Dear MDT – Episode 3: Will Text Message Marketing Land Me in Prison?

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Dear MDT: Will my text message marketing campaign land me in prison?

Probably won’t end up in prison because of text messaging marketing, but I get why you’re asking.

There’s no question, out of all your options for delivering marketing messages, text message deployments come with the highest regulatory risks.

Which is so frustrating as a marketer cause texts are so darn effective. From a click-through-rate perspective, many times the performance of emails.

So how do you walk this high risk, high reward tightrope that is text message marketing? Well, there’s no absolute way to avoid risk, cause there’s a lot of gray area around text messaging regulations. But here are some tactics we see employed to help minimize risks.

Text Messaging Regulation Strategies:

  1. Only deploy texts to organically generated contacts: Did you purchase a list, or buy contact data from a 3 rd party? You just don’t know how they got that data and if they secured the appropriate opt-ins. And you’re on the hook for their missteps.
  2. Clear TCPA Disclosures: Make sure your lead capture forms always have TCPA disclosures clearly visible so there’s no potential for confusion. Some software even enables you to screenshot your form exactly how it looks when a user filled it in, providing you physical evidence should you get tangled up in a lawsuit.
  3. Opt-Out testing: most text platforms are pretty solid at making sure opt-out requests suppress future texts from deploying, but it’s definitely something worth testing. More importantly though, we occasionally find companies who are actually using multiple messaging services that don’t communicate with each other, which means an opt-out from 1 system will not suppress deployments from the other. That is a problem. Test for it.
  4. Only send 1 automated text: A practice MDT employs for the risk-averse, if you only have 1 text programmed into your marketing automation workflow, you greatly minimize risk compared to campaigns that deploy multiple text messages.
  5. Daytime deployment only: Only send during daytime, usually between the hours of 8am-8pm. We use email to fill in this gap in time, then send our texts out the following morning.

When it comes to marketing communications, navigating the regulatory environment can be
complicated. No, you likely wouldn’t end up in prison for TCPA violations, though your company
could face some hefty fines. It’s not something you want to mess with.

MDT has been helping businesses build and deploy automated, omni-channel marketing
campaigns (including text messages) for over 15 years. If you have questions, we probably have
answers. Schedule a discovery call and let us help you. Schedule your call here.

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