Ensuring Compliance in Marketing and Sales Communications

Article Highlights

    Introduction

    This guide is designed to provide information on the best practices for sending emails, focusing on compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act and protecting sender reputation. Adhering to these guidelines will help ensure that your company’s marketing and sales communications are both effective and compliant with legal standards.

    Understanding CAN-SPAM Act

    What is the CAN-SPAM Act?

    The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them, and outlines penalties for violations.

    How do I know if the CAN-SPAM Act covers email my business is sending?

    What matters is the “primary purpose” of the message. To determine the primary purpose, remember that an email can contain three different types of information:

    1. Commercial content – which advertises or promotes a commercial product or service, including content on a website operated for a commercial purpose;
    2. Transactional or relationship content – which facilitates an already agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer about an ongoing transaction; an
    3. Other content – which is neither commercial nor transactional or relationship.

    If the message contains only commercial content, its primary purpose is commercial, and it must comply with the requirements of CAN-SPAM. If it contains only transactional or relationship content, its primary purpose is transactional or relationship. In that case, it may not contain false or misleading routing information, but is otherwise exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

    ​​The primary purpose of an email is transactional or relationship if it consists only of content that:

    1. Facilitates, completes, or confirms a commercial transaction that the recipient already has agreed to;
    2. gives warranty, recall, safety, or security information about a product or service the recipient bought;
    3. notifies the recipient about a change in the terms or features of a membership, subscription, account, loan or other ongoing commercial relationship; notifies the recipient of a change in their standing with respect to that ongoing commercial relationship; or provides regular, periodic account balance information to the recipient;
    4. provides information about an employment relationship or employee benefits; or
    5. delivers goods or services as part of a transaction that the recipient already has agreed to.

    Key Requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act

    1. No Misleading Header Information: The “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
    2. No Deceptive Subject Lines: The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
    3. Disclosure of the Email as an Advertisement: The email must clearly and conspicuously disclose that it is an advertisement.
    4. Valid Physical Postal Address: Each email must contain a valid physical postal address for the sender.
    5. Opt-Out Mechanism: The email must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt-out of getting email from you in the future.
    6. Prompt Opt-Out Compliance: You must honor opt-out requests within 10 business days.

    Best Practices for Email Sends

    Using a Verified Subdomain

    Using a verified subdomain (e.g., em.yourcompany.com) for sending emails can significantly improve your email deliverability and protect your main domain’s reputation. This section discusses the benefits and the technical setup required in HubSpot to implement this.

    Benefits of Using Subdomains

    1. Improved Deliverability: Helps in maintaining and improving email sender scores.
    2. Isolation of Email Traffic: Protects the reputation of your primary domain by isolating email marketing traffic.

    Email Design Best Practices

    Limiting the Use of Imagery

    While images can enhance the appeal of an email, over-reliance on imagery can lead to issues with email loading and may appear as blank emails to recipients with images turned off. Always include sufficient text to convey the message even if images do not load.

    Including Text as Fallback

    Ensure that key messages and calls to action are included as text and not just images to improve accessibility and compliance.

    Create and standardize a saved footer template in HubSpot that includes all legal requirements and can easily be added to new emails. This ensures consistency across communications and compliance with legal standards.

    Subject Line Best Practices

    Craft subject lines that are clear, honest, and engaging without using spam-triggering words such as “free,” “guarantee,” or excessive use of symbols like “$$$.”

    Content Guidelines to Avoid Spam

    Messaging Strategies

    Develop content that is engaging, relevant, and provides value to the recipients. Avoid overly promotional language that could trigger spam filters.

    Using HubSpot’s Tools

    Utilize HubSpot’s content optimization tools to test and improve the effectiveness of your email content.

    Using Saved Sections in HubSpot

    Explain how creating and using saved sections can streamline the email creation process while ensuring consistency and compliance in all communications.

    Regular Compliance Checks

    Set a schedule for regular reviews of your email practices to ensure they remain compliant and effective. Use analytics to monitor performance and make data-driven adjustments.

    Conclusion

    By following these guidelines, your company can enhance the effectiveness of its marketing and sales communications while ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

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