Mobile Marketing – Can I send my customers a bulk text campaign?

Question – Am I allowed to send my customers a mobile marketing campaign? Customers have given me their mobile numbers but they haven’t specifically opted in to receiving text messages.

This is one of the most frequently asked questions on the subject of mobile marketing and  I thought it would be worth clarifying the rules regarding ‘opt in’. The easiest way of doing this is to copy and paste the letter of the law directly from the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office.) Website.
On the site they have a helpful FAQ’s sections where the following, very specific question is asked.

Q: I want to market my customers, both existing and potential, by phone, fax and email. Is there anything I need to be aware of? (Mobile marketing is covered by the same rules as email marketing.)
The response is as follows:

Emails and text message
“You must not contact individuals without their prior consent UNLESS you have obtained their details in the course of a sale or negotiations of a sale, you only contact them about your own similar products or services and you give them the opportunity to opt out of receiving further marketing messages each time.”

So if a customer or prospect has given you their mobile number, then you are more than entitled to include them in a mobile marketing campaign without them having specifically opted in. You need to make sure you include an sms opt out and that you’re not selling them something completely different.
All Text Marketer accounts come with a free opt out code that customers can text in to remove themselves from future mobile marketing campaigns. It’s a failsafe system that adds their number to a stop list, so that they can’t receive any more text messages from you.
So hopefully that’s cleared it up for you if you had any doubts. I think the rules are common sense really but please feel free to call the ICO if you need further clarification.
For more information on the dos and don’ts of mobile marketing have a look at our Mobile Marketing Regulations blog.