SMS Marketing: Navigating Compliance & Best Practices


SMS marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for brands, but with its growing effectiveness comes more guidelines. Brands that aren't up to speed on SMS compliance run the risk of paying for messages that get blocked by carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, and never delivered.

Guidelines around SMS marketing are ever-changing, but some common reasons a carrier may block a brand's text messages include lacking consent, opt-out instructions, or exceeding frequency limits.

Beyond compliance, there are other guidelines to keep in mind developing an SMS marketing strategy, such as quiet hours. Quiet hours are times during the day to avoid sending text messages. While there are no federal laws for quiet hours, the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991) and FCC guidance suggest sending messages between 8 am and 9 pm in the recipient's local time zone. Some states, like Florida, Oklahoma, and Washington, are more strict, shortening the time to 8 pm. The safest bet for brands? Stick to the 8 am to 8 pm.

SMS marketing guidelines and compliance can feel like a lot to understand and manage, but platforms like Postscript are building these guidelines into their product. For instance, if a subscriber triggers automation or a campaign is sent during quiet hours, Postscript will hold sending until waking hours begin in the subscriber's time zone.

Here are some easy tips for managing an effective SMS program:

  • Warm up recipients with simple messages free of sales language and links.
  • Maintain a reasonable frequency of texts to avoid opt-outs and blacklisting.
  • Encourage replies to increase engagement. We've all received messages asking us to "Reply YES" if we're interested.
  • Make it easy for recipients to opt-in and opt-out of messages.
  • Keep content relevant to the recipient and make it clear who is sending the messages.

This post originally appeared in Edition No. 144 of my newsletter. Subscribe here.

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