Consent: Not just what you say, but how you say it…

Consent: Not just what you say, but how you say it…


Now that people are increasingly seeing consent as a marketing challenge, people accept words and language in your statements matter – both for providing clarity and to give compelling reasons to receive your communications. However, marketers writing statements have to think about not just what they say –but how they say it. It’s essential for motivating people to act.

Language and wording is a key element of the ICO guidance on writing statements: “The request for consent needs to be prominent, concise, separate from other terms and conditions, and in plain language.” Clarity is king. Beyond that, there is a lot of scope for marketers to experiment with the proposition that forms their statement –provided it is clear and jargon free. There are several elements to consider, which is in part related to the audience of your brand and of your particular products.

fastmap research shows that older audiences are more safety first – seeking reassurance about how their data is handled, managed and processed. Younger audiences can be more motivated by the benefits and incentives on offer.

Clarity is essential, while marketers also have to think about describing what they do in an appealing way. Would a consumer be motivated to receive ‘marketing communications’ or a ‘newsletter’, or is there a way to describe this in a motivating way?

Language can also fatigue and tire over time –are certain phrases becoming clichéd, or raise more suspicion than provide reassurance?

fastmap research has also shown that a phrase such as ‘third parties’ can be off -putting to giving consent, even when it is in the context of ‘we will not give your data to third parties’.

Need further proof of the power of words? One brand tested consent statements through the process, keeping the structure the same, and just changing the words. The performance of the worst statement compared to the best statement was an uplift from just 10% consent to 32%. To put it another way, that would mean 3.2 times the number of sales leads and potentially 3.2 times the amount of potential revenue.

However, savvy marketers should avoid thinking language alone will improve consent.

By using compelling copy, along with presentation, design and formatting, consent can be boosted further. What is often useful is to think like the consumer and consider ‘If I was reading this, would I give it my full time and attention? Do I ‘get it’ or do I have to think about it?’.

While marketers will consider every word carefully, many will skim-read. Key points need to be got across clearly and easily, otherwise it will get lost in dense text.

Read about the three key pillars that influence consent – www.fastmap.com/pillars

What makes consent an ‘elevator pitch’ – www.fastmap.com/elevator

How consent can be about quality, not quantity – www.fastmap.com/types

Download the 11 Steps to Your Consent and Permissions whitepaper – www.fastmap.com/11steps

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