How to Properly Collect an Opt In SMS Database (Part 1 of 2)

How to Properly Collect an Opt In SMS DatabaseAs we all know SMS text messaging is a very popular and effective way to get your marketing message out to your audience. More reliable than email, text messages are read quicker than email and people tend to keep their cell phone number longer than they do any given email address. So it stands to reason that marketers should take the time to acquire a nice, clean, opt in SMS database. But some Marketers that begin collecting SMS databases really do not know the proper way to go about it. Its frustrating for businesses and marketers alike to spend time and effort collecting cell phone numbers with the hopes of sending them text messages only to find out that the way they went about collecting their data is not ‘carrier compliant’ or compliant with the new TCPA Amendment and thus reputable companies like mobileStorm cannot accept their data. So let’s go on record here and outline Best Practices and Carrier Requirements for collecting a good, opt-in SMS database.

First of all there are just a few different ‘carrier approved’ methods in which a marketer can collect an SMS database; Enter a phone number online, Click a button on a mobile webpage, Send an MO message containing an advertised keyword and Sign up at a POS location.

Each of these methods of cell phone collection is acceptable by the carriers and falls under the term ‘express written consent’ which is now a strict requirement according to the newly amended TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act).

For this blog post let’s get into the first two methods listed above; enter a phone number online and Click a button on a mobile webpage. These are basically web form opt-ins; a website that has a registration form and there is a space for entering ones cell number. When using a web form in this manner there are two rules you must follow:

  1. You must display the proper ‘carrier required language’ in close proximity to the cell phone submit field (box).
  2. You must verify the handset (cell phone) owner’s possession for the actual handset number being submitted in your cell phone number ‘submit’ box.

In a nutshell, items 1 & 2 simply mean that you need to let subscribers know some basic program details and then send a confirmation text to the cell number being submitted to you. Number 1 can be accomplished by adding a couple simple lines of text ‘in close proximity to’ the cell submit field. There are several items that you need to include in this ‘carrier required’ language:

  • Program Description ( Alerts, News, Special offers etc.)
  • Messaging Frequency ( 5/messages a week, 2 messages a month)
  • Messaging costs (Msg & Data rates may apply)
  • A link to ‘comprehensive’ SMS T&Cs or Privacy Policy
  • If the Program is recurring then STOP instructions are required
  • Help instructions

All of these items can be summarized very succinctly into a few lines of text that look like this:

  • mobileStorm Weather Alerts: News and Forecasts for local weather. Msg&Data rates may apply. 4 msg/mo. Text HELP for Help or text STOP to end messages. Terms & Conditions. View our Privacy Policy.

As far as Item number 2 is concerned, “Verifying handset owner possession” this is simply a matter of sending handset an immediate confirmation text message as soon as a cell number is submitted on your web form. This confirmation message needs to contain all the above bullet points listed for the web form registration and must have a ‘Reply Yes to confirm your subscription’ call to action.

Sounds like a lot of work? Well, the good news is that mobileStorm can do both of these things for you automatically. Our web forms can be easily enabled to send a confirmation message and we have customized boilerplate language on our web forms that include all the necessary carrier required language. This article is just the first in a multi-part series on how to acquire, message to, advertise for and maintain a healthy, opt–in SMS Database. Stay tuned for more!