Everything you need to know about US SMS Marketing Laws

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SMS marketing has a great ROI potential because messages have high open, read, and response rates and it’s a cheaper digital marketing option. This is why many marketers are adopting text marketing for new customer outreach and engagement. 

Being compliant with US SMS marketing laws is important for the sustenance of your digital marketing efforts. Your key SMS marketing goals should be to boost text lists, strengthen buyer relationships and increase sales. 

Here are the key tips of SMS marketing laws you need to know. 

Writing the text laws

The text marketing regulations in the USA are written by different groups. The governments in the United States and Canada have developed legislation to regulate business texting. Additionally, industry associations are also responsible for creating rules to facilitate self-monitoring. Various legislative bodies regulate location-based SMS advertising and ordinary SMS marketing across states.

One important player in writing the SMS laws is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If there is a suspected scammer through text advertising, such complaints in the US go to FTC. Besides FTC, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates all media communications in the United States. FCC ensures that media communications fall within a defined scope of good behavior.

According to a technical review of the website, another player in writing the SMS marketing laws is Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). CTIA creates the telecommunications companies’ laws and enforces the regulations. It constitutes leaders from the telecommunications sector who are experienced in policy formulation and implementation. 

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is a federal agency in Canada, governs electronic messages and the internet. It sets laws in Canada to apply to people within the country. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) provides guidelines to mobile marketers and advises on SMS marketing laws. 

US: Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Text regulations in the US are dealt with by three organizations, namely the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), and Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). The MMA and CTIA promote the best text message marketing practices.

FCC, which is a government agency, has powers of legislation and has enacted various laws. This includes the CAN-SPAM act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act that regulate text message marketing.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) provides that organizations and businesses must have consent from people before sending text messages on their mobile devices. Even if an organization or a business has a person’s mobile number in their database, written consent is still a must.

Full TCPA compliance requires the consumer to receive clear disclosure of the messages to be received from the interested organization. They must also consent to receive the messages to their preferred phone number.

According to the reports of one essay writer from college paper reviews, for full transparency, the messages must have the identity of the sender and instructions to opt out. Businesses and organizations must have a provision for consumers, like for example, cv writers to opt-out or unsubscribe by replying to the message. To minimize chances of inconveniencing the consumer, the SMS should be sent between 8 am and 9 pm. 

Failure to comply with the TCPA laws may lead to financial damages of between $50o0 and $1500 for every text message received by a person who did not issue a written consent. The “do not call” or “opt-in” requirements don’t apply to non-profit making organizations that are tax exempt. 

US: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act) 

The CAN-SPAM Act complements the TCPA provisions. This law prohibits businesses from sending commercial email content to mobile phones. 

According to CAN-SPAM, commercial messages are promotions or advertisements for a service or product. This definition does not include messages aimed at sending insights regarding an existing relationship or transaction.

When sending commercial emails to mobile devices, the message must be recognizable as promotional or an advertisement. The recipients should freely unsubscribe if they don’t want to continue receiving further messages.

The Act’s provisions can be summarized as follows:

  • Misleading subject lines are not allowed
  • Misleading headers are not allowed( although this is more applicable to email messages)
  • It must be clear that a message represents an ad
  • Your message recipient should be aware of your location
  • The opt-out directions must be clear to the recipient
  • If you contract marketing to a third party, monitor the third party’s activities
  • If a person opts out, honor their requests 

Leveraging SMS marketing under the law

With the strict SMS marketing regulations, businesses and organizations should pay attention to their SMS strategy. For maximum benefits of SMS marketing, businesses should obtain written consent from customers. 

Whether a business uses paper forms, online forms, or shortcodes, getting explicit consent from the recipients is an important compliance aspect. The consent should be comprehensive and transparent for customers to agree with the conditions. Businesses should not ask customers to buy a service or a product as consent’s condition.

CTIA provides that consent should be provided on an online form and a confirmation text should follow from the customer. Businesses are also required to confirm opt-Ins. This entails sending the subscribers confirmation immediately they opt to get into the SMS marketing campaign.

The confirmation message should have information concerning the consumers’ subscription such as the purpose of the campaign and the identity of the organization. The message may also have the details of successful validation subscription, the estimated message frequency, and whether there are any applicable charges. 

As the cybersecurity managers from rush-my-essay.com report, such information should also be included in the CTA of the campaign. If an organization is concerned about overwhelming their customers with messages, they can provide URLs to their FAQ, help center, or privacy policy

The CTIA provides guidelines regarding the use of abbreviations in the privacy policies and the terms and conditions. The abbreviations should always be clear and should not be blocked by occurring pop-up messages. The abbreviations should also be accessible and have confirmation boxes that are checked in advance. 

The rules for text message marketing compliance

One of the top rules of compliance with SMS marketing is that explicit written and digital permission is needed for all prospective contacts. When a customer purchases a product or a service, this does not automatically qualify them to be receiving messages from a company. 

Another rule is that the initial message sent to a customer should be a message of compliance. Businesses should avoid leaving out the statement of compliance in their initial auto-reply. 

For the businesses using Slick Text, the auto-reply is automatically generated and all that is needed is customization. The first message is meant to confirm that the recipient has agreed to opt-in and gives a preview of their expectations from the marketing campaign.

According to the technical logs of Ninjaessay, a new text program with old contacts requires organizations to send double opt-in messages. This will ensure that contacts are still interested in receiving messages from a brand. Organizations and businesses should be cognizant of their cadence as well as the time they send the text messages. 

CTIA provides guidelines regarding the frequency and timing of text messages. The best practice is one message and this has to be sent during the day depending on the time zone of the recipient. The guidelines are aimed at ensuring productive engagement with the customers during the period of the SMS campaign. 


SMS marketing is becoming a popular channel of digital marketing. Before sending text messages to customers, businesses must understand the best practices and the requirements provided by TCPA and CTIA. SMS marketing laws are set for consumer protection because consumers should understand the subscription they want to opt for. They should also be assured that businesses exercise care and protection when using the customers’ personal data. 

About the author: Tiffany Harper is a training guru who’s been working in the corporate sector for over a decade now. She is a management graduate and loves to share her experience through blogs and articles. For her love of writing, she also provided freelance consultations for dissertation writing services and  best essay writing service uk while working with Buy Essays Online.


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