Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal.
When you email your audience, you have direct access to the inner sanctum of their email inbox. This is a special place reserved for businesses like yours.
In fact, you were invited in when your customer(s) opted into your list. Yet, even with the invitation, you’ve got to make sure you know about the laws surrounding email marketing.
In this article, we look at email marketing laws and regulations startups should be aware of. First, let’s look at the CAN-SPAM law.
What is the CAN-SPAM Law?
The CAN-SPAM law, short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing, was signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 16, 2003. It effectively established the United States' first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces this law.
The CAN-SPAM law has great control over email marketing, and we look at a few of its requirements here.
Give Users a Clear Way to Opt-Out
Sure, they opted in. But, at any time they may not want your emails anymore.
You must give your email audience a clear and easy way to opt out of your future marketing emails.
Today, this does not usually mean having them send an email to a person who is then responsible for taking customers off the list. It means using an email service provider who handles this for you via an opt-out link you provide in every single email.
Usually your users are taken to a web page where they simply enter their email address to unsubscribe or even manage their preferences. Perhaps you have several different emails you send. If so, your customers could choose to opt-out of some and not all.
Honor the Opt-Out
The CAN-SPAM law requires all opt-out requests to be honored within 10 days of being received.
This means you have 10 days to cease and desist sending emails.
When you use an email service provider, this is much easier, because the software handles it for you.
Do make sure that if you have multiple lists in your email account that the opt-outs get taken off of all your lists. If they opt-out, you need to let them.
Tell Them Who the Email is From
With regard to the from line, you have to be transparent.
The CAN-SPAM law states that you must accurately tell your recipients where the email comes from. So, you should use your business name.
Use an Honest Subject Line
Your subject line should match closely what is found inside the body of your email.
The CAN-SPAM law doesn’t allow for deception. For example, you can’t use a subject line that says, “Claim your $100 gift card,” if that’s not really what you’re offering.
Be true to the inside of your email when crafting subject lines.
Include Your Physical Address
According to the CAN-SPAM law, your emails must include the correct postal address for your business.
This gives your email credibility and validity.
It’s a privilege to be invited into your audience’s email. The CAN-SPAM law says you need to treat their inboxes with respect.
It’s up to you to be clear and honest. You shouldn’t use false or misleading information anywhere in your email.
Do your best to keep your email list clean. This means taking care of the quality of your list.
For example, if you have 500 people on your list who haven’t opened an email from you in one year, it’s time to take them off your list. Doing this helps you avoid getting in trouble for violating the CAN-SPAM law.
Above all, you should have permission to email your audience. Consider a double opt-in because then you can be sure you have a quality mailing list, and most everyone on it wants what you have to offer.
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