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How to send compliant SMS campaigns in the US

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SMS is the most powerful communication channel for engaging your customers.  

In fact, people are 35x more likely to read a text message than an email. (There’s a good chance you already knew that, given that you’re on the Sinch blog, and we love talking about the power of those 160 characters.)  

But it’s a double-edged sword – customers love those text messages, and are so much more likely to read them, only when they have opted in to those text messages. If customers haven’t given you consent to send them SMS, it’s a very, very quick way to destroy trust and damage your brand. And as though that’s not bad enough, there are huge fines in the US for sending certain messages to those who haven’t opted in. Just one message gone wrong can cost thousands of dollars. In short, there is a right way and a wrong way to text your customers. 

Even armed with that knowledge and the desire to follow the rules, though, getting started with SMS messaging can be challenging. Regulations abound! The texting compliance rules may vary from place to place and from carrier to carrier... And there are so many acronyms! Start Googling around and you’re faced with an onslaught of CTIA, TCPA, A2P, P2P, 10DLC, SHAFT, CTA, TFN... how on earth can you keep track of everything? 

Well, we’re here to tell you that sending compliant SMS campaigns in the US doesn’t have to be that hard. You can easily get by with a little help from your friends at Sinch (and then sign-off from your legal team, of course).  

Enter the US SMS Compliance Guide from Sinch – our gift to you to help make sense of it all and start sending compliant SMS campaigns in no time. It’s full of definitions, best practices, handy charts. checklists, examples, and even links to any additional resources you could possibly need. And you can download it here for free. 

In a hurry? Wondering if the guide is really worth your time? It is, we assure you, but we’ll give you a sneak peek. We made a helpful checklist for you to go through before sending any campaign. If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, your campaign is at risk of noncompliance.   

The US SMS compliance checklist

  • Is your campaign free of SHAFT content? (Not sure what that means? Learn in our guide) 
  • Do all your CTAs display opt-in, opt-out (STOP), and HELP instructions?  
  • Did you include a “message and data rates may apply” disclaimer, clear program terms, and privacy policies? 
  • Are all your mobile programs clearly identified? 
  • Have all your mobile end-users provided express consent as defined by the CTIA? 
  • Is it clear that your user opted-in and consents to this specific program? 
  • Are all your end-users who opt-in via web forms put through a double opt-in procedure? 
  • Are your HELP and STOP, END, CANCEL, QUIT, and UNSUBSCRIBE keywords functioning properly? 
  • Do you fulfill all opt-out requests within 72 hours of the end-user texting “STOP”? 

If you answered “yes” to all these questions, you’re probably good to go – good job! But to make sure, download our free SMS compliance guide – it's full of all the information you’ll need to make sure you’re a master of compliance, no matter what your type of campaign.  

So what are you waiting for? Download the free guide here!

And as always, make sure to consult with your legal team to see how the SMS compliance laws and regulations affect your business specifically. Sinch can’t offer legal advice – just tons of industry knowledgegreat messaging products, and an entire resource section for your developers.

(Need something else? Our sales team can probably handle it, get in touch!)      

There is a right and a wrong way to text your customers. Our free guide will help tell you everything you need to know about SMS compliance.