Marketing Now E-mail Best Practices

Marketing Now manages e-mail campaigns for many of its clients. In order to comply with United States and Canadian laws, Marketing Now complies with the following industry best practices:

United States – CAN-SPAM

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 covers commercial email messages with the primary purpose of advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service. This federal law defines and regulates the sending of unsolicited commercial email. This law became effective on January 1, 2004. In enacting the law, Congress determined: (1) there is a substantial governmental interest in regulating commercial electronic mail on a nationwide basis; (2) senders of commercial electronic mail should not mislead recipients as to the source or content of such e-mail; and (3) recipients of commercial electronic mail have a right to decline to receive additional commercial electronic mail from the same source.

CAN-SPAM does not prohibit the sending of unsolicited email for commercial purposes – what it does require is that companies stop sending email to recipients who have said they no longer wish to receive it (opt OUT). It establishes requirements for those who send such e-mail, spells out penalties for those who violate the Act, and gives consumers the right to ask e-mailers to stop sending email to them. Following are the key requirements under CAN-SPAM:

– Don’t use false or misleading header information.
– Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
– Identify the message as an ad.
– Tell recipients where you’re located.
– Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future email from you.
– Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
– Process opt-out requests promptly and honor them – opt-out requests must be processed within 10 business days and must be maintained permanently.
– Don’t sell or share e-mail addresses of people who have unsubscribed.

Although no part of the CAN-SPAM law requires clients provide explicit permission to allow sending them email, emails that Marketing Now sends on behalf of our clients are permission based. Our e-mail service provider partners such as Constant Contact also adhere to this policy. There are two types of permission:

Express Permission is when an individual has opted-in or specifically requested to get client emails. Some examples of this are:

– Anyone who goes through a double opt-in or confirmed opt-in process
– Someone who signs up to receive your emails from your webpage
– People who sign up using a form with the specific purpose of being added to a mailing list

Implied Permission happens through a client or customer relationship. For example, clients may get implicit permission through:

– The exchange of business cards
– A verbal request
– A fishbowl collection where no consent to email is asked

Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

In December 2010, the Canadian federal government passed a set of new laws governing the sending of commercial email over Canadian computer networks.   These laws are now in full effect, as of July 1st, 2014, and are more stringent than the U.S. CAN-SPAM law. CASL requires the sender of a commercial electronic email obtain permission BEFORE they are allowed to send to the email recipient.  In addition, the law mandates commercial email contains truthful header and non misleading header information, proper identification of the sending party and time limit. According to the Canadian government, any email sent to/from a Canadian computer, mailbox or network falls under jurisdiction of CASL.

Additional requirements under CASL:

– All unsubscribe requests that come to the client  must be honored immediately.

– Unsubscribe requests never expire. You must honor all opt-out requests indefinitely, regardless of future mailing platforms, unless you receive a new explicit opt-in request for that address.

– The e-mail campaign’s “Subject” line must be straightforward, not misleading. Best practice is to be truthful and consistent in both the subject line and contents of the message

– A postal address is included in the email campaign (a valid physical postal address.)

– Email addresses obtained with implied permission must be removed after 2 years unless explicit permission to email them has been received.

– Maintain an audit trail as to how and when consent is obtained. Best practice is to record as much information as possible on how consent is obtained.  If challenged by regulators (or Canadian court) the burden of proof for consent is on the sender, not the recipient.


Europe – EU Opt-in Directive

The Directive specifies minimum legislation for member states, but is implemented by each member state independently. When sending e-mail to countries outside North America, Marketing Now adheres to applicable requirements and may also consults with expert local agency partners to ensure compliance.

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