Do you need to get consent from your customers before adding them to your B2C email marketing list? Building your B2C email list with consent is very important to your bottom line. (B2C stands for “business to consumer” or “business to customer”.) There are many examples of when you can do something, but perhaps shouldn’t, and nowhere is this more evident than in what is permitted by the CAN-SPAM Federal email marketing law. For the purposes of this article in particular we are going to be talking about adding a customer’s email address to your marketing mailing list without asking them first, and hopefully convincing you that you should always get consent before adding them to your B2C email list.
What’s Legal When Building a B2C Email Marketing List?
So here’s the thing: legally in the United States you can add a customer’s email address to your mailing list without even asking them. But in most other parts of the world it’s illegal under GDPR, CASL, and other such laws. That said, again, in the U.S. the Federal email marketing law (CAN-SPAM) does not prohibit it. But should you add someone to your list without their express consent? Absolutely not. For one thing, more and more states are tightening their privacy laws, making it illegal to spam their residents, and putting someone on a mailing list without first obtaining their consent fits some of these definitions of ‘spam’. And, as Klaviyo points out, “Completing a purchase is not considered explicit consent.” (Plus putting someone on your email list without their express consent violates Klaviyo’s and also Shopify’s Terms of Service.)
But what’s more, even though you may technically have the law’s “permission” to put someone on your B2C email list without their consent, you don’t have your customer’s permission.
Putting Someone on Your B2C Email List without Permission Will Annoy Them
Let’s get real: adding someone to your B2C email marketing list without asking them first, and without getting their permission, risks annoying and alienating the very people you need to have look on you kindly, and who you want to give you money! They’re not going to buy from you if they are annoyed that you put them on your list without asking them first!
Is it really worth annoying your customers just so that you can boost your numbers? Would you rather be able to say “We have a mailing list with 100,000 names – but only a tiny fraction of them actually open, click through, and buy things – and lots of them click the spam button,” or to say “We have a mailing list of 10,000 names, and 30% of them regularly open, click through, and purchase”?
Because when you annoy your customers by sending them marketing email without their explicit permission, what are they going to do when they open that email (if they open it at all)?: Buy something? Or hit “this is spam”?
How to Build a Kick-@ss B2C Email Marketing List
A much better way to build your retail marketing email list, the way to create a welcoming and responsive list, that takes the actions you want them to take, is to ask them if they want to receive your marketing emails. There are multiples opportunities to do this: as they are creating their order, when they are checking out, in the confirmation of their order, and when they come back to give you repeat business, which they will if you haven’t annoyed them.
Any time they are giving you their email address, such as during the order so that you can send them the order confirmation, just ask them – and be sure to set their expectations by telling them how often they can expect to receive marketing emails from you!
“May we send you email notices of upcoming sales and specials? We send them out about once a month.”
Asking permission, and setting appropriate expectations, is the best way to build online brand loyalty with email.
Sending customers – who could otherwise be loyal customers – email that amounts to ‘legal spam’ (if you’ll pardon the oxymoron) is a sure way to turn them off. And to end up with deliverability issues.
Yes, it’s legal. But would you rather be right or successful?