Texting is a popular and effective way for businesses to communicate with customers, but these communications must always comply with laws and regulations. And one of the most important aspects of texting compliance is obtaining permission from customers to receive text messages.
Opt-ins are the process by which a customer consents to receive text messages from a business for promotional or marketing purposes. And as the popularity of business texting grows, so does the importance of opt-ins: with 70% of consumers subscribed to receive business texts, opt-in rates increased 12% YOY from 2021 to 2022. This positions opt-ins as a critical factor in the success of texting campaigns.
In this blog post, we will explore the importance of opt-ins and how to obtain them, exceptions to opt-in regulations, and some best practices when writing them.
What is texting opt-in?
Obtaining expressed written consent from customers before you can send them text messages – i.e., opt-ins – is a crucial step in compliance with texting regulations, such as the TCPA.
By reaching interested customers who have expressed interest in your products or services, opt-ins allow you to grow your client base and increase engagement with your target audience – all while staying compliant and taking advantage of what business texting offers. For example, with open, response, and click-through rates as high as 98%, 45%, and 15%, respectively, texting leads to more customer engagement and a greater ROI.
Opt-ins also let you more effectively personalize your messaging and offer targeted promotions to specific groups of customers.
Here are some common best practices to follow when implementing and managing opt-ins:
- Obtain opt-ins through web forms, landing pages, or a clear affirmative action indicating a user's consent (e.g. texting a keyword)
- Ensure the opt-in process is simple, straightforward, and includes clear instructions on how to complete the opt-in and what the customer can expect to receive.
- Continuously maintain the opt-in list by providing value to customers.
- Comply with regulations to build positive customer relationships.
What is texting opt-out?
Businesses must provide an easy way for customers to opt out of receiving text messages. Opt-outs are not only a requirement under TCPA regulations but also ensure a positive customer experience. When customers opt-out, businesses should acknowledge and honor their request as soon as possible. Failure to do so may lead to penalties, damage to brand reputation, and a loss of customer trust.
The following best practices can facilitate a smooth opt-out process:
- Include clear and easy-to-understand instructions in each text message to allow customers to opt-out. For example, "Reply STOP to unsubscribe."
- Ensure that employees understand the importance of honoring opt-out requests and are familiar with the processes for handling such requests.
- Regularly track and monitor opt-out requests to ensure that they are promptly honored.
- Keep a record of customers who have opted out to ensure they do not receive future text messages.
- Regularly assess the effectiveness of the opt-out process and make improvements as necessary.
How Established Business Relationship plays a role
An Established Business Relationship (EBR) allows you to send text messages to customers who have made a purchase or transaction within the last 12-18 months* without obtaining express written consent. Businesses must still comply with TCPA regulations by including clear disclosures in their text messages.
Follow these best practices when sending text messages under an EBR:
- Text messages sent under an EBR should directly relate to the customer's previous purchase or transaction.
- Avoid sending too many messages to customers under an EBR to prevent overwhelming or annoying them.
- Even under an EBR, businesses must still provide an easy way for customers to opt out of receiving future text messages.
- Stay updated with any changes in EBR guidelines and adjust messaging practices accordingly.
*Be sure to check your state laws for exact policies around established business relationships.
Compliant and effective opt-in language
Words matter, so using compliant and effective opt-in language is essential for obtaining customer consent and maintaining compliance. Consider these tips when crafting opt-in language:
- Clearly explain the text’s purpose and what customers can expect to receive.
- Emphasize the value that customers will receive, such as exclusive promotions or timely updates.
- Keep the opt-in language concise and easy to understand, presenting it in a clean and simple format.
- Incorporate the required TCPA-compliant disclosures, such as noting that message and data rates may apply.
- Include links to the business's terms and conditions and privacy policies, so customers can review them before opting in.
- Provide clear instructions on how to stop or unsubscribe.
Opting in for opt-ins
As business texting continues to grow in popularity, implementing rigorous and sound texting compliance is crucial to boosting engagement, improving the customer experience, and staying on the right side of the law.
Leading business texting platforms like Statflo streamline the compliance process, freeing you up to refine your engagement strategies. With the added benefits of a dedicated platform like Statflo to support and manage your consent processes, you’ll always be implementing best practices and staying up-to-date with regulations across all your outreach campaigns.