Single Vs. Recurring SMS Marketing Programs

What’s the difference?

In text message marketing, there are two different kinds of programs. Single message and Recurring programs. A recurring program is when a consumer opts in to receive text message marketing messages to their phone, on a recurring basis from a brand. For example, opting in for your Starbucks (a real client of SimpleTexting) text message promotion, and every week or every month, Starbucks is sending you text messages. That’s a recurring text message campaign.

A single message program is when it is a one-off message. So e.g. if a person text in the word “download” to a short code 1-2-3-4-5, I get a message back with a link to download an app. That’d be a single message program. Or I text in my vote, and I get a confirmation to that vote. I’m not actually opting in for anything. That’s why it’s called a single message program, and that’s why it’s not a recurring program because a recurring program is when you’re actually opting in and giving up your phone number and putting it in a database, and allowing a brand to use that data base to send you messages on a frequent basis.

You can add cool things or ask for additional information after an initial single message, These are called Triggers and they act as follow up type message, while being non-recurring

Triggers are great when you have too much information to fit in one text. Use triggers to send mobile coupons, extra info, and custom responses! Triggers, which are really sub-keywords, allow you to send your subscribers more information when they reply with a certain word, or "trigger". You can learn more about them here

Before you get started… SMS Marketing Compliance Guide

Are you ready to run a recurring SMS marketing program? Cool! Before you get started though, let's make sure you're equipped with all the compliance details. Then, once you take flight, you'll be worry free. Detailed below are all the CTIA guidelines that apply to recurring SMS marketing programs. Coupled with our own recommendations, this advice is necessary for SMS marketing success.

Opt In Messaging Requirements

Customers can opt into a recurring SMS marketing program using one of two sign up methods. They can use their mobile phone to text into a designated SMS short code. This is the most common opt in method, and rightfully so, is called mobile opt in. On several occasions, interested customers might opt in via website widget, which is then called web opt in.

Mobile Opt Ins

When a mobile subscriber sends a message to a designated short code, intending to opt in to your SMS marketing list, you must send back an immediate reply. In this automated reply, you need to include the following information.

o    Business / Program Name

o    STOP Instructions

o    HELP Instructions

o    Frequency

o    Message and Data Rates May Apply

o    Link to Terms & Privacy Policy

Here is an example of a compliant auto reply.

Michelle’s Bakery Mobile Rewards Program: Thanks for joining! Show this text for a free bag of chips. 

Text STOP to end. Text HELP for help. 4 msgs/month. Msg & data rates may apply. Terms & Privacy @ http://bit.ly/2zNVvBu

Web Opt Ins

When it comes to web opt in, the CTIA guidelines get a bit more complicated, but that's exactly why we created this helpful guide.

Now, put yourself on the subscribing end of this situation. You visit your favorite online retailer, and up pops a website widget encouraging you to sign up for their text marketing rewards list. If you step back and think about this, it's fair to say that anyone can enter YOUR mobile number into this widget. If someone else has your number and wants to cause annoyance, they could enter your number into a Victoria's Secret website widget.

For this reason alone, the CTIA requires all web opt ins to double confirm or "double opt in". This means they enter their mobile number into the online widget, and then receive a message on their mobile device asking them to confirm their subscription. This double opt in message requires the cellular device owner to reply Y or YES, as a way of confirming their enrollment into the designated SMS marketing program.

If the mobile phone owner fails to reply to this automated message, they will never be added to the list. This prevents any black hat marketing managers from adding phone numbers to their list without expressed permission.

In your double opt in message, you also need to include the following information.

o    Business / Program Name

o    Frequency

o    Message and Data Rates May Apply

Check out this simple example.

Michelle’s Bakery Mobile Rewards Program: Reply Y to join. 4 msgs/month. Msg & data rates may apply.

When a mobile subscriber replies Y or YES to the text message above, you must send back a text message, with the following information.

o    Business / Program Name

o    STOP Instructions

o    HELP Instructions

o    Link to Terms & Privacy Policy

HELP/STOP Requirements

The CTIA requires HELP and STOP instruction. They have strict guidelines about what information you need to initially provide, as well as the type of messages to send back to subscribers. The HELP and STOP functions allow your subscribers to ask for assistance or simply unsubscribe from your SMS marketing list. Both of these options are required.

HELP Messages

When an SMS marketing subscriber responds to any of your campaigns with the word HELP, you must include the following information in your reply.

o    Business / Program Name

o    STOP Instructions

o    Frequency

o    Message and Data Rates May Apply

Keeping all this in mind, here's what a HELP reply might look like.

Michelle’s Bakery Mobile Rewards Program: Text STOP to end. 4 msgs/month. Msg & data rates may apply. For more help, call 1-800-688-6290.

STOP Messages

When a mobile subscriber responds to any of your messages with the words; STOP, END, CANCEL, UNSUBSCRIBE, or QUIT, you must remove them from your SMS marketing list, and send a reply that includes the following information.

o    Business / Program Name

o    Confirmation of removal

Check out this STOP reply example message.

Michelle’s Bakery Mobile Rewards Club: You've opted out of our exclusive list, and will not be receiving any messages in the future.