Sample terms of service for SMS marketing

4 minute read
Sample terms of service for SMS marketing

SMS marketing, or text messaging, is a popular way that businesses can share offers, deals and updates with their customers.

SMS text messaging is a channel of communication available to upwards of 98 percent of consumers. And, according to research conducted for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), the average response time for text messages is 90 seconds.

Understand SMS marketing compliance

DailyStory is a marketing automation platform and includes SMS marketing capabilities. We put together an example SMS marketing terms of service that covers the minimum requirements for text message marketing.
Staying in compliance is not only important, it’s the law.

What you’ll need for a terms of service

Before you copy/paste the copy we’ve provided below (and consult with an attorney) you’ll need the following:

  • Sending number – the number that your SMS messages are sent from.
  • Contact URL – the URL to your contact page on your website.
  • Privacy policy URL – the URL to your privacy policy.

Sample terms of service for SMS marketing

Please note, the SMS marketing terms of service provided below is for informational purposes only. Contact an attorney to seek additional advice pertaining to the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) and SMS marketing and to review the necessary terms of service.

  1. When opted-in, you will receive text messages (SMS/MMS) to your mobile number. These kinds of messages may include offers, coupons, or other information [add additional description as needed].
  2. You can opt-out of this service at any time. Just text “STOP” to the phone number. After you text “STOP” to us, we may send you an SMS reply to confirm that you have been unsubscribed. After this, you will no longer receive SMS messages from us. If you want to join again, just sign up as you did the first time or text “START” or “JOIN” and we will start sending SMS messages to you again.
  3. If you are experiencing any issues, you can reply with the keyword “HELP”. Or, you can get help directly from us [link to your contact page on your website].
  4. Carriers, such as AT&T, are not liable for delayed or undelivered messages.
  5. Message and data rates may apply for any messages sent to you from us and to us from you. You should expect to receive [number] messages per month from us.
  6. If you have any questions about your text plan or data plan, please contact your wireless provider.
  7. If you have any questions regarding privacy, please read our privacy policy [link to privacy policy].

Google docs version

We’ve put this sample terms of service in Google docs too.

Additional Recommendations

Below are some additional recommendations to help you stay in compliance.

10DLC registration and how it impacts your SMS marketing

If you are sending SMS marketing traffic over 10 digit numbers, known as 10 digit long codes (10DLC), there is a 10DLC registration process now required.

Understanding what carrier violations are

If you SMS messages aren’t getting delivered, you may be impacted by carrier violations. These occur when the phone carrier chooses not to deliver you message because it appears to be SPAM, illegal, or sent to non-opted in subscribers.

Auditable Opt-ins and Opt-outs

In addition to including terms of service for SMS marketing, it’s also recommend to log customer opt-in and opt-out activity for SMS marketing. Note, this is done automatically in DailyStory’s SMS marketing feature.

Should the case arise where customers dispute or complain about your SMS marketing audit logs provide backup proof to confirm opt-in (or opt-out) status.

All opt-in and opt-out activity should be logged

Therefore, whenever a customer opt-ins or opts-out of SMS marketing this activity should be logged. The log is a separate activity from sending the message and is meant to show a history of the recipient’s intent.

For example, below is an entry from DailyStory’s SMS audit log showing a customer manually opted out by customer service on August 15, 2023.

Opt-out audit entry

If a customer replied to an SMS message with “STOP” this would also get written to the audit log.

Similarly, you will find opt-in entries that detail how the customer opted-in, such as texting in a keyword, e.g. “JOIN” or “START”, from their mobile device.

Require Double opt-in for SMS sign up using Web Forms

We further recommend using double opt-in for SMS marketing when allowing sign-up from web forms.

Unlike an opt-in that comes directly from a keyword, e.g. “JOIN”, and can be directly attributed to the mobile number that sent the keyword. SMS opt-in using web forms should double opt-in to ensure the recipient number is the number signing up.

Use double-opt in for web forms

Double opt-in uses the following steps to confirm the intent of the SMS recipient:

  1. Visitor or customer completes a form on your website.
  2. An SMS message is sent to the number provided.
  3. A reply to that SMS message to confirm intent is required.

For example:

“Thank you for subscribing to updates from ACME, please reply with a 1 to confirm your SMS subscription. Message and data rates may apply. Reply STOP to opt out.”

Building double opt-in for SMS is easy with DailyStory’s automations and is a built-in automation template.

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