SMS Marketing Laws in Australia & Your Business

28 February, 2019

9 mins read

SMS marketing laws in Australia

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Direct marketing laws apply to commercial use of:

  • SMS & MMS
  • Email
  • Instant messaging

Direct SMS marketing is highly effective for small businesses. It allows you to send messages instantly to large groups of customers with offers, notifications and support very affordably. Anything from booking reminders and courtesy messages to coupon offers are considered SMS marketing.

The average direct SMS campaign receives a 90 to 98% open rate with most being read in the first 5 seconds.

Before you get excited and jump into it, you need to understand the SMS marketing laws in Australia and how they can impact your marketing efforts. Direct marketing (including SMS and email campaigns) must comply with the Spam Act 2003. This document is pretty hefty, and while we advise you read through it, we’ve taken some of the key points you need to know about SMS marketing laws in Australia.

Of course, if you follow the rules and use a reputable SMS tool, you and your business with be a-okay. To start, you need to have consent to direct message people.

Girl reading text message on phone

SMS Marketing Laws in Australia Mean You Need Consent

Nobody likes receiving spam emails or texts—and the Spam Act 2003 ensures people don’t get invaded with them. There are two types of consent you can have to be able to send direct marketing; express and inferred permission. In both types, consent must be given by the owner of the phone or email account to receive permission to receive communications.

Then, there is the requirement of an opt-out.

What is express permission?

Someone giving express permission to receive direct marketing has signed up to receive communications. This could be a person signing up to an email or SMS subscriber list on your website or filling out a card in-store.

What is inferred permission?

When a person becomes a customer of yours, they give inferred permission to receive communication from you. It’s assumed as they have interacted with your brand on a transaction level, they are interested in hearing more about your products or services.

You must have either expression or inferred permission to legally be able to use SMS or other direct marketing methods.

Opt-in laws for direct marketing

How do you add an opt-out of SMS marketing?

There is a third type of consent, however this time, it’s not consenting to receiving communications. SMS marketing laws in Australia state you must include an opt-out on every email and SMS marketing communication. This is where using a reputable SMS or email marketing platform (like our own), which automatically adds the opt-out or unsubscribe button for you comes in handy.

Any person who unsubscribes or opt-outs of receiving SMS or email communications from you must be excluded from all future forms of direct marketing. You have 5 days to ensure they are removed from your lists.

You Need to Clearly Identify Your Business as per SMS Marketing Laws in Australia

Receivers of your message need to clearly see it is from your business when they receive the SMS. There are two ways you can do this:

Customise your sender ID: When people receive your message, instead of your number as the sender, they will see your business name. It’s a nice personal branding touch too.

Add your business name to the start of the message: If you don’t have the option to change your sender ID, simply add your business name at the start of the message.

Storing Personal Information

If you are intending on using SMS or email marketing, you need to consider how you’re going to store the subscriber or customer information. Under the Australian Privacy Act 1988, you must be transparent with storing the information and the purpose of storage. Some other things you must consider:

  • Be active in keeping consumers’ information secure.
  • Give people the right to update their personal information.
  • Allow people to be anonymous, if requested.
  • Have a privacy policy.

You can read more about Australian Privacy Laws on the Australian Government Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website. Connecting your direct marketing with a customer relationship manager (CRM) can help to securely store personal information correctly. Learn more about CRMs here.

Australian laws for storing classified information

Tips for Maximising Leads Using SMS Marketing

Here are out top tips for making the most of your SMS marketing platform:

  • Don’t overuse SMS messaging. Keep it to exclusive or large sales, need-to-know information or booking confirmations.
  • Keep messages short. SMS is not the time to overload people with links or lots of information. Tell them the crucial information they need to know.
  • Have someone monitoring and responding promptly or add in your message how people can find out more information or contact you.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for general informational purposes only. It in no way replaces professional legal advice. Information is current as at time of publishing.

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