If you do any kind of SMS (mobile) text marketing, the headline really says it all.
You have a number of customers signed up on your pizza business app. Real fans, all 300 of them.. It was a struggle getting them to download your app and give you their phone numbers, but now things seem to be humming along with your cash flow.
So now you and your business partner have this great idea for a new promotion on your slower days for your mobile customers. This is going to set revenue records. You text all 287 of them. You were right. It IS a record revenue day.
But now you get the news that as this is October 16,2013, you did not realize that the FCC, in all their wisdom to seemingly relieve people from receiving ’junk texts’ has a brand new reg–with teeth and a $1,500 per-text fine. You just racked up over $400,000 in fines. How? Why?
Remember ‘Junk Faxes’ Back in the Early 1990s? Same Thing with Mobile Now
As of October 16,2013 anyone doing SMS messaging must re-qualify all their customers and have them opt-in again. There are many other ‘sweet’ items in the new reg, too.
It is all part of the continuing impact of FCC’s TCPA Act signed into law back in 1991. TCPA means Telephone Consumer Protection Act and it did have quite an impact on marketing via fax back in the 1990s. Ok, fast-forward to 2013.
SMS text messaging is considered the same thing as ‘auto-dialed’ or ‘robo-calls’ where a business could ‘mass market’ or do blanket calling in a certain target area.
So what does this mean in real time to a business or even a nonprofit organization looking to garner donors?
Two main things really.
You must have prior written consent from those looking to receive your texts. This is further underscored in the law as of October 16 that your instructions must be ‘unambiguous’ as to what you are asking your customers to do.
Secondly, the phrase ‘prior established business relationship’ which applied up until October 16, now does not protect the advertiser of prior ‘unambiguous written consent’ freedom-to-send and means that a new round of getting your same customers to sign up again must happen now.
We realize that some Quad State businesses may have thousands of fans that have opted in over the past couple of years. Yet there are some ’fairly’ simple remedies that can get you on the right side of compliance. This means that digital signatures are accepted.
The editorial staff of the Quad State Business Journal has discovered an excellent blog article by Brad Bortone that actually will give Quad Staters live examples of how-to-do-it compliance, and, probably just as important, Brad also gives an example of how ‘not’ to do the compliance dance. See the link at the resource section at the bottom of this article.
There will be many Quad State businesses and maybe even their marketing advisers who are not aware of this huge sea-change in SMS messaging. Feel free to copy and send them a link of this article to be forewarned.