An email marketing agreement is a standard document that marketing companies and professional web businesses offering email services to clients implement.

Information About Email Marketing Agreements

Companies that provide email marketing services must make sure their agreements comply with applicable laws and regulations. They must also make sure that their agreement is structured to protect the business against risks and liabilities.

A service provider for email marketing must make sure that the terms and conditions of their agreement provide the coverage needed to reduce the chance of clients using their services unlawfully. An example would be a client violating the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations by sending out spam emails.

For service providers reselling the services of another person/business, the terms and conditions of their agreement must blend with the original supplier of services. This means the terms and conditions of both agreements should work back-to-back.

Legal Requirements for Email Marketing

There are many laws and regulations governing email marketing services. Because of this, it's important for customers using a marketing database supplied by a service provider to know that it was created according to the law.

One area of the law you don't want to overstep concerns legislation regarding spam. Before sending out emails, be aware of these guidelines:

  • Sending unsolicited messages is illegal in many countries.
  • The exception is if the emails are being sent using a mailing list people have signed up to be on. In this case, it is not illegal.
  • When sending out an email newsletter, an unsubscribe option easily found within the email must be included.
  • The unsubscribe option must be in working order and must be honored within a reasonable time. In the United States, there is a 10-day timeframe for honoring the unsubscribe request.

Email Marketing Laws

From a legal perspective, there are several points to consider, beginning with providing subscribers with the double opt-in process. With the double opt-in system, when a person subscribes/signs up, they will receive a confirmation email validating your interest in receiving emails from you. Do not add anyone to your email list that has not given you permission.

In most jurisdictions, a privacy policy is a requirement whenever personal information is being collected via a website or a mobile app. Not only is it a law in most countries, but third-party tools such as Google AdSense or Google Analytics also usually require that a privacy policy be in place.

The CalOPPA law is what U.S. business websites must follow regarding a privacy policy, which must be displayed at all times whether a user is accessing a website or using an app. The Data Protection Act 1998 is what business websites in the U.K. follow when collecting a user's personal information.

When using a web form on the website for a user to fill out, there must be a link to your privacy policy. There are two ways to confirm that the user has read and agreed to the policy. First is the browse-wrap process, where a link to the agreement/policy is on the site and the user must access it. The second process is the click-wrap method, which requires the user to click either a statement acknowledging their agreement or to click a checkbox confirming their legal agreement. With either agreement option, the privacy policy must be available for the user to review.

Since a privacy policy is required, be sure to include all the necessary content areas for users filling out the web form as well as any information collected via the website that is outside of the web form. This includes:

  • The user's name.
  • The user's address and phone number.
  • The user's email address.
  • The user's IP address.
  • The access time and date of the website.
  • The browser used.
  • The operating system used.
  • Which pages the user visited.
  • What site the user came from.

Keep the policy page updated to reflect any new information that is being collected.

Additionally, the privacy policy should include an explanation of how the collected information will be used, how information is kept secure, the circumstances involved where the information can be released, access options for subscribers to review collected information, the date the policy is effective from, and any changes made to the policy since that date.

If you need help with an email marketing agreement, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.