How to Write a Compliant Marketing Email

Email marketing today comes with its benefits and challenges.

The benefits include reaching potential customers, nurturing repeat purchasers, and growing your business.

However, the challenges cannot be ignored.

From typos to broken links, there is a lot to consider. Still, even before those, you must ensure you are not making the biggest mistake of all – non-compliance. When it comes to email marketing for your business, there are a few things to consider before you hit send.

So first things first, what are the general requirements for all marketing emails? 

To be compliant with data privacy laws in the EU, UK and USA, every marketing email should contain the following information:

  1. Accurate header information
    • ‘From’ and ‘To’ routing information, including the originating domain name and email address, must be accurate.
    • Identify the sender and, if applicable, the person on whose behalf the message is sent. If sent on behalf of multiple persons, such as affiliates, all these persons must be identified in the email.
    • Include contact information for the sender or the person/persons on whose behalf the message is sent
  2. Truthful subject lines and email content
    • Subject lines must accurately represent the content of the email.
    • The subject line and the content of the email must not be deceptive or misleading.
  3. Identify the email as an advertisement
    • A specific means of doing this is not outlined so there is a lot of leeway here, but the disclosure must be “clear and conspicuous.”
    • Usually, the subject line of a commercial email makes it clear that the email is an advertisement and not a transactional message – for e.g., “20% now off Product X!”
  4. Include a valid physical postal address
    • To inform the recipient of where the sender is located and to which the recipient can send a request to stop sending them marketing emails
  5. Include an unsubscribe or opt out option in every email
    • So the recipient can easily unsubscribe whenever they want, free of charge


Additional requirements for marketing emails based on legitimate interest or the soft opt-in

For customers located in the EEA or UK

If you are sending marketing emails to customers in the EEA and or UK based on legitimate interest and the soft opt-in (where they were presented with the chance to opt out when they bought a product and did not opt-out), ensure that the products/services you market to them:

  1. are your own (not from a third party)
  2. similar to the products/services that they bought

For customers located in Belgium

Be clear about why they are receiving the marketing email. The Belgian supervisory authority recommends including a sentence like:

“You are receiving this communication because you have recently purchased our products. If you no longer wish to receive such communications and want us to stop processing your personal data for our direct marketing purposes, please click here”

While similar to an unsubscribe option, this link is more explicit in that the person unsubscribes and also wants the company to stop processing their personal data for any form of direct marketing purposes.


Additional requirement for customers located in Connecticut, USA

If sending a marketing email to an individual in Connecticut who you do not have an existing business relationship with, or their consent to send them commercial messages, it is required to begin the subject line with the letters “ADV”.

If you are unsure how to proceed with sending out marketing email campaigns or would like to talk to an expert, why not book a call with one of our certified compliance experts today? Book a call today 

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