Law firms are just like any other business: they need to market their services in order to generate leads and boost conversions. But law firms face additional ethics scrutiny due to the nature of the legal field. Email marketing can be an effective way to generate leads, but firms must take care to ensure that they do not violate the CAN-SPAM Act.
1. Never Use False or Misleading Information
Using false or misleading information to deceive clients into contacting you for your services is not only an unethical practice, but a potentially illegal one.
When sending emails, make sure that your “To,” “From,” and “Reply-To” forms are accurate. Recipients should know that your firm is sending the email. The routing information, which includes the domain name and the email address, must also be accurate to identify the person or business who sent the message.
Email subject lines must also be accurate and honest. The recipient should know the contents of the message just by reading the subject line.
In addition to providing accurate subject lines and headers, you must also disclose that the email is an advertisement. This disclosure must be clear and conspicuous.
2. Always Include Your Contact Information
Every email sent by your firm should include your office’s:
- Telephone number
A valid physical postal address is required (a P.O. box is fine), so recipients can verify your law firm’s identity.
If your firm uses an email marketing tool like MailChimp, this information should be included automatically when using a template.
3. Give Recipients a Way to Opt Out of Emails, and Honor Requests Promptly
Each and every email you send should tell users how to opt out of receiving future emails from your firm. The standard pratice is to include a link at the bottom of the email with the anchor text “unsubscribe,” or something similar.
The message should be clear, concise and easy for the reader to understand.
If you’re working with a professional marketing company, a system should already be in place that allows recipients to quickly and easily unsubscribe from future emails.
But if you’re running your own customized program, you’ll need to ensure that you have some system in place that allow users to opt out.
Opt out requests need to be honored within 10 business days of the request. By law, you may not ask the recipient for anything as a condition for opting out of emails, including payment, requiring them to submit a reply email, requiring them to visit another web page, or providing personal identifying information.
Once subscribers opt out of your list, you may not transfer or sell their email addresses.
4. Keep Tabs On Your Marketing Agency
If you’ve hired another company to create and launch an email marketing campaign on your behalf, it is crucial to ensure that you keep tabs on their behavior. Regardless of who is handling your campaign, your firm still maintains the responsibility of following the law.