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3 tips to keep your email campaigns on the right side of compliance

Daryl Colwell
SVP of Business Development & Sales
 
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Email marketing isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s thriving. As The Drum reported late last year, email marketing spend in the US is projected to reach $3.1bn by 2019, up from $2.1bn in 2014. Driving much of this growth is consumers’ increasing preference to open – and act on – emails from their mobile devices. Fifty three per cent of total email opens occurred on a mobile phone or tablet in Q3 2014, according to Experian, while email is now the second-biggest marketing channel for mobile purchases.

Clearly, we’re in a period of email renaissance.

As email marketing budgets increase, it’s important that marketers have a proper understanding of the difference between email marketing best practices and email marketing laws and regulations.

This is especially true now that the US is nearly alone amongst developed countries for its continued allowance of opt-out email policies. Almost all other developed nations have adopted laws and regulations requiring that companies receive prior opt-in consent before sending marketing emails,

This is especially true now that the US is nearly alone amongst developed countries for its continued allowance of opt-out email policies. Almost all other developed nations have adopted laws and regulations requiring that companies receive prior opt-in consent before sending marketing emails, following Canada’s switch in 2014.

Minding your Ps and Qs when it comes to email marketing best practices and laws is imperative. As more commercial emails are sent each day, and consumers are increasingly tethered to a digital device for nearly all-day access to email, the onus is on digital marketers to ensure they follow not only the letter of the concerning commercial emails, but that they also follow an ever-evolving set of email compliance best practices.

‘Best practices’ aren’t the same as the law

Every marketer knows the concept of ‘best practices’. The tried-and-true, but often unwritten, standards that guide many of the things we do in digital advertising. But it’s important to keep in mind that best practices are not technically law.Here are three things to keep in mind to ensure you’re on the right side of email marketing compliance:

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Here are three things to keep in mind to ensure you’re on the right side of email marketing compliance:

The US CAN-SPAM Act remains an opt-out law

The law is silent on the type of consent needed for a company to send marketing emails to individuals. All that is required is an unsubscribe link. While the US continues to allow opt-out email campaigns, this may change in the coming years. Therefore, for now, it is advisable to only send marketing emails to email recipients who have opted-in to being contacted, at least until the laws that govern commercial email activities are clarified.

Unsubscribe links: Don’t mail without them

Leaving an unsubscribe link out of your marketing email is a quick way to receiving a large fine from the Federal Trade Commission. Remember: you must include an unsubscribe link in every commercial email; it must be easy to find; and it must provide the free and unimpeded option for a recipient of an email to request to never receive a commercial email again from your company.

Best practice in has become less clear. Until recently, you were considered to be in compliance if a marketing email sent on your company’s behalf by a third-party provider included two unsubscribe links. The rationale was that recipients could unsubscribe from either the advertiser’s emails, the third-party partner’s emails, or both. A second camp has emerged, claiming that only one unsubscribe link should be included in commercial emails, so the recipient can easily unsubscribe from all parties associated with the email without the risk of only unsubscribing from one subset.

A reputable marketing partner with experience in email marketing will be able to guide you as to which best practice is most appropriate for your email marketing campaign.

Design your emails for mobile

By now, most marketers have mastered desktop-based email marketing best practices. But mobile email best practices remain perplexing for many digital marketers. 

To avoid the ire of Internet Service Providers, which want to make emails load as quickly as possible on consumers’ mobile devices, it’s important to ensure your email creative is optimised for mobile. That means clean, simple designs without a lot of embedded links; simple, short copy; and no multi-layered images that can eat up the battery life of mobile devices. Complexity has no value when it comes to email creative in the mobile era.

Ultimately, maintaining email marketing compliance requires two critical components: diligence in understanding the various laws and regulations governing email marketing activities, and working with a credible marketing partner that can help guide you through this evolving maze while ensuring your campaign reaches ROI targets.

Originally posted on Thedrum.com

 

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