Just like with email marketing, you have a handful of legal concerns whenever you start using text message marketing.
Similar to email, you can't simply pull someone's phone number and start sending them unsolicited text messages. That's spamming, and it can absolutely destroy your company's credibility and customer base.
Instead, you should ask for your customers' phone numbers with the disclaimer that they'll receive text messages from you on occasion.
That way, just like with your email list, customers know exactly what to expect when they give you their information.
You'll also need to address billing concerns.
People don't pay for emails they receive by the message. But they do pay for each text message, whether those messages are part of a plan or not.
That means you have to remind your customers that standard text messaging rates may apply to the messages they receive. If they don't understand that, they may wind up paying extra for the texts that you send them, and that could land you in a big disagreement about liability.
To cover your company — and be kind to your customers — make sure they understand that it costs money to send and receive text messages.
This overlaps with spam, but it's essential to know that you can't ever send unsolicited messages to people on the National Do Not Call Registry.
On top of that, you also can't send messages to children under the age of 18. That means if your company wants to market directly to young teens or kids, text message marketing simply isn't in your ballpark.
Finally, it's critical that you're familiar with the kinds of products that you can and can't market via text in your state.
Products like weapons, alcohol, tobacco, and pornography are strictly regulated in terms of marketing, especially when minors are involved.
With some industries, like alcohol, you may not even be able to market to someone based on the state in which they live.
For example, if someone from Pennsylvania comes to your store in Delaware to buy liquor, and they sign up for text message alerts, you could violate Pennsylvania's liquor laws by following up with them.
The same could be true for any "dry" municipalities throughout the United States. It's important to research these restrictions for your industry long before you start a text message marketing campaign. If you don't, you could wind up paying more in fines than you make from customers.
(And just for reference, those fines can be anything from $500 to $1500 per message.)