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Consumers continue to spend more and more time on their phones. Many businesses have started optimizing their websites for consumers who surf the web on their smartphones. But have you noticed that there are still very few businesses that utilize text messaging for marketing? The numerous regulations surrounding SMS marketing have kept several businesses from using this amazing portal to market their brand. These regulations have been developed to prevent SMS text marketing from the spam that has tainted other forms of marketing (e.g., email and direct mail). But this shouldn’t keep you from using SMS marketing. The regulations are there to make the system more productive for both consumers and marketers.

To market with SMS text messages, you can register with an online website or application and send out mass text messages to customers who choose to receive regular messages from you. With this form of marketing, it’s almost guarantee that your customers will read your messages. Users love receiving text messages and 98% of customers who opt-in to receiving messages will open a text within three minutes of receiving it. These are amazing numbers and as long as you follow the rules, text message marketing can be a great way to market your business. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind. For a full list of rules and regulations to follow, visit Mogreet’s 2013 Guide to Text Messaging Regulations & Best Practices.

Use a shortened phone code. It’s best to advertise using a phone service that provides you with a shortened phone number. Although there are still some services that will provide you with a longer code, its best to use a shorter code because wireless carriers have strict policies about commercial text messaging. Long codes are not supported by all wireless carriers and the shortened phone number was developed to make it easier for carriers to regulate text message marketing.

Collect phone numbers by honest and clear methods. In order to build a mobile marketing database, you are required by law to collect phone numbers by written consent of the customer after clearly stating what types of advertising you will send and how often you will text. This written consent can be in digital or paper format: through having the customer text a keyword, through online forms and through paper forms. You cannot advertise to phone numbers on a shared or purchased list. When you obtain consent from your customers, make sure your customers know exactly what they are signing up for. Do not switch the amount of messages you send out after clearly stating how often you will text.

Provide easy cancellation. You are required by law to allow your consumers to opt out of receiving messages. Any easy way to do this is to give viewers instructions, in each message, on how to opt out by texting STOP to your short code.

Send engaging material at optimal times. Just like posting and engaging in social media, you want your consumers to be able to read and engage with the material you send out. The messages can provide information about local deals, breaking news, coupons, contests, special events and much more. You can only send out texts as often as you originally advertised and they should be sent out at convenient times for your consumers; avoid late hours or rush hours.

Follow content rules. To help prevent spam, wireless carriers also have set rules about what type of material you can advertise through text messages. These rules are mostly common sense and will help you avoid sending out spam to your consumers. Make sure to respect the age group you are advertising to and if you are not sure about what you are advertising, check with a legal advisor.

SMS marketing can be a fun and productive way to engage your consumers. Just make sure to read up on the rules and regulations for SMS marketing before you start growing your customer database.

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