Texting is one of the best ways for businesses to engage with their customers for new lead engagement, follow-up, and remarketing, yet many businesses overlook the complexities of SMS compliance and regulation. Not only are regulations ever-changing at the federal and state levels, but the carriers themselves are becoming more strict in how they regulate business texting. It’s becoming more common for businesses to have their entire customer text campaigns blocked by the carriers (sometimes without even knowing why).
That’s why we asked Mandy Basra, our Director of Carrier Relations, to tell us about her role and to share insights into the importance of carrier relations and compliance in driving successful customer engagement. Here are some key takeaways from that conversation:
What is a Carrier?
Think Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. Carriers are mobile network operators that deliver text messages from business to consumer and back again. These companies ensure that texts are delivered on time while also regulating content, privacy, and spam.
What is Carrier Relations?
A carrier relations team is the bridge that connects your marketing department to a telecommunications provider. They work directly with the carrier to ensure smooth communication, stay up to date on regulations, and resolve any deliverability issues that may arise.
A business wants to build an SMS campaign to inform its customers about a new offering. After weeks of planning, the team launches the campaign only to discover that carriers have started to block their messages. Lacking an explanation or point of contact with the carriers, the business struggles to resolve the issue and get their campaign back on track. After a series of calls, emails, and online searches, they find out that their campaign was flagged as spam, but were not given a specific reason. They could attempt to alter the messaging and restart the campaign, but without clear guidance on how to ensure deliverability, they risk being blocked again.
The blocking process can be frustrating and it’s one of the reasons having a carrier relations team is so valuable.
The Verse Carrier Relations team wants to share some tips on launching successful texting campaigns that will get delivered and spark engagement from your customers.
4 tips for launching successful texting campaigns from the Verse Carrier Relations Team:
- Obtain consent and opt-outs
While consent may appear to be a straightforward concept, the ever-evolving intricacies of the regulatory landscape make it a complex process that demands expertise and constant vigilance. Businesses should implement and manage opt-in and opt-out mechanisms to avoid non-compliance and potential penalties.
- Get your content right
Craft engaging content that adheres to carrier guidelines. Ensuring that your copy is relevant is just a start, as carriers may block your messages for a number of reasons, such as unclear opt-out language or a lack of transparency. Poorly designed content can result in penalties, message blocks, and reduced deliverability.
- Keep it legal (get ready for some abbreviations!)
Monitor FCC, TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), and CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association) regulations. Always obtain PEWC (Prior Express Written Consent) and monitor state-by-state regulations, which are becoming increasingly strict to protect consumers from unsolicited marketing and spam. Businesses that don’t take these laws into consideration may experience disrupted messaging campaigns and face fines of up to $10k per violation.
- Monitor your message deliverability and optimize your scripting!
Text campaigns are not a “set it and forget it” form of outreach. While monitoring deliverability and compliance are integral to the success of an SMS campaign, analytics and optimization are not to be forgotten! Delivered messages are great, but engaged customers are even better. A/B test first texts and responses, track response rates by lead source and campaign, and track overall conversion rates to measure success.
Developing carrier relations and maintaining compliance may seem overwhelming, but it’s not without good reason. Texting is one of the most powerful customer engagement channels and it’s worth figuring out.
To learn more about the Verse SMS platform and how our carrier relations team does all the above for you, book a demo here.
View the whole interview with Mandy here for tons more insights into carrier compliance.