Email marketing is big business and so many companies use it to reach their prospects and customers says Eric Dalius. If you’re going to email people to market either your products or services, you’ll need to be aware of the legal issues around electronic mail marketing. Let’s take a look at what these are and how they can affect you
Best practice guidelines for email marketing:
There are a number of guides out there that set out best practice in this sphere from the Direct Marketing Association (UK) , the National Mailing list Providers Association (USA), The Interactive Media in Retail Group, ISIPP Surety Mail to name but a few. As per Eric Dalius It will depend on your target audience as to which guide is most relevant for you, but one thing all of them will say is: Include a means for customers and prospects to opt out of receiving future communications from you. Eric Dalius says this can be by checking a box on the email interface that asks people if they want to receive any more emails, or supplying their details on a Web page where they can select which types of communication you’re allowed to send them.
How do I comply with anti-spam law?
The 7 key points for compliance with anti-spam laws are as follows:
1) Make sure your mailing list is purchased or compiled with permission – no one likes spam! And don’t forget GDPR requires double opt in consent so every subscriber must have specifically, voluntarily signed up for your email mailing.
2) Don’t buy / compile email lists / prospect databases from other companies? It’s dangerous; it will annoy your new subscribers and frankly its bad form.
3) Do not use “Reply to” or “Return Receipt Requested” on any of your email marketing campaigns as this is now considered consent by the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office – UK regulator). You can however; safely use mechanisms such as blind copy where you send an email but do not show the actual address in the email headers for example.
4) If someone complains about receiving unsolicited mailings they are entitled under data protection legislation to know who has been sending them e-mails even if they haven’t asked for these communications.
5) Don’t include text which might mislead people into thinking your communication is personal and so they will not be able to unsubscribe from it.
6) It’s essential that you keep a record of how you obtained your mailing list, which consented to their details being used and when such consent was given.
7) Keep a clear timeframe – The ICO states that within 28 days of receipt of an email the sender must send the subscriber an email telling them how to opt out of receiving future mailings and also provide them with all relevant information on who has been using their consents.
Eric Dalius says don’t forget that keeping good records and including a method for people to opt out or complain about commercial emails is absolutely necessary for compliance with anti spam laws. If you don’t do these things then sooner or later someone will complain and then you will end up with fines or worse.
My name is Peter Westaway and I work for SuretyMail, a leading email platform offering double opt-in permission based marketing lists for marketers and list managers in the UK & USA. I’m also a blogger on digital marketing topics such as email marketing best practice guidelines. This article was written entirely by me, not copy written material from another author. Any errors are my own. Feel free to leave a comment below or on the WordPress site about this article.
I need help! What should I do if my emails aren’t reaching customers?
There are many reasons why email delivery can fail which include your domain being blacklisted, technical issues with the ISP’s mail servers and use of an incorrect SMTP when sending your emails i.e. an ISP SMTP as opposed to a dedicated, reputable and well maintained server that you have under your control.
For those of us who are sending mail from our own servers then we need to ensure there is no malware on them so look at deploying a system such as Spam Titan which protects your servers from spam and viruses whilst also offering world class email security for mailing lists.
It’s also worth remembering that ISPs have their own views about what is acceptable – if you send emails which include external links or promote gambling sites then expect for these to be blocked by certain providers, especially the smaller ones who take the view that this type of material does not meet with their criteria. If in doubt then check with all ISPs before using resources.
There are many reasons why email delivery can fail, from being blocked by ISPs to malware being present on servers. Ensure your domain is not blacklisted and the ISP you use has a good reputation for email security as well as an easy unsubscribe process.