Legalities Behind Text Message Marketing

Within the Text Message Marketing industry their are certain lines you do not cross. On a recent phone call with a potential customer we discussed text marketing compliance. Although there are many businesses and organizations utilizing this form of mobile marketing now there are still thousands and thousands who are un-aware of the laws surrounding this medium. Lets dive further into the subject matter.

Text Message Marketing Legalities 101

Lets outline some basics before we dive into this article. Within the US it is illegal to take someones mobile number and add it to a text message marketing list and send them messages without prior written consent. According to the current guidelines laid out in the CTIA in their, “Short Code Monitoring Program” handbook their are 3 ways you can have a subscriber join your list. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requires, “prior express written consent for all telephone calls using an automatic telephone dialing system or a prerecorded voice to deliver a telemarketing message to wireless numbers and residential lines.” In other words, the potential subscribers have to opt-in to your text message marketing list in one of three ways. Here are the 3 ways below.

1. Text-to-join

2. Web Widget Signup Form

3. Paper Signup Form

Text Message Marketing Definitions

Text-to-join is exactly what you are thinking. A potential subscriber visits your store or sees an advertisement for you mobile marketing campaign and they decide to join your text message marketing list by texting in. They take out their mobile phone and setup and new text message. They then text a unique word or phrase to a short code number and get back an instant confirmation response with additional compliance and maybe a coupon. This is the first method. Here is an example.

Text DEMO to 31996


Web Widgets allow potential subscribers to enter their mobile numbers into your virtual sign up portal. Similar to text-to-join this weidgets allows website visitors to signup without having to text in. They simply enter their mobile number and hit, “signup”. It is required to use a double opt in process when using a web widget.

Text Message Marketing Web Widget Sign up Form


Paper Signup Forms are used mainly when potential subscribers do not have their phones on them or as an easy way to capture phone numbers at point of sale with out requiring the user to take immediate action. You may have notice this being used at Zoom Tan locations when you get your spray tan shnazzed up. When you fill out the form you will notice their is a spot for text offers. There you enter your mobile number, check a box acknowledging consent and submit your information. At that point they manually input your info into their Text Message Marketing program.

Text Message Marketing Example


Great text marketing platforms will typically offer some sort of basic training. If you are brand NEW to Text Message Marketing go with a company like SlickText. They invented the 1 on 1 training. They will school you on compliance requirements for advertising and growing your list.


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