Email Marketing Compliance: Danger, Email Marketer, Danger!

compliance

It’s a regular day. You’re getting ready to push that send button on an email campaign. Suddenly, you hear a sweetly shimmering voice in your ear, “Wait! Wait! Are you being CAN-SPAM compliant?” I know this is somewhere on your list of top 10 things that didn’t happen, so let me be the angelic voice of marketing reason for you.

Every email marketer knows that there are laws to follow when sending email. Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header info. Tell people what you want in the subject line.
  2. Make sure subject lines aren’t deceptive. You are not the big bad wolf. Don’t play dress up and pretend to be someone you’re not. This also applies to the from name – you’re not Kanye West, don’t use his name or any other celeb’s to get an email open.
  3. If the message is an advertisement, say so. If you’re trying to sell something, make it clear that’s the case.
  4. Include your physical address. Yes, people use snail mail to stop getting email.
  5. Give subscribers an easy way to opt out. Make it as easy as 1, 2, 3… Actually, just make it a one-step process.
  6. You have 10 business days to get people off your list. But let’s be real, just do it as soon as possible. Its best to unsubscribe people on a daily basis so that your customers don’t feel the need to repeatedly unsubscribe. Waiting to unsubscribe your customers can make them irritated enough to mark your email as SPAM and this can affect your deliverability.
  7. If someone emails an opted-out address on your behalf, you CAN be fined. That fine is $16,000 per email in case you were wondering.

I know you’re thinking “I would never send my customers or prospects SPAM. Who do you think I am? One of those spammers?”

But let’s think a step beyond email compliance. Basically, SPAM could be described as anything we don’t want. No one wants SPAM. But by this definition, there are quite a bit of messages and content people are pushing that could be considered SPAM. Sounds ludicrous right?

Wrong, because if someone doesn’t want your email and marks it as SPAM, it’s considered SPAM by email service providers. End of story. And while unwanted messages are not legally SPAM, they may affect your deliverability. Besides, email compliance laws are designed to do what? Make sure subscribers receive information they actually want.

“Well, now what?” you’re thinking, “what do you suggest I do, oh angelic voice of marketing reason?” We need to start thinking about what customers want and how they’ll get it.

Collect information about what content your customers would like to receive. You can:

  • create lightboxes leading to a survey
  • create a personality quiz at sign up
  • implement a preference center to give your customers the ability to pick not only what content they want but when they want it.

When you follow CAN-SPAM best practices, you’re not just being compliant, you’re protecting your brand reputation. Having a positive brand image is a currency you don’t want to bankrupt. Like HubSpot succinctly put, when people have a positive feeling about your brand they will share it and that will benefit you in the end.

If you have any questions about how to manage your suppression lists or are intrigued by the idea of a preference center, just drop us a line at support@unsubcentral.com and our account executives would be excited to help you out!

Guest Post

This post was written by a guest author.