Is SMS Marketing Legal and Still Alive?

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SMS marketing

Gone are the days when there were doubts if SMS marketing was even legal. Marketing boards all over the world choose to make SMS marketing legal. Why? Well, let’s face it – for the express purpose of increasing customers’ loyalty. So, in case you are not using SMS marketing legally or do not use it at all, here is the post for you. We will overview the concept of SMS marketing in 2019 and its best practices.

Also, in this post, you will find the statistics demonstrating why SMS marketing is worth a try. Moreover, here you will find tips on how you can make SMS marketing legal and effective. Keep on reading for more insights. (OR go straight to the end of the post to find the table with acts to make SMS marketing legal in the US, the EU, Australia, and the UK).

SMS Marketing: The Basics

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS stands for short message service. SMS marketing is a set of techniques a company uses to reach their customers via a short text. Usually, this text is received by customers on a mobile phone.

Quite often, SMS marketing is mixed with close range marketing. That is why it is important to understand the correlation between these two terms. In fact, one can say that SMS marketing is one of the instruments in the close range marketing toolkit.

Of course, there are other instruments in close range marketing. The list of these instruments includes:

Put simply, close range marketing is an umbrella term for a wide range of communication tools. Sure thing, you should use close range marketing to get in touch with your customers to the fullest. The more channels you use to communicate with your customers, the better results you get – both now and in the long run. That is why try to incorporate SMS marketing into your general marketing strategy. Make SMS marketing legal and effective alongside other communication channels to succeed quickly.

There are many advantages in making text messaging legal and productive.

  • In most cases, customers are asked for permission to send them text messages. It means that the target audience of your SMS marketing campaigns is already interested in your services.
  • Text messages are more likely to be read quickly, which makes them essential for announcing best deals, hot offers, and sales.
  • To make SMS marketing legal, you do not need to have a fortune. What you do need is simply a reasonably priced provider for SMS services and a database of your customers. As a text message consists of only words and no imagery, no extra fees for web designers or photographers are required.
  • Despite the obvious pros of SMS marketing, there are a few cons one has to be aware of, namely:

    • Technically, a text message is a not very impressive tool. First of all, one has to deal with restrictions on the number of characters to use in one message, which is up to 160 symbols. Also, it is technically impossible to add eye-grabbers to a message. Instead of animations or call-to-action buttons, you need to work on the quality content.
    • With SMS marketing, you have one shot per offer. Your customers will not tolerate the exact same text message twice, will they?

    All in all, SMS marketing as any other marketing tool, has its pros and cons. However, there are certain features that can contribute to the growth of the SMS marketing legal potential in the nearest future.

    Why Choose SMS Marketing?

    The most obvious reason to go for SMS marketing is a constant growth of the number of mobile users. Of course, modern mobiles can be used not only to receive text messages but also to surf the Internet as well as use social media. However, as the stats below demonstrate, there is a difference between a number of mobile users and a number of mobile social media users. People who own a mobile are more numerous than those who use mobiles for social media purposes.

    In other words, SMS marketing seems to be a more effective tool than SMM (aka social media marketing).

    There is one more important aspect that predetermines the success of SMS marketing. This aspect is the amount of time people spend with their mobile at hand. According to the Global Digital Future in Focus 2018, people use mobiles longer than desktops when online. It takes an average person twice as much time to surf the internet via a mobile in contrast to a desktop (see image below). In the long run, it means that people tend to view their mobiles as essential tools that help survive in the modern world.

    Apart from purely technical reasons to go for SMS marketing, there is an emotional aspect too. As Forbes reports, people prefer text messages to emails or social media marketing.

    The overwhelming majority of customers thinks that SMS marketing is a preferable way for communication with an organization. More than ¾ of all interviewed customers confess that they would read an SMS quicker than an email. Even more importantly – about 70% of the interviewees consider an SMS a positive means for attracting their attention. The above-mentioned numbers speak for themselves, don’t they?

    So, do your best to make SMS marketing legal to beat the competition and stay ahead in your market niche.

    Best Practices in SMS Marketing

    Now that you know what SMS marketing is and why it is worth a try, it’s high time to look into best practices in text messaging. To begin with, let’s list the most important features that all great SMS marketing legal campaigns have in common:

    • Easy Opting-Out. Be explicit about opting-out procedures. This can be done either with a direct request like “Text STOP to unsubscribe”, “Reply Y if you want to receive messages from [a company]”, or provide a link to your website FAQ page. Otherwise, your messages will be marked as spam and blocked right after the first SMS.
    • Rewards. A customer’s phone number is a valuable piece of information. So, to get one, make sure you have something special to give in return, like a generous discount.
    sms marketing example

    (Source: Neil Patel)

    • Less Shortened Words. The difference between cool and not professional SMS marketing is blurry when it comes to phrases like “cu 2day 4 a gr8 deal”.
    • Regular Messages. By saying “regular”, we do not mean a daily messaging routine. It is advisable to stay in touch with your customers once or twice a month tops. This is more than enough to keep your business recognizable without crossing the line.
    • Unique Content. The content you share on social media and newsletters should not be duplicated in a text message. The uniqueness of SMS marketing lies in the immediate reaction of your target group.
    • Appropriate Feedback. Make sure that you have enough staff to manage the prospective responses of clients promptly.
    • Customer Segmentation. It will not hurt to add a personal touch to the 160 symbols. Start an SMS with the first name of a client. Take into account the time and the place of the latest purchases. These small details can mean a lot for increasing the customers’ loyalty.

    SMS Marketing Legal Requirements

    In the table below, we summarized the information about the key regulatory acts and documents that can help you make SMS marketing legal in a number of countries across the globe:

    Table 1.

    SMS Marketing Legal Requirements

    sms marketing legal requirements

    Perspectives for SMS Marketing

    To sum up, modern SMS marketing seems to be more customer-oriented than ever. The above-mentioned regulatory acts make SMS marketing legal in numerous countries. All of these acts emphasize the imperative character of personal privacy and sensitive data protection. When implemented and followed properly, these documents can stimulate the customers’ trust in text messaging and result in the increasing growth of SMS marketing within the next few decades.


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