Text Marketing Laws Businesses and Non-Profits Need to Know
As a business, communication with your customers is subject to various strict regulations. You have to adhere to them completely, and there's no room for error here, because even small missteps can cost you severely in certain cases. There are many laws that dictate what you are and aren't allowed to do in this context, and it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with them as early as possible. Ideally, you should have a legal expert advising you on this, but it's important that you also understand the implications of what you're doing.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The TCPA is an important framework to consider because it dictates specific cases like using automated calling systems to regularly dial your customers and sending promotional texts via SMS. You must comply with callers who've stated that they don't want to be called anymore, and you must also provide SMS recipients an option to easily opt out of receiving your messages. There are circumstances which allow you to contact customers without their explicit consent, such as in cases of suspected fraud, but other than those cases, you have to be extremely careful with how you're reaching out to your customers over the phone and text messages. Working with someone who understands the field in detail is important, especially in cases like non-profit text messaging – a company like Tatango can be of great help in those situations.
General Data Protection Regulation
If you operate in Europe, you have to comply with GDPR. The framework has become notorious for its complexity and strict regulations, and it can be difficult to ensure full compliance without qualified specialists advising you at every step. There are many rules to observe here – for example, you have to ensure that you've obtained explicit consent from your customers when contacting them, and also give them the opportunity to access any data you have stored on them and request its deletion. You're also responsible for protecting your customers' data, and breaches tend to be treated very seriously by corresponding legal entities.
Some see CAN-SPAM as an extension to the TCPA, but it's a separate framework specifically aimed at regulating text messaging from commercial entities. You must identify any promotional materials as such in an unambiguous manner and make it possible to unsubscribe from your messaging without any unnecessary complications. It's important to note that CAN-SPAM is specifically aimed at promotional messaging for new potential contacts and does not cover your communication with existing customers. For example, messages confirming an order do not fall under CAN-SPAM.
There are more regulations in play that are important to consider, but these are some good starting points. As we mentioned above, it's important to have qualified assistance at your side to ensure that you don't miss any critical details. This is also something that requires your constant attention over time, and you can't afford to simply cover your bases once and call it a day. You must always be on the lookout for new developments that could impact your own business, and that's another reason to use the services of a professional. This will allow you to focus on what actually matters – doing your work.