Authority Marketing for professional service providers

New Laws about Mobile Marketing - Do Read This Before Beginning a Mobile Marketing Campaign!

Can you afford a $16,000 MINIMUM expense because you haven't been made aware of a federal law that went into effect on October 16th? Probably not!

My exposure with this came from an email labeled "URGENT" from one of the mobile newsletters I subscribe to. NOTE: I am not an attorney and am only reporting information as I understood it about new laws put in place by the FCC and the FTC - because I don't want you to innocently make yourself vulnerable to massive penalties. This news came to me from the Mobile Marketing Watch, in the form of a video. According to the speakers, some who were attorneys:

These changes come because the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) has been extended to cell phone usage.   My understanding is that this act was put into place in about 1991 to squelch dinner-hour calls from telephone marketers. The Do-Not Call Registry was formed from this development, as I understand.

For businesses, the bottom line is that before sending text messages to customers, you must be very thorough and detailed about getting their written approval before sending messages out to them. You must keep proof of this approval for four years.The video revealed that the FTC and FCC reported receiving many complaints each month! If this is true, it must mean that many, many businesses either do not know about, or simply don't follow the regulations and best practices set forth by the CTIA and the global Mobile Marketing Association. These rules are explained in this article. For your convenience, I've repeated a synopsis below:

  • Inform customer of the number of messages they can expect to receive each month (3-5 recommended)
  • Inform them that "Message and Data Rates May Apply"
  • Let them know how to unsubscribe if they no longer want to receive your messages-STOP to Stop
  • Tell them how to get Help - "Text HELP for Help"
  • Terms and Conditions may Apply
  • Link to Privacy Policy
  • Of course, each message should also tell who the message is from- just like when you telephone someone and immediately introduce yourself as, "Hello, this is John Smith from ABC Widgets"

According to the video, the FTC has initiated about 100 enforcement actions against 300 companies and 200 individuals. The FCC has recently issued hundreds of  citations and penalty notices. Both agencies, according to these spokemen can by law issue maximum penalties of $16,000 per violation PER message!

So, if you decide to start a mobile marketing campaign, follow these laws to remain safe.

It is surprising to me that I've not seen this development in every online blog and website about mobile marketing because of how businesses could be affected by financial penalties they haven't learned about. However, a standard mobile marketing platform does document opted in mobile marketing subscribers already. Perhaps a business may fail to save this information if changing platforms or for some other reason, but since you've gone to the effort to become informed, you won't make that mistake!

Below are my notes that describe a statement you can include in a "conspicuous location" on or near your mobile marketing invitation - these are my notes from the video and to the best of my knowledge they are accurate and as complete as possible:

For an online invitation, an unchecked box was suggested - the customer should check that.

"I hereby consent to receive SMS messages from (or on behalf of) (your business name) at the cell number I provided above. I understand that this concent is not a condition of an agreement to purchase". 

Frankly, the amounts cited as settled upon by several large corporations scared me to death $47 Million and up.

Again, note that I am not an attorney, and am passing on information gained from a source I recognize as credible and well informed. Regardless of these new laws, they do protect consumers from 'Spam', which we are all in favor of never committing. There are irreputable marketers who take any advantage possible, and they should be shut down. Reputable conscientious businesses and their customers can both still enjoy the benefits of mobile marketing! 

Everything we undertake does have rules, laws, or best practices applied, so this is not to imply that businesses should ignore the highly effective practice of mobile marketing.  

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