Following the law is an essential part of email marketing. So, is it actually legal to buy and sell email contacts? Believe it or not, there’s no law prohibiting the sale of email lists in the United States, so you’re free to buy and sell as many email addresses as you please. In other countries such as the UK, there are laws that prevent companies from selling email addresses without consent from the owners of those email addresses.
There’s also the issue of what you do with the list of emails you buy because even the United States has laws when it comes to spam and other shady email practices. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, for example, prohibits you from spamming people who opt out of your emails and sending emails without identifying information. If you sell an email list to somebody knowing that they’re going to use it to spam, you can be found guilty of conspiracy.
Even if you do buy an email list, it’s imperative to make sure you’re not breaking any laws regarding email marketing. These laws vary depending on your jurisdiction, so be sure to look at the laws in your country that pertain to email marketing.
Compliant and non-compliant lists–with Mailchimp
As a business owner, investing in a list of email contacts can be tempting, especially when you consider the time it can take to organically build a mailing list. If you are going to buy a mailing list, it’s important to make sure that the mailing list is compliant. What this means is that you have permission to email the people on your mailing list with marketing materials, which is actually required by law in certain countries.
Because it’s so easy to create a free email address, it’s also easier than ever to purchase email lists. Companies can gather email addresses from all over the internet and compile them into one convenient list, but those email addresses may not even be in use anymore. Even worse, you could be buying a list of email addresses that aren’t interested in receiving promotional emails, which means your marketing emails won’t go over well.
If you want to comply with legal requirements when it comes to email marketing, here are some of the things you need to do:
- Get permission to email the people on your mailing list
- Provide identifying information when you send emails
- Don’t use misleading information in your header and subject line
- Let people know that this is an advertising email
- Include an unsubscribe button that allows people to opt out of your emails
- Honor any opt-out requests as quickly as possible
Building long-term customer relationships
The fact of the matter is, it’s important for business owners to build solid relationships with their customers, especially when it comes to email marketing. If people feel like you’re trying to trick them or being too pushy about your products or services, they may feel like you care more about your bottom line than your customers. This is why using opt-in emails to build a mailing list is a better long-term strategy than buying an email list.