The previous blog entry about short code compliance and SMS rules introduced the entities that monitor and regulate short code messaging. Their goal is to ensure compliance and protect consumer privacy in the mobile space. Building a permission-based list of customers or clients to communicate with through short code SMS is a key component of this compliance. It begins with a call-to-action which is an opportunity for a business to successfully capture a mobile number, and an invitation for a consumer to provide their cell phone number in order to subscribe to content. Some examples include on-site signage or print advertisements encouraging a user to send a text message to your short code; or a web page that allows customers to enter their cell phone number to subscribe to the advertised mobile communication. When creating your call to action, keep in mind that the wireless industry (CTIA) requires that it contains five pieces of information:
Product description and quantity
What will the recipient receive by providing their cell number? And how often? (e.g. Receive account alerts 2-3/month)
What is the name of the business, or the text messaging initiative? (e.g. Dr. O’s Medical Alerts)
Include the keyword in bold that recipients must text to stop receiving messages. (e.g. Text STOP to unsubscribe)
Message and data rates may apply
Customers should know that carriers may charge them for these text messages. (e.g. Message & Data rates may apply)
When a subscriber sees your call-to-action and wishes to sign up, the next step is obtaining permission through the opt-in mechanism. There are two types: opt-in and double opt-in. The difference between the two is determined by whether there is a text message interaction. With a single opt-in, a person sends a text message to a short code. This is equivalent to a user registering their handset to receive text messages until they decide to opt out. An example of a double opt-in is a user typing their cell phone number on a website form to opt-in to a program. Once submitted, they receive a text message confirming they wish to opt-in. This serves as a secondary opt-in confirming the registration of the handset.
It’s important to note that permission to send text messages is related only to a specific program. For example, you text the keyword SMILE to 55512 to get appointment reminders. This means that the sender can only send appointment reminders. The content must be disclosed in the call-to-action described above. In this case, the doctor’s office should not send marketing messages in addition to the appointment reminders.
CDYNE provides U.S. and Canadian short codes for use with the SMS Notify! API – SMS Notify! is a secure two-way SMS Gateway that facilitates your business communications with a developer-friendly API.