To text or not to text—that is the question. Not exactly Shakespeare, but it’ll do, at least to get the ball rolling on your options for SMS marketing and whether or not it’s a good idea to begin with. The question itself can be answered by simply asking yourself another: did the customer okay it? If so, you’re good to text. If not, you better ask first.

Asking permission of your existing customers to send them text messages from time to time is a lot different than asking for their email address. Why? Because texts get through, where emails can be ignored. Emails also don’t typically follow you around wherever you go, like nagging post-it notes—not unless you’ve got your smartphone set to do so. But there’s a difference between text message marketing and traditional email marketing that makes asking for your customer’s approval a bit tricky.

One of the most important things you need to do in order to receive that permission is to find the proper place and time to ask. This can be done in one of two ways.