One of our most recent articles touched on our integration with Xverify, which is a tool designed to sift through your database of contacts and verify their identities, remove inaccurate information, and even flag accounts that have been linked to chargebacks or fraud.

Today, we’re looking at another powerful integration, this time from the folks at ActiveProspect. In a time of increasingly stringent regulations around data and marketing, they created their TrustedForm product to protect legitimate marketers from unwarranted litigation, attempted fraud, and a tarnished brand reputation.

Before we take a look at how it works, let’s establish why TrustedFrom is a vital tool for the modern marketer.

The Decline of Traditional Ads

There was a time when consumers would willingly pay attention to ads, both because there were fewer of them and because there were fewer alternatives competing for our attention. Before smartphones and the internet, you might take advantage of a commercial break to use the bathroom or whip up another plate of nachos, but with an empty bladder and a full stomach, you were mostly content to sit through a few ads.

Fast forward to today, and we’re sick of being marketed at. The several hundred ads people saw per day in the 1970s has turned into as many as 10,000 according to some recent estimates. Surrounded by such a cacophony of ads clamoring for our attention, it’s hardly surprising that more than 760 million customers around the world were relying on adblockers at the end of 2019. What is surprising is that we don’t even really need these tools.

After years spent ignoring intrusive ads, consumers have mastered the art of tuning them out. There’s even a term for our uncanny ability to completely ignore advertisements in website margins: “banner blindness.” According to HubSpot research, click-through rates (CTRs) for banner ads were 12% in 1997. By 2019, that number had dropped to 0.35%.

The collective consumer distaste for being marketed at is only part of the traditional ad’s decline. The other contributing factor is the rise of far more attractive alternatives for our attention. The latest data from the Pew Research Center shows that 85% of Americans own a smartphone, meaning 85% of adults have a firehose of curated content in their pocket. Why would a Millennial with three streaming services sit through an ad for DirecTV, or why would anybody with a pulse sit through an ad featuring their local used car lot? Whether it’s on social media or in our email inbox, our smartphones are full of brands that we’ve given permission to market to us because their products or services fit our needs and interests. For both companies and consumers, consent-based marketing has been groundbreaking.

The Key Is Consent

If you’re hosting a cookout, would you rather feed some friends you’ve invited or a revolving door of unruly strangers? Obviously the former, which is why efforts have been made over the years to limit the access those strangers have to your telephone, email inbox, and more.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 was an early attempt to cut down on the number of unsolicited calls consumers were getting from telemarketers. Restrictions included limiting the hours in which these callers could operate without the permission of the customer, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) doubled down on the effort with the creation of a National Do Not Call Registry in 2003. Phones have come a long way since the early 2000s, and today, lower courts and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have decided that the TCPA applies to a variety of electronic communications, including text messages.

In response to the new legislation, some marketers simply began burying permissions in privacy policies that consumers would never see. There are also more marketers than ever reaching out to consumers, and it can be difficult for recipients to remember which brands have their consent and which don’t. In this environment, documenting actual consent has become as important as receiving it.

Documenting Consent with TrustedForm

TrustedForm works by logging contextual information surrounding the creation of new leads, but the best way to grasp its utility is to see it in action. Fill out the fields on the TrustedForm demo page and you’ll get a certificate sent to your inbox displaying data such as when and where the “lead” was created. The software also includes a video replay of the interaction with the webpage leading up to the signup, removing any doubt that the user willingly provided their consent. This kind of context is invaluable, and it’s why TrustedForm can offer the following:

1. Legal Protection

It can cost your company a fortune to fight wrongful allegations of TCPA violations, but software like TrustedForm can stop those lawsuits in their tracks. With a clear video replay of a customer’s screen as they check a box approving your messaging, you can take the fight out of even the most aggressive TCPA litigators.

2. Fraud Protection

If you buy leads from a third-party without verifying information about the leads, you’re likely a victim of fraud. If you don’t know what URL the lead signed up on, how old the lead is, what the form looked like when they signed up, or whether or not the lead provided consent, you’re missing critical information that has a major impact on the value of the lead. TrustedForm offers a way for buyers to verify the data provided by the seller, ensuring that both parties are operating with the same information. If your company is the one selling leads, expect to see a growing number of discerning buyers demand the proof of legitimacy provided by TrustedForm.

3. Brand Protection

It only takes a few unsolicited calls or emails to ruin your brand’s reputation with a customer. That bad reputation can spread quickly, and instead of trying to repair damage after the fact, it’s best to take a preventative approach. TrustedForm certificates are stored with the rest of the lead data in your database, meaning you can quickly and easily verify consent moments before contacting a lead.

Lead quality can vary widely, but TrustedForm allows both buyers and sellers to conduct transactions with confidence. At Lead Prosper, we think a product that helps you avoid lawsuits, fraud, and reputational damage is a no-brainer, which is why we recommend ActiveProspect’s TrustedForm as the highest standard for independent proof of consent.

Taking advantage of TrustedForm within your Lead Prosper account just takes a few clicks. Simply create a field to capture TrustedForm’s certificate URL, map it, and you’re instantly validating and claiming TrustedForm certificates on your new leads.

For more information on TrustedForm, the TCPA, and the importance of consent-based marketing, check out their eBook or read through their blog for additional insights.

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