Email marketing is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to find new customers online, but some brands still have valid concerns about compliance and the legal risks associated with email, and ways to mitigate these risks.
Just like any marketing channel, there’s a right and wrong way to deploy an email campaign for the purpose of new consumer acquisition. You can significantly mitigate the risk by addressing some simple questions:
- Is your email agency following all CAN-SPAM guidelines?
- Is your email agency using a licensed attorney to review all email assets?
- Is your email agency vetting and policing networks and/or affiliates to ensure all guidelines are followed?
- Does your email agency have an effective process to review and approve proofs before emails are sent out?
- Is your email agency monitoring emails that are sent out on your behalf?
If you answered “no” or “I’m not sure” to any of these questions, keep reading to learn what an email agency should do to ensure campaigns are executed under compliant conditions.
1. Is your email agency following all CAN-SPAM guidelines?
You need to make sure that the agency you work with is enforcing all CAN-SPAM guidelines, state regulations and any other marketing guidelines you may have put in place in order to be compliant. CAN-SPAM guidelines are enforced by the FTC and include:
- Don’t use false or misleading email header information (sending domains, friendly from lines, etc.)
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines
- Identify the message as an advertisement
- Include a physical address to send written opt-out requests
- Include an opt-out link to opt-out of future emails electronically
Email agencies will request (or create) specific assets needed to setup an email campaign such as creatives, subject lines, from lines and the unsubscribe footer. You may choose to outsource the opt-out and suppression file management to companies like Hitpath, Optizmo and UnsubCentral. The services that these vendors provide are especially effective for avoiding consumer complaints and protecting your brand’s reputation because they take added measures to protect consumer privacy and minimize email abuse rates.
Alternatively, email agencies like Madrivo may offer in-house solutions to exclusive advertisers where they host a suppression file and issues an opt-out link that will add records to the file in real time. This data is kept encrypted to ensure privacy and shared with the advertiser on a weekly basis.
In addition to the industry guidelines that you have to abide by, you may also decide to give your network additional guidelines such as restricting traffic by media channel (for example, no social media traffic allowed) or specifying the day an offer can launch to align with call center hours or a holiday promotion. You may also require that the agency uses specific wording and design schemes in the email assets they design for you. Regardless of what you decide, the agency you work with should uphold your requests and enforce them with publishers.
To learn more about the CAN-SPAM guidelines, check out this article.
2. Is your email agency using a licensed attorney to review each landing page, creative, subject line and from line?
Having a licensed attorney on board is a big factor in keeping up with compliance standards. Madrivo has a licensed attorney who reviews everything the advertiser provides to ensure the email assets are aligned with industry compliance and CAN-SPAM regulations are met. All items listed above under CAN-SPAM are examined to guard consumers against deception. It also increases the quality of your campaigns, which builds trust with consumers who are receiving promotional emails from your brand that advertise a meaningful product or service in a non-deceptive way.
3. Is your email agency partnered with a network or affiliates that are following all guidelines?
It’s essential that your agency only partner with the right networks or affiliates that are being compliant on all fronts. If not, all of the time and money you’ve invested in the campaign is at risk. Madrivo has a number of exclusive and non-exclusive publishers that are held to the highest standards so that when they are given access to offers, they are not jeopardizing the quality of a campaign or the brand’s reputation.
All of Madrivo’s publishers sign a legally binding contract that forces them to adhere to the highest level of compliance or risk termination. Also, all publishers go through a thorough, 15-step vetting process which includes reviewing their tenure in the industry, disclosing their sending domains and IPs, and calling on client references to discuss the publisher’s past performance. As a rule, Madrivo will not work with affiliates that are new to the industry nor those that can’t provide strong, credible references.
4. Is your email agency reviewing proofs before emails are sent out?
Your agency should send you email proofs to review before the campaign goes live. If you are following steps 1-3 in the right way, there should not be any surprises when the proof comes to you for approval. This is your last opportunity to preview the email before traffic starts and the proof should meet or exceed your expectations before you give the okay on deployment.
5. Is your email agency policing and monitoring emails that are being sent out on your behalf?
Once your campaign goes live, your agency should be monitoring emails as they are sent out to ensure the publisher is adhering to the standards set forth. Madrivo has a proprietary process that tracks tens of thousands of email seeds and reviews tens of millions of emails per day to ensure all assets are deployed exactly as approved by the advertiser and the legal team. If an asset is deployed wrongfully, the publisher and the account manager will receive a message in real-time to keep accountability to the agreed upon guidelines. This process allows brands to rest easy knowing that traffic is being heavily policed to fight against fraud and frees up more time to discuss what matters most: optimizing conversions.
Rewards of compliance
Now you know! The risk of email marketing can be mitigated by following all guidelines and regulations mentioned above. When email marketing is done in a compliant way, you reap many benefits including:
- Pristine brand reputation
- Increased ROI by avoiding losses from fraudulent or low quality traffic
- Increased lifetime value of your customers by earning their trust through valuable email offers
Compliance record and standards
Madrivo’s compliance standards are higher than the industry average. Madrivo does everything in its power in order to avoid violations, as proof by their impressively low fraud rate of 0.06% (the industry average is 33%).
We have been told that we can be “difficult to work with” because we ask alot of our advertisers and publishers and hold them to highest legal, ethical and financial standards, but this has proven to pay off in the long run. Our efforts have prevented million dollar companies from million dollar lawsuits and our advertisers often say that Madrivo has the lowest cost to acquire new consumers and generates leads with highest lifetime value of the consumer compared to other networks.
Email compliance is one of the cornerstones of building a sustainable relationship with the brands we promote and has supported our vision to connect consumers with valuable ads that improve their quality of life.