Every type of business faces its own unique legal challenges, and email marketing is no exception. Email marketers need to keep up-to-date with the various legal issues surrounding online communication and technology. Failing to stay informed could be bad for business – and even put the company out of business.
Some of the legal challenges facing the email marketing business have been self-inflicted. When done right, email marketing can be a very lucrative and cost-effective way to gain new customers and make sales.
Because of that, many new email marketers come in every day. Most of them want to do things the right way, but some cut corners and intentionally break the rules to make a quick buck.
It is important to note, however, that legal problems are not isolated to newbies and those who deliberately skirt the rules. With so many rules and regulations on the books, it is easy for even experienced email marketers to run afoul of the law. In fact, many international companies are fined because of illegal activity directly related to their email marketing and other online activities. Anyone who manages an email list and uses email to communicate with clients could be at risk, and the best defense is to understand the rules and stay informed of upcoming changes.
All email marketers, both newbies and experienced campaigners, need to understand that sending unsolicited email is never OK. If you are not using an opt-in list and examining that list regularly, you are asking for trouble and putting yourself at risk. Sending unsolicited email is illegal throughout much of the world, including the entire European Union, and even a single message could get your company in big trouble and open you up to large fines.
Using deceptive tactics is another sure way to get fined and run afoul of the law. Using misleading subject lines, flashy banners and other tactics is very dangerous, even if it provides short-term benefits.
It is also important to understand that outsourcing your email marketing does not relieve you of legal responsibility. You are responsible for the content of your messages and who receives them, even if you outsource the task to a third party. That is why email marketers should only work with reputable companies that follow the rules and understand the laws governing online communication.
The new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation
One of the newest laws to impact email marketers is the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL). This new law went into effect on July 1, 2014, and it is important for all marketers to understand what it means. The good news is the law goes into effect slowly, with a three-year phase-in period until July 1, 2017.
CASL provides for fines between $1 and $10 million per day, so it is not something to be trifled with. If you have not yet familiarized yourself with the new CASL law, now is the perfect time to get started. Marketers still have time to prepare for the changes and make sure they do not run afoul of the new law.
The new Canadian Anti-Spam Law is a prime example of why email marketers need to keep their eyes open and be aware of changing laws and regulations.
The Internet is always changing, and legislators around the world are scrambling to keep up. That means new laws will pass, and email marketers need to understand and comply with all those new regulations.