Most brands use SMS marketing as one of the strategies for brand promotion. SMS marketing is a very effective way of reaching out to customers as it is non-intrusive, does not require internet connectivity, and the fact that most people read the SMS they get making it effective. SMS marketing is more likely to produce results than other forms of promotion. Brands can use it effectively for promotion strategies. Whether it is for marketing campaigns or follow-up SMS marketing is being used by most brands today for their brand promotion.
When a marketer sends an SMS to a customer or lead, they should do so only if the customer or lead has shown a willingness to receive the message. For example, a customer may share his contact details with a brand in an exhibition where the form has a disclaimer where the customer agrees to receive promotional messages. Similarly, when a person registers on a website, there would an option for customers to receive messages from the brand.
What is SMS spam?
If messages are sent to someone who has not opted to receive such a message or authorized it, then it is considered spam. In most places, it is against the law. This can lead to a spam complaint being registered against the brand. The second scenario where a spam complaint may be lodged is when a customer after receiving messages does not want to receive them and continues to receive the text message, even after indicating the same. Not giving a customer an option to stop receiving messages would also make all messages received spam.
When a brand faces a spam complaint, it affects their credibility. It is against the law and can lead to action. The brand may be penalized with a fine and the phone number / service they use to send messages can be closed down if they persist in sending spam messages. A company that is seen as one that sends spam frequently would have a negative reputation in the market.
What do the laws say?
The laws related to SMS spam vary from place to place. In the USA, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act is the law that governs the use of SMS for marketing and has outlined the process of reporting spam complaints and taking action on the same. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the government agency tasked with implementing the provisions of the laws and protecting customer privacy and help avoid spam.
The law has the following provisions regarding SMS usage for marketing:
• A brand has to compulsorily seek consent in writing from a customer or any individual before sending them a business text messaging. Even if they have been sending messages for a long time, the requirement of taking consent is mandatory under the law.
• The message sent must disclose the identity of the sender and must have provision to stop receiving messages.
• The law also states that sending messages between 9pm and 8am would cause inconvenience to customers.
• Failure to comply would lead to a fine of up to $1500 per message.
Protecting your brand
The best way to protect your brand from SMS spam complaints is to strictly comply with the letter and spirit of the law. Sending messages only to customers who have consented and allowing customers the option to stop receiving messages is mandatory. Having an anti-spam policy, outlining how the company intends to protect customers against spam is recommended. A well-defined mechanism to redress any customer complaints is a good way to protect the brand from SMS spam complaints that can affect its reputation in the market.