SMS marketing: How to do it without compromising customer privacy
Short messaging services (SMS) are text messages sent and received from smartphones and are restricted to 160 characters. It may be regarded as an “old” form of communication, but it’s used in SMS marketing. But what is SMS marketing all about?
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is where a company or business sends marketing messages to people through text. It’s a type of opt-in marketing that calls for having contacts and subscribers. This differs from social marketing, where the marketer posts publicly, allowing people to like or follow. To do this, you’ll need SMS marketing software like Drop Cowboy Ringless Voicemail & Text or other similar tools to maximize this marketing strategy and get a higher return on investment.
Examples of the common types of SMS marketing are:
- Personalized Promotions
- Discounts or Offers
There are a lot of benefits related to SMS marketing. By continuously providing relevant content when you market through SMS, you can have more customers, better brand reach, and more sales.
Furthermore, people are becoming more and more comfortable interacting with businesses on their mobile devices. In many situations, they expect to reach enterprises by text or messaging. And so, it’s no surprise that many businesses are planning to spend more money on their SMS marketing, such as employing unlimited ringless voicemail & text to improve conversion rates with prospects and existing clients.
Altogether, there are other reasons to use SMS marketing. However, there can be a chance for violations regarding people’s privacy when conducting it. Fortunately, regulations were put into action to ensure that companies protect every customer’s privacy. Failure to adhere to these regulations can lead to penalties requiring fees or lawsuits.
Read on to know how to conduct SMS marketing without compromising customer privacy.
Request data professionally
You must professionally collect and retrieve personal data provided by your customers to maintain your company or business’s credibility. For instance, delivering surveys to retrieve data from customers is an ineffective approach to having more knowledge about your customers, as most people are extra cautious and aware of the risks of possible data breaches. And so, you should be more professional and avoid them.
One way to be more professional when collecting data is to practice having a valid opt-in and opt-out management system. This allows the whole process to be more transparent. Likewise, you must also train your staff to get information using helpful software programs and teach them to treat user data with great caution.
Moreover, you must allow your customers to opt-out, transfer, amend, access, and delete individual data as they want to. As soon as your customer chooses to have their information deleted from the system, you must follow their request and take action quickly.
Another thing you can do to be more professional is to have an explicit page for terms and conditions that show the reason behind the necessity for data. Although some details are not personal, such as details about the customer’s favourite pet, you still need to provide such reasons.
Failure to collect and manage data professionally can lead to losing customers and weakening the trust between you and your prospects. This can lead to negative brand performance, which can affect your business. And so, remember this integral approach for a more privacy-focused SMS marketing.
Furthermore, it is essential to research thoroughly to avoid missing significant information and regulations such as this one that might negatively affect your brand. To learn more about SMS marketing, you can watch:
Use a secure socket layer
A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is an encryption protocol that guarantees a smooth connection and helps maintain proper data protection whenever your customers use their web browsers. It can be seen as the little green padlock in the browser’s URL bar on some websites you click
Having an SSL for your company web server can prevent eavesdropping, data breaches, and message forgery. Preventing these privacy risks allows you to strengthen customers’ trust, a needed tool for better brand credibility.
In terms of SMS marketing, using an SMS web security SSL certificate can allow for more secure communications through encryption between an SMS server and a web browser. Therefore, you must ensure to have an SMS provider who takes SSL certificates thoughtfully. If your company and your SMS provider are serious about your web page’s SSL, you can show your customers that you’re strict about data security, which can help in the long run.
Note also that the SSL certificates should be in their latest version and must always be enabled. However, if you’re not sure how to enable it, ask for help from a security expert or web developer who knows about it.
Overall, it’s better to spend money on having a private SSL certificate to maintain security rather than having the need to address problems after a breach and explain why customers’ data is jeopardized.
Adhere to short messaging service (SMS) regulations
Compliance with SMS rules is vital to safeguarding your company and maintaining customer privacy. Before creating your SMS marketing audience, team up with your legal team to carry out a more legal SMS marketing process.
There are some vital points to take note of regarding SMS compliance. One of those is express written consent. As stated by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a business must provide express written consent to customers before such a company sends electronic text messages. However, you must not hide this type of written consent within a page-long legal form full of technical language.
Another compliance rule concerning express written consent is a clear call-to-action that states that your consumers must agree to have automated text messages. The federal laws state this, so take note of it.
Additionally, your first text must have a carrier-compliant message that validates opt-in. It should restate some vital details such as:
- Message frequency
- Information on how to opt-out
- Your identity
- The reality that message and data rates may apply
There are other things to take note of to comply with SMS rules. But overall, it’s not hard to be compliant with these regulations. However, following them is required. Failure to follow these rules can result in strict penalties. And so, it’s better to be compliant than have potential legal issues in the future.
Have a reliable data security system
Aside from having SSL, you must also have a sound security system that ensures the proper protection of every customer’s data. It can reduce risks, such as unauthorized access to email addresses and phone numbers and data breaches. Having such systems is compliant with advisable cybersecurity standards and can prevent unwanted users from delivering spam messages to your customers.
Note that it’s ideal to employ various effective measures in your data security system. You can do this by having secure messaging, a secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure Application Programming Interface (HTTPS API) connection, and using multi-factor authentication.
In addition, particular automation and data protection software programs don’t only protect the data security system. They can also offer other services, such as dynamic page content, push notifications, live chatbots, and email marketing.
Concerning multi-factor authentication as a security tool for data, it can give an extra layer of protection that prevents hackers from further access. And so, if a hacker manages to access the customer’s username and password, there can be an additional verification that they must go through. Some verification factors that can prevent potential hackers are security pins, security questions, SMS code, and biometrics like fingerprints or voice recognition.
Overall, consider budget, convenience, and availability of encryption layers when choosing a data security system. It’s also ideal to seek advice from experts and conduct serious research to have an informed decision.
Provide easy opt-outs
People are accustomed to seeing television advertisements, radio ads that promote the latest product or services, and marketing emails that overload inboxes. It’s expected that businesses will send around 375 billion marketing emails by 2025.
With such a significant amount of noise coming from various channels, the average consumer just doesn’t want to listen to it. They may notice that they’re not becoming attentive to your SMS messages. They may also find that they need to take a break from all the messages they see in their text messaging application.
With such, providing an easy opt-out solution like allowing them to text the word STOP can be ideal. The best SMS marketing procedures presently prompt individuals on how to leave from time to time.
On the other hand, consider delivering an opt-out message only after providing an excellent offer or captivating news. Your plan should be to maintain subscribers even if you provided them with an easy way to opt out.
Similarly, though it can be tempting to retain individuals on your list, you don’t have to maintain those who want to opt out. Although there can be minimal costs with SMS marketing, you don’t need to waste resources on people who never read your texts and those who find it annoying.
Avoid prohibited topics in SMS marketing
You need to get acquainted with the rules about prohibited content. The first thing to do is to be aware of avoiding federally illegal substances in your content, such as:
- Prescription medications
- Cannabis/Marijuana (including CBD)
Failure to adhere to this type of rule prevents your business from delivering messages in the United States or Canada and allows the possibility that your SMS messages will be blocked.
Likewise, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) has text marketing guidelines known as SHAFT. SHAFT stands for sex (adult content), hate, alcohol, firearms, and tobacco. And so, if you’re creating a regular marketing message or having the first call-to-action, you should substantially avoid adding these topics.
SHAFT content is federally unlawful. However, it can still be marketed through text as far as a functioning age-gate is set out. The age gate must remind users to provide their date of birth, rather than allowing them just to click ‘Yes’ to show that they’re past the age of 21. In addition, you can include SHAFT content as long as the message comes from a dedicated toll-free number.
Note that there are other contents that CTIA prohibits. These are:
- Hate/ Discriminatory Speech
- Portrayal and Endorsement of Violence
As CTIA has guidelines and rules regarding prohibited content, mobile carriers also oversee text content and act as gatekeepers between customers and brands. They have the right to do so, and as such, it’s recommended to be aware of the content guidelines of your local mobile carriers. At times, exemptions can be made for particular use cases, but only after proper observation by the mobile carrier and service provider.
Ensure that users specify contact options
You have to specify the type of opt-in that your customers have selected on your website. For instance, make it evident that your customers need to decide whether they want to be reached via email, posts, or SMS for you to connect with them through their selected channels.
Utilizing the right contact channel will ensure that you capitalize on your return on investment and the efficiency of a marketing campaign. When there are alternative options for customers to decide their preferred channel of communication, there’s a great chance that you will have more success. For instance, if your customer communicates that they prefer to receive messages via SMS, there can be a higher probability of response rate if you send SMS marketing messages than sending them email messages about your product’s latest features.
Altogether, you should have broad alternatives for customers by having different communication channels. This will ensure convenience.
There are privacy concerns that are linked to SMS marketing. But the good news is privacy regulations exist. Their purpose is to allow businesses to be more cautious when conducting SMS marketing to ensure customer privacy.
As privacy is crucial, you can take vital steps for a smooth SMS marketing process while protecting privacy, such as being professional when asking for data, using a secure socket layer, complying with SMS rules, and having a reliable data security system. Overall, keep the information in this article and share it with others.