Email and text message marketing can help brands stay in front of customers and prospects. With the right strategy, these means of communication can help brands connect with consumers in meaningful ways. However, the wrong strategy can backfire, especially when you consider the legal ramifications of ineffective and illegal marketing practices that can lead to some hefty fines. If you own a small or medium sized business we urge you to get familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act before you plan your email and text messages marketing strategy. This is especially important if you plan to use any mass email and SMS marketing tools.
Overview of the CAN-SPAM ACT
The CAN-SPAM Act was created to protect consumers from spam, also known as; unsolicited messages. One of the simplest ways to avoid violating the rules is to only email people who gave you persimmon to email them. It may be tempting to email contacts who you believe want to hear from you and just don’t know it yet by data scraping a list from a relevant site or even purchasing one, but we recommend against these practices. Emailing people who gave you permission to do so is more effective anyway because people are most receptive to emails from brands that they are more familiar with. Here are other guidelines you should consider:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- Identify the message as an ad.
- Tell recipients where you’re located.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
For more information on the CAN-SPAM ACT please visit: www.ftc.gov
Overview of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
It is safe to apply the rules from the CAN-SPAM ACT to SMS or text message marketing but for more specifics for this media, you should really look to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The most notable difference between regulations for email vs text messaging is that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires businesses to get written permission in order to send messages to customers for marketing purposes. Emails consent can be given verbally but this is not the case for SMS. Additional points to consider include:
- Include an auto opt-out mechanism.
- Send messages within specific hours (8 am and 9 pm local time of the receiver).
Taking these guidelines into consideration can not only help you avoid fines of up to $41,484 per infraction; it can also create a better experience for consumers. Most people do not like to receive unsolicited or irrelevant communications at inappropriate times anyway. Building a quality list of emails and phone numbers that belong to people who want to hear from you and distributing relevant content in a way that takes people’s preferences into consideration, is most effective. It may take more time and effort to build these lists and to plan your messaging and timing so meticulously than to just go rogue and buy lists and message as many people as many times as you can. But we urge you to do things the right way. Patience is key and we would be happy to help you with a marketing plan that could work well for you, for free. Just schedule a time with one of our marketing strategy experts here: Free Assessment.