Blog Home
Texting 101

Cold texting is illegal: 7 ways to warm it up

Alia Paavola
minute read
Table of contents:

Given the effectiveness of business texting and SMS marketing, it may be tempting to cold text leads or customers to generate revenue. But cold texting is illegal. You must have consent from contacts before reaching out via text.

We’ll dive into what constitutes cold texting and share tips to text without breaking the law.

What is cold texting?

Cold texting is reaching out via SMS to a contact without their prior consent or permission. It’s similar to cold calling and cold emailing.

Some examples that would lead to cold texting include:

  • Purchasing a contact list from a third party
  • Finding customers' phone information online
  • Obtaining someone’s phone number in a way they don’t know about 

Is cold texting illegal?

Yes, cold texting is illegal. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires businesses to get an opt-in from customers to text them. You may face hefty fines if you don’t obtain SMS opt-ins.

Stop cold texting and do this instead

Instead of sending a cold text message, organically grow your SMS subscriber list with these strategies. 

  • Make your phone number public. Encourage customers to contact your business first by publicizing your texting number. When customers text in first, they’re providing implied consent.
  • Use opt-in forms. Generate more opt-ins by using online or physical forms. For example, you could create a pop-up form for your website or ask customers to fill out a form in person.
  • Work opt-ins into a current sign-up flow. Anywhere customers insert their phone numbers, include a check box they can click that explicitly states they give your business permission to reach out via SMS. 
  • Ask for consent with keywords. Use a text-to-join campaign to encourage customers to sign up for marketing texts. These campaigns ask customers to text a keyword like “JOIN” to your number to subscribe. Send a follow-up text to confirm the opt-in choice.
  • Convert social media followers or email subscribers. Provide a way for customers who follow you on social media or subscribe to your email campaigns to opt into text messaging. 
  • Allow SMS opt-outs. As the law requires, businesses must provide a way for contacts to opt out. Providing a way to opt out may encourage more customers to subscribe since the choice to receive texts is entirely theirs.
  • Stay compliant. The big texting law to follow is the TCPA. Ensure you’re staying compliant with this law by following this eight-step compliance checklist. Compliant texting will help you maintain your SMS subscriber base. And avoid fines and penalties.

Warm up your cold texting with Textline

Textline makes it easy to comply with opt-in requirements. There’s a reason Textline earned a patent for our messaging consent feature and is the most secure and compliant business texting platform on the market. 

Start texting your customers confidently using Textline. Give it a try for free today

Start texting now

Sign up for a free 14-day trial today
Get Started
No credit card required

Earn commission for referrals

Get paid for each customer you bring to Textline.