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Michelle Allen

Support Update: Permission Email Templates and Opting-Out

May 12 2011, 03:57 PM by

As Gandhi once said, “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” Whether you believe that to be true or not, in the world of email marketing there is a similar saying: “Nobody can email you without your permission.” OK, well, we don’t actually go around saying that. But thanks to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, senders of commercial email (that is, non-personal and/or business-focused) must obtain permission from their recipients first. So while somebody may or may not be able to hurt you without your permission, they cannot try to sell you something - like that blanket with sleeves - unless you have given them permission to do so.

Some subscribers forget that they have given a business permission to email them. I myself have wondered from time to time about whether I signed up with Company X or if they obtained my email address without my permission. Many companies make it difficult to remove yourself from their emailing list - and I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just do not have time to follow the 10 steps they lay out for me. I have been tempted to hit that dangerous “spam” button because it is an easier way of stopping those emails from coming. No business wants their subscribers to feel this way.

Here at Benchmark Email, we want to make email marketing as pleasant as possible for both businesses and the subscribers they are connected with. To protect the reputations of senders, as well as our own, we thought up a way for businesses to ensure that their email recipients have given their permission to be emailed and also that they want to continue being contacted.

If you are worried about being labeled as “spam” one day by a subscriber, there are some steps you can take to help prevent that from happening. There are two templates available to you in the Email Newsletters section called Permission Reminder and Permission Request. They both look like this:

Sending out this campaign from time to time can be very useful. You may be worried about giving users such an easy way of unsubscribing, but in actuality you are showing them that you care about their interest, or lack thereof, in your company. This can be particularly helpful if you have a contact list that is a year old or more. It gives them a clear, easy way to unsubscribe if they are no longer interested or have forgotten who you are. In one step they can remove themselves from your list without feeling guilty for hitting the “spam” button. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Email Design & Templates

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Ken Magill

May 13 2011, 08:12 PM

FYI: Can Spam doesn't require permission. It only requires that emailers honor opt-out requests.


May 16 2011, 04:52 PM


You're definitely right that the CAN-SPAM Act does not require permission. Michelle was simplifying a marketing best practice that has risen due to the passage of the Act. What we should have said was that mailers "should not try to sell you something" without your permission - especially if you don't know who they are.

Under Section 5 of the CAN-SPAM Act: "It is unlawful for any person to initiate the transmission to a protected computer of a commercial electronic mail message if such person has actual knowledge, or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances, that a subject heading of the message would be likely to mislead a recipient... regarding the contents or subject matter of the message"


May 27 2011, 11:48 PM

Good looking out, Ken. Thank you for the clarification on that.