Let’s dive in…
The short answer is… Yes.
Spoiler alert… if you are using email marketing in your business, you are subject to those laws.
To start, an email address qualifies as personal information. Although there are some hazy lines when it comes to figuring out if information qualifies as personal under these laws, there’s no doubt about email.
While strange things do sometimes happen on the internet, it’s a really safe bet that you have subscribers from those places if you are marketing on the internet!
What is CAN-SPAM?
Beyond the laws that are specifically about privacy policies, we need to discuss CAN-SPAM.
The CAN-SPAM Act is the U.S. law that regulates commercial email. While the U.S. is kinda the wild, wild west when it comes to email marketing and privacy, CAN-SPAM does place some limits.
To comply with CAN-SPAM, every message you send via email must have a valid “from” address, a mailing address for the sender, and a way for people to opt-out of future emails.
If you ever look at a marketing email, you’ll notice the CAN-SPAM compliance at the end. Those emails will include (at a minimum), the mailing address and opt-out link. Here’s an example from one of my emails:
Since we’re talking CAN-SPAM… that law also forbids false or misleading header information and deceptive subject lines, but I’m guessing you wouldn’t try that nonsense.
If you want to learn more about CAN-SPAM, the Federal Trade Commission has this great resource page.
Don’t overcomplicate this. Just be transparent and build trust.
While you could try to craft your website legal policies all by yourself, I do not recommend it. These are NOT fun to write, and you could easily miss something pretty stinking important.