How to Stay Compliant with SMS Opt Ins and Opt Outs

Person using her phone to complete an SMS opt in

Compliance with legal frameworks, such as the TCPA, may be fact- and context-specific. The information contained in this blog post should not be relied upon as legal advice or to determine how the TCPA or other laws or standards apply to your use of SMS and our service. This information is provided “as is” and may be updated or changed without notice. You may use this blog post for your internal reference purposes only.

Compliance is a critical aspect of customer communication channels, like business text messaging. It’s critical that you and your team understand what you need to do to remain on the right side of the law—and ensure customers consider your business reliable and trustworthy. 

SMS opt ins and opt outs are the most important compliance considerations in business text messaging. It’s critical that your team understand the ins and outs of SMS opt ins—and how best to ask for them. 

What Is an SMS Opt In?  

Your customers must opt in, via written consent, to text messages before you can text them. Opting into your SMS services is a simple process—if done correctly. After you publish your company’s business SMS phone number, customers can text in with a specified keyword (e.g., SUBSCRIBE). Alternatively, they can check a box on a web form. SMS opt in information on your website or social media pages may look like this example:

Want faster customer service? Text SUBSCRIBE to (999) 999 – 9999 to opt into our business text messaging services. Our average response time is 7 minutes. 

What Is a Double Opt In?  

A double opt in is a great—and recommended—way to confirm that any person who opts in actually wants to receive texts from your team. You can achieve a double opt in by sending new SMS subscribers (people who just opted in) confirmation texts. A confirmation text may look like the following example:

Hi! You’ve opted into Starshine Shoes’s SMS services. Please reply with SUBSCRIBE to confirm. Text STOP to unsubscribe.  

What Is an SMS Opt Out?  

At the end of the above text, you may notice the statement “text STOP to unsubscribe.” That is an opt out instruction. Customers must be able to opt out of your SMS services at any time they please. Include SMS opt out instructions in most of your automated or mass business texts. SMS opt out instructions may look like the following example: 

Hello, this is Pet Care Org! Don’t forget that {{pet name}} is due for a teeth cleaning on {{date of due cleaning}}. Text END to stop receiving texts. 

What Are SMS Opt In Regulations? 

There are a few text opt in laws and SMS opt in regulations to consider. The most important is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Created in the early 90s to curb telemarketing calls, the TCPA wasn’t initially intended to dictate compliance for text messages. Now, the TCPA applies to many communications channels, including business text messaging. Ultimately, it mandates that your business must acquire written consent from your customers before you connect with them via texts or messages, provide opt out instructions, and more. 

How Does Asking for an SMS Opt In Benefit Your Business? 

Asking for an opt in benefits your business in two key ways. First of all, you can be sure that each and every one of your recipients wants to receive your texts. That means they’ll be more likely to respond and engage with your team. Additionally, asking for an SMS opt in lets customers know that you care about their willing participation, and don’t just want to blast them with marketing material. 

SMS Opt In Best Practices

So how can you make the opt in process easy for your customers and your team? Stick to these SMS opt in best practices:

  1. Make sure your opt in instructions are clear and brief. 
  2. Create simple SMS opt in keywords, like SUBSCRIBE or START. 
  3. Send opt in confirmations as soon as customers opt in. Double opt ins are strongly recommended.
  4. Ensure your business text messaging platform can recognize standard opt out keywords and automatically remove those customers from your SMS lists.  

Looking for more SMS opt in best practices or information? Check out our blog.

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