Navigating Mobile Carrier Rules to Ensure Text Campaign Effectiveness
While we know retailers could be utilizing text messages more as part of their everyday communications strategy, those that are using this mode of communication may have noticed some changes lately. If your brand has incurred higher bills and more blocked messages, know this: it isn't alone. It’s due to some major changes from a few top U.S. mobile phone carriers.
The 10DLC Rule Change
Phone carriers including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular have implemented new texting regulations specifically for A2P (application-to-person) business messaging. The rules, known commonly as “10DLC” after the 10-digit long codes, local numbers sanctioned by the carriers to be used for business texting, require action by the retailers that utilize them. Along with these extra steps toward compliance comes increased charges, as the carriers are requiring some registration and recurring monthly fees.
New Fee Breakdown
The registration fees range from around $4 to $40. Along with monthly campaign fees of $.75 to $10 per campaign and surcharges of $0.003-0.005 per message.
These fees only pertain to businesses using 10dlc to send messages in or out of the U.S.; those using toll-free and short codes are not affected. Retailers that don’t comply could face blocked messages and fines up to $10,000 per message, depending on the violation and the carrier.
How to Remain Compliant
Registering your retailer account is the first step. If you notice a higher SMS bill, it’s possible your SMS software solution provider has already registered the account on your behalf. Reach out to your provider if you’re unsure, as some providers require the company register itself.
Once registered, the most important component will be sending meaningful messages that fall in line with your intended recipient. If your messages start looking like spam, they will be blocked. The key to compliance is appropriately registering all text campaigns, not just some. Other tips include:
- Keep messages aligned. If the messages you send are much different from the messages you registered, they can be blocked.
- Continue two-way conversations via text, just make sure those conversational messages are registered as such.
- Avoid URLs at the end of messages, and when using shortened URLs, acquire a branded shortened URL, avoid public URL shorteners, as the carriers can’t track the URL back to the sender as easily and will assume it’s spam. Additionally, don’t use URLs that redirect to an unrelated page.
- During the registration process make sure to note phone numbers or the URL domain within the message use case.
- Personalize the message, such as including the recipient’s first name.
- If you need to send a new message type, contact your SMS provider to have it added to the registry.
While the new registration processes can seem cumbersome, and in some cases expensive, it's important to note the reason behind all of this: reducing spamming and scamming. In the long run, these rules will help weed out bad actors, helping to keep the messages people are receiving as relevant as ever. That will bolster the already strong value of SMS for business use.
Text messages achieve nearly immediate attention from those who receive them. However, if a person's text inbox is as inundated as their email inbox, those messages will soon be ignored. By continuing to send relevant, timely messages that are appropriately registered, retailers can cash in on the immediacy and proven effectiveness of SMS.
Tom Sheahan is the CEO of Red Oxygen, a leading business SMS solutions provider that works with retail brands in the U.S. and beyond.