We have a love-hate relationship with email, don’t we?  It’s an incredibly quick and convenient way to reach our loved ones and clients, but it can also feel burdensome when you open your account to see floods of unsolicited emails.

Spam Law

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act was passed in 2003.  The Federal Trade Commission is charged with regulating commercial emails. You can read the FTC’s guide on commercial emails for business here.  Most businesses use services like MailChimp and Constant Contact, which implement these guidelines.  But what do you, as a small business owner, need to know about the emails you send?

Consent is the Best Practice

Sending unsolicited commercial emails just isn’t good business, even if it doesn’t violate the law.  The best practice is to make sure you have consent to add someone to your business email list.  There are two ways to do this:

  1. Direct consent. You obtain direct consent by asking if they want to be added to your email list. They may subscribe via your website, a list you have at an event, or on an intake form when they visit you at your office.  You can add a simple question, such as: “May I add you to my email list?”  If they decline, honor that.
  2. Implied consent. Agreement to be on your email list is implied if someone uses your services, attends your workshops, etc. While they didn’t directly consent, they have expressed interest in your services.  

The Dreaded Unsubscribe

There can be a lot of reasons people unsubscribe – too many emails or their interests change; however, some of the commercial email services will suspend your account if too many subscribers unsubscribe with the remark that they never subscribed in the first place.  Gaining consent first can alleviate that problem.

Good for Business

We all want to reach out and connect with our clientele.  Just make sure you do it in a way that respects them.  It’s good business to ask first.


Do you have any questions about your email campaigns?  Reply to this post or email me at regenoldlaw@gmail.com.