Adding SMS text messaging to your business
Studies say that 48% of consumers prefer texting to phone calls. So, using text as a way to stay in touch with your customers makes a lot of sense. A BellesLink text-enabled toll-free number can accept both phone calls and texts, so you can have one number for all your customer communications.
To learn how to add a text-enable toll-free number to your account checkout Business Texting Registration and Toll-Free Number Verification. Before you do, it’s important to understand how business text messaging is different than personal text messaging, and why you can’t text your customers they way you text your friends.
Business text messaging is different
Federal regulations, carrier requirements, and industry best practices differentiate between business and personal text messaging. Person to person texts (P2P), the ones you send from mobile phone, are largely unregulated.
Business, or application, to person texts (A2P), the ones you send from BellesLink and similar SMS services require compliance with Federal and carrier rules and regulations, including:
- Business texting number registration
- Opt-in/user consent
- Opt-out instructions
- Prohibited campaigns
- Prohibited message content
As business SMS traffic increases, so do scammers sending SPAM and fraudulent messages. Regulations and requirements have been put in place to protect consumers and legitimate businesses.
Compliance is worth it
SMS carriers, like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and others, are taking an active role in preventing SPAM and fraudulent messages on their networks. Business registration for texting, though The Campaign Registry, ensures compliant businesses that their SMS messages will have the best possible delivery rates. Businesses who aren’t compliant, who are messaging on unregistered numbers will have their messages blocked.
Business texting registration
To get started with texting, you’ll need to add a text-enabled toll-free number to your BellesLink account. Once you’ve added the number, BellesLink will submit a business texting registration on your behalf.
Registration is a carrier compliance requirement for all businesses who use texting. You can learn more about this requirement by reading our Business Texting Registration Form Guide.
Opt-ins and user consent
Before sending a text message to any number you must have their express consent to do so. You cannot send a text message from BellesLink without an opt-in. This is the key difference between business text messages and personal text messages.
It’s important to note that implied consent is not considered sufficient for texting outside of immediately responding to a received message, nor is purchasing a list of “users who have opted in to SMS.” A contact must actively ask to receive text messages from you.
The best ways to get an opt-in from a contact are to ask for an opt-in while on a phone call or to publish your texting number with opt-in instructions on your website. Checkout our Text Opt-in Methods Guide to learn more.
In a business text message, you must provide a clear way for users to opt-out, via text. Industry best practices define standard keywords for opt-out requests, including STOP and UNSUBSCRIBE.
To meet this requirement, every BellesLink text message you send ends with the phrase “Reply STOP to cancel”. Compliance is built into BellesLink.
While SMS provides a great way to engage your opted-in customers, there are limitations and restrictions in terms of what types of messages may be sent, and to the content of the messages. The following campaigns are strictly prohibited by carriers and BellesLink:
- Loan and mortgage advertisements
- Credit repair offers
- Debt relief offers
- Debt collection attempts
- Work from home advertisements
- Secret shopper advertisements
- Political advertisements and messages
- Alcohol, tobacco, or firearms advertisements
- Pharmaceutical, vitamin, or other drug advertisements
- Campaigns that may be similar to the above
Prohibited message content
The following message content is also strictly prohibited and may result in your service being blocked or suspended by the carriers or BellesLink:
- Messages that engage in any illegal activity or otherwise violate our terms of service, including the acceptable use policy
- Messages that engage in or promote, pornographic or adult entertainment, regardless of legality
- Messages that contain text or references to violence, hate speech, or otherwise engaging in threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, libelous, deceptive or fraudulent behavior
- Messages that contain text or otherwise reference substances defined as controlled substances under federal law, regardless of legality, including marijuana (cannabis)
- Messages that contain third-party affiliate/lead generation links
- Messages that contain obfuscated links for the purpose of misleading the reader, or use links contrary to the expectation of the user based on the message text
- Messages that are structured to evade this policy or the policies of carriers (e.g. misspelling, uncommon capitalization, etc.)
BellesLink reserves the right to add to this list at any time or determine messages are prohibited at its discretion.
Texting with BellesLink
There’s no doubt that text is an effective way to stay in touch with your customers and now you know why business texting is different. Federal and industry regulations are in place to prevent SPAM and fraudulent messages and help legitimate businesses succeed with texting.
To get started texting your customers add a text-enable toll-free number to your account. Upgrade to a Pro or Business plan to have access to all our phone and texting features.
Checkout our tutorials and guides on business text messaging, registration requirements, and toll-free number verification.
- How to Get Started with Business Texting
- Business Texting Registration Form Guide
- Text Opt-in Methods Guide
- Writing A Text Opt-in Call to Action
- Business Text Message Templates
- Toll-Free Number Setup
- Why Business Text Messaging is Different
- Ineligible Uses for Business Texting
Additional policies, regulations, and laws may exist beyond those listed here. This is not legal advice. It is strongly recommended you consult your own legal advisor for help understanding legal obligations you may have, given the kind of messaging you wish to send.