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legal requirements for email marketing email footer and opt out link

Legal Requirements for Email Marketing: Email Footer & Opt-out Link

Email marketing is a powerful and effective platform to promote your business and drive sales. The average click-through rate for email marketing stands at 2.6%, with 89% of marketers using email as their primary way to generate leads. 

As an email marketer, you need to be aware of the legal requirements for email marketing to make your campaign successful. Non-compliant email marketing can do more harm than good as it will ruin your brand reputation and decrease the chances of reaching your target audience in the future. Additionally, you can receive penalties of up to $40,654 for each separate email violation, depending on your location. 

So, what are the fundamentals of email law? What should you include in your email to be legally compliant? Let’s discuss.

Fundamentals of Email Law

There are three primary laws in today’s email marketing world — the US law and the EU laws (namely GDPR), and Canada’s CASL. All three of the laws have similar fundamentals with slight variations. 

The fundamentals of US CAN-SPAM Act law are –

  1. Header information: Accurate heading information in the message’s “From,” “To,” and “Reply-To” fields and the routing information
  2. Subject line: Subject line reflecting the actual content of the message
  3. Ad Disclosure: Identifying that the message is an ad or promotional
  4. Location: Physical location or address of the company in the email
  5. Unsubscribe option: An obvious and noticeable way to unsubscribe for the recipient
  6. Opt-out completion: Giving the recipient 30 days to unsubscribe and honouring an unsubscribe request within ten days. 
  7. Third parties: Ensuring any third parties affiliated with the campaign also complies with the CAN-SPAM Act. 

What Should You Include in Your Email Footer?

If you’re a private or public limited company or a Limited Liability Partnership, the Companies Act 2006 requires all of your business emails to include the following details in legible characters:

  • Your company’s registered name  
  • Your company registration number
  • Your place of registration 
  • Your registered office address

You cannot use the same email footer for a group of companies with several subsidiaries. The email footer needs to specify which company it represents. It is not compliant with the email laws to send emails on behalf of the parent company or only refer to it in the footer.  

You can also include disclaimers in your email footer. However, it is not required by law in most cases. You can include disclaimers to –

  • Communicate and protect the confidentiality of the email content
  • Communicate that the email may be privileged in the case of law firms 
  • Renounce the formation of a contract
  • Assert copyright for the email contents
  • Disclaim legal responsibility for viruses transmitted by the email
  • Disclaim a negligent misstatement
  • Renounce employer liability for the views of the employee

An example email footer: 

This email was intended for John because you signed up for XYZ | © XYZ International Limited 2000-2021, XYZ Inc. | 100 Broadway Street 1000 New York NY, 10013 USA.

Do You Need to Add an Opt-out Link?

Adding an opt-out or unsubscribe link to your marketing email is mandated by law. It is essential to protect the right of your audience to choose whether they would like to hear from you in the future or not. The CAN-SPAM law regarding the unsubscribe link states –

“Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future emails from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt-out of getting emails from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognise, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, colour, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt-out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.”

Canada’s CASL indicates that a commercial email must “specify an electronic address, or link to a page on the World Wide Web that can be accessed through a web browser, to which the indication may be sent.” Additionally, the EU law or GDPR requires outbound messages and email marketing messages to specify how recipients can remove their data from your list or change it.

How To Insert an Opt-Out Link in Email Body? 

To add an opt-out or unsubscribe link to any place of the email body, follow these steps –

  • Go to the text editor and choose where you want to insert an opt-out link.
  • Select the Insert/edit link icon at the bottom to open the Insert link dialogue window.
  • In the URL field, enter the unsubscribe link. The reply will recognise this text and convert it into an opt-out link.
  • In the Text to display the Insert link dialogue window field, enter the link text.
  • Click Ok to insert the link.

Note that if you have enabled the Unsubscribe via opt-out link option in your email account settings, the opt-out link in the email body on top of that will lead to two simultaneous opt-out links. To avoid this –

  1. Go to Settings > Email Accounts > Account settings > Opt-out text.
  2. Delete the text from the Text at the bottom of the email field.
  3. Click Save Settings.

It is essential to maintain your email address’s privacy and security in the long term to ensure the success of your email campaign. You need to make sure your email address is not visible on the web. Typically, spammers collect email addresses when visible on the web, either on social networking sites or other spam lists. If they gain access to your personal or professional email, they can use it to impersonate you or send you phishing emails to harm your business. 

Go to Sniff Email to check your email address visibility on the web. Sniff Email is an online platform dedicated to finding out if your email address exists on the internet. Enter your email address in the search field and click fetch to find out if your email address exists on the web within a few seconds. Based on the results, you can take appropriate action to remove it.


Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

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