(Hypebot) – For many artists, sending a regular e-newsletter to fans can be a good way to stay connected and keep them up-to-date, but it's important to keep in mind that there are certain limitations and restrictions on what can and must be included in these mass communications.
Guest Post by Bobby Owsinski on Music 3.0
You may not know it, but there are a number of things that are legally required in every email newsletter that you send out. While most email services automatically address these, it's still important to know what they are and why they're enforced in the first place.
Here are the 5 legal requirements that every email newsletter must have, which have been excerpted from my Social Media Promotion For Musicians book
"While it may seem that it’s entirely up to you about what’s contained in your email, be aware that every mass email blast that you send now requires several things by law. These are:
1. Easy opt-out: You have to provide an easy way for subscribers to unsubscribe if they want. Once a subscriber opts out, you then have 10 days to stop sending them messages (although most expect it to happen immediately), and the unsubscribe option needs to be available for at least 30 days after the e-mail is sent. Most ESPs will automatically remove the address to a “do not send” list if the subscriber chooses to unsubscribe.
2. Identify your topic: The subject line of your e-mails has to clearly and accurately identify the content of the e-mail. Any misleading or bogus subject lines are construed as spam.
3. Return address: You have to include a legitimate return email address, as well as a valid postal address. Some ESPs even make you include a phone number. If you don’t want people to know your home info (I don’t want to broadcast it myself), open up a PO box, and get a Google Voice number if a phone number is required.
4. No email address harvesting: You can’t collect addresses from chat rooms, discussion forums, or blog comments. Once again, people must opt-in and give you permission to send something to them.
5. You can’t offer a reward for forwarding: You can invite subscribers to “forward this newsletter to a friend,” but you can’t entice them to do so with offers of money, coupons, discounts, awards, or additional entries in a giveaway.
Remember that spam is a serious business. It’s not only bad form, but you could be held legally liable as well."