Similar to email, SMS has anti-spam laws which differ from country to country. As a general rule, it’s important to obtain the recipient’s permission before sending any text message, especially an SMS marketing type of message. Permission can be obtained in a myriad of ways, including allowing prospects or customers to: tick a permission checkbox on a website, filling in a form, or getting a verbal agreement.
Unfortunately, this is a loaded question because one portion of the question is 100% legal and then one portion of the question is 100% illegal. So, let me explain. You can purchase mobile phone numbers. There is many data brokers that are out there that will sell you mobile phone numbers. On the other hand, you cannot text message those phone numbers because it is illegal. So, while you can, yes, buy mobile numbers, you cannot text message those phone numbers. Now why can’t you text message those phone numbers and why is it illegal? Well, here in the United States, we have the FCC. And FCC developed federal law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. It’s pretty long but some people call it the TCPA. And essentially, it says you cannot text message consumers without their consent. And it has to be prior consent. It can’t be consent after the fact because that’s really not consent, I think. So, in the TCPA, it’s very clear that you cannot text message customers without their consent. Now, if you do text message customers without their consent, so let’s say you purchased a list of mobile phone numbers, and you text message those phone numbers, that would be text messaging people without their consent. Now, if you do that, under the TCPA, which is federal law, consumers have the right to sue your business for anywhere between $500 and $1,500 per text message. Now that’s not text message you sent out. So if you send 1 text message to a million people, you’re not gonna be sued $500 to $1,500, you’re gonna be sued for a million times $500 or $1,500. So you can see that buying phone numbers, while that is usually cheap, the consequences of buying mobile phone numbers and then text messaging those phone numbers can be in the millions or hundreds of millions of dollars. So you do not want to buy mobile phone numbers and text message them because while it is legal to buy the phone numbers, it is 100% illegal to text message those phone numbers that you purchased that never gave your business consent to send text messages to them. So hopefully that answers the question as to, “Can you buy mobile phone numbers for text message marketing?”
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The advancement of mobile technologies has allowed the ability to leave a voice mail message on a mobile phone without ringing the line. The technology was pioneered by VoAPP, which used the technology in conjunction with live operators as a debt collection service. The FCC has ruled that the technology is compliant with all regulations. CPL expanded on the existing technology to allow for a completely automated process including the replacement of live operators with pre recorded messages. By optimizing the technology, marketers can utilize the process to increase engagement of their product or service.
In a nutshell, mobile devices are arguably the most personal items we own and as (SMS/MMS) marketer building your phone number database in the early stages of your (SMS/MMS) campaign, you need to let subscribers know what they are opt-in for. keep your promise and send only infrequent, valuable text messages. Remember to keep delivering value through incentives and your customers will stay opted-in and very eager to receive your next text.