Understanding 10DLC Compliance and Opt-Ins: A Comprehensive Guide

For companies using SMS with a local area number, complying with the requirements set by The Campaign Registry – formally called 10DLC – is necessary. 10DLC compliance will be a stress point among users of Sakari and any other A2P platform.

Arguably the most complex part of 10dlc compliance is writing opt-ins. To combat spam, mobile carriers have strict guidelines on the content of text messages sent by businesses. Consent is required to send any SMS messages to customers, and the way to prove this consent is through opt-ins. Not all opt-ins are 10DLC complaint, however. With a bit of knowledge about the regulations and some creativity, any organization can develop a robust system of gathering subscribers to take full advantage of SMS messaging.

Graphic with grey block reading "sign up" with a mouse hand hovering over it.

Basics of Opt-Ins

Opt-ins are a key element of SMS strategy and are the foundation for any effective campaign.

Why are Opt-Ins Required for 10DLC Compliance?

SMS is hard to regulate. With the billions of text messages sent daily, some of them are bound to contain harmful content, such as phishing attempts and unwanted marketing material. After years of ineffective regulation, the US government started to hold cell carriers accountable for the data on their network.

Carriers like Verizon and AT&T created organizations to better monitor business texting, especially texts coming from (application to person) A2P platforms like Sakari. One of these organizations – The Campaign Registry – handles SMS campaigns using 10DLC phone numbers.

The defining feature of spam is that it is unwanted; opt-ins prove that the SMS is wanted. To tighten any loopholes, carriers enforce various rules ensuring that SMS is genuinely consensual. While getting around these rules can be a hurdle for newcomers, they better the texting space for companies and customers.

Group of people mingling at a party. They probably met by opting in to a campaign with 10DLC compliance.

Getting The Campaign Registry-Compliant Opt-Ins

Gathering opt-ins is a complex but intrinsic part of the process. It’s a challenging task for any organization. Brands have and continue to devise creative plans to get opt-ins. This is a topic in and of itself – read this SMS opt-in guide for more information – but here are a few excellent and straightforward routes to getting compliant opt-ins.

  • Keywords: Subscriber sends a designated keyword to a phone number. For example, John Doe sends “SendMeSMS” to a pizza company.
  • Online Forms: Subscriber gives their name and phone number to an organization’s website before they receive texts. Be sure to specify what kinds of text message the subscriber will get.
  • By Phone: Subscriber will agree via interactive voice software to accept texts. Note that this must be recorded.

Note that these methods each involve care and thought to avoid unnecessary fees imposed by mobile carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile.

SMS marketer reading positive results on her phone and laptop whilst drinking coffee.

Best Practices of A2P 10DLC

Not all opt-ins are suited for effective business texting. They should follow best practices, as stated by the wireless carriers themselves. Doing so ensures A2P 10DLC compliance and boosts SMS marketing campaigns.

Be Specific

Precise, accurate, and straightforward language is critical when sending messages. Customers need to know precisely what they’ll get when signing up for text messages. There should be no room for interpretation, misunderstandings, or mixups.

For example, say Packing Plums and Possums is interested in sending SMS messages to their customers. Since most of their business is online, shipping confirmations would make things much easier for their support team. Packing Plums and Possums also wants to send SMS promotions about new products, sales, and discounts. Shipping confirmations and marketing materials are very different and require separate opt-ins.

Packing Plums and Possums opt for two opt-ins, one for shipping confirmations and another for promotions. This could be two separate forms or checkboxes on their website. This allows them to provide a better shopping experience while sending compliant messages to people who want them.

Person considering agreeing to get text messages from a company.

Opting Out with Text Messages

Even if someone subscribed to a campaign, that doesn’t mean they want to get texts forever. Per the rules set by The Campaign Registry and other organizations, every text message campaign should have a straightforward and easy way to opt out. Doing so ensures proper consent and boosts brand trust.

Opt-outs can be variations of “Reply with ‘Keyword’ to stop receiving text messages.’ The standard opt-out keyword is “STOP.” Some brands send an opt-out with every text, while others do so less often. When replied to, subscribers get a confirmation that they won’t get any more unwanted messages. Further communication ends. Organizations should honor any responses like “unsubscribe” or misspellings. Brands should also honor opt-outs sent through email or phone calls.

Person sending text messages on their phone, illustrating with envelopes.

Double Check When Sending Messages

Double opt-ins are usually a must, particularly for promotional campaigns. In a double opt-in, the first text a subscriber gets is a confirmation SMS. It will say something akin to, “Reply with YES for more messages.” Doing so ensures that only people invested in receiving SMS messages get them. Why is this necessary? Some people signed up for text messaging campaigns do so with fake numbers, a third party’s. Double opt-ins ensure there are fewer wasted texts and more accurate campaign data.

Note that double opt-ins are not necessary to comply with A2P 10DLC rules. Still, they’re a great way to make text messaging more effective.

Keep Track

Make sure to maintain a robust and thorough inventory of opt-ins. Doing so allows brands to keep track of their subscribers and help The Campaign Registry regulate text messaging. An archive of subscribers is essential for A2P 10DLC compliance for The Campaign Registry and general SMS campaign efficacy.

The most accessible and popular way to create an opt-in archive is via spreadsheet. Whether you prefer Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, a .csv file works just fine. Many Sakari integrations are well-suited to make the process easier.

Person replying and reading texts on their phone.

Honor the Agreement

The inbox is a sanctuary. It’s where one can receive a text message from a loved one, a coworker, or a friend. The importance of A2P 10DLC only bolsters texting’s personal and intimate nature. A subscriber giving a company the right to send them messages is a sign of trust. Never share lists with third parties: a subscriber only agrees to get SMS messages from one organization.

Buying and selling lists is equally wrong and is likely a scam. It’s not A2P 10DLC compliant and the sender will likely face steep fines and carrier fees.

Protect Their Security

Subscriber information is valuable. To send SMS messages, you need data like their name and phone number. This data is useful for identity thieves and fraudsters. A spreadsheet brimming with names and numbers is an enticing target. As such, it’s vital to safetly secure subscriber information.

To do so, incorporate various security measures. Implement two factor authentication and end-to-end encryption. Make sure to provide social-engineering awareness training to anyone with access.

Hand tapping a checkmark resembling an opt-in.

Send Brilliant Campaigns with Sakari

Turn opt-ins into leads with Sakari. Our expansive, cost-effective, and easy-to-use application-to-person bulk-texting platform makes SMS marketing exhilarating. From 2-way texting to MMS, any organization can directly reach their customers for appointment reminders, marketing campaigns, and more.

Interesting in trying it out for yourself? Book a demo with us for a hands-on demonstration or sign up for a 14-day trial today.

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