The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a law enforced by the FCC to regulate companies conducting telephone, voicemail, fax, VoIP call, and text message solicitations. The “solicitations” part refers to any phone call initiated in order to advertise goods or services, which covers investments, rentals, subscriptions, and other assets for purchase.
The TCPA is intended to regulate telemarketing activities so that consumers are protected from an influx of spam calls or scams from unverified sources. This helps safeguard their privacy by keeping sensitive data away from prying eyes. Those restrictions are often imposed on dialing systems and prerecorded voice messages.
As a business entity, you are required to comply with TCPA guidelines as described in the following checklist:
1. Obtain express consent from new members
Filled-out consent forms must be documented either online or on paper to include the customer’s personal details.
2. Provide disclosure with the “welcome” message
After a customer texts a short keyword, you can follow up with a mobile alert, showing them what options are available.
3. Clearly explain the Terms of Service to your users
Make sure your subscribers can access the SMS communications policy page to remind them of the latest events and special promotions.
4. Don’t communicate outside of business hours
The TCPA states that businesses should not contact subscribers prior to 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM because that comes across as intrusive.
5. Sign off each message with your business name
Your business name must be visible on every text message with clear instructions for any users of the app or service.
6. Give consumers the option to unsubscribe
Under the TCPA, you are advised to set up a “STOP” action for pausing SMS messages on each announcement delivered.
7. Always adhere to the Do Not Call registry
It’s illegal to call or text those listed on this registry, out of respect for consumer privacy and all opt-out decisions.
The important thing is that third parties obtain explicit consent from consumers before calling them or sending messages to encourage a business transaction. Once they agree to receive the promotions, the merchant must divulge the full extent of their SMS notifications in case the consumer wants to opt out.
It’s crucial that you understand how these terms apply to text message marketing if you ever plan on launching an SMS campaign. The goal here is to avoid legal liability and ensure you don’t run into TCPA violations by accident, as penalties can harm your brand’s reputation.
That being said, some conditions are exempt from the written clause, such as calls or messages in response to a prior invitation or permission, as well as towards established partners and sponsors. The best practices of text message marketing usually start with providing the caller’s name, company, and phone number.
Text message marketing is a faster way to communicate than sending emails. In fact, SMS messages have a much higher read rate, enabling businesses to reach their customers easily. Send notifications at timed intervals to foster long-term relationships with your customers and further increase conversions on a variety of products.