Collecting SMS Opt-ins

In order to remain compliant, you'll need to collect express written consent from your audience to text them. Find out how.

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Written by Josh
Updated over a week ago

Introduction to SMS Opt-in

By law, businesses must collect opt-in from contacts before sending them an SMS.

There are two different kinds of SMS Opt-in processes: written and verbal. Here are some acceptable forms of opt-in you can use for your business:

Written: The contact completes a form, providing their phone number, and explicitly opts into receiving SMS from your business/organization.

Verbal: The contact provides their phone number verbally or in person and opts to receive SMS from your business/organization.

You can collect opt-ins in various ways:

  1. Verbal: Phone Call or In-Person

  2. Written: Email

  3. Written: SMS Keywords

    1. These are called Autoresponders in MessageDesk

  4. Written: Web Forms

    1. These are called Forms in MessageDesk

  5. Written: Widgets

    1. These are called ChatBot in MessageDesk

  6. Written: POS System

  7. Written: Paper Form

Keep reading for examples of each opt-in type.

Compliant SMS Opt-in Form Example

A compliant SMS form has 3 things:

  1. Collects the mobile phone number of the contact

  2. Ask the contact to check a box to receive an SMS

  3. Specifies where to find your privacy policy

Pro-Tip: You can use Forms/Chatbot by MessageDesk for collecting SMS opt-ins

What is SMS Opt-in or SMS Consent?

SMS opt-in occurs anytime your contact volunteers provide their contact information (phone number) and acknowledge that your business or organization may contact them directly.


  1. Signing up for your services or communications via a web or paper form

  2. Receiving a Keyword to your MessageDesk account

  3. Verbally request opt-in via a phone call or in person

How does a contact acknowledge that your business will text them?

When using a written opt-in process, you must clarify that your contacts are opting into text messages.

Whether it's a keyword, form, chatbot, or other form, it needs to include a disclaimer about what the user is opting into.

Example of SMS Acknowledgement:

By checking this box you agree to receive promotional text messages from [Organization Name]. You may opt out of receiving messages at any time by texting STOP or text HELP for help. This agreement is not a condition of purchase. Messaging and Data rates may apply.

Opt-in Form Requirements:

Your process for collection opt-in/consent may differ from the examples above. As long as it provides a clear way for your contacts to permit you to send text messages to them.

An opt-in/consent Form must include this information:

  1. The organization that will send the messages (you)

  2. Clear language about the type of messaging they are opting into (promotional, informational, etc.)

  3. Clear language that confirms that they are consenting to receive text messages from your organization

If your opt-in process is sound, contacts should never be surprised to receive a text message from your business.

Verbal Opt-in

Verbal: Phone Call or In-Person

In some cases, you may be able to have contacts opt-in verbally. You can request to send someone periodic messages for informational purposes only via a phone call or in-person conversation.


You speak with a client over the phone one day about getting them to sign up for your business' services.

Ben: Hi, is Colby available?

Colby: Yes, speaking.

Ben: Hi Colby, I'm Ben from MessageDesk. We're offering text messaging to keep in touch with clients. Are you interested?

Colby: I'd definitely prefer text messages. I respond much faster that way.

Ben: Just to confirm, you would like to receive updates via text message from now on?

Colby: Yes, please sign me up!

Ben: Wonderful, I've signed you up to receive updates and communication through text message. You can text STOP into our number at any time to opt-out of receiving messages. Have a great day!

When completing your carrier registration, you must describe this as your way of getting your contacts to opt-into receiving messages.

If you are sending marketing or promotional messages, you are unable to collect opt-in verbally. You must collect written opt-in (electronic or physical) in order to text your contacts promotional messages. Keep reading to find out ways to collect written opt-ins.

Written Opt-in with MessageDesk

MessageDesk offers 3 fully compliant ways to collect written Opt-in

  1. SMS Keywords (Autoresponders)

  2. SMS Chatbot

  3. SMS Forms

SMS Keywords (Autoresponders) by MessageDesk

Your contacts can opt into receiving messages from you by texting a keyword to your MessageDesk account. For example, you can advertise the keyword 'SUBSCRIBE' or 'JOIN' so contacts can opt into receiving your messages.

It allows your audience to text a phrase into your number and receive an automatic response.

If you would like to learn more about setting up Keyword Autoresponders in MessageDesk, you can visit the below article.


Text in the the keyword 'SUBSCRIBE' to [YOUR NUMBER] to opt into receiving text messages from [ORGANIZATION NAME]. You may opt out of receiving messages by replying STOP. Data and Messaging rates may apply.

SMS Forms by MessageDesk

When your leads or contacts are generated through sign-ups or by filling out forms/surveys, it is essential to provide them with clear information that providing a phone number implies their consent to receive SMS messages from your brand.

Do you have a website? This may be the option for you.

With Forms in MessageDesk, you can send the form as a link or embed it directly on your website if you're comfortable adding code to your website.

Forms are a great way to collect an opt-in from your audience as well as collect contact information. Whether it's a form on your website or a paper form it's an ideal place to collect opt-in from your contacts.

Here's an example:

SMS Chatbots by MessageDesk

A chatbot or website widget is similar to a form. It's a small icon on the bottom corner of your website thats designed to collect contact information.

When you click on it, it will ask for the contact information, similar to a form.

As you can see, the bottom of the form includes a disclaimer to opt into receiving messages from this particular organization.

Once submitted, it will automatically confirm that the person has opted into text messages.

You can read the article below to learn more about setting up chatbots in MessageDesk.

Written SMS Opt-in: POS System

Not included by MessageDesk

You can collect text message consent on you POS system or your online store.

Here are some popular POS system providers where you can collect and get consent for messages:

FAQ about Consent

Here are some questions that we frequently get about consent!

Why do I need to collect SMS opt-in?

You need to collect opt-ins to verify that your contacts want to receive your messages. It's also the law; the Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires you to collect express written consent to send marketing messages.

Why must I collect SMS opt-in if I already registered with the carriers?

Registration is only part of remaining compliant. This is how your business is registered with the carriers to be approved to send messages.

You still need to get consent from your audience to send messages to them.

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