Published on 17 November, 21
5 min read
Navigate Your Brand's SMS Holiday Sales with Confidence
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are approaching quickly – is your brand ready?
Retail marketers have a lot on their mind in the busiest retail season of the year. The SMS marketing campaigns you’ve been planning since the spring are revving up, and the battle for meaningful customer interactions is intensifying.
Everyone’s rightly focused on customers, conversions, and clickthroughs, but don’t forget the all-important compliance. Few marketers get excited about federal and industry regulations. However, the importance of compliance goes far beyond “following the rules.”
At Voyage, we view compliance as an opportunity to build quality brand relations and enhance your customer’s long-term experience.
Rules from trade organizations like the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), federal legislation such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and government entities like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) help companies navigate the intimacy of SMS as an eCommerce channel.
Some of their guidance overlaps as it relates to your campaigns and drips, but we’ve put it all in one place for you in this post.
The holiday season can feel like a tempest at times, but compliant messaging provides a clear North Star for marketers.
Drop anchor and join us for a quick compliance refresher ahead of BFCM, so that your SMS marketing messages come through loud and clear this season.
The 'Need to Know' About SMS and MMS Compliance
The CTIA is not affiliated with the U.S. government; it’s a trade organization run by wireless companies including AT&T, Verizon, and others.
The CTIA sometimes establishes rules on messages, such as those that contain words relating to Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, or Tobacco (S.H.A.F.T.); they should not be delivered unless properly age gated.
In July of 2019, the CTIA updated its Messaging Principles and Best Practices to give companies and marketers its latest guidance based around opt-outs, express consent, and time window restrictions.
Violating CTIA guidelines isn’t breaking the law, per se, but the CTIA will report organizations who violate their rules to the mobile carriers, who may shut down or suspend access to their customers. Nobody wants that!
In short, both TCPA and FCC text message regulations tell SMS marketers that they must receive express written consent prior to sending automated SMS content to customers. Organizations must adhere to federal do not call (DNC) lists, just as telemarketers do.
Violating rules from these federal mandates can get really messy: lawsuits, fines, and other ugly stuff.
At Voyage, we have all the tools you need to remain compliant, and beyond that we believe it's just good business to find, market to, and engage with audiences who genuinely want to hear from your brand.
Four Tips for Navigating SMS Compliance
That’s a lot of organizations and regulations! But have no fear. We’ve boiled it all down to a few simple guidelines:
1. Obtain express written consent
The FCC puts it simply: “For commercial texts, your consent must be in writing.”
No consumer should be confused about a message they receive from a brand or company. They should have explicitly opted into SMS marketing alerts with their express written consent. Set this up with a click from your Voyage dash, and/or use Voyage Two-Tap Anywhere for your opt-in modals.
2. Be transparent and explain what customers are opting into
Per the CTIA, companies planning recurring SMS eCommerce campaigns should, “provide Consumers with a confirmation message that clearly informs the Consumer they are enrolled in the recurring message campaign and provides a clear and conspicuous description of how to opt-out.”
This confirmation should provide information on the product or service, the frequency of messaging, information on associated fees and charges, and contact information for customer care.
3. Provide accessible opt-out options
While you never want to see a prospect or customer go, their choice to opt-out must be respected. CTIA guidelines mandate that consumers must be able to opt-out of messages at any time, and have multiple mechanisms for doing so (calling a service line, texting “STOP”, etc). A confirmation message of a successful opt-out is also required.
4. Comply with send window restrictions
Keeping SMS marketing engagements restricted to reasonable hours is not only important for fostering quality customer interaction; it’s also part of the law. The TCPA mandates that SMS texts are limited to regular business hours, which are defined as 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Voyage brands can use our Time Zone Send feature to ensure even better optimization in these terms.
FYI: Optimal Send Times
Across Voyage clients, we’ve noticed the following trends:
- Wednesday: Highest click thru rates (CTR)
- Tuesday & Thursday: Highest conversion rates (CVR)
- Weekdays: Early AM & Lunchtime are most effective
- Weekends: Late Morning through Early Afternoon is most effective
These trends could aways change, but they're a good start point for planning.
Going Above and Beyond for SMS Marketing Compliance
Being compliant is a great, and a necessary start for any SMS eCommerce campaign. But at Voyage, we believe you can do more.
Instead of just texting customers, you have the power to engage, convert, and delight them! Consumers know they’ll receive plenty of messages around the holidays from their favorite brands.
We’ve curated three bonus tips to help you not only keep your sea legs, but lead a fantastic voyage as well:
Deliver personalized, relevant content at a respectful pace. Sending 4-8 SMS marketing messages per month is the optimal range. Fewer than four means you’re not giving the consumer the engagement they opted into. Exceeding eight messages can put you in the “spamming” category.
Avoid ‘em. Choose meaningful, understandable language that all users can understand. That doesn’t mean you should babble on forever: aim for about 150 characters, and let your graphics do the heavy lifting. Shorter messages can increase CTR by up to 50%.
Feedback is always important. Make sure you’re gathering and analyzing metrics like CTR, CVR, and Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) against your own campaigns – and your competitors.
Numbers can change depending on your vertical, and maybe you can only make an educated guess as to competitor metrics, but it’s important to know where you stand.
Voyage Can Help You Navigate the Holiday Seas(on)
If you’re feeling seasick, that’s ok; it’s not too late to enhance your SMS eCommerce holiday readiness plan!
Download our 2021 BFCM holiday guide to make sure you’re ready for the busiest - and happiest - time of the year.
Voyage, an SMS marketing and message commerce platform, empowers brands to drive revenue and build customer relationships through personalized text messaging — at scale. Try us out on a free 30-day trial to see how Voyage can help you stay compliant and ace your next BFCM campaign.
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