Sms Regulations 2023: Important Facts You Should Know

Landline Remover
Share post:

Important Facts You Should Know Regarding SMS Regulations for 2023

Your marketing campaign’s greatest aim is to reach as many quality leads as possible. There are many ways to do this, including television advertising, print, and email. Over the years, SMS marketing has proven to be one of the most effective—and cheapest—marketing and communication channels out there. Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile phones, SMS marketing enables your business to remain in contact with customers at the touch of a button. Granted, the advantages of this lucrative marketing strategy are met with SMS regulations that you are legally obligated to adhere to.


Source: Unsplash

SMS regulations may seem like unreasonable hurdles at first, but the reality is they exist for the betterment of everyone. That’s because SMS regulations aim to protect not only your client’s rights to privacy but also your marketing budget and business as a whole. Fortunately, you don’t have to go down the SMS regulation rabbit hole alone. There are several applications available to help you stay on the right side of the law. This includes your new go-to contact list scrubber, Landline Remover.

What Is SMS Marketing?

Typically, consumers use SMS to connect with friends and family. Though ample other forms of communication have arisen over the years, texting still remains popular due to its ease of use and affordability. SMS marketing capitalizes on the ubiquity of mobile phones by sending business advertisements straight to consumers’ pockets. The low costs of bulk texting make it an attractive option and a worthwhile addition to any multichannel marketing campaign.

Although a personal mobile phone will suffice for daily texts, businesses must rely on business text messaging software to properly implement bulk texting. Such software is useful because it also allows you to schedule texts, meaning companies can plan their future texts to align with their marketing strategies in advance. This is useful because it may sometimes violate SMS regulations to send marketing texts during late hours. Instead, use the time to plan the texts you want to send, then schedule them to be sent later.

SMS marketing sets itself apart from other marketing channels because it feels way more personal than a billboard on the freeway. Emojis and text lingo can help make texts feel even less robotic, as though a friend is texting rather than a faceless corporation. While customers realize that the company CEO isn’t on the other side of the screen texting them in real-time, bulk texting’s personalized addressing still helps them feel seen as people instead of numbers. Believe it or not, the right keyboard strokes can go a long way in fostering consumer trust and company sales these days.

Granted, as effective as SMS messaging is, there are some downsides. Most notably, you are generally limited to 160 characters—leaving longer messages to be split up into multiple fragmented texts. This can be confusing for the recipient, especially if the texts don’t arrive in the correct order. To add more content to your individual texts, you’ll have to opt for MMS. For a slightly higher price tag, you get to enjoy a limitless realm of text messaging—including access to 1600 characters per text as well as the freedom to send images, video, and audio.

Is SMS Still Relevant?

With so many other modern marketing channels available, it’s only natural to ask whether SMSs are still relevant. While assuming they’ve been replaced by social media and other communication channels would be fair, research paints a very different picture. Americans sent 2,000 billion texts in 2021 alone. Yeah, 2,000 billion. A literally unfathomable amount. Needless to say, SMS isn’t only relevant, she might just be the one.

Consumers don’t just want to rely on them for personal communication, either. Over half of them have a strong desire for businesses to utilize texts as well. You can give them what they want by sending simple appointment reminders, reiterating time-sensitive sales, relaying price changes, offering product tips and tricks, or just stopping in to say “Happy holidays!”. The contexts in which SMS marketing are truly limitless.

Benefits of SMS Texting

SMS marketing continues to remain relevant thanks to the numerous benefits it brings. One of the biggest advantages SMS marketing brings is its immediacy. Consumers regularly ignore calls and emails, whereas SMS texts seldom suffer the same fate. A staggering 90% of texts are opened within 3 minutes! Have a flash sale going on? New stock just arrived? Text is the quickest, most bountiful way to inform your customers.

You also have the option to establish automated texts. These are useful texts you send out when customers perform certain activities. For example, if a customer leaves items in their cart for a day, an automated text can be sent out to remind them that they still have items waiting to be purchased. There’s no user input necessary and it helps clients continue along the customer journey.

Is SMS Still Relevant as a Marketing Tool?

SMS marketing has managed to retain its relevance in the face of emerging communication platforms. This doesn’t mean that you should rely on it solely, but it is an indication that it cannot be ignored. Most of, if not all, your customers have mobile phones. Where social media might be confusing for older generations, texts are understood by all. Your competitors are still using text marketing. As research reveals, 60% of businesses increased their SMS budget in 2022. Failure to invest in SMS marketing could leave you in the dust as customers opt for businesses that embrace texting.

One of the biggest advantages of SMS marketing is its unmatched simplicity. With email and other forms of marketing, you typically have to worry about a lot of factors to ensure uniform branding. This includes images, formatting, and color schemes. In contrast, SMS marketing only requires a few short sentences. This lightens the workload of your marketing team without mitigating the impact of your business’s marketing.

SMS marketing remains relevant because it also allows customers to reply to texts. This opens up a convenient communication channel between consumers and businesses. Convenience and communication are two pillars of getting a leg up on the competition.

Marketers are also continually finding new contexts to use SMS marketing. You can use it for customer support, prompting clients to readily receive answers to FAQs. You can also use it to give customers relevant updates along their customer journey. For example, use it to let customers know when their items have shipped so they can keep a lookout.

SMS Marketing: B2C vs B2B

Needless to say, you can use SMS marketing in a variety of contexts. This includes business-to-customer (B2C) marketing and business-to-business (B2B) marketing, too. When dealing with end-user customers (B2C), there are plenty of contexts to use SMS texting in. This includes events such as birthdays, welcome messages, and booking confirmations.

If you use SMS marketing for B2B sales marketing, you can adapt your texts for sales, promotions, and new stock updates. You can also use it to remind clients of outstanding bills alongside a link to a formal invoice. The adaptability of texting also allows you to cater your language to different audiences. When utilizing B2C marketing, you can dip into informal text language. When utilizing B2B marketing, it may be a better idea to keep things a little more formal.

Top Industries That Use SMS Marketing

There are countless industries where you can use SMS marketing to connect with clients. You see it increasingly in the real estate industry. Using SMS marketing, agents can quickly let customers know of open-house viewings so they can be among the first to see the property and make an offer. Using keywords, customers can also text shortcodes to learn about houses that are for sale. Reminding clients about appointments is also useful in the real estate industry, as it saves everyone precious time and keeps the house-hunting journey on track.

The healthcare industry also needs to constantly stay in contact with its clients, so it benefits a great deal from SMS marketing. Hospitals, dentists, optometrists, healthcare insurance providers, and other sectors of the healthcare industry can use texting to remind clients of appointments, important dates for healthcare plan renewals, and other information. SMS marketing also works well in the healthcare industry for reminding clients about annual appointments they should be making. For example, a dentist could send yearly reminders to clients reminding them to get their teeth checked, and pharmacies can alert clients that flu shots are available when the season comes.

Banks and other financial institutions have also begun leaning on SMS marketing. It’s an efficient way to let customers know about changing interest rates and other important financial information. Perhaps most notably, you can use it to alert customers when there has been activity on their account. This allows customers to quickly spot and report any fraudulent acts before things get out of hand.

Though not as ubiquitous as mobile phones, cars are extremely common in their own right. Anyone who has owned a vehicle knows that it is never a once-off purchase. Cars require constant maintenance and care, which has led to a flourishing automotive industry. Those in this industry can leverage SMS marketing to let customers know about sales or to remind them about scheduled repair appointments. You can also use texts to let customers know when their car is ready to be picked up after repairs, and when it is due for routine maintenance.

Source: Unsplash

Law firms also stand to gain a lot from SMS marketing. This is is an industry where time is of the essence, after all. Furthermore, lawyers demand a lot of their clients to achieve the desired outcome. That’s why seamless communication and scheduling are particularly important in this industry. Law firms of all stripes can ensure there are fewer missed meetings or outstanding forms with SMS marketing. You can inform your clients of upcoming meetings or case updates with a simple text. You can also gently remind them that they still have some forms to fill out or boxes to tick. Thanks to the high open rates of SMSs, your customers are far more likely to see the message if you text it instead of emailing it.

The solar industry is an increasingly growing one. Quickly, the world is realizing the shortcomings of non-renewable energy sources, making solar energy very attractive. It can be implemented in many ways, including through solar panels. SMS marketing is a crucial way of making the public more aware of solar power and how accessible it is. A simple text with a link can start the customer journey that results in a client adopting solar energy.

Lastly, businesses in travel and tourism can also benefit greatly from SMS marketing. This is an industry where customers make constant reservations and appointments. Texting allows you to remind customers of the arrangements they’ve made. You can also entice customers to consider certain locations by including paradisal pictures or adrenaline-fueled videos. Though the latter does require you to invest in the slightly more expensive MMS, sometimes that pesky old saying is true: you’ve got to spend money to make money.

What is SMS Regulation?

In the spirit of old adages, here’s one more: with great power comes great responsibility. Now that we understand the world of bulk text messaging and what SMS can do for your business, it’s imperative to understand the rules of the game. SMS regulations have been established to ensure that consumers aren’t inundated with texts that they do not want. While these regulations differ across countries, all of them share the value of informed consent.

In short, this means that customers must have agreed to receive your SMS marketing texts before you send them. You should also provide an easy way for customers to stop receiving messages if they no longer want them (think “Text OPT OUT if you wish to stop receiving XYZ’s marketing materials”). It’s worth noting that many countries have these regulations enshrined in law. That means failing to comply with them can land you and your business in hot legal waters—with the only way out being hefty fines.

That’s why it’s mission-critical to avoid numbers that don’t wish to receive SMS marketing like the plague. Firstly, doing so helps you avoid expensive fines. Secondly, it prevents your business’s brand from being viewed as a greedy spammer. Lastly, you no longer waste your marketing budget on consumers who aren’t receptive to SMS marketing, allowing you to better focus on those who are.

About the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

One of the SMS regulations that should be guiding your campaign is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This is a set of regulations established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) back in 1991. Since then, it has been constantly updated to take into account new forms of telemarketing, including SMS marketing.

Because of the Act, businesses must receive written consent from consumers before sending messages. Merely obtaining the client’s number—even if they willingly gave it to you—does not serve as adequate consent. In addition to requiring written consent, the TCPA also requires telemarketers to give consumers the option to easily opt out.

As a consumer yourself, you’ll likely agree that there are several reasons why someone might not want to receive SMS marketing. Perhaps that particular number is solely for work purposes. Maybe they just don’t like being flooded with corporate texts. Regardless of the rhyme or reason, you have to respect these preferences and refrain from texting numbers that have not consented to receive SMS marketing. Businesses that do not comply are liable to be fined up to $1500 per text sent! Clearly, the economical option is to ensure that your business is compliant with the TCPA.

Why Consent For SMS Marketing Matters

It may be tempting to question why the issue of consent is so prominent in SMS regulations. You can trace this back to the creation of the TCPA. The Act was created as a response to increased telemarketing that went beyond convenience and became a nuisance to consumers. Through automated devices, businesses were able to call thousands of numbers at a time and play pre-recorded sales pitches. Though communication with key businesses is useful, nobody wants to be inundated with advertisements all day.

It is relatively easy for you to gain consent to SMS marketing. Many businesses use keywords to activate telemarketing. For example, a real estate agent may have a lawn sign with a short keyword such as “HOUSE17” to receive texts about the property. Your business should be known for its quality work. Sending unsolicited will cause it to be known for sending annoying spam. Protect your business’s reputation by ensuring that your marketing is sent to the right people and in the right quantities.

You should give users who choose to opt into your SMS marketing access to important information, too. This includes a privacy policy and terms of service document that informs them of how the number should be stored, what kind of messages subscribers will receive, and how to opt out.

The Importance of SMS Opt-in and Opt-out Options

Although text marketing is remarkably effective, SMS regulations require you to ensure that your customers have opted into the service and wish to receive such marketing. As previously discussed, you do this by having customers text a code. You can also ask customers to fill in a physical or online form. Make use of modern platforms and offer opt-in portals through web pop-ups. To cover your bases when it comes to SMS regulations, you can also implement double opt-in. This is when it requires two steps for a customer to subscribe to SMS marketing.

Sometimes, customers may decide they don’t want SMS marketing anymore. If they do not want to receive such marketing, you must make it easy for them to opt out. It’s useless to make doing so difficult because the customer has already indicated that they are not receptive to that kind of marketing. To continue marketing to them using that method would just be a waste of your resources. Furthermore, the annoyance repeated, unwanted soliciting causes only stands to negatively impact how your brand perception. A simple way to let customers opt out is to prompt them to text “STOP”.

About the CAN-SPAM Act

In addition to the TCPA, you also have to be wary of the CAN-SPAM Act. It is a law that guides how businesses send any “electronic mail message, the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” Violations can cost a business up to $46,517 per message—that’s right, more than some people’s salary!—so it’s wise for businesses to take it very seriously. The CAN-SPAM act covers text marketing, so it is without a doubt one of the biggest SMS regulations to consider when planning your marketing strategy.

The CAN-SPAM makes seven main requests of businesses. Most of them simply ask for honesty. Businesses are told to not use misleading headers or deceptive subject lines. It’s your responsibility to make it clear that your message is an ad. You must tell consumers how to opt out. These requests must be honored. You must also monitor what others do for you. Although some businesses choose to outsource their SMS marketing, they are still responsible for any violations committed by the third party.

About the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

SMS regulations are a good thing because they protect consumers from unwanted messages. Furthermore, they help to protect minors, ensuring their information isn’t taken advantage of. One of the ways this is done is through the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The Act is taken very seriously by regulating bodies. You can expect to pay up to $46,517 per violation.

The Act requires websites to have a clearly written privacy notice. It should reveal who is collecting and maintaining the information supplied to the website. Additionally, it must explain how the data will be used, and whether it will be made available to third parties. Notably, COPPA also requires websites to acquire verifiable parental consent before collecting and using information from children. There are a rare few exceptions to COPPA, such as to protect a child’s safety, and respond to a child’s one-time request if the information is immediately deleted afterward.

Source: Unsplash

The Federal Trade Commission lists a few items as personal information, including telephone numbers. Consequently, you need to be careful when collecting numbers for your contact list. Ensure you have parental consent if you have children under the age of 13 on your contact list. You are also required to treat a minor’s first and last name as personal data. Consider this if you plan on personalizing your texts.

To avoid breaching COPPA, you need to have a COPPA-compliant privacy policy. It should explain parental rights, along with their right to refuse disclosure of their children’s personal information. You then need to provide notice to parents if you wish to acquire information from minors. Among other factors, the notice should inform parents precisely what the information will be used for. Lastly, you need to acquire verifiable consent. You can do this through a written document, or by using a credit or debit card to verify identity.

Regulation Bodies That Cover SMS Marketing

SMS marketing has exploded in popularity. In response, there have been several regulatory bodies established to ensure that businesses adhere to SMS regulations. It is your responsibility to ensure that you remain knowledgeable of the latest regulations and adhere to them. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse!

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA)

In the USA, telemarketers use the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) guidelines to help them keep within SMS regulations. The guidelines are enforced by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). This organization reports non-compliers, and this can result in major mobile carriers shutting down marketing campaigns. The guidelines are relatively simple to abide by. The recipient should be told what they’re being sold, and there should be URLs to the terms and conditions of the seller. There should also be a statement explaining how to opt out of receiving further texts.

Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)

The MMA is a non-profit trade organization that represents all players in the mobile marketing chain, including both the marketers and the recipients. Its headquarters are in the USA, although it has chapters in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia Pacific. It seeks to establish acceptable industry practices and common wireless carrier policies.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a government organization that regulates communication by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in the country. It bans text messages sent to mobile phones via an autodialer. You can only send texts if the customer has given consent, or there is an emergency. For commercial texts, consent must be written. Consumers are protected by the FCC regardless of whether they are signed up with the Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry or not.

Briefly defined, the DNC registry was established by the FCC to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing. Consumers can add their number to the registry for free. Telemarketers are not allowed to contact the numbers on the registry. Those who do may be subject to hefty fines. It’s worth noting that many businesses have been fined significantly since the DNC was established. This is an indication that the FCC does not make idle threats and is willing to uphold its regulations no matter what.

About International SMS Laws

Regardless of what country you’re established in, there are SMS regulations that you will be subject to. Failure to comply with these regulations will land your business in a lot of hot water. In the USA, for instance, you mainly have to worry about the TCPA and the CAP-ACT. These guide you with regards to which consumers wish to receive SMS marketing and which don’t.

Canadian telemarketers, however, have to worry about the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation law. It functions very much like the laws in the USA. Businesses that make use of electronic communication for telemarketing must provide consent. They must also provide an easy way for customers to opt out of receiving the marketing.

Similarly, Australia has the Australian Communications and Media Authority. It has three main concerns: consent, identification, and opt-out. Firstly, the telemarketer must gain consent before sending a single message. Secondly, the telemarketer must clearly identify themselves or the business. Lastly, you are also expected to give clear opt-out methods and honor all opt-out requests. There are other rules you must respect as well. For example, clients have a reasonable expectation of privacy during the quiet hours of 9 PM to 8 AM.

European SMS Regulations

Meanwhile, businesses in the European Union must adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Once again, the name of the game is protecting users from unwanted electronic communication, including texts. Consequently, it demands that you first acquire consent and make any data collected anonymous to secure privacy.

In the United Kingdom, there are the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) and the Data Protection Act. PECR applies to electronic marketing and website tracking. The Data Protection Act controls how businesses use and store information. These Acts and regulations help to control how data is collected. They also stress that data cannot be kept for longer than necessary, and that data must be used fairly and transparently.

SMS Marketing Best Practices For Compliance

The most basic way to ensure you comply with all SMS regulations is to get consent from consumers before sending any marketing. This way, you’ll know that you’re only texting customers that want to receive texts. Take into account the age of the person you’re getting consent from. If they are younger than 13, you likely need permission from their parents.

Every message should also give information on how to opt out. Honor this request, and do so as fast as possible. While you may run into trouble due to previously established automated texts, the customer should never be receiving texts weeks or months after the fact.

You also need to remain abreast of the latest laws and regulations—and how they affect your business. For some, the easier option is simply to outsource their SMS marketing. If you choose to outsource your SMS marketing efforts, make sure you do your due diligence to find the right partner. You will still be held liable for any violations!

Or, you can keep things in-house with the help of tools that can help you scrub your contact list and remove unwanted numbers. This includes Landline Remover, which lets you know when your contact list has numbers on the Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

How A2P 10DLC Changes SMS Marketing

Luckily for us, A2P 10DLC is simpler than it sounds. A2P stands for application to person. When businesses send marketing messages, they don’t do so from their personal phones because they lack the features necessary for bulk texts. Instead, they rely on an application to get the job done—and some of them are capable of sending thousands of texts per second.

The usual number people use for their personal mobiles is a 10DLC, also known as a 10-digit long code. Businesses can use shortcode, which contains 5 or 6 digits, but 10DLC is also available. You should consider A2P 10DLC because it’s cheaper than shortcodes and supports two-way conversational texting, opening up a convenient communication channel between your business and its customers.

Businesses have also chosen A2P 10DLC because it has higher text message delivery rates. Sometimes, message carriers might regard shortcode messages as spam. In contrast, once you’re approved for high-volume texting, you enjoy greater SMS delivery rates with 10DLC.

Top Tips For More Effective SMS Marketing in 2023

Mobile phones being capable of receiving texts 24/7 doesn’t mean they should receive texts 24/7. Between work, play, family, and wellness, your customers’ rest hours are a hot commodity. Leave them to bask in it, there’s always tomorrow to fire up the old marketing engine! Ideally, you should limit your texts to 8 AM to 9 PM. Not only is this respectful, it’s when your target audience can actually be receptive to what you’re selling.

It probably goes without saying that your texts shouldn’t feel pointless, either. Remember to include a call to action (CTA)! This is a sentence or two prompting clients to take the next step in the customer journey. For some businesses, this will be making a purchase. For others, it might be an instruction to set up an appointment. The CTA needs to be clear and conspicuous. If not, recipients will move on from your text without actually doing anything.

SMS texts are very short. Despite this, it is possible to get things wrong by using the wrong language. Over the years, texting has evolved its own lingo. For some businesses, it may be a good idea to dip into it a little bit. For more serious businesses, such as banks, it’s probably best to stick to a more formal tone. Furthermore, you should always be looking for ways to personalize your texts. Something as simple as including the customer’s name leaves them feeling less like just another customer, and more like a valued client.

Among the best tricks out there is to implement automated texts. These are texts that are automatically sent when a customer performs certain events. For example, if a customer leaves items in their shopping cart for a few days, an SMS will automatically deploy to remind them to complete the purchase. Similarly, when customers sign up with your business, an automated welcome SMS can make them feel more valued.

Lastly, ensure your texts are being sent to the right customers. For example, a sports store could limit its soccer advertising for customers that buy soccer products. Similarly, send a customer who prefers winter sports skiing adverts. They don’t need to know about summer sports sales. Lastly, be mindful of the SMS regulations that your business falls under. They may seem complex now, but staying on the right side of the law will inevitably save you a lot of headaches down the line. You can walk that line with confidence with Landline Remover in your back pocket!

SMS Regulation in 2023 Is Still Important

Text marketing hasn’t lost its relevance or value in modern times. It is still one of the most convenient ways to remain in contact with customers. Furthermore, it’s an instant, direct line of communication that boasts an impressively high open rate. This means your customers will read your messages right away, keeping them in the loop and you in their minds.

Not to mention, bulk texting is cost-effective. Paying fines for violating SMS regulations isn’t. There are quite a few regulations to abide by, and keeping up with them can feel like a full-time job that draws your employees’ attention away from other important matters. Thankfully, software like Landline Remover rolls up its digital sleeves to remove unwanted numbers from your contact list so you don’t have to.

Landline Remover Is the Contact List Scrubber You Need

We’re not kidding when we say Landline Remover is ridiculously easy to use. All you need to do is upload a CSV file of your contacts and you’ll have your list back with all the landline and DNC registry numbers separated in seconds. Removing these numbers is important because sending text messages to phones that can’t receive them—or worse, already opted out of doing so—wastes your marketing budget and breaches privacy laws.

The biggest thing to look out for when shopping for a contact list scrubber is its accuracy. Although no software can claim to be 100% accurate (yet), some do a much better job than others. Landline Remover uses data that’s no longer than 72 hours old from the Federal and State levels. This will give you the peace of mind that you won’t attract the ire of the FCC and be hit with fines.

Best of all, Landline Remover is super affordable for all-sized companies because you only pay for what you use. At just $0.002 per number or $2 for 1000 numbers checked, you almost can’t afford to not use it. Contact Landline Remover to get started with 1,000 free credits today!