August 19, 2020
The Two Simple Keys to Successful Text Marketing Campaigns .
Americans received over 2 trillion texts last year. Roughly 97% of those texts were from friends, families, companies or organizations you actually wanted to hear from. When you answer your home phone, go to your mailbox, or open your personal email address, the odds are stacked against you that you want to answer that note or talk to that caller. Even worse, some of those unwanted messages are phishing or fraud efforts to steal your information or money.
The wireless industry invests significant resources to keep text messages free of spam, and we are proud to say texts are the most trusted and opened form of communication as a result. We do this because that is what consumers tell us they want.
Marketers see the trends around unanswered voice calls and unopened bulk mail. They also know consumers open texts because we trust the platform. Marketers also now have access to new technology that lets them send tens of thousands of texts at a time. This is driving more organizations to use text messages.
A recent survey found that a third of Americans are getting more texts now from companies, campaigns and other organizations. Some are reporting a significant spike in text messages from these senders. Only 27% of Americans like receiving unexpected texts from organizations, even less like those from political campaigns. Indeed, 60 percent of Americans believe text messages from campaigns are “just spam.”
Now some of these texts are welcome. A reminder about a flight or credit card fraud warning. Closure notice from your school or check-up reminder from your doctor. Chances are high that those texts you appreciate and want are the ones that also follow our industry’s best practices.
Industry Best Practices.
As marketers start encouraging more and more companies and organizations to send more and more texts, this is a good time to remind everyone of how the wireless industry keeps texting spam free and the simple steps message senders can take to meet our industry’s best practices.
All message senders should review the best practices, which reflect the feedback of the wireless industry players involved in the delivery of millions of text messages from companies and campaigns. Let’s be crystal clear these guidelines apply broadly. That means a bank, a school, a congressional candidate’s campaign, a college, and even the federal government are expected to follow the guidelines. Two major practices jump out and should be the starting point for any text messaging campaign:
- Consent. The guidelines are a lot like the manners we were taught as kids. The first step to talking to someone you’ve never met is asking permission to send a text. 80% of Americans believe consent should be required before an organization sends a text, and our best practices mirror that consumer expectation. That’s why the best practices suggest that no organization should send a text without gaining consent from a consumer before messaging them.
- Opt Out. The second core tenet is opting out. Consumers should have clear and easy ways to request messages to stop and message senders should act quickly to honor those requests. Here again, our best practices simply mirror what consumers expect. 4 out of 5 Americans believe organizations should offer an easy way for consumers to stop or out of receiving text messages.
Meeting Consumer Expectations.
Consent and Opt Out are two of the most basic expectations that consumers have for message senders, and the best practices offer other recommendations around content, privacy and security. The good news for organizations is that consumers feel a lot better about those messages that follow these basic rules. If consent and opt-out requirements are met, 70% of Americans would be comfortable getting text messages meeting the guidelines.
Now some unwanted messages could also be subject to significant legal penalties from the government and the courts as part of something called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Let’s be clear that the TCPA is separate and apart from the wireless industry’s best practices. TCPA has become a cottage industry of specialized lawyers trying to help companies and campaigns navigate conflicting court cases and interpretations of how to shoehorn new technologies into a law written over 25 years ago. Any message sender should both seek legal guidance about the TCPA to avoid those hefty fines and settlements and separately review the Messaging Principles and individual wireless service providers’ terms of service. Getting a TCPA go-ahead from a lawyer just means message senders may lower their risk of getting hit with huge financial penalties; it does not give message senders a blank check to ignore or short change the fact that message senders should follow the wireless industry’s best practices in order to reach consumers by text. After all, that is what consumers expect.
Campaigns and Non-Profits.
As political campaigns ramp up this election year, consumers are seeing a spike in campaign-related texts. These campaigns and their volunteers may have never sent texts to reach voters before and we want to help them use the platform, so we developed this quick explainer to help political campaigns reach interested voters and avoid being considered spam and unwanted messages. This is one area where the parties agree: 70% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans support text messages that meet the basic expectations of the best practices.
We also developed some simple tips for consumers navigating how to avoid unwanted text messages and protect themselves.
With these easy common sense recommendations, we can keep text messaging the safest and most trusted form of communication.
Messaging Principles & Best Practices
The wireless industry's commitment to protecting consumers from unwanted messages.