Many MGAs have found SMS to be the business partner to help them succeed. We offer full back-office support, including contracting, certification, supplies and new business status. Our credibility with carriers means you can turn to us to help resolve problems with clients and/or commissions. We do not recruit your agents nor use your client records for anything other than to support your efforts.
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?”
SMS messaging follows the rules of permission based marketing. It’s 100 percent opt-in based. Simply put, customers have to give their expressed consent before receiving SMS messages. This can be done in one of three ways. New subscribers can double opt-in¹ via web widget, add their cell number to a compliant sign-up form or text to join. The latter is the most common. After opting in, the new subscriber will receive an auto reply confirming their subscription. If the opt-in was accidental, they can simply reply STOP, and all messaging will cease.
Remember to incorporate your SMS marketing effort as part of your overall marketing plan. Ring activity on the greater part of your marketing items, print and advanced, welcoming clients to join your SMS hover by messaging a message or code to your telephone number (in return for a rebate, complimentary gift, or another reward). This will widen your client base and also expanding deals.
The benefit of using a form, whether paper or online, is that you can use it to determine customer preferences in order to help you categorize your phone lists. For instance if you’re a spa that offers a variety of services, you might ask the customer to check off which services they are most interested in. Text messages are easier to send, however, so be sure to give customers that option as well.
One key criterion for provisioning is that the consumer opts into the service. The mobile operators demand a double opt in from the consumer and the ability for the consumer to opt out of the service at any time by sending the word STOP via SMS. These guidelines are established in the CTIA Playbook and the MMA Consumer Best Practices Guidelines[17] which are followed by all mobile marketers in the United States. In Canada, opt in will be mandatory once the Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act comes in force in mid-2012.
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If you need to receive replies to your text messages but it’s not as important that people easily remember your number, then a long number is the most cost-effective solution to start a two-way conversation with your customers. Global SMS long numbers are ideal for marketing campaigns, competitions, booking confirmations, customer surveys, and even to energize your CRM program.
The new Telephone Consumer Protection Act guidelines going into effect on October 16th 2013 require written, auditable consent for every consumer in a mobile database whereas previously consent could be express, meaning a company had previously done business with an individual. For those marketers not already using written consent for their opt-in programs, the new guidelines will require a significant change in how they structure their programs. Any company who is sending SMS messages as part of their marketing initiative need to follow the below guidelines:
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