SMS text marketing is a new form of marketing your business many businesses are puzzled over how it could possibly help them sell their products or services. The best way to explain SMS is simply the text messages you send back and forth on your cell phone to family and friends. SMS for businesses is simply a business texting your cell phone a small message to promote their product or service.
The problems with Short Message Service or SMS is that there are no laws that govern how it can be used. As most know there are anti-spam laws to prevent people from spamming your email box with thousands of messages a day. Unfortunately even with anti-spam laws email spam comes through by the hundreds in my email on a daily basis. Because SMS has no laws in place judges refer to old landline laws that the Telecom industry uses to police the phone line networks. These laws are very harsh and stiff against those who abuse them. For a new business beginning to market to their customers using SMS text service you need to be aware that a judge may rule against you using landline telecom laws and this could mean thousands if not millions of dollars in penalties depending on how many texts you sent out.
When using SMS text services to market to your customers via a cell network make sure you first get their express permission to send them text messages. You also want to make it very clear when they first opt in to your SMS list by texting a message to the number you provided just how many texts you plan to send them. A bad example of unwanted digital marketing is with Victoria Secret. This company sends my wife several emails a week and it clogs up her inbox. For some reason she has yet to find the unsubscribe button and she does not like to shop there anymore because of the annoyance this has caused. Because she opted in to their email list she cannot get them in too much trouble but SMS is a whole new ball game.
Many email marketers have gone to the double opt-in service where the customer must opt-in twice before they are on the list. There are a few legal disclaimers that explain that they have opted into an email subscription list and in the end the marketing company and customer is protected in this way. With SMS a marketer could ask people to text a message to a number to win a free meal and any number of things. After they text the message they could end up getting several text messages a day for product offers. This invasion of privacy and eating up valuable text air time could cost the customer time and money. The customer could complain to the FTC against your SMS text marketing and you could be in for some serious trouble especially if customers began to create a class action lawsuit or even a single lawsuit not to mention the FTC fines you may receive.
My advice when using SMS text company marketing is to spell out in great detail what they are subscribing to and how many text messages they can expect to receive. As long as you set your customers expectations right they will have no reason to complain and no reason to sue your company. The marketers that will have the most legal trouble when utilizing SMS txt services are those companies that accumulate a massive list of phone numbers for a very general topic and shoot out messages with vague offers that do not target their audience specifically enough. A massive list like this will likely complain in large numbers especially if there is no clear way to opt out of receiving future text messages.