Spam email, we've all received it. Usually, spam is the term used for unsolicited electronic messages, but can also be used to refer to uninvited telemarketing calls as well.
But your business emails are an important part of your business and they're often in the line of fire when it comes to being marked as spam. So here's some tips about how you can protect your emails from being marked as spam.
E-mail marketing has become a key tool for some businesses to reach out to prospective customers, but how can it be done without breaking the law, and without upsetting the recipient?
We interviewed a media and digital law expert Chad Dowle, who is the Head of Global Media, Advertising and Digital practice at international IP law firm Rouse. We've talked specifically about Hong Kong Spam law, however these tips are similar or exactly the same as other major markets like the US and Europe.
Tip #1: Get Consent
Just because you have a customer’s contact details does not mean that you can send them marketing communications.
In a simple commercial transaction, a customer’s personal information will usually be provided on the assumption is will be used only for that transaction.
In general, a consumer must provide “informed” consent to receiving marketing materials, either directly, or via a third party.
Often referred to as an “Opt-in”, you must inform the customer that their information will be used for marketing, and they must knowingly agree. If you do not have that consent, don’t send the message.
Tip #2: Give an Unsubscribe URL
This isn't just a tip. This is a law in most countries. Any business communication to a recipient must include and noticeable and actionable URL or way to unsubscribe from your email lists. Ignoring users who unsubscribe, not including any options, or
Marketing communications should always provide a straightforward way for the recipient to choose not to receive future materials. Often known as an “Opt-out”, the most common way of doing this is an “Unsubscribe” button on the email.
This is an effective method, but the button must work, and the decision to unsubscribe should be respected by the sender, and the recipient removed from contact lists.
In Hong Kong, the unsubscribe must be actioned within 10 days.
Tip #3: Identify yourself
Marketing communications must contain information to identify the sender; business name, location, contact details.
If communication is by phone or fax, the telephone number must not be withheld.
If someone receiving your communication cannot easily tell who it is from and how to contact you, the message will need some work
Tip #4: Do not ignore your audience
If someone contacts you asking about the information you hold about them, and what it is used for, the law requires that you provide that information.
In the long run, it will be simpler to respond to the individual than to have to deal with a complaint made to any regulators.
Tip #5: Don’t be misleading
It sounds obvious, but all marketing communications should be truthful and not misleading.
The general position under the law is long-established, but there are also specific rules about sending electronic messages with misleading subject lines.
Don’t highlight something in the subject, and then effectively take it away in the body of the email. There is nothing wrong with an attention-grabbing subject, but it must be accurate and true.