Since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, SMS marketing has been put under the microscope. Businesses may find that it’s now a lot more complicated to send out text messages without their customers’ consent. But, it’s really more of a golden opportunity for marketers than a threat.

Changing your SMS strategy to meet new procedures and regulations can help you redefine your audience and communicate with people who want to interact with your business. A couple of years ago, SMS marketing was more of a disruptive marketing channel, but nowadays, customers rely on SMS as a preferred communication channel. Whether it’s for delivery updates, booking confirmations or flash sales, SMS provides customers with a fast and direct communication channel.

Related: What is the GDPR and why does it matter?

When you choose to communicate with a generation of customers who are always online, you’ll need to be honest with them. If you tell them what you’re using their personal data for and for how long, your customers will have the opportunity to opt out of conversations that they aren’t interested in. Here are a few ways to ensure that your updated SMS marketing strategy is GDPR compliant and in-line with the latest data requests:

Offer explicit opt-in and opt-out options for your customers

Marketers need to realize that giving your customers the power is not necessarily a bad move. If your business’s products or services add value to your customers’ lives, you’ll immediately see a higher open rate and level of customer engagement from people who are loyal to your brand. On the back of being honest with your customers, you need to offer them the choice of receiving your messages or not.

This has been an ethical requirement for quite some time, but there are still some businesses which use a ‘pre-ticked’ box showing that the customer is happy with receiving your information. Going forward, having a clear and open approach to SMS marketing will allow you to segment a secure database of people who know exactly what you’re doing with their details and agree to have you use them for those reasons.

Make sure your customers have specified their contact options

You’ll need to specify the type of opt-in that your customers have chosen on your website. For example, make it clear and visible that your customers need to choose whether they want to be contacted via SMS, email or post – then communicate with them via the channel they prefer. You’ll also need to make it easy for them to withdraw their details if they wish to do so. Should they insist that you delete their details from your database, there should be a clear option in your SMS messages or website to do so. Even though some information is not ‘personal’ per se, for example, your favorite animal, you need to have a clear terms and conditions page that states the reasoning behind the need for that information.

Making use of the correct contact channel will also ensure that you maximize your return and effectiveness of your marketing campaign. When your customers have the option to identify their preferred method of communication, you’re likely to have a lot more success. For example, if your customer indicated that they prefer to receive communication via SMS, you’ll have a much higher response rate to communicate via SMS than when you send them an email with new product features.

In terms of GDPR, the guidelines are not explicit around the channel being used to communicate. This leaves you with the ability to really strategize and optimize the communication channel. Often the best solution is to have a multi-channel capability to ensure you cater for the diverse communication needs of your customer.

Manage personal data professionally

When you collect personal data from your customers, you need to manage their data professionally and in a secure manner, no matter how you received it. Make sure that your employees who make use of this data have a good understanding of the data and how they may use it. Should you ever require new data from your customers, make sure that you take the right steps by requesting the new, additional information rather than simply sending out a new survey for your customers to complete. Knowing this, collecting data for the sake of it is no longer possible unless stated and your customers are being given the opportunity to see, amend, transfer, or delete the data.

Your opt-out management system also needs to be more efficient than ever before because you cannot leave a customer in the dark. If someone requests for you to delete their information immediately, you should be able to do so. And, on that note, make sure that you have a data security system in place where you know that your business has taken the correct procedures to legally protect your customers’ data.

Honesty is the best policy

While the new GDPR legislation may have thrown a spanner in the works, try and see it as an opportunity to relook at your marketing goals and improve your communication with your customers. Here’s more information on why it’s important for businesses to adopt GDPR.

In the past, there was value in casting a wide net and hoping for the best. GDPR now opens the door to rather move to ‘richer waters’, casting a smaller net but having a much higher rate of success.

Clickatell’s SMS Platform can help you offer your customers a personalized, real-time engagement solution by enabling any app, desktop or web platform to be integrated with your existing CRM systems and even built into your website. Make the most of bulk SMS marketing with the above-mentioned GDPR tips and enjoy the benefits our effective platform can offer your business.

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