Just as there are laws regulating telemarketing, there are laws keeping email marketing campaigns in check too. These laws are essential in protecting both customers and businesses from fraudulent activities. And as a digital marketer, it’s your responsibility to stay up-to-date with these email marketing laws.
In this article, we will give you a rundown of one of the most prominent laws regulating email marketing, the CAN-SPAM Act. We’ll also share some ways to abide by these email marketing laws.
The CAN-SPAM Act, or the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act, was passed by the US congress in 2003. This law regulates all commercial email. And this includes anything that promotes a product, sale, or commercial website.
Regardless if you’re sending a single email or an email blast, this law will still apply. Here’s a look at the main provisions of this legislation:
Emails that are commercial or promotional must be clearly marked as such.
You have to be honest and upfront about who you are, where you can be reached, and the contents of your message.
You must respond promptly to opt-out requests to let recipients opt out.
Everyone must observe all rules. You are also responsible for your subcontractors’ actions.
What Types of Messages Does the CAN-SPAM Act Apply To?
All commercial messages, including emails, are covered by the CAN-SPAM Act, regardless of whether they are intended for consumers or businesses.
FTC defines “commercial messages” as any electronic mail sent for promotion or advertising. Even if a recipient opts into an email list, businesses must still comply with this law’s provisions.
A few federal courts have defined electronic mail messages as messages sent via social media or posted on their page or feed. Some types of text messages also fall under this law, according to the FTC.
Ways You Can Abide by Email Marketing Laws
Let Your Subscribers Know Who the Email Is From.
CAN-SPAM requires email subjects to contain information about their sender. Does your business’s name appear on the sender line of your emails? If your recipients can’t easily determine who the email is from, then it’s illegal.
Avoid Misleading Subject Lines.
Misleading subject lines are a red flag in the eyes of the law. Your subject line must be relevant to the actual content of your email. Don’t use a subject that says “Free $50 Gift Card” if the email concerns a product launch. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Provide Your Mailing Address.
According to law, every commercial email must include your business’s physical address. This is usually placed at the end of emails, so it doesn’t distract from the email copy.
Providing your mailing address lets your recipients know that you’re a legitimate business and have nothing to hide.
Make It Easy to Opt-Out.
Nobody wants to lose people from their email list. And you may be tempted to make opting out as challenging as possible, but let us stop you right there. The CAN-SPAM Act requires you to offer an opt-out option with your email.
For this, you’ll need both an opt-out link and prompt follow-up.
You must include a link to unsubscribe in every email you send, and the process must be easy to follow. Opt-out requests must be processed quickly too. According to the CAN-SPAM Act, opt-out requests must be honored within ten days.
Always Get Permission to Email the People on Your List.
It’s always a good idea to ask for permission, no matter how lax the opt-in rules are for your country. Checkboxes on order forms or lead magnets are probably acceptable here in the United States. But if you’re sending your email campaigns overseas, ensure you are more active in the permission process.
Go the Extra Mile and Implement Double Opt-Ins.
Double opt-ins are when you email someone informing them they have been added to your list. The recipient can then confirm their subscription through a link or button.
When they verify their subscriptions, you are 100% sure they are okay with receiving commercial emails from you. This also works great for ensuring your email list only contains people interested in your business.
Following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can protect yourself from potential legal consequences. It will also help you develop effective strategies to engage customers and maximize conversion rates. With the right approach, email marketing can be an invaluable tool in helping your business reach its goals!
Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.