When it comes to email marketing, there are a few legal and ethical considerations that SaaS founders need to be aware of – and no, we’re not just talking about the fact that it’s illegal to send your ex-girlfriend a barrage of emails with subject lines like “I miss you” or “Please take me back.”
Start with consent
First and foremost, it’s important to obtain the proper consent from your subscribers before sending them emails. This means that you need to have explicit, opt-in consent from each individual on your email list, meaning that they have specifically agreed to receive emails from you. This can be obtained through a sign-up form on your website, or by other means, such as a checkbox on a checkout form or a physical sign-up sheet (you know, the kind your grandma used to use at her Tupperware parties).
Treat their information with care
Don’t be a spammer
Another important consideration is the issue of spam. Spam is defined as unsolicited or unwanted emails, and it’s illegal in most countries (which is a real bummer, because we all know that spam emails are the best emails). To avoid being considered a spammer, it’s important to ensure that your emails are relevant and valuable to your subscribers, and to avoid using tactics such as sending large numbers of emails or using misleading subject lines (like “You’ve won the lottery!” or “Click here to see a picture of a cute kitten!”). It’s also important to provide a clear and easy way for subscribers to opt out of receiving emails from you, and to promptly honor any opt-out requests (because nobody likes a clingy ex-girlfriend, even if she does send really cute kitten pictures).
Make your emails accessible
In addition to these legal and ethical considerations, it’s also important to consider the broader implications of your email marketing efforts. This includes ensuring that your emails are accessible to people with disabilities, and that they are not offensive or discriminatory in any way (because nobody likes a discriminatory ex-girlfriend, even if she does send really cute kitten pictures). It’s also important to consider the environmental impact of your emails, and to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint, such as using eco-friendly email servers and avoiding sending large attachments (because nobody likes a wasteful ex-girlfriend, even if she does send really cute kitten pictures).
Overall, there are many legal and ethical considerations involved in email marketing, and it’s important for SaaS founders to be aware of these and to take steps to ensure that their email marketing efforts are compliant and ethical. By following the guidelines outlined in this chapter, you can ensure that your email marketing efforts are successful and sustainable, while also protecting the rights and interests of your subscribers (and avoiding any potential legal issues or embarrassing moments with your ex-girlfriend).
Why even bother? What could happen?
Not following the legal and ethical considerations, you may be at risk of legal action and penalties. This could include fines or other penalties from regulatory authorities, as well as potential damage to your reputation and loss of trust from your subscribers. In addition, not following these guidelines could also result in your emails being marked as spam or being blocked by email providers, which could prevent your messages from reaching your subscribers and negatively impact your ability to engage with them and grow your business.
To sum it up, here’s how to avoid the spam folder
- Obtain explicit, opt-in consent from subscribers before sending them emails
- Respect subscribers’ privacy and only use their email addresses for the purposes for which they were collected
- Give subscribers the option to opt-out of receiving emails from you at any time
- Avoid using tactics such as sending large numbers of emails or using misleading subject lines to avoid being considered a spammer
- Promptly honor any opt-out requests from subscribers
- Ensure that your emails are accessible to people with disabilities
- Avoid sending emails that are offensive or discriminatory in any way
- Consider the environmental impact of your emails and take steps to reduce their carbon footprint.