How to Obtain Consent for Text Message Automation

Best Practices: Text Messaging for Doctors and Healthcare Practices

Make sure you're texting patients in compliance with HIPAA.

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If you pay attention to the ads and calls-to-action that are all around you for just a few minutes throughout your day, it’s likely you’ll run into a request for express written consent for marketing text messages. The ways companies have found to obtain this consent are increasingly subtle, making it easier than ever to target engaged consumers for your specific niche.

A common method marketers use to get people to express consent for their marketing texts is by encouraging them to text a specific word or code to a 6-digit number. For example, “Text Bikes to 252525 to get updates about our latest models and equipment.” This simple task counts as written consent as long as your sign is compliant with the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association’s (CTIA) guidelines for describing your text message campaign.

These guidelines include:

  • The purpose of the campaign
  • How often users will receive messages
  • Disclaimer about message and/or data rates
  • A link to your privacy policy

Otherwise, people can quickly send the keyword to the automated number and receive an instant reply confirming their opt-in.

Mobile Sign-Up Widgets

Many online businesses utilize mobile website design to make it even easier to obtain that keyword by taking the minimal labor out of the process. When mobile users click on a button that says, for example, “Sign up for mobile alerts for 10% off your order!” their device can automatically open the message app and pre-fill the necessary information. This includes the keyword and your custom phone number, meaning all the person has to do is click send to sign up and express consent. The confirmation then comes automatically.

Static Web Forms

Your website probably already has a standard contact page with fields for a person’s name, email address, and question or comment. You can easily expand this form to include a phone number field to gather more contacts for your automated text message service.

Keep in mind that this interaction needs to be compliant with the applicable regulations. This means following the rules mentioned above by the CTIA as well as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) guidelines. As long as you accurately describe your text automation services and provide a way for people to clearly understand what they’re consenting to, you shouldn’t have to worry about potential legal ramifications.