Is Cold Emailing considered as SPAM? Make them legal with these awesome tips

2018/07/11 08:00

Cold Emailing CAN Spam

Everything you need to know about the state of cold email marketing in 2018.

Consumer rights and privacy laws have become a hot topic over the last decade, with countless brands having to adapt in order to still reach and engage with their customers.

In 2003, the CAN-SPAM Act was signed into law and is one of several policies that have forced marketers to change their approach to digital marketing.

According to a study by Sales Force, for every $1 that you invest in email marketing, you will receive an average of $38 in return, which probably has something to do with the 3.7 billion global email users.

Basically, email marketing is here to stay but how we use it has changed, with cold emailing being one of the biggest debates.

CAN-SPAM Act Recap

Simply put, the CAN-SPAM Act was enforced to make it harder for brands to send unsolicited emails to users, while also ensuring that the emails that are reaching consumers aren’t misleading.

In the past, many brands and businesses also simply didn’t give subscribers a way to opt out of receiving communications from them, but the Act has now made it illegal to not include an unsubscribe link in all email communications, giving consumers more freedom to choose which brands they want to hear from.

With that being said, where does cold emailing fit into all of this if you’re contacting customers that you have no prior relationship with?

Is cold emailing illegal?

The good news is that cold emailing is not illegal but there are some stringent requirements that your emails will need to meet to avoid being marked as spam.

  • Don’t include any false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information must be accurate.
  • Deceptive subject lines should be avoided. While you can still be creative, your subject line should give recipients a good idea of what your email contains.
  • Email messages should be identified as ads. If you’re advertising something, you need to find a way to indicate that it’s an ad.
  • Include your location. CAN-SPAM requires all senders to tell recipients where they’re located.
  • Include opt-out instructions. Every email recipient should know exactly how they can unsubscribe. Make the instructions clear and obvious.
  • Honour opt-out requests. Brands and businesses need to remove recipients from an email list within 10 days of them opting out.
  • Keep an eye on third parties. If someone is sending emails on your behalf, make sure that they’re CAN-SPAM Act compliant because you will still be held liable if they aren’t.

What about GDPR?

GDPR affects Cold Emailing

Over the last few months, businesses everywhere have been rushing to comply with The General Data Protection Regulation.

So what should you know about GDPR versus CAN-SPAM and are there different requirements that need to be met if you’re launching a cold email marketing campaign?

Firstly, even if you’re located in the United States but have offices, employees or customers in the EU, GDPR applies to you. Basically, if you are handling data of people in the EU, you need to be GDPR compliant.

One of the key differences between the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR is opt-out versus opt-in laws. Under the CAN-SPAM Act, brands can keep emailing consumers until they opt-out. However, if you are emailing someone in the EU, they have to have opted to receive email communications from your business if you want to contact them. Simply put, if they didn’t explicitly indicate that they want to receive emails from you, you cannot contact them or you will be fined.

So, if you are in any way handling customer data that is linked to the EU, cold emailing is a big no-no.

Cold email best practices in 2018

If you have a US-only email list, here are a few cold email best practices that will help enhance your campaign results.

  1. Understand your target audience. If you want your email to appeal to your recipients, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve and how to convey that message in your email.
  2. Stay away from marketing jargon. If you want to increase the chances of your email being opened, stay far away from marketing and sales jargon as this will only get people to hit the delete button.
  3. Get to the point. There is absolutely no need to introduce your company in a cold email, rather get straight to the point. Basically, dive right into how you’re going to help someone solve a problem or answer a question. If they want more information about your brand, they will visit your website.
  4. Shorter is better. The key to a successful email is to make it visually appealing and to only include copy that is absolutely necessary. Just don’t go overboard with the images either as this could hurt your deliverability.
  5. Personalise where possible. While it’s not always possible to personalize a cold email, simply including the recipient’s name could make all the difference.

By approaching your cold email marketing strategy with your customers in mind, you can’t go wrong.

Will you be putting more budget and resources towards email marketing this year?