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April 12, 2022

Automated Text Message Response Best Practices & SMS Compliance

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SMS compliance covers all the steps you take to send text marketing campaigns in a way that’s aligned with the relevant laws and that minimizes your risk for legal action.

Following text message marketing best practices will help you send the kind of messages your subscribers are not only more likely to respond to, but that they actually want to receive. Not just that–it’s also necessary to make sure your text message marketing campaigns aren’t breaking any laws. 

A successful SMS marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated; rather, it requires sticking to a few simple but important rules that will ensure deliverability and maximize engagement. We’ll cover the basics of SMS compliance and share some best practices to keep in mind as you establish your text marketing program.

What is SMS compliance?

SMS compliance covers all the steps you take to send text marketing campaigns in a way that’s aligned with the relevant laws and that minimizes your risk for legal action. SMS compliance requirements will vary by country and can even differ from one U.S. state to the next, so it’s important to have an understanding of the law anywhere you plan to send texts for marketing purposes. 

Here are a few of the top SMS compliance considerations. 

Opt-In

Opting in refers to the process by which people become subscribed to receive your text messages. You might collect customer phone numbers at the physical point of sale, via an input box on your website, by having users text a keyword to a specified number, or even collect phone numbers on a paper form. What’s important is that the customer gives their number to you–you don’t purchase it from a third party or scrub it from a database. Using phone numbers that have been submitted as part of an order or during some other interaction does not constitute opting in. 

Opt-Out

Text message marketing best practices require making it easy for customers to opt-out. Don’t make them jump through hoops or take multiple steps. Opting out of future text marketing campaigns should be as simple as clicking a link or replying to your correspondence with a word like ‘STOP.’

Consent

Consent means a subscriber has agreed to allow you to contact them for marketing purposes. The states with the strictest consent policies state that brands must have “express written consent” to text subscribers, so it’s a good idea to use this as your baseline.

Terms and Conditions

You should have a policy that governs how you’ll use subscriber data, including what level of privacy subscribers can expect. These are your terms and conditions, and they should be easily accessible for anyone who wants to look them over. Automatically sending a link to your terms and conditions page after a subscriber opts-in is a great way to share this information.

The benefits of text message marketing

Increase Visibility

SMS messages are the best form of digital marketing if you want to make sure your message is seen. They’re more reliable than email for visibility, with open rates hovering close to 100%. 

Boost Conversions

Because they’re so convenient to engage with, text marketing campaigns are a great way to gain conversions. Entice subscribers with exclusive deals, insider offers, and VIP perks that boost your bottom line. 

Nurture Leads

Text campaigns can help build brand awareness and affinity by helping prospective customers get to know you. Send bite-sized campaigns that contain useful information that corresponds with your sales funnel.

Automated text message response best practices

Collect Customer Data

You can learn a lot about your customers based on how they interact with your text campaigns: what they click on, whether they respond, and the types of messages they send back. You can also learn a lot in a more straightforward way: by asking them! Use SMS messages to distribute surveys and feedback polls that will help you provide better, more tailored service. 

Integrate With Other Channels

Text messaging is highly conducive to integration with other channels, like email and voice. Here are some examples:

  • Allowing subscribers to text to receive a call back instead of waiting on hold
  • Deflecting inbound calls by offering text-based support
  • Texting subscribers to let them know a sensitive document will be arriving via email
  • Emailing subscribers a special offer when they opt-in to receive marketing via text
  • Transitioning from text support to a voice call to tackle a complex customer service issue

Text message marketing best practices

Get Permission

We’ve covered consent already, but it bears repeating: get permission before sending marketing messages via text. Permission should be explicit, so that the customer knows exactly what kind of communications they’ll be receiving and that they can opt-out at any time. 

Use Consistent Frequency

A social media user might see the same Facebook ad ten times without becoming annoyed, but send just one text too many and you’ll lose a subscriber in as much time as it takes to type UNSUBSCRIBE. Text message marketing is different from other marketing platforms in that frequency really matters. It’s best to limit communications to a few times per month, or 1-2 times per week tops. 

Be Mindful Of Send Times

Likewise, the time of day you send messages matters. During normal business hours or in the early evening (in your recipient’s local time zone) is best. Note that there are more specific restrictions on timing if you’re sending messages for the purpose of collecting a debt. 

Personalize Messages

One of the greatest advantages of text messages is that they’re highly suited to personalization–so use them! Leverage data from your CRM to tailor messages based on the customer’s buyer persona, stage in the sales funnel, past purchase history, support interactions and more. 

Shorten Messages

Though your campaign might originate from SMS software on a desktop, be mindful that your text message marketing campaigns will be viewed on mobile phones. So, the message should be short and to the point, with a clear call to action.  

Analyze And Optimize

Use an SMS platform that offers easily accessible reporting on your text campaign performance. This way you can continually analyze your results and tweak future campaigns to increase ROI.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best practices for SMS in digital marketing?

When sending text messages for digital marketing purposes, follow these best practices:

  • Obtain the subscriber’s express consent
  • Make opting out easy
  • Offer clear and transparent terms and conditions 
  • Personalize messages
  • Limit message frequency
  • Keep messages brief

How do you market a text message?

You can turn any marketing message into a text campaign using SMS software. A two-way messaging platform allows you to send messages to and receive them from subscribers, including promotions, limited-time offers, contests, time-sensitive communications, service alerts, and feedback surveys. 

Is text message marketing legal?

Text message marketing is legal when a person has given a company permission to contact them via text for commercial purposes. The TCPA and CAN-SPAM Act are two important pieces of legislation governing how marketing text messages can be sent. 

What is the best practice for SMS?

The most important best practice for SMS marketing is to obtain express consent from every subscriber before texting them.

LiveVox SMS engagement solution

Think text message marketing is too expensive or too complex for you? With LiveVox, sending targeted SMS campaigns is simple and affordable. LiveVox is a cloud contact center platform that enables brands to communicate with customers over text–and voice, email, and chat–in a way that enhances the customer experience while meeting all text message marketing best practices. 

As an omnichannel platform, LiveVox bridges the gap between your various communication channels so all customer interactions follow a single unbroken thread. Past conversations are easily accessible and linked to the customer record, so need-to-know data is close at hand for customer service agents to work with.

Offering communication platforms of choice isn’t just convenient for customers. It’s also good for business. Supplementing your voice support with channels like text, live chat and email reduce call volume, which in turn lowers costs and improves the agent experience. The result is happier customers, happier agents, and a stronger balance sheet.

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About LiveVox

LiveVox (Nasdaq: LVOX) is a next generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion omnichannel interactions a year. By seamlessly unifying blended omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WEM capabilities, the Company’s technology delivers exceptional agent and customer experiences, while helping to mitigate compliance risk. With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox’s CCaaS 2.0 platform is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. The Company has more than 650 global employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; New York City; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox or visit livevox.com.

To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox, visit www.livevox.com or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

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