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Is Your Email Marketing Compliant with Global Regulations?

email marketingOne of the most effective means of outbound marketing is often email marketing. Because of that, many companies spend significant time collecting email addresses and sending out emails to prospects. But email marketing is subject to rules and regulations in order to ensure the recipients aren’t being subjected to misleading or fraudulent emails. In addition, different countries have different rules for email. Since people from anywhere in the world can sign up to receive your emails, you could be sending emails to countries other than America. Therefore, it’s not enough to know just the American CAN-SPAM laws. You must abide by the rules of other countries as well.

Let’s take a look at each country’s email laws and highlight what email marketers need to know to comply with them.


The CAN-SPAM law applies to any email marketing with the goal of advertising and/or promoting a product or service. Each separate email in violation of the law is subject to penalties of up to $16,000 and more than one person may be held responsible for violations.

CAN-SPAM requirements are as follows:

  • Do not use false or misleading header information.
  • Do not use deceptive subject lines.
  • Identify the message as an ad.
  • Tell recipients where you’re located.
  • Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future email from you.
  • Honor opt-out requests promptly.
  • Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. 


When sending email to recipients in Canada, it’s important to have full knowledge of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). It encompasses all the requirements of America’s CAN-SPAM Act and adds the following:

  • You need full permission from the recipient to send email to them.
  • Proof of opt-in from the recipient is required.
  • Your complete business information identification is required.
  • You are prohibited from collecting and using email addresses without permission.

Important: both sets of laws must be followed if you are sending email across North America.


There is not a single all-encompassing set of anti-spam laws that covers all of Europe, but there are email marketing laws in place in a number of the countries. Common points across all of these laws include:

  • Opt-in permission is required before you can send someone emails.
  • You must provide an easy opt-out process along with a notice of how to unsubscribe.
  • Anyone who opts out must be removed from your mailing lists forever.

If you are going to be sending email to Europe, it’s important to examine the anti-spam laws in each country and have complete knowledge of how the anti-spam laws are applied in each.

Asia/South America/Africa:

There is no comprehensive legislation in place that encompasses email marketing on an entire continent and the various countries within them. While many countries in Asia, South America and Africa often have less-stringent requirements, they still all require an opt-out notice to the recipient. Despite the lack of firm anti-spam laws in each area, it’s still important to have a full understanding of which countries have measures in place and how to comply with them.

Australia and New Zealand:

In Australia opt-in permission is required and the harvesting of email addresses is illegal. In New Zealand, opt-in consent and an easy unsubscribe procedure are required in all emails. If you are going to be emailing to Australia, it’s important to learn and understand Australia’s Spam Act of 2003.


When you engage in email marketing you are responsible for complying with the laws of the countries that you mail to.  Therefore, regularly review the laws and make sure you’re in compliance.  A little time spent now will prevent a lot of headaches in the future.

Are you ready to maximize the return on investment in your email marketing?  As a leading B2B marketing agency, KEO Marketing provides email marketing services to help you effectively reach your marketing and sales goals.