipients know who they’re interacting with. Otherwise, it looks like you’re attempting to hide your identity.
8. Length of Message
It’s recommended that you keep your messages to 160 characters or below for the best customer experience.
9. Ending with “Stop” and “Help”
Always give your end-recipients control to remove themselves from your text communications by including the opt-out keyword “Stop.” Alternatively, you can include “Help” at the end of your messages so they can receive help if needed.
You need to use a carrier compliant SMS solution, like PhoneBurner, for Help / Stop technology to work. This is a built-in feature with PhoneBurner, so you can keep your business safe and compliant.
10. Transitioning Messaging Programs to a New Phone Number
You must disclose when a recurring message program will transition from one phone number to another. When you do so, a new opt-in must occur to ensure you have full consumer consent. Use these steps to help transition your messages:
- On the old application address, send a final message to all consumers who have opted in to that program. This message must disclose:
- The number for the new application address that will send recurring messages
- The recurring message program’s name or product description
- Opt-out information
- Other important details, like customer support contact information, etc
- You must send a second message within 24 hours on the new application address, which must include:
- The recurring message program name or product description
- Opt-out information
- Customers support contact info
- Disclosure of message frequency
- If an end-recipient replies with “Stop” or other similar command words, you must:
- Halt all messages to them
- Immediately discontinue the recurring message program on the old phone number
- Expiring a Messaging Program
You must expire all messaging campaigns that no longer function in the market.
- Prohibited Messaging Practices and Campaign Content
- PhoneBurner’s Acceptable Use Policy for SMS Messaging