You may think email is a no-brainer when it comes to marketing your business but it’s important to adhere to the laws regulating email communication.
You may think email is a no-brainer when it comes to marketing your business but it’s important to adhere to the laws regulating email communication.Having owned and operated my business for over 35 years, I’ve amassed a long list of tips and marketing tricks that I enjoy sharing with other business owners. In part one of our series, I introduced a fantastic resource that Google provides FOR FREE! If you haven’t already, here is why you should claim your free Google My Business Listing. In part two we discussed how to use video for small business marketing. Video is so important and if you aren’t already implementing its use I can show you some ways to get on the bandwagon!
You may think email is a no-brainer when it comes to marketing your business. There are nearly 4 billion active email users around the world, so it makes sense! However, improper use of email when reaching out to prospects can create major problems for your business. In the U.S., the CAN-SPAM Act includes a list of laws regulating commercial emails. The GDPR in the E.U. and Canada’s CASL laws may also apply to you if your business engages with international customers.
Resource # 3: Email (with consent)
The laws regulating email communication are intended to protect and violating them can result in tough penalties for your business.
Here is a summary of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
- Identify the message as an ad.The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
- Tell recipients where you’re located.Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipients opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that sends the message may be held legally responsible.
Permission is the act of getting consent from a subscriber to send them commercial email marketing messages. There are generally two types of permission: implied permission and express permission. You have implied permission to email someone if you have an existing business relationship with them. Think of a someone who is a current customer or an active member of a community forum that you run.
If you don’t have implied permission, then you’ll need express permission to email a person. You are granted express permission when someone enters their email in a subscribe form on your website.
Companies that build permission-based email lists usually see the fruits of their labor with high open and click through rates on their campaigns.
My advice is to collect data correctly. Covered in my book in a section titled, “Warm Calling”, be clear about why you are collecting information and how you intend to use it. Use full disclosure and ask for explicit permission to send email.
How to Grow Your Email List
Here are some creative ways to grow your email list while adhering to privacy laws:
- – Add a subscription area to your website.
- – Offer a lead magnet: Create a compelling piece of content that requires an email address before the download is available.
- – Add a “Sign Up” button to your business Facebook page.
- – Warm Calling. Covered in my book, I provide real life examples of how I collect email addresses and how you can too!
Effective email marketing converts your leads into customers, and your customers into brand advocates. When building your lists, be clear about why you are collecting information and how you intend to use it. Use full disclosure and ask for explicit permission to send email.