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SMS marketing: do's and don'ts


In this article you'll find some of Cordial's recommended guidelines for sending SMS marketing messages.


Identify your brand

Always include your brand name at the beginning of outgoing SMS messages. Your contacts will be less likely to opt out when they know who the message is from.


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Be compliant

When you receive a contact’s consent to message them, the permissions are only granted to the specific program and can't be shared among other programs. Your brand name needs to be consistent from the call-to-action to the privacy policy and to each message sent.

Requirements in the call-to-action (where contacts sign up for messages):

  • Product description
  • Messaging frequency or recurring messages disclosure
  • Terms and conditions (or link to terms and conditions)
  • Privacy policy (or link to privacy policy)
  • STOP keyword (this can appear on a separate page in the terms and conditions)
  • “Message and data rates may apply” disclosure

New carrier guidelines limit businesses to sending one message per user abandonment event. Abandonment messages must be sent within 48 hours after the user abandons their cart.

Provide a way to opt-out

It’s good practice to give your contacts a way to opt out by including Help, Stop, and Msg and data rates may apply messaging once a month in the SMS message.


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Msg&data rates may apply. For help, text HELP. Txt STOP to end.

Use Cordial’s link shortener

While keeping your SMS messages to 160 characters to avoid sending double SMS messages, include shortened URLs with Cordial's SMS link shortener to track clicks and revenue.

Limit your use of emojis

Emoji use is supported in SMS messaging. Just remember that all emojis are treated as Unicode characters, which reduces the remaining character count of your SMS message to 70.

Share pending traffic spikes

If you’re planning to run a very large SMS campaign and you expect to have significantly more traffic than usual, notify your CSM so that Cordial can ensure throughput is configured correctly.


Don't send during quiet hours

Text messages for marketing purposes can only be sent between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm (local time of the receiver). TCPA prohibits text messages sent to a mobile phone from an auto-dialer unless (1) the contact previously gave consent to receive the message in off hours, or (2) the message is sent for emergency purposes.

Don't send sweepstakes, contests, or surveys without carrier approval

It’s important as a brand to ensure your sweepstakes, contests, and surveys are legally compliant. Before starting this type of SMS program, mobile carriers require a review of your sweepstake, contest, or survey rules. Along with your company’s legal information, the rules contain details about eligibility, the promotional period, how to enter, and the prizes awarded. 

Don't send too many SMS messages

Your contact gave your brand permission to send a certain number of messages per month based on their opt-in agreement. Don't send more messages than your contacts might reasonably expect.

Don't change your opt-in, HELP, or STOP messages

Your brand's opt-in, HELP, and STOP messages were approved by the mobile carriers. If you want to update the language, submit a revised SMS submission form to Cordial to be resubmitted to the mobile carriers for approval.

Don't send prohibited content

Mobile carriers will not allow the following types of SMS messages to be sent:

High-Risk Financial Services
  • Payday loans
  • Non-direct lenders
  • Debt collection
Debt Forgiveness
  • Debt consolidation
  • Debt reduction
  • Credit repair programs
Illegal Substances
  • Cannabis
  • Illegal prescriptions
Work & Investment Opportunities
  • Work from home programs
  • Job alerts from third-party recruiting firms
  • Risk investment opportunities
  • Gambling
  • Any other illegal content
  • Lead generations indicate the sharing of collected information with third parties.
  • Campaign types not in compliance with the recommendation of or prohibited by the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook, Version 1.7 or later.
  • Campaign types not in compliance with the recommendations of or prohibited by the CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practices.



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