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Nick Berry

Stay Ahead in Lead Generation: Adapting to the New FCC Rules

Stay Ahead in Lead Generation: Adapting to the New FCC Rules

I have spent the last week reading through the FCC rules, and also read so much analysis on it my brain hurts, but here’s what I’ve learned so far.

  • The Do Not Call Registry Applies to Automated SMS and Automated Dialers
  • Opt-in and Consents must explicitly say WHO will be contacting the lead.
  • You are only allowed to contact the user through automated systems for the specific thing they opt-in for.

Now let’s talk about what those three things mean for those of you that are buying leads.

The Do Not Call Registry applies to pretty much everything now.

Every lead that you get through a lead vendor will need to be checked against the Do Not Call Registry before sending them any Automated SMS or Calling systems. There are several vendors who will automate that lookup for you. I know Real Phone Validation is one system I’ve used in the past. You can check the leads one at a time through zapier, manually, or batch upload to verify if a lead is on the DNC (federal and state lookup), and they’ll even tell you if the lead is a “known litigator”. It’s not a free service, but it’s priced pretty reasonably at $0.02 per DNC lookup, or $0.0239 to check the DNC status and to tell you if the phone line is connected or disconnected. Before you move on to the next step, ALL the leads from a third party you get should be checked against the DNC.

Opt-in and Consents must explicitly say WHO will be contacting the lead.

When you purchased leads before the FCC rule change, it was accepted that the generic opt-in the lead vendor collected followed through to the companies they sold the leads to. This rule change throws that right out the window. Unless their opt-in explicitly says your company will be contacting them on the opt-in page(and you have to be able to prove it), you cannot send them automated sms or use an auto-dialer to contact them. Now, you can still call them (after you’ve verified they’re not on the DNC registry) manually. There’s another thing carved out that’s been missed by quite a bit of analysis. 

You are only allowed to contact leads for the specific thing they opt-in for.

Now that you’ve verified the lead is not on the DNC list, and they have given your company explicit permission to send them automated text messages, there’s one more catch. You can only communicate with them specifically for the product or line of business the opt-in covers. So if the lead has filled out a form for homeowners insurance and nothing else, your primary communications must be about homeowners insurance.

Does it make sense to keep buying leads after these rule changes?

I think I’ve been pretty vocal over the last several years about companies that sell leads. Can you have success with them? Sure, but is it worth the risk and hassle with these new rules? For the costs and headache I would say Google click to call or search ads would be a much better investment for your business.

Of course I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t bring up the long term benefits of content marketing. While content marketing isn’t going to immediately fill the gap you’re missing right now with leads. But tied to an effective search ad campaign, you can start generating your own high quality leads, and have an entire library of content to send to the leads after they come into your ecosystem. And that’s not even accounting for the long term organic search growth.

If you’re sitting here scratching your head on where to even get started, I have two spots open next month for Content Catalyst. I started this service earlier this year after talking with several agents and they just didn’t know where or how to get started with content marketing. If that sounds like you, book a call at the button below and let’s talk.

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