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Text Message Marketing Best Practices

 When I am talking to clients about Mobile Marketing I am always asked these three questions:

  • Is it ok to send a text message to people’s personal phone?
  • What if they do not want to receive my messages?
  • Is this legal?

Since all of these questions relate to the same topic of “Best Practices For Mobile Marketing”, I have decided to answer them here.

It is important to know that there are real compliance rules for Mobile Marketing companies.  The U.S. Consumer Best Practice s (CBP) committee develops a recommended set of guidelines to ensure a better experience for the wireless subscribers in the United States. The committee is comprised of wireless operators and aggregators – as well as members of the MMA and CTIA.

The CTIA (International Association for the Telecommunications Industry) preforms weekly audits to ensure companies meet the standards and evaluate compliance with the rules.

Audits are performed weekly

Any new violations are issued on Monday

Once you receive a violation you will be rated as follows:

2 – 5 days to correct the issue

1 – 2 days to correct the issue

0 – Correct the issue immediately

So what text messages could be a violation for Mobile Marketing? Well we need to know what is acceptable in sms marketing and what is not. Here is what is MUST be done:

•Must contain Sponsor Information

•Must contain frequency of text message

•No Unapproved or Inappropriate content as defined by individual carriers

•e.g., illegal drug use, explicit sexual content, violence, profanity, hate speech, etc

•No Superimposed Text Message

•No AT&T logos

•Only use approved Carrier Logos

In addition you…..

1) You must have an “opt-out” option on your message. A common opt out method would say text STOP to or END ALL to stop receiving messages. This makes it OK to send messages to mobile numbers. We do not hold hostages, and it is required to have it. You will receive a violation without it.

2) You must let the receiver of your message know who you are. Your business name should appear in the first few words to avoid any confusion that you are spamming people. People will remember they texted in to your offer when they see your business name. You will receive a violation.

3) Must not use the word FREE in a way that would make the mobile user think the text message is FREE. Although 85% of mobile users have unlimited texting and do not pay for it, there will be the very few that pay for a certain number or do not have texting and then they would be charged the text message rate by their carrier.

So yes it is legal and yes it is ok to message your customers on their phone as long as you are working with a Mobile Marketing Company that follows the above mentioned standards

  • Joel Carter says:

    Great tips and information, Thank you.

  • Kittie Walker says:

    Thanks for the great tips to keep us all on the right side of the law, when it comes to sending clients sms.

  • Fabrizio Faraco says:

    Crystal clear post which make order about concerns on mobile marketing. Here in Italy the mobile text marketing has a long history of regulation, but rules are just the same.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment. Regulation is a good thing most of the time no matter where you are!

  • Dorien Morin-van Dam says:

    Nice post, Dawn.

    Great to read that you know all of this information, so I don’t have to :) It is super important to follow all such regulations in regards to Mobile marketing as well as email marketing. You do NOT want to be fined or sued or worse, right?

    Thank you for the info.

    • admin says:

      Absolutely Dorien! Besides the fines or being sued, you would never want to be a spammer or violate the personal space of ones mobile phone. Thank you.

  • Keri says:


    Thank you for providing a list of common questions and best practices. I’m sure this will become an anchor post to your business.

    Great job on your new branding!


    • admin says:

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

  • Monyelle says:

    Thanks for sharing the steps. I haven’t stepped into mobile marketing yet, but it’s great seeing what I need to do in order to do so properly.

  • Kirk Pickering says:

    This is a really great post that focuses on ethical marketing practices in the mobile environment. Excellent job!