4 Ways to Stay Text Compliant
The fitness industry has recently seen high-profile companies hit with class-action lawsuits centering on the use of text message communication. In particular, former members claim they were improperly contacted via text message long after cancelling memberships. You may be quick to dismiss text message communication wholesale from your business strategy, but you should know, text marketing has two huge advantages:
- It works. Text communication receives an incredible 98 percent open rate compared to 22 percent for email marketing.
- By and large, customers prefer text communication. A 2016 Twilio study found 9 out of 10 customers globally want to use text for communication with businesses.
If you ban text message marketing from your gym or studio, you lose a host of benefits for your business and your customers. The more prudent play is to put into place these four best practices to mitigate your legal risk when texting your leads and members.
Required Opt-In for All Prospects
The simplest strategy to protect your business? Give each prospect the opportunity to provide a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to text communication. Ensure your club’s CRM software includes communication waiver sections which outline text message policies on its new lead forms. This provides prospects the opportunity to voluntarily opt into text communication. Due to its popularity, you can reasonably expect high numbers of prospects to voluntarily elect to opt in.
Restrict Text Send Times
A critical mistake is to apply email marketing send times to text messages. Emails are impersonal, tucked away in inboxes. A 6 A.M. email blast is unlikely to draw the ire of your recipients, but a 6 A.M. text message buzzing on the nightstand is very likely to wake up and annoy your leads and members. Just like business phone calls, restrict text messages to regular business hours to respect your customers’ private lives.
In-Message Opt-Out Functionality
Ensure the SMS messaging service you route your texts through includes opt-out functionality within text messages. This includes instructions on how to opt out in the first text message a recipient receives, i.e. replying ‘STOP’ at any time to discontinue text communication. This gives prospects and members complete control over their communication preferences and reduces the chances that a small irritation with your communication practices escalates into something much bigger.
Keep Comprehensive Records
One potential danger is the inability of gyms or studios to collect a comprehensive record of text communication sent by staff to prospects and members. This is compounded when club team members use personal devices for business texts. Best practice is to conduct all text communication through a CRM software instead of personal devices. This keeps every sent and received message on record and easily sourced should a prospect or member claim they received text communication without their permission.
Ready to use text messaging in your gym or studio but not sure what to say? Download the Club OS Sales Scripts e-book for pre-written templates.