As social media grows, one might think email is dead, but that’s far from the truth! Email marketing is a powerful and profitable tool for law firms. It is another way to remind your clients and prospects about your services, new updates, verdicts, changes in law, etc.
While reaching clients through their inbox is a direct way to communicate, those leveraging it, or planning to, should be aware that there are rules and regulations all businesses need to follow. Not only do businesses need to follow the rules,there are real penalties for non-compliance!
The new privacy laws enacted in the US CAN-SPAM Act and in other countries are in place to protect a user’s data and, most importantly, to protect the user from unwanted commercial emails. Although no two countries are alike, the main goal of these new laws is to protect the user.
- In Europe, there’s the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). In Canada, it’s the CASL (Canada Anti-Spam Law), and in the US, the CAN-SPAM act.
As our focus is on the US market, it is essential to be aware of what the CAN-SPAM Act covers:
The Can-SPAM Regulations
1. Only Use Truthful Information in the Header
All the correct identifying information relating to the people or businesses who sent out the email must be clearly and correctly identified in the header. This is because your recipient needs to know where the message is coming from. The header must be correctly filled out and include the “From,” “To,” domain names, and email addresses.
2. Be Honest in the Subject Lines
The content in the subject line must match the content in the email’s message. What you include in the subject line must accurately reflect what the reader should expect in the body of the email. If the two do not match, your email can appear deceptive and may break the trust you have with your readers.
3. Specify When Your Message Includes an Ad
You must explicitly state when your message includes an advertisement. Readers must know when you are trying to redirect them to your store or business through your email. There are many ways to incorporate a disclaimer, but it must follow the regulations set by the law. Not including a disclaimer will make your business appear untrustworthy.
4. Include Your Location
The emails you send out must include the valid postal address of your business. This will let your readers know where to find you. Although it is easy to include a postal address in your emails, it is often overlooked and omitted. This address can be the physical location of your business, a PO, or a private mailbox that you have registered with the US Postal Service.
5. Include Ways to Opt Out of Your Future Emails
Your email must inform the recipient how they can stop subscribing to your emails. Make sure this is clearly identifiable and recognizable to the reader. You can use an opt-out link or a return email address where recipients can send their decision to unsubscribe to you. If you choose to use a return email address, make sure to check your spam inbox.
6. Honor Requests To Unsubscribe Promptly
Any requests to opt-out of emails must be acknowledged within 10 business days. You have 30 days to process these requests after you send out your acknowledgment letter. You cannot charge a fee to unsubscribe a reader from your mailing list. You cannot sell or transfer unsubscribed emails to a third party.
7. Monitor All Outbound Emails
If you decide to hire a third-party company to manage your email marketing, you’ll want to ensure they are experts in email marketing that understand, respect, and follow the CAN-SPAM Act. When your firm is the face representing all the emails being sent, you are legally responsible for all outbound messages, not the third party.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
Lastly, emails that do not comply with the CAN-SPAM Act are subject to a fine of up to $46,517! Yes, you read that right: $46,517.
As digital grows in scope, new rules and regulations will arise to protect all users. If you’d like to learn more about email compliance, the CAN-SPAM act, or simply put your email strategy in the hands of experts we’ve got you covered.