top of page

Email Permission Marketing: laws and deliverability rules

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

Photo Credit: Alexmillos

Email permission marketing, in simplest terms, is getting permission to contact individuals via email(s) before sending them any form of email communication.

Did you know that not following the rules and regulations of the CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003 per email can cost your small business up to $43,792 per unauthorized email sent? And, if your small business violates other laws, you may pay additional fines or criminal penalties.

CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003

The CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003 is defined as "any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service," including email promoting content on commercial websites.

You can view the detailed compliance guide for business here.

The following is a condensed list of CAN-SPAMs mail requirements:

  1. Avoid false or misleading header information.

  2. Avoid deceptive subject lines.

  3. Identify the message as an ad.

  4. Tell recipients your location.

  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future emails from you.

  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly.

  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.

Even your transactional emails after a customer completes a purchase and your small business sends them an email confirmation of their purchase or shipment verification must maintain compliance with the CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003.

Improve Your Email Deliverability

Internet service providers' (ISP) responsibility is to protect people against spam which is why your small business should focus on building your reputation, verification, email content, and email list to improve your email deliverability.

IP Address and Domain

Your reputation is just as valid for your IP address and Domain as it is for your small business's name.

An example: Another user of your chosen email service provider decides to practice spam tactics to reach prospects. Unfortunately, your email service provider doesn't catch on or put a stop to this user. Consequently, YOUR IP address could now be negatively affected due to the association you have with the user because you both use the same email service provider.

Why does this happen? The spam practices of another user of your chosen email service provider will affect your small business's reputation because both parties use the ESP's IP address. When you registered, you agreed to use the ESPs IP address. When your marketing email(s) go out, they use the EPSs IP address and not your IP address.

What YOU can do: do your research and choose an ESP that provides high deliverability rates and uses multiple IP addresses. Then, start slow with your email marketing initiatives to build your IP address's reputation.

Email Address and Identity

Verification of your email address allows ISPs to process your identity and will protect you from spammers.

Next steps:

  • update your email domain's domain name systems (DNS) records,

  • TXT records, and

  • MTA records by contacting your hosting provider.

Email Content

Email's quality of content, limited use of visuals, and formatting; applied appropriately, has the power to avoid spam filters and client complaints.

The following should be applied or avoided within your email structure:

  • Quality content that is relevant to your target market,

  • Focus on the written word instead of visuals,

  • Format your HTML,

  • Include an easy to locate and follow unsubscribe link,

  • Include a sender name that your clients will recognize,

  • Don't include embedded forms (linked forms only),

  • Avoid sending email attachments,

  • Stay away from Flash, JavaScript, or Videos (linked videos and JavaScript only)

  • Avoid using spam words in your subject line or content,

  • No URL shorteners in your email,

  • Don't use all caps.

Email List

More is not always better; especially, when it comes to maintaining email deliverability.

Email Permission Marketing Process:

  1. Individuals opt-in to receive marketing emails,

  2. Stay consistent with your marketing email messages,

  3. Regularly clean your email list (hard bounces, inactive subscribers, and fake or generic email addresses),

  4. Avoid spam traps (abandoned and false email addresses).

Email Engagement

How people embrace your content will have an impact on your email deliverability in the future.

A few factors that the ISPs review before deciding to place your email on the spam list may include if the recipient read, forward, or reply to your email, click your links, add your email address to their address book, or the dreaded spam button click.