Modern economic processes have caused companies to re-assess their budgets and make significant changes in their marketing strategies. Today marketers tend to choose more cost-effective means of advertisement shifting from expensive TV and radio commercials to email marketing. Email is considered the most affordable way of reaching potential customers and effectively promoting goods, services, offers and discounts in a timely manner. Containing personalised targeted information, it deepens relationships with customers encouraging them to remain loyal to the business they have once dealt with. Email marketing strategies may vary from country to country.
Here is an overview of the law on email marketing UK and USA. Although the email marketing laws of these countries have a lot in common, there are some regulations specific to each country.
Email marketing in the UK
The Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations of the UK came into force on December 11, 2003 and apply to direct email marketing messages including charitable and political emails. According to the law on email marketing UK, the sender is allowed to send commercial electronic messages to individuals who have subscribed to them (‘opt-in’). Prior consent is required for business-to-consumer communication. Permission cannot be asked for by an email message; the user must select this option. If a company has a previous commercial relationship with an individual, it is allowed to send him or her emails advertising or promoting a similar product or service.
Every sender needs to state his or her details and the contact information should include the full name of the company, its legal form, the place of registration, the registration number, the registered address and its VAT (Value Added Tax) identification number. Each email message should also contain a valid reply address as well as clear opt-out instructions. As the law on email marketing UK states, any recipient has the right to unsubscribe to the service by contacting the sender, and this procedure should be user-friendly.
Email marketing services in the USA
The US law on email marketing came into force on January 1, 2004 and applies to commercial messages advertising or promoting a commercial product or service. Unlike the regulations on email marketing UK, commercial email messages in the USA can be sent to anyone without their permission but should include compulsory opt-out instructions.
The opt-out option should be user-friendly and valid within at least 30 days after the message has been sent to the customer. All opt-out requests must be handled within 10 days. Recipients cannot be required to pay a fee or provide information other than their email address and opt-out preferences. They can send an electronic message or visit a sender’s website to opt out of further emails. ‘From’ and ‘To’ lines as well as a sender’s email address should contain accurate valid data.
Subject lines should also include clear-cut valid information. It is also requested to specify messages as an advertisement or solicitation. Under the law on email marketing UK, the body of an email message sent by US companies should contain a physical postal address including a registered post office box or private mailbox.
This information is needed for the subscriber to opt out of future electronic communication with the sender. The sender is not allowed to sell or exchange the email address of the recipient who has unsubscribed to receiving any further communications.
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