How to comply with email regulations and protect email deliverability

Email is one of the most cost-efficient, effective and reliable tools that digital marketers use in their day-to-day work. That’s why we, at DataValidation, believe it is extremely important to properly explain the ins and outs of email marketing. This article is part of the Email Marketing Essentials series, our effort to summarize the necessary information, best practices and helpful suggestions on all things email. We have already covered the basics of email marketing, how to create a successful email strategy, the tips and tricks for creating and growing email lists, as well as the do’s and don’t’s of sending out newsletters. If you are new to our blog, we highly recommend you go over them.

The email space is one that welcomes both experienced and junior marketers, making it one of the easiest tools to adopt for businesses big and small. While understanding the principles might not be a difficult process, that also means that you might have just glanced over the rules and regulations that govern this space. Complying with existing email regulations will also ensure that your email deliverability will never be something to worry about.

Let’s discover together what legislation you need to be familiar with and some options to constantly make sure that you remain in the safe zone.

Laws around email marketing

Depending on the region where your business operates, you might have to be aware of local laws around email marketing, but the main ones are the US CAN-SPAM Act, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Canadian CASL laws and the UK Privacy and Electronic Communication and Regulation (PECR). Things differ between them and you should always consult legal advice before sending out emails to prospects and customers, or just use trusted and reputable email service providers, but we will go over the common denominators. All these laws specify a series of conditions that have to be met to avoid fines.

Remember that just having the best intentions in mind will not guarantee that you are actually complying with regulations, that’s why we believe it is important to be informed and up-to-date regarding them.

Implicit or explicit permission

In almost all of our recent articles, we have emphasized why it is critical for businesses to only use email lists they have generated. Users need to agree to be contacted by email, by giving you either explicit or implicit consent to do so. Let’s see what is the difference between the two.

Implicit consent means that your business relationship with the contact allows you to send out emails. They might be a current or previous customer, they have created an account on your website, they have placed orders, or they have contacted you in the past with questions. For political campaigns, local municipalities or charities, it might also mean that they have contributed or donated money and have left their contact info while doing so. Implicit consent is not a blank slate, you still need a legitimate reason to contact them.

Explicit consent refers to situations in which users have intentionally given you permission to send them communications. This could have happened when they have subscribed to your newsletter by filling in a form, at in-person events, or by submitting their contact info at your physical store. Either way, they want to hear from you and, until the moment they unsubscribe, you have every right to contact them. Something similar to the following example, from the World Health Organization, can also help you grow the number of subscribers organically and in compliance.

Double opt-in permission is probably the best approach to generating new subscribers. They would have already expressed interest in joining your email list, but this additional step actually helps validate that the email address provided is real and that they can receive your communication in their inbox.

We want to stress again how critical it is that you never resort to purchasing email lists. Not only those contacts have never given you permission to sent them emails, but you are also going to hurt your overall email metrics by sending out spam newsletters. Read more about what to do to prevent your emails from going to the spam folder.

Be easily identified

Now that you know what to do to make sure that all subscribers in your lists have been generated according to email regulations, the next step is to include them in your upcoming newsletter. Here are some points you will need to keep in mind when deciding on email initiatives.

You want subscribers to recognize you, to develop brand loyalty and, most importantly, you want your customers and prospects to trust you. Always send emails from the same web domain. Even if you are operating multiple businesses and even if those businesses are very similar, you should never send out emails from a different web domain than the one the user has subscribed to. Include a physical address in each of your emails, so that recipients can contact you.

Make sure that the sender email is always easily identifiable, without too many words or confusing names. PieSync, a DataValidation native integration, actually does a great job at handling this situation. Regardless of who sends out an email, they always make sure to include the PieSync brand as the sender, as in the following example.

Allow users to remove themselves

Based on a lot of factors, some of them in your control, others independent of you, subscribers might want to opt-out from receiving emails. It is a natural course in every email strategy, but here are some suggestions we have put together on how to keep engagement high.

Getting back to the point, it goes without saying that your emails need an unsubscribe link. Most ESPs will actually not allow you to send out any campaign without including one, so you can understand why this is something you need to pay close attention to. Inserting the unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email is a best practice that every serious email marketer understands and follows.

Afterward, make sure your email platform truly unsubscribes contacts that choose to do so. Otherwise, just having the link there, without serving any purpose will not actually protect you from fines. If possible, remove the contact from your email list immediately. If that is not the case, then you will need to take the appropriate actions in 10 business days tops.

Deliverability

Email deliverability is closely linked to email regulations, in the sense that if you comply with the advice above, you will be able to reach the inbox every time. Of course, there are cases in which email servers cannot be reached or situations where a subscribers’ email address is no longer active, but those are isolated circumstances. Most often than not, deliverability is impacted by your own actions or inaction.

Email deliverability is a term that measures the successful delivery of email campaigns. If you are sending out communications from a free email address, if the subject name is filled with spammy words or bad capitalization, if you use too many images, if you include short URLs or if you don’t use email authentication for custom domains, you will be exposing yourself to the risk of low deliverability.

Email validation is a great tool that you can use to address some issues that impact email deliverability. DataValidation offers the best email cleaning service on the market, trusted by enterprises and small companies alike. Our service generates a free quality report for each list uploaded or verified through one of our native integrations so that you can always know how healthy a list is before scheduling a campaign. Learn more about our features and about our 99% deliverability guarantee.

Takeaways

In the email marketing field, knowing the best legal practices and compiling with them can make an enormous difference. Here is what you need to do right before deploying your email campaigns:

  • Be aware of local, regional or international regulations, based on where you do your business
  • Be aware of the status of your subscribers and make sure they have given you either implicit or explicit permission
  • Go over your email settings, from the sender address to the information in the footer of your emails and check that they are correct and that recipients can easily recognize any communication as coming from your business
  • Make it easy for contacts to request to be removed from your email list by inserting an unsubscribe link in every email and follow through with their requests

Ready to sign up for a DataValidation account? Start validating your email lists today and increase deliverability and remain compliant with email regulations.

Dacian Cimpean

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