Best practices for long code SMS texting

With the surge of SMS and email marketing, government regulations have quickly followed to punish any would be offenders.

It is important to make sure that you do NOT end up on the wrong side of this, as fines can be as much as $1,500 per text message!

There are two main options for SMS marketing: long-code and short-code. Long-code SMS simply uses a standard local phone number (304-293-1829). Short-code SMS is, well, a short number (59385).

What’s the difference?

Long-code SMS is designed for conversational/relationship based messaging. Short-code SMS is designed for promotional/sales based messaging. Each one has it’s own pros and cons.

At InfusedGym, we use long-code SMS. This means that you should be doing the following:

Acquire Consent for SMS Marketing

Before sending any SMS messages to your contacts, make sure you have gotten consent from your contact to send SMS messages. This can be done in a web form, where you have the contact check a box with text stating something like:

I consent to receiving automated text messaging for notifications from XYZ Business. I understand that messaging and data rates may apply and that giving consent is not required to enroll.

Another great place to put this in would be your registration waiver. Anyone who comes into your gym will need to sign a liability waiver (I hope!), so getting their permission for all forms of marketing is a very good idea. Once you have that, you should be good to go. Once they have consented, for email marketing, you can have a tag applied called InfusedGym > SMS Opt-in.

Allow Contacts to Opt Out

At some point in time, your contacts might want out of your SMS marketing. If you continue to market to customers that expressed they wanted out, you can be in for problems. InfusedGym and Twilio have safeguards in play for this. First, if anyone replies to your SMS messages with the words, “STOP, STOPALL, UNSUBSCRIBE, CANCEL, END, QUIT” will be opted out of Twilio AND get a tag in InfusedGym called InfusedGym > SMS Opt-out. Any contact with an SMS Opt-out tag will never get SMS marketing.

If a contact wants to opt back in, then can reply to your text with the words, “START, YES and UNSTOP”. That will then opt them back into Twilio, and apply the InfusedGym > SMS Opt-in Tag.

Types of Messaging

message-categories

Above is a table explaining the three types of messaging for SMS. At InfusedGym, we recommend using Conversational and Informational messages. For long code numbers, these are the best uses of texting and achieve a more natural flow. You can still use automation to begin the conversation (as we do with nearly all of our texts), but it should always have context. In other words, a contact shouldn’t be wondering why they got a text from your business.

In Summary

  • Always get expressed permission from contact before sending SMS marketing
  • Make it easy to allow contacts to opt out (Already done for you with InfusedGym & Twilio)

These are just some basic guidelines to help you properly use SMS marketing. Just be sure to be responsive to customer demands for marketing preferences to avoid getting people annoyed or upset with you. 🙂

 

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