Are you following email opt-in rules?

Are You Keeping Your Email Opt-Ins Above-Board?

Posted by Amy Peveto on May 14, 2014

If you’re like many of our clients, you’ve got a list of people to whom you are sending content (routinely or not). You may have been emailing this list for years, adding email addresses of prospects, customers, and referral sources. It’s great that you’re making use of one of the most effective marketing tactics, but it’s important you’re doing so according to the law.

Pop quiz!

Which of these scenarios constitutes a legitimate email opt-in?

  1. Individuals register for a drawing by dropping their business cards in a bowl. You add all contestants to your email list.
  2. Someone signs the guest book at your tourist information center and includes their email address. You add them to your email list.
  3. Someone downloads a whitepaper you’ve written. You add them to your email list.

According to Federal law, none of them.

Permission, permission, permission

The only way to legally add a person to your mailing address is by first getting their explicit permission.

Notice the emphasis on “explicit.” Having an “Email” field on a website form or a place on a contest signup for someone to write their email address does not cut the mustard.

You must make it crystal, absurdly clear any time a person’s action will sign him or her up to receive ongoing email from you.

How to get explicit permission

It’s actually pretty simple: provide a checkbox on every website form, print form, and sign-up book that individuals must check in order to be subscribed to your email list.

Next to the checkbox include a statement that makes it impossible for people to misinterpret, such as:

By checking this box I give my permission to Widgets, Inc. to send me email newsletters with information on products, sales, and events.

Then add only the people who checked the box to your email list.

3 benefits of a clean email list

  1. You’re following the law - You’re not spamming people, and you’re protected from someone taking legal action against you for spammy email practices.
  2. You’re saving time - You’re not expending energy and time emailing people who aren’t interested in your products/services.
  3. You’re seeing more engagement - Clean up your list and watch open rates, clicks, social shares, and ROI increase.

Need help with email marketing?

Whether you need to design and build email templates, craft content, or refresh your email opt-in processes, we’re your one-stop shop.

Get in touch today to talk with our team about your email marketing needs.

[Image: Arnold Gatilao


Get thought-provoking and actionable insights to improve how your firm makes a connection with your customers.


The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.