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Email is one of the most effective marketing tools available today. It’s quick and easy to get started, and simple for marketers of all levels to create campaigns and measure the results instandly.

However, before you jump straight in and start sending emails to whoever you want, it’s worth getting a basic understanding of the laws around email marketing to ensure your campaigns aren’t breaking any. In this post, we’ll teach you the laws around email marketing and outline the things you need to do to ensure your email marketing initiatives remain on the right side of the law.

Most countries have some form of Anti-Spam legislation in place. In Canada it’s known as CASL. All of these laws dictate a number of conditions that email marketers need to follow to avoid significant fines. While that may sound a little scary, if you’re a legitimate business using a proper email marketing tool to send legitimate email campaigns, you are likely already complying with the rules. The reality is, the laws are largely targeted at spammers and are designed to prevent them from acquiring people’s email addresses without their permission and spamming them with unsolicited emails. That being said, there are a few little nuances in the laws that even marketers with the best intentions can accidentally violate, so it’s worth learning how you can be compliant.

1. Ensure you have permission to email the people on your list
The most important factor in CASL stipulate that people need to give you permission in order for you to send them email campaigns. The definition of permission is a little loose, but generally there are two types of permission; implied permission and express permission.

Implied permission covers anybody who you have an existing business relationship with. This could be because they are a current customer, donate to your charity, or are an active member of your website, club or community.

If you don’t have implied permission to email a person, then you’ll need express permission. Express permission is granted when somebody specifically gives you permission to send them email campaigns, potentially by entering their email address in a subscribe form on your website, or entering their details into your in-store newsletter subscribe form.

2. Don’t use misleading information in the header.
The header in an email refers to the extra information sent along with your email campaign, such as the From name, subject line and reply-to address. You must not include incorrect or misleading information in these fields to try to trick people into opening your email campaigns. The key here to not purposely deceive your recipients. If you are sending a campaign on behalf of XYC Company it’s a breach of the law to put ‘Wayne Gretzky’ in the From name in order to get people to open the campaign. However, arousing curiosity or getting creative with your subject line is perfectly ok, just don’t deceive your recipients intentionally.

3. Include your physical or mailing address
Most country’s email marketing laws stipulate that you must clearly include a valid postal address for your business in your email campaigns. This can be your current street address, a postbox address or an address with a registered commercial mail-receiving company.

4. Include a way to opt-out of receiving future emails from you
Most country’s email marketing laws stipulate that your email campaigns must include a clear and conspicuous method for opting-out of receiving email from you in the future. Furthermore, this must be easy for an ordinary person to recognize and understand.

Finally, make sure you’re being responsible to the law even if you’re not managing email marketing yourself. According to the law, even if you are outsourcing your email marketing efforts to a 3rd party (I.e. a web design or marketing agency) you are still responsible for ensuring the campaigns being sent on behalf of your business are compliant.

If you have any questions about Email Marketing, Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, or Partek, please contact us.