Email is a powerful marketing tool, but it’s important to understand the laws surrounding it. In this blog post, we’ll break down the basics of Email marketing law so that you can stay compliant and use email to its fullest potential. We’ll cover topics such as how to get permission from your subscribers, how to create effective email content, and what happens if you break the policy. So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out in email marketing, be sure to read on for some valuable tips with PowerPAC plus!
What is Email Marketing Law?
The CAN-SPAM Act, the first of the major Email Marketing law that exist today, was passed in the United States in 2003. This bylawgoverns all commercial email, including anything that advertises a product or service, announces the launch of a product, or encourages you to visit a commercial website. It applies whether you send a single email of this type or a large number of them. On their website, the Federal Trade Commission has a business guide to the rules.
In a nutshell, the CAN-SPAM Act contains the following major provisions:
- Emails that are commercial or promotional must be labeled as such
- You must be forthright and honest about who you are, how you can be reached (including email and a mailing address), and the contents of your message.
- It is not optional to allow recipients to opt out, and you must respond to opt out requests as soon as possible.
- Because you are responsible for the actions of your subcontractors, it is critical that everyone follows the rules.
As marketers, we are primarily concerned with commercial email, such as newsletters, sale announcements, and product launches. These emails are subject to the more stringent provisions of this statute, which means we must always be careful to label them as advertisements. It also implies that if we refuse to allow people to reject our emails, we may be fined.
How to comply with Email Marketing Law?
Check to see if you have permission to email the people on your list.
Most countries’ email marketing laws require people to give you permission to email them before you can send them campaigns.
Permission is defined differently in each country’s laws, but there are two types of permission: implied permission and express permission.
Implied permission refers to those with whom you already have a business relationship. This could be because they are a current customer, make a charitable donation, or are an active member of your website, club, or community.
If you do not have implied permission to email someone, you must obtain express permission. When someone expressly gives you permission to send them email campaigns, for example, by entering their email address in a subscribe form on your website or entering their details into your in-store newsletter subscribe form, you have express permission.
Don’t use deceptive header information.
The term “header information” refers to any additional information sent with your email campaign, such as the “from” name, topic line, and reply-to address.
Email marketing laws require you not to include incorrect or misleading information in these fields in order to trick people into opening your email campaigns.
Converse does a good job of adhering to the rules. They include their company name in the “from” field to make it clear who is sending the email, and they use a subject line that accurately reflects the content of the email to avoid confusion.
The key is not to deceive your recipients on purpose. It’s fine to pique recipients’ interest or be creative with your theme line, as long as you don’t try to deceive them.
Mark your email as an advertisement.
According to CAN-SPAM regulations, you must clearly and conspicuously disclose that your message is an advertisement.
The article allows for a lot of flexibility in how you do this, and you don’t have to explicitly state “This email is an advertisement” every time you send a campaign. It’s more about not deceiving your recipients into thinking this is a personal email on purpose.
Sephora excels at this in their email marketing campaigns.
They don’t explicitly state that this is an advertisement, but by using their company name as the “from” name and “Get 20% Off All Eye Shadow” as the topic line, they make it clear to recipients that this is a promotional message and not a personal email from a friend.
Include your mailing address.
Most countries’ email marketing laws require you to include a valid postal address for your company in your email campaigns. This can be your current street address, a postbox address, or a registered commercial mail-receiving company’s address.
BuzzFeed abides by this statute in all of their campaigns by including the address of their New York headquarters at the bottom of each.
If you’re a Campaign Monitor customer, including your physical address in your email campaigns is easy. Every template in our library includes a space in the email footer to add the information, and you simply click and edit the information right there in the email before sending.
Include a method for people to opt out of receiving future emails from you.
Most countries’ email marketing laws require that your email campaigns include a clear and conspicuous mechanism for opting out of receiving future emails from you, and that this mechanism is simple for an ordinary person to recognize and understand.
Respect opt-out requests as soon as possible.
The CAN-SPAM laws require you to honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days, and you cannot charge a fee to opt them out, require the recipient to provide any personally identifying information other than an email address, or require the recipient to take any action other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website to opt out.
In all of their campaigns, Rip Curl goes above and beyond the letter of the policy. They include an unsubscribe link in the footer of every campaign, which immediately removes a subscriber from the list before redirecting them to a confirmation page informing the recipient that they have been unsubscribed.
Steps to make sure your Email Marketing is legal
Email Marketing can be a great way to stay in touch with your customers and keep them informed about your products or services, but it’s important to make sure you’re doing it legally. Here are some steps to make sure your Email Marketing is compliant with the statute.
Step 1:Determine who you’re emailing.
Email marketing allows you to reach out to anyone in the world. The issue is that what is legal in one country may be completely illegal in another. If your emails are not country-specific, you must follow various international email articles. Determine the location of your leads or subscribers. Keep in mind that the emails you send will be subject to the laws of their country. These are the international laws to be aware of:
- United States: CAN-SPAM Act
- Canada: CASL
- European Union: GDPR (enforcement 25 May 2018)
- Australia: Spam Act 2003
It can be difficult and time-consuming to segment all of your leads and subscribers and implement various requirements. The simplest option for international email outreach is to follow all anti-spam statutes to ensure that your emails are legal wherever they are sent.
Step 2:Always choose to participate.
Yes, the CAN-SPAM act in the United States does not require you to opt-in your subscribers or leads, but the rest of the anti-spam policys do. Not only do these laws require that you ask permission to email someone, but they are also very strict when it comes to the rights of the recipients: Compu-Finder, a Canadian company, paid the largest fine to date for sending emails to consumers without their permission: 1.1 million Canadian dollars.
Here’s the deal: even if it’s not required, always ask for permission before emailing someone.
Why? For starters, you won’t be breaking any rules no matter where you send your emails. Furthermore, it is a courteous thing to do. You will also demonstrate to your customers that you value their freedom of choice. You can obtain consent through opt-in boxes on your website or by asking for it in your initial email outreach.
Step 3:Make a note of their permission.
Let me explain what I mean by consent – Consent is an unrestricted agreement that is freely given for each purpose of sending emails. Silence or inaction should not be interpreted as consent. It is your responsibility not only to obtain consent, but also to keep valid proof of it. Create a system for keeping everything up to date so that you can demonstrate:
- What you said to them
- What they agreed to
- When and how did they do that?
Step 4:Don’t forget to include an opt-out option.
There is no doubt about it. On this point, all international email statutes agree. Give your leads or subscribers the option to opt out of receiving your emails. Make sure the opt-out process is simple and that their wishes are honored in a timely manner.
Even though the US CAN-SPAM act does not require you to opt-in your leads, the opt-out serves a similar purpose, making this bylaw less stringent than others. Most email automation tools, such as Reply, include an opt-out mechanism. If you don’t want to use these tools, you can always manually add an unsubscribe link to your emails by creating a Google form and linking to it.
Step 5:Use email lists sparingly.
Legally, it is permissible to purchase email lists. But here’s the catch: for each email list you purchase, you must obtain specific consent from those on the list for future use.
Recipients may have given permission to be on the list you purchased, but they must do so again. For the record, purchasing an email list under the US CAN-SPAM act can be difficult. It’s true that you don’t have to ask for permission, but if some people on the list have already opted out, reaching out to them becomes illegal. Rationally, an email list can cause you a lot of problems and do the opposite of saving you time.
Another legal way to collect leads or subscribers is through your website or by finding their email addresses and reaching out to them. This gives you more control and allows you to conduct a more targeted email marketing strategy.
Step 6:Tell them who you are.
Never conceal your identity. Your recipients must be aware of who is emailing them. Include your name, last name, and the name of the company where you work in your signature. It’s also a good idea to include a link to your company’s website.
Aside from that, don’t forget to tell them where you are. At the bottom of the email, include your physical mailing address. Just a hint: If your mailing address is particularly long, you can always type it in a smaller font size.
Step 7:Be truthful in your proposal.
It’s as simple as that: don’t mislead your recipients. Make whatever you’re asking or proposing clear and simple. When creating your subject lines, make sure to select one that accurately reflects the content of your message. Take a look at it this way: People may open your emails more frequently if you use interesting subject lines, but they will never be interested in your actual proposal.
Step 8:Keep an eye on what others are doing on your behalf.
Remember that what others do on your behalf is always your responsibility. If you hire someone or a company to do your email marketing, they are not legally liable for any mistakes.
Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers, but it’s important to know the rule before you start blasting out messages. Here are the basics of email marketing law- make sure you’re following them!
Email marketing can be a great way to keep in touch with your customers, but it’s important to follow the law. Make sure you’re aware of the rules and regulations before you start sending messages!