Every successful marketing campaign needs creative content, strong initiatives to engage, and a well-executed brand strategy. But creating engaging content is only half the battle. Your promotional and commercial collateral also needs to meet strict regulatory criteria to be fully compliant, and therefore legal.
Navigating compliance is a feat that both beginner and advanced marketers alike find intimidating. If not done correctly, your business could incur expensive penalties and a damaged reputation. Educating yourself and your team on the basics of marketing compliance, including CAN-SPAM, is the first step to maintaining it in your campaigns. Here is a breakdown of how compliance works and why it is important, along with a checklist that can be implemented into your campaign process to keep your marketing efforts lawful.
What is CAN-SPAM Compliance?
As email platforms have evolved, the federal government has needed to impose compliance guidelines for commercial marketing to ensure consumer security and protection. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, along with similar international guidelines like CASL and GDPR, is a crucial law that covers all the rules and regulations for composing commercial and promotional email material.
The law prohibits the use of deceptive, misleading, or nefarious information in email materials and SMS messages and requires that you give all recipients the option to unsubscribe from further communications. Many of the directives seem self-explanatory and a matter of common sense, but they are very sensitive and can result in penalties of over $40,000 if not complied with. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also has specific sets of guidance that marketers should be mindful of if they want to ensure successful email performance for future campaigns. The use of accurate subject lines, correct header information, and the inclusion of your business’s physical address are all main requirements of the CAN-SPAM act.
Other Compliance Considerations
Though it is most commonly applied to email marketing, CAN-SPAM can and should be used as guidance for product/service advertisements, websites, social media, and text messaging. The constant evolution of technology has made it increasingly easier for organizations, government agencies, and consumer whistleblowers to track and scan available marketing content for anything that could lead to larger, more expensive, consequences.
In addition to the FTC’s guidelines, businesses should always strive to avoid statements that could be interpreted as unfair or deceptive, lacking factual evidence, and misleading information about products or services. Any special offers, sweepstakes, or contests that you choose to run through email marketing or online must also include straightforward instructions and any potential disclaimers to avoid accusations of false promises.
Different digital marketing platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., also have their own set of privacy regulations that should be reviewed before starting any campaign. Including these compliance guidelines as part of your strategy consistently will ensure that all marketing materials posted online are age-appropriate. As emphasized previously, failure to do so will lead to costly fines and a negative impact on your brand’s trustworthiness and reputation.
The Marketing Compliance Checklist for Beginners
The process of creating appealing content that is also fully compliant can be time-consuming and frustrating. However, with the right tools, resources, and preparation, implementing compliance into your content creation process will be as easy as clicking send on your campaign emails.
To help beginning marketers establish a standard compliance procedure to follow for all subsequent marketing efforts, we are sharing our marketing compliance checklist that includes the essential steps and considerations when creating commercial and promotional messaging.
This marketing compliance checklist should be applied within the content writing and final approval system, which is essential before sending or publishing any content.
Defining the Compliance Process
Executing and maintaining the Marketing Compliance Checklist for Beginners is an important protocol that your sales and marketing teams should all agree upon. First and foremost, you will need to determine who is in charge of leading compliance efforts. This individual should ensure that they and every member of the team involved with content and publishing have reviewed the basics of CAN-SPAM and understand general marketing etiquette.
Compliance laws can be amended at any time. To avoid potential oversight of any minor or major changes, designate a team member to regularly check on legal updates regarding marketing compliance. By defining clear ownership of crucial steps within the review process, your team will avoid miscommunications on accountability and will stay diligent and engaged with all marketing campaign efforts.
For businesses lacking the headcount or technological ability to be confident in their compliance assurance, investing in a fool-proof layer of compliance security is a smart path to proceed on. Highly accurate compliance systems like data centralization, suppression list management, and an outbound email compliance filter are designed to work with a variety of marketing platforms. And with user-friendly and intuitive features, you can confidently trust that no opt-outs are violated and that your marketing compliance process is working seamlessly.
Following compliance regulations is about more than just avoiding fines and penalties. It is also crucial for optimizing your email deliverability and building brand integrity. Additionally, having a solid process for ensuring compliance can help you get more marketing materials published and sent, gain control, and reduce the amount of time that it takes to produce content. Whether or not you are new to marketing, preparing yourself with the right compliance checklist or protective software can help boost your productivity and ultimately yield a higher ROI.
For more information or further questions regarding marketing compliance, please contact our team at UnsubCentral.