Why “Affirmative Consent” Matters In Email Marketing
Developing and launching an email campaign requires several steps. One of the most important is “affirmative consent”: the process of gaining explicit permission from your audience before you send them messages. By not fulfilling the requirements of affirmative consent, you run the risk of annoying your email recipients at best to violating compliance requirements at worst. Let’s talk about how you can gain this consent from your audience.
Demystifying affirmative consent
What does affirmative consent need to look like in practice? Primarily, it needs to be unambiguous. Affirmative consent consists of your recipient taking a clear, direct action to indicate that they want to receive further contact from you. Examples include checking a box, filling out an online form or putting a name and an email down on a contact sheet.
Another part of affirmative consent is making it clear to your audience what they are signing up for. To do this, create a self-serve subscription page that people can navigate to and opt into the different types of messaging that you offer. Specify, in detail, what the mailing is and how often they should expect to receive it. You will also want to add a link to your data privacy page and instructions on how to opt-out.
Speaking of opt-outs, it’s important to have a page where your audience can go if they no longer want to receive communications from your agency. Here are some best practices:
- Clarity and brevity: Get to the point as quickly as possible by listing how people can end their subscription to your email marketing.
- Tailored options: You can provide the option for your readers to modify the type of content they are subscribed to and how often they receive it.
- Automate where possible: Use your email software to set up an automated confirmation email that is sent to those who successfully unsubscribe. You should also automate the opt-out logging process. Recording and maintaining a history of opt-outs is an important part of CAN-SPAM Act compliance.
Why it all matters
The consequences of not gaining affirmative consent are significant. They can range from getting banned from the inboxes of potential leads to receiving CAN-SPAM fines to the tune of over $50,000 per email.
Even if you set aside the consequences, however, you still would not want to start blasting emails to folks who have not given you permission. Why? It just isn’t very effective. Email marketing success hinges on sending the right messages to the right people at the right time. Emailing people who don’t want to hear from you probably won’t pay off. In the end, all it will do is alienate a potential audience.
The tortoise and the hare
In the story of the tortoise and the hare, we get a timeless lesson on the virtue of going slow and steady to win the race. That same idea holds true for email marketing.
While it can be tempting to send mass emails to any contacts you have, you simply shouldn’t do it. Instead, work toward gaining affirmative consent by building out the right infrastructure like subscription centers and opt-out pages. You’ll be glad you did once you start seeing improved results.
To learn more about email marketing compliance, check out our recent blog.