Overview

If there is one word you remember when it comes to email and SMS laws, it should be "consent."

Customer consent is the key to email and SMS laws and will save your tail in the long run. Email and SMS can make a significant impact on your business when executed correctly, and that means getting customer consent.

However, rules around customer consent vary between email and SMS. It is essential to understand these differences to comply with international laws and maintain a positive relationship with your contacts. By the end of this guide, you will have learned the rules and best practices for email and SMS compliance.

Email

Types of consent for email

There are 2 common types of consent for email, including:

1. Implied consent

Implied consent is given when an individual gives you their email address for some business purpose, but has not explicitly stated that they want to receive marketing email from you. Examples include a contact who fills out a "contact us" form, or fills out a form to access a gated resource.

2. Explicit consent

Explicit consent is given when you ask someone for permission to send them marketing emails and they agree. The recipient has to manually opt-in to receive your emails through written consent, a click on a checkbox on a form, or through double opt-in.

NOTE: A form asking for a visitor's email address in a form field is not sufficient for getting explicit consent. However, an unchecked checkbox that requires the visitor to click themselves is acceptable. See the example form below.



The best way to gain explicit consent is by using the double opt-in feature. When confirming a double opt-in, an email must actually reach the inbox, and the contact will click a link in an email to confirm they really want to receive emails from you.

Even when using double opt-in, all requests for consent must satisfy the following 3 requirements:

- Purpose(s). You must specify exactly why you want the consent (i.e., "We'd like to send you newsletters and occasional special offers").

- Information. You must give your identifying/ contact information as well as the contact information of anyone else you're getting the consent on behalf of. This includes name, email address, and phone number of email for contact.

- The option to withdraw consent at any time. You must tell them that if they want to withdraw their consent or want to unsubscribe, they can.

As a matter of fact, explicit consent seems to vary around the world, so make sure to check the mass email regulations for the regions you are emailing.

Email consent in AVADA

When someone subscribes to one of your lists (i.e., through a signup form), their consent status is marked as true in AVADA. This results in the creation of their profile in your account (if it doesn't already exist) and a green background in the Channel section of this profile.



The green color under the Channel section shows that this contact has subscribed to your lists. Meanwhile, if someone has unsubscribed, the light orange background will appear here instead.



Related topics:

- How to Unsubscribe/ Resubscribe a Contact in AVADA

- What is the Suppression List in AVADA?

In some cases, international lawns will affect email consent. A prime example of this is GDPR, which governs residents of the EU. For information on how to remain compliant and access appropriate consent for EU customers, please head to our article on how to set up GDPR compliant.

Best practices

It is best practice to have double opt-in enabled in your account. That means when a customer subscribes via your signup form or other subscription method, they will receive a confirmation email to verify that they want to subscribe. Double opt-in ensures that you maintain good deliverability and avoid spam traps that negatively affect your sender reputation.

AVADA also requires you to include an unsubscribe link in all of your emails. This is required by US law and ensures a seamless experience for your audience, while improving email deliverability. It is always better that someone unsubscribes from your content rather than marks it as spam. You can customize your unsubscribe link as well to fit your business style and needs.

SMS

TCPA/ CTIA compliance for sending SMS

SMS consent is collected separately from email consent. If you have email consent for a contact, that does not mean you can legally send that same contact text messages and vice versa.

In fact, there are two main laws that you should take into consideration when sending SMS:

- TCPA (The Telephone Consumer Protection Act). The TCPA was passed into law by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in 1991 and restricts unsolicited telemarketing calls, faxes, pre-recorded calls, and SMS text messages. It was modified in October of 2013 to require businesses to get prior express written consent to send text messages to customers for marketing purposes. Merchants who violate this law can receive penalties for at least $500/ SMS sent and up to $1500/SMS depending on how serious the violation is.

- CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association). This is an association of several U.S. wireless communication organizations. You might hear about them, such as T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and many more. While the FCC focuses their regulations on recipient permissions, the CTIA is much more specific about the content of messages and disclaimers associated with them. If you violate their rules, the CTIA can report you to the mobile carriers to shut down or suspend your sending to their customers until you correct your issues.

For small/ medium businesses, violating these rules may be a huge problem for their finances. Therefore, please kindly read our article on SMS Compliance Checklist before starting your SMS marketing in AVADA.

SMS consent in AVADA

In order to send an SMS message to a contact, you must collect their SMS consent. You can ask for SMS consent at checkout (for certain integrations), prompt website visitors to subscribe in a signup form, or use keywords. To learn more about how to gain SMS consent, head to this article.

Once consent is granted from a contact, the SMS status will turn green under the Channel section.



Best practices

Like email, there is a double opt-in process for SMS that is highly recommended. These messages confirm that the phone number of the recipient is legitimate, provide you with a record of consent, and allow text message recipients to opt-out if they change their mind.

A recipient marking a text message as spam carries greater consequences than a recipient marking an email as spam. If you are reported as spam by recipients, you may be subject to hefty fines. To comply with SMS consent lawns, AVADA requires that you send certain keyword responses to customers.

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