Checklist: 6 Items Every International Email Needs for Compliance

Whether you’ve had an international marketing strategy for years, or you’re just getting started expanding your marketing footprint, it’s important to know the different email communication compliancy laws worldwide or you could be facing some pretty hefty fines.

For the most part, many of the same regulations for U.S. email marketing (known as the CAN-SPAM Act), are covered in international email regulations, with a couple key additions. The CAN-SPAM Act requires your email headers and subject lines be “accurate” and “non-deceptive”, you must also include your physical address and opt out instructions within the email, and honor opt out requests in a timely manner.

Canadian anti-spam laws add additional layers for compliance. In addition to the U.S. requirements, you also need recipients’ permission to email them (including recorded proof) and full business details in the email (including phone number and website).

As the laws change and often become more restrictive to protect recipients’ privacy, it’s important that you continue to check in and ensure that your email marketing sends are in compliance. Although some countries may be more restrictive than others, it’s a good rule of thumb to comply with the most restrictive policy, the more recipients who are opted in to request information from you, the more likely you are to engage with an audience who is receptive to your marketing and sales messages anyway!

Here’s a quick checklist with 6 requirements to follow for compliance with most worldwide anti-spam and unsubscribe rules:

  1. Be honest and accurate with your messaging and calls to action.
  2. Place an unsubscribe link in every email that’s visible and simple to use.
  3. Timely unsubscribe any requests to opt out from your emails (must be under 10 days in the U.S.)
  4. Ensure your recipients are opted in to your emails, and keep proof of that transaction (opt in is required in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Canada).
  5. Make sure your company name and website is in the email and visible.
  6. Put your company address and phone number in the footer of the email.

Looking for the rules for a specific country? Check out our resources section for more information on email requirements by country.

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