International SMS Marketing: Country-Specific Rules & Tips For Sending International SMS
International SMS marketing is centered around texting customers globally about exclusive deals, sales, updates, or reminders directly to their mobile phones. It is considered one of the most effective ways to communicate with customers globally, despite the presence of emails and social media.
8 Tips for Sending International SMS Campaigns Successfully
1. Focus on SMS compliance
SMS compliance refers to adhering to laws and regulations related to sending text messages to customers or subscribers. It's important because every country has different compliance laws and adhering to them is mandatory.
Non-compliance with SMS laws can result in heavy fines affecting the revenue stream, deterring subscriber interactions and raising opt-out rates.
Here are some of the regulatory bodies one needs to be familiar with to build a strong subscriber list and give those consumers the greatest mobile experience possible.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the USA,
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU,
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
2. Validate the phone number lists
DO NOT send an SMS to any phone number before validating it! Validating phone number lists is important for SMS marketing because it helps ensure that messages are being sent to active and accurate phone numbers. Regular phone number validation can help your SMS campaigns in many ways like:
1.Deliverability: Sending SMS messages to invalid or disconnected phone numbers can result in a high bounce rate, which can negatively impact your SMS marketing campaigns' deliverability. Validating phone numbers can help ensure that your messages are delivered to active, valid numbers.
2. Cost-effectiveness: Sending SMS messages to invalid or disconnected phone numbers can be a waste of resources and can increase the cost of your SMS marketing campaigns. Validating phone numbers can help ensure that your messages are sent only to active, valid numbers and can help reduce costs.
3. Engagement: If you send SMS messages to invalid or disconnected phone numbers, it can lower your engagement and response rates. Validating phone number lists can help ensure that your messages are reaching real people and can help increase engagement and response rates.
4. Brand Reputation: Sending SMS messages to invalid or disconnected phone numbers can lead to complaints and opt-outs, which can negatively impact your brand reputation. Validating phone number lists can help ensure that your SMS marketing campaigns are well-received and can help maintain a positive brand reputation.
Using a phone validation tool is essential for achieving better campaign performance. ClearoutPhone not only offers real-time and bulk phone validation services, but also provides additional information such as carrier type, line type, time zone, and geolocation, which can be used to enhance marketing efforts. With our comprehensive validation services, you can be sure that your SMS marketing campaigns are reaching active, valid numbers, and you can be confident in the success of your campaigns.
3. Organize SMS marketing campaigns around regional occasions
Text messages are more effective when sent on special occasions like local holidays and events instead of just universal ones. This is because not all holidays or events are recognized or celebrated in every country.
Creating customized campaigns for specific regions or countries, can strengthen your relationships with customers and increase the chances of them engaging with your messages.
For instance, while the Fourth of July may be meaningful to your American audience, it won't be in France. Similar to how your customers in the UK won't understand Australia’s End of Financial Year (EOFY) sales.
Consider using an SMS campaign planner to help you keep track of local holidays and events and select the most effective phrases for your campaigns.
4. Ask customers what they want
Providing your customers with the option to customize the types of messages they receive from your business can help increase their satisfaction and engagement. By surveying or polling your customers to understand their preferences, you can tailor your messaging to better meet their needs.
This approach is especially valuable when entering a new industry, as it allows you to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience's communication preferences and develop more effective campaigns.
With over half of the consumers in the US, UK, and Australia expressing a desire for more control over the messages they receive from businesses, gathering feedback on messaging preferences is a valuable strategy for any business looking to improve its customer engagement and retention.
By gathering feedback from customers on their preferred communication channels and desired message types, such as information, offers, sales, or discounts, businesses can improve customer engagement and satisfaction by tailoring their SMS messaging to meet the specific needs and preferences of their target audience.
This can be done through various channels like live SMS chat, automated conversational flows, or social media platforms. The use of such channels allows a business to gather real-time feedback and provide relevant and timely messaging to its customers.
5. Think about consumer perceptions of SMS
SMS marketing is well-established and popular in the US, but it's still in the early stages of adoption in places like the UK and Australia. Customers in nations where SMS is still in its infancy require more persuasion to subscribe.
So, what can you do to sway their decision to sign up?
One of the best ways to lure your customers is to incentivize them. You can start with enticing offers like exclusive first access to new collections or a discount on their next purchase in exchange for subscribing to your SMS list.
Sending fewer messages initially may be a good idea until you learn what type of material, when, and how frequently people prefer to connect with it. Then, gradually increase the number of messages you send based on the SMS campaign’s performance metrics.
6. Personalize to create a better experience
Creating a personalized experience for your SMS subscribers can help increase their engagement and loyalty. Segmentation and personalization are key tools for achieving this.
By segmenting your customer base based on factors such as their location, time zone, gender, interests, or pain points, you can create customized campaigns that are more relevant and effective. Additionally, by observing your customers' behavior on your website or app, you can send even more targeted campaigns.
For example, you can send targeted promotions to previous customers, recent SMS subscribers, or clients who have made a minimum transaction at your business. This approach can help make your subscribers feel valued and appreciated, rather than just another number on your list.
7. Ensure the text is in the local language
Tailoring your content to the local language and culture can help increase engagement and loyalty from your target audience. This includes adjusting language, slang, and currency when sending promotional content to different regions.
For example, switching to American English from British English, or adding local words or greetings when targeting a specific audience.
These small adjustments can make your message more relatable and increase the chances of it resonating with your target audience, ultimately leading to increased sales and customer loyalty.
8. Go Global but deliver locally
Select an SMS service provider that can scale and expand along with your mobile marketing initiatives and send the most text and picture messages in the shortest amount of time.
Additionally, you need a supplier with a wide carrier network to support both international and local phone lines. Your provider should be able to automatically deliver your messages at the appropriate time and in the appropriate time zone.
To guarantee a flawless customer experience, many business firms integrate automated communication services within their internal systems. This gives you the freedom to manage customer data more effectively, automate the entire marketing process, and uphold compliance by utilizing cloud communication APIs.
9. Engage in dialogue and provide real-time responses
Having a personalized connection with your subscribers through text messaging gives them the chance to respond and provide you with insightful feedback on your goods.
They might extol the virtues of your company, use a voucher to make a quick purchase, or strike off a useful dialogue. You can even use an autoresponder to deliver timely, targeted follow-up text messages to keep them interested.
Country-Specific rules for Sending International SMS
Any international business that wishes to inform its clients via the SMS channel with the highest open rate must be aware of the SMS compliance requirements in all of its markets.
The subject is intricate. Your clients can miss out on important messages that could have a negative financial impact on them or hurt them if cell carriers restrict your messages. You risk losing business, harming your reputation, and even facing legal repercussions.
Keeping this in mind, we have laid down certain key points and rules for sending SMS.
Rules for sending SMS in the UK
When sending international SMS, dynamic numeric, dynamic alphanumeric, and shortcode senders are all permitted.
Operators will remove spaces from the sender ID, so use your imagination if your firm name has a space. Use capital letters, if possible, to make the text stand out.
In the UK, you must adhere to the general guidelines to prevent misuse (spam, phishing et cetera).
The key regulation that affects SMS marketing in the UK is UK-GDPR.
GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is the most recognized legislation in the EU. Following Brexit, the UK enacted a new set of domestic privacy laws on January 31, 2020, known as the UK-GDPR. Despite being nearly identical to the GDPR, it differs in a few ways that make it pertinent in the context of the UK exclusively.
Customers must voluntarily opt-in to receive marketing communications; they must be transparent and unambiguous, and they must have easy access to all the information they need to comprehend what they are agreeing to, such as a link to the company's privacy statement.
A straightforward and cost-free way of opting out, such as texting STOP in response, must be included in all promotional messages issued by a company, including SMS. It should be as simple to withdraw consent as to give it in the first place.
Rules for sending SMS in the US:
In the US, both transactional and marketing messages are permitted, but only for subscribers who have specifically chosen to receive them.
There are regulations set by the FCC and FTC prohibiting the promotion of some financial items, including loans, debt relief, and credit rehabilitation, in addition to the typical limitations on the promotion of gambling, drugs, alcohol, guns, and adult content. Any lead-generation initiatives that include disclosing the information gathered to outside parties are also prohibited.
All commercial text messages must be two-way, specifically to allow recipients to opt out of receiving further messages.
In the US, the majority of companies rent shortcodes - a five or six-digit phone number for their marketing communications. The CTIA developed the Shortcode Monitoring Handbook to enforce SMS best practices. Although it is still feasible to transmit and receive SMS using a ten-digit long number, this is not a common way to send A2P communication due to capacity restrictions.
The key legislation in North America that covers SMS messaging is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Besides, the TCPA and CAN-SPAM Act also regulate commercial text messages sent to mobile devices, making sending unwanted text messages to cell phone numbers illegal.
The CBP guidelines, which serve as the industry benchmark for SMS marketing, are the responsibility of the MMA. To guarantee that SMS campaigns are uniform across the board, it offers a playbook of approved practices, standards, and guidelines for U.S.wireless operators to adhere to.
Rules for sending SMS in Germany :
Both alphanumeric (11 characters) and numeric sender IDs are acceptable in Germany. However, shortcodes like 12345 as the sender are frequently not sent correctly, which could have a substantial negative impact on the success of your SMS campaign.
You might be surprised to learn that not every nation enjoys this "freedom of choice." The same holds for sender registration: In many nations, a sender advance notification is necessary, but not in Germany.
German-language messages are preferable since they are regarded as being more reliable. Inaccurate translations or English-only SMS are frequently ignored by the recipient.
Additionally, a personalized greeting increases client loyalty and instills more confidence in the German, who is constantly concerned with safety. They can now assume that the message's author is a personal friend. Even bulk SMS may be readily personalized and sent securely, swiftly, and dependably with the help of a competent gateway.
Social Invites are not allowed by T-Mobile Germany since 2016. There are different carrier regulations to be kept in mind depending upon the number type (Shortcode, A2P long code ).
Only with each message recipient's prior opt-in authorization should outbound messaging be sent (the account owner).
Commercial messages dare be delivered during day time, unless urgent.
If a person is listed on the do-not-call or do-not-disturb list, they shouldn't be approached.
Low-cost or free messaging in the recipients' native tongue for the phrases HELP (support) and STOP (opt-out/unsubscribe).
Rules for sending SMS in Israel:
Marketing text messages presents an unparalleled opportunity in Israel.
Random numeric senders are used in place of dynamic IDs in some cases.
Unreliable DLR; messages cannot be transmitted to "kosher"-registered phone numbers.
A strict ANTI-SPAM LAW has been followed in ISRAEL since 2008 which forbids sending advertisements by text message to mobile devices without first getting the recipient's express written authorization.
In Israel, SMS on Gambling, political, and religious content is strictly forbidden.
Support for standard and concatenated messages.
Virtual Long Numbers, or local VLNs, are prohibited. Only locally whitelisted VLN may be utilized.
Rules for sending SMS in Egypt:
The government expects you to contact your dedicated account manager before sending any kind of traffic ( local or international ) to and from Egypt.
It is strongly advised that you send messages using pre-registered Alphanumeric Sender IDs because mobile operators in Egypt have a history of filtering and blocking texts.
It is also recommended to use a local brand or service name for local traffic since rejections of generic text, particularly with the Etisalat network, are often rejected.
International SMS are heavily watched and censored (politics, religion, medicine/drug-related, religious, and adult-related, alcohol, and tobacco content is strictly prohibited).
International IDs are replaced by shortcodes to ensure delivery.
SMS traffic is split between local and international traffic by Egypt MNOs. Local connections are not permitted to carry OTP traffic. OTP traffic ought to be directed across foreign lines as a result.
The country has a marketing campaign message curfew: 21:00–09:00 local time (GMT + 02:00).
It is forbidden to send messages on Fridays, Saturdays, or on legal holidays.
Two-way SMS is unavailable in the country.
Rules for sending SMS in Australia:
When it comes to sending international SMS, Australia is a very complicated market.
The SPAM Act is the primary piece of legislation you need to be aware of when marketing to Australian consumers.
Sender ID documentation and pre-registration is not required.
Two-way SMS is available as VLN.
All promotional or transactional content must have opt-in and opt-out functionality.
Users must text-opt in to use your service. Opt-ins through Web/PIN are not permitted.
To use subscription services, you must double opt in.
Every marketing message needs to have a STOP button.
Senders of direct marketing messages must identify themselves and give a working opt-out address.
No adult, religious, political, or gambling content. According to Australian State or Territory legislation, anyone offering a regulated interactive gaming service in Australia must have a license.
Rules for sending SMS in Spain:
The Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) oversees SMS laws in Spain (AEPD). AEPD ensures compliance with data protection and anti-spam legislation relating to electronic communications. There are no specific service restrictions for sending traffic toward Spain. However, one should remember some key points before starting an SMS marketing campaign in Spain.
Customers have the right to opt out of receiving unsolicited marketing messages via SMS and are entitled to information about how a company will use their data.
The widely accepted way for consumers to stop receiving SMS marketing communications is to reply STOP to a message they have already received.
Without the particular, genuine, and prior explicit approval of the individual, organizations are not permitted to send SMS marketing messages to that person. This consent must be documented and retained as evidence.
The term "PUBLI" at the beginning of an SMS message must clearly identify it as an advertising or commercial message. For a consumer to know who to contact, the message must also explicitly state the name of the company or brand that is sending it.
Government has a Premium Short Code restriction. Only Short Codes using the following format are allowed: 205XXX, 215XXX, 207XXX, 217XXX.
There are no known restrictions on sender IDs in Spain, and alphanumeric IDs and Unicode are supported.
Two-way SMS is available as VLN.
Rules for sending SMS in Canada :
Under CASL or Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, any company doing business in Canada needs consent from their recipients before sending text messaging campaigns. Either a customer needs to permit you or you must have done business with them recently.
To send SMS in Canada, you need to set up a dedicated number. It can be VLN or TFN or shortcodes. Alphanumeric sender IDs are not supported.
Loan, debt consolidation, debt relief, and student loan programs from any enterprise that is not able to grant loans itself. Affiliate lead generation for these financial programs is prohibited
The following themes are prohibited: adult content, alcohol, tobacco, guns, and any traffic related to cannabis.
Opt-in and Opt-out feature are mandatory. Only customers who have specifically chosen to receive such messages are eligible to receive promotional advertisements and other broadcast messages.
Over to you…
SMS has proven to be a valuable and dependable method of communication for businesses of all sizes. Its growing popularity is due to its effectiveness in converting leads, increasing revenue, and retaining customers when executed correctly.
SMS marketing, through the use of concise text messages, has become a dominant force in the mobile-first world as it offers a direct marketing channel. If you're not already utilizing SMS to reach your customers and prospects, now is an excellent time to start. By following the tips, examples, and country-specific guidelines outlined in this article, you can effectively leverage SMS marketing and achieve success.