What is consent?

When it comes to consent, there are a few basics you need to know. Firstly, when you send your very first message to a customer, you need to make sure you have their consent. There are many ways that your customers can give their consent or ‘opt-in’; they can do it via SMS, fill in an online form, or even confirm verbally. But remember, when it comes to promotional messaging, you need to keep a record of their consent (proof that they have in fact given you consent). A tick box on a website, electronic acceptance, or written consent must be collected and stored.

The table below shows what type of consent is needed when sending SMS messages, whether it be transactional or promotional messages. It also recommends best practice relating to the content of the messages that you might want to send.

Transactional Messages Promotional Messages
Conversational Informational Marketing
What is it?

Conversational messaging is an expected back and forth exchange between two parties that takes place via the SMS channel.

The customer would typically initiate this conversation.
What is it?

Informational messaging is typically one-way messaging, where the company or business responds to a customer’s request to receive information, or where a customer can expect to receive a once-off response to an action that they have taken.
What is it?

Promotional messaging is also one-way messaging that offers a sales or marketing promotion. There is typically a call-to-action in the SMS message received by the customer.
The first message...

...is sent by the customer. It responds to a specific request.
The first message...

...can be sent either by the customer or the business. This message contains useful and helpful information.
The first message...

...is sent by the business to an opted-in customer or contact list. This message promotes a brand, product or service.

A customer sends an SMS message to an advertised number. The business then manually or automatically responds to the SMS message and a conversation ensues.

There is an existing relationship between the customer and the business. The business would send, for example, an appointment reminder.

A second example would be the sending of a one-time-password. Where the customer initiates the conversation by performing an action. E.g. logging in to a platform and a one time password is sent to their mobile number.

This would be an awareness campaign for a business or brand. An example would be a brand that has a special on popular items during a sale. They would then send this promotion out to their opted-in customer base with the details of the offer, along with opt-out instructions.

Source: Adapted from the CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practice

If you’d like to know more about best practice when it comes to communicating via SMS, take a look at our SMS Best Practice Guide.

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