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SMS Marketing and GDPR

08 Aug 2017 by Sadie Burgess

There is no doubt that SMS marketing is a fast and effective way of communicating with your customers and prospects – just look back at some of our recent blog posts to see what a fantastic communication channel it is.

So we know that SMS works and that it is growing in popularity – but as with everything in business there are both best practice and legal considerations.

Some of the key ones are laid out in the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR) – and while this might look like a daunting document at first, it doesn’t need to be. There are just two key things that you need to keep in mind.

  1. The numbers you contact need to be opted-in
  2. Always give people the option to opt-out

Under current legislation there are two opt-in options: hard and soft. Hard is where you have specifically requested their permission to send them text messages (perhaps on a data-capture form or by ticking a box on your website) and they said it was ok. Soft is where you have obtained their contact information via another means i.e. former customer or previous enquirer. In this instance, you can potentially contact these types of individuals without their specific consent beforehand. However, the message that you send them has to be related to whatever service or product you initially discussed with them, and it is imperative there is an ‘opt-out’ mechanic in place.

But with the changes anticipated through GDPR it appears that ‘soft’ will no longer be an option and that even ‘hard’ will be subject to some additional requirements. 

So in the words of the ICO:  “In essence, there is a greater emphasis in the GDPR on individuals having clear granular choices upfront and ongoing control over their consent. “

So how we as marketers go about achieving and recording consent will need a bit of thought – and whilst this will take a bit of brain power the good news is that it will, without doubt, result in positive impact on your ROI. You will have more success with your campaigns, as the audience you are talking to have already confirmed they are interested, they are already engaged, so your ROI, however you measure it, should improve.

Want to know more?

The ICO released a twelve step checklist for organisations to use in the coming months to work towards compliance.

N.B. GDPR involves much more than just consent and touches on all the gathering and processing of personal data which will have implications through the business, not just on your SMS marketing efforts.

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Tags: GDPR Best Practice Permission Marketing

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