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For online business owners, an email list is a powerful tool.

Emails to your community can be personal, purposeful, and targeted to the people who have already shown interest in what you do.

Your email list helps you build trust and connection with the people who are one click away from investing in your products or services.

They love you already! 💃🏽✨

Another great thing about having an epic email list?

You have full ownership over the content you share via your email marketing platform, unlike on social media, where your content is instantly out of your legal control as soon as you click “share.”

But with a powerful email list comes a lot of responsibility.

We’re talking, legal responsibility.

Because as much as email marketing campaigns can send your sales up, up, up, they can also be FULL of legal land mines.

Here’s the thing: If your email contains commercial content or anything related to transactional activity, you must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

If you’re thinking, “OK, but my email newsletters only ask my community to check out my free podcast, so I’m probably in the clear when it comes to this CAN-SPAM stuff, right?”

Wrong. ❌

If you reference any product of yours and the product promotes any goods or services you sell, you’ve gotta comply with CAN-SPAM.

Yes, even when talking about an affiliate’s product.

Commercial activity = complying with the CAN-SPAM Act.

You’re smart! 

You’ve got this.

Let’s get down to business identifying these legal land mines and how to avoid them.

Wouldn’t want one of them blowing up your powerful email marketing campaign, would we?

Here we go.👇🏽

1. Get Consent to Email

The first golden rule is to only email people who have given you explicit permission to contact them.

Yeah, as much as you might be tempted to manually add someone who you reeeeeeally want on your email list — DON’T.

This is a big legal no-no. 🙅🏽‍♀️

You need everyone’s express consent to contact them by email.

There are two ways people can opt in to receiving messages from you.

✅ They let you know that they are interested in being added and they give you their email to be added to your list. 

This might happen IRL or by Insta DMs, but either way, the person has given you the go-ahead to be contacted about updates on your biz.

✅ They opt in via a freebie, lead magnet, or website that clearly states that they are saying “YES” to receiving emails from you in the future.

When we say clear, we mean CLEAR.

2. Allow People to Unsubscribe

Listen up y’all: You cannot trap your email list subscribers.

Something you MUST know about email marketing is that the CAN-SPAM Act requires that you give your subscribers the option to unsubscribe at any time.

You’ve gotta give them the option either within each email or via your website, but it must be clear and easy for them to get the emails to stop.

You might be panicking and thinking, “I don’t think I have this! Is someone coming for me?!” 😩

But the good news is, most email marketing platforms include this feature for you. Just make sure yours does so you know you aren’t holding anyone hostage on your list.

And remember, honor this feature.

If someone requests to be removed from your list, listen to them.

It might be hard, but you can’t take it personally.

Do not deny this request or re-add them. You have so many subscribers who are LOVING your content so just let them go, sis!

3. Include a Legit Address

This legal obligation sometimes comes as a surprise to online business owners.

But you MUST include the location of your business in your email correspondence.

Again, this might be something your email marketing software does on its own, but just double-check so you are not skipping this important step.

You need a valid physical postal address in each email.

As an online business owner you might not have an office where you receive all of your mail, but this can be your P.O. box, physical office, virtual office, or even your personal address.

Wherever you receive mail for your biz, use that and you’re in the clear.

4. No Sneaky Subject Lines

Remember that all these laws are in place to protect consumers, and the law takes deception of consumers very, very seriously.

There are a LOT of scammers out there! 

We know you aren’t one of them, but you still have to comply with the laws that protect consumers from being scammed.

One of those laws is that you may not use any deceptive subject lines.

Who knew there were laws governing email subject lines?!

We did!

And now, so do you.

All this means is that your subject lines must accurately reflect the content of your email message.

And, friends, if you are outsourcing your email marketing like so many of us do, MAKE SURE you are checking up on this.

You don’t want your email marketing expert to be sending off sneaky subject lines.

Because even if they are doing it on your behalf, you could still be held liable. 

As always, hire someone you trust, but make sure you keep an eye on those subject lines. ✅

5. Have a Clear Privacy Policy

Collecting someone’s name and email in order to add them to your email list is considered collecting personal information.

It’s important that when you are collecting this data, you make your privacy policy clear to your subscribers and clearly display it on your website.

Outline what data you are collecting, how you are using it, how you are storing it, and how they can remove themselves.

Want some help?

If you are looking for some help crafting the perfect privacy policy to protect your biz, check out the Terms of Use + Privacy Policy Contract Templates  from Coaches & Co.

We’ll help you make it *crystal clear* to your email list subscribers about what exactly is happening with their personal info, so you don’t run into any legal issues while building your brilliant email marketing strategy.

See? 

Not so bad when you don’t have to do it alone! 💛

Knowing the legal land mines that pop up in email marketing makes you realize that these are EASILY avoidable.

And most of it comes down to being honest and communicating clearly with your community.

This kind of care coming from you will help you stay legally protected AND build trust for your brand. 

You want to be known as the approachable and transparent biz owner. 

Don’t get yourself lumped in with those scammers we talked about earlier just because you neglect one of these legal land mines.

You’re a pro so act like one, sis!

Shop our Privacy Policy Template here! 


Check out our ready-to-use, lawyer-approved, plug-and-play legal contract templates! So you can upgrade your client contract while staying Profitable & Protected™✨

Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you. Grab our FREE Legally Launch Handbookto get the legal lowdown on everything in entrepreneurship, without the confusing mambo jumbo. We’re serving it up straight & to the point. (Heads up: It’ll forever transform the way you view your client relationships!) Grab your copy now.

*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.

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