Any business using email as part of its marketing strategy must consider the laws regulating commercial email, or face tough penalties. This guide will provide any business with ten things to know before sending another commercial email.
What emails are subject to the law?
All email with a commercial message, including business to business emails, are subject to the laws, and must follow all requirements.
Never use a false or misleading header
The header refers to the “To”, “From”, and “Reply-To” fields on an email. These fields must accurately identify the person or business the email is coming from.
Use Descriptive, Not Deceptive Subject Lines
Subject lines are very important when it comes to email marketing. However, using a misleading subject line is against the law.
If A Message Contains An Advertisement, Identify It As Such
All advertising material must be disclosed as such, and must be done so in a clear and conspicuous way. There are several ways to do this, but it cannot be avoided.
Include Your Physical Address
Commercial messages must include a valid physical address such as a street address or a PO Box.
Give Recipients A Way To Opt-Out Of Receiving Emails
Businesses must provide a simple way for email recipients to stop receiving their emails. There must be clear instructions on how to do this included in the email. Opt-outs must be internet based, and cannot require email recipients to send more than one email or go to more than one web page. Many companies have missed opt out emails because their spam filters were actually blocking them. It goes without saying, check your junk email box to make sure opt out emails aren’t being ignored.
Promptly Process Opt-Out Requests
Opt-out requests must be honored for at least 30 days after a commercial message is sent, and must be honored within ten days.
Monitor Your Vendors
If a business uses a vendor to send commercial emails on its behalf, it is up to the business to make sure they are following the law as well.
A Transactional Email Must Still Follow Some Rules
Even if an email is transactional instead of commercial it is exempt from most rules, but still must contain proper routing information. A transactional email can pertain to a transaction that has already taken place, give information about a product or service that has already been purchased, or give information about a change in terms.