A business executive is seated in front a computer. She looks at information on her computer and contemplates a question.
Email compliance software helps ensure compliance with U.S. laws like the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. — Getty Images/10'000 Hours

Every business and marketer must comply with data privacy and protection laws. The penalties are severe for those who don't. Likewise, recordkeeping regulations require companies to retain electronic messages. Email compliance software provides tools for monitoring in-house and outbound marketing messages, encrypting communications, and archiving emails.

Many email marketing systems have built-in compliance features, making them an excellent choice for small businesses. However, companies in certain industries may need advanced services for handling legal discovery requests and regulatory audits. Learn how to protect your brand using email marketing and compliance solutions.

Email compliance and retention rules: an overview

Email regulations protect user privacy and prevent unwanted solicitations. Companies must comply with guidelines when sending, storing, receiving, and archiving emails. The first step to email marketing compliance is understanding the laws and how they apply to your business.

U.S. companies that send commercial email messages must follow the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003 mandates. They may need to comply with local or state rules, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Further, businesses must adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for European consumers. These regulations regulate how companies store data and impact the usage of email marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) software. For a comprehensive breakdown of U.S. and international regulations, see our guide to email marketing laws.

Record retention laws also impact electronic messages. Requirements vary for regulations overseen by the IRS, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, the Freedom of Information Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

Data provenance is crucial to recordkeeping compliance. Your data and storage methods must ensure email integrity, allow for quick recovery, and be secure.

[Read more: A Beginner's Guide to Creating and Managing an Email Marketing List]

U.S. companies that send commercial email messages must follow the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003 mandates. They may need to comply with local or state rules, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Types of email compliance systems

Top-rated CRM email marketing tools have CAN-SPAM and GDPR compliance features. But firms that handle sensitive information may need robust solutions to ensure litigation readiness. You can find solutions for specific use cases like email archival or list cleaning.

Email compliance options include the following features:

  • Email archiving solutions: Businesses must adhere to data retention laws by archiving inbound and outbound emails in a secure repository for easy retrieval. Email archival software makes information accessible for legal purposes and audits.
  • Email encryption software: HIPAA and GDPR require companies to transmit emails securely. Encryption services encode messages during transmission and for storage.
  • List-cleaning tools: Invalid or duplicate email addresses skew email engagement and deliverability metrics. Email validation services keep your email lists up to date by removing inactive, invalid, and duplicate email addresses.
  • Data loss prevention services: Inappropriate transfer of confidential information puts your company and clients at risk. Content-filtering solutions scan outbound emails and block unauthorized transmissions of intellectual property, financial data, and social security numbers.
  • Compliance management systems: All-in-one tools use automation and reporting features to facilitate email compliance. Companies can receive alerts and create custom reports to assess their compliance with HIPAA, the CAN-SPAM Act, GDPR, and CCPA regulations.

Do you need email compliance software?

Financial services, legal, healthcare, and pharmaceutical firms use email archival and compliance tools. However, companies in any industry benefit by improving email management processes.

Email compliance applications help businesses organize email lists and information in accordance with applicable legislation. Moreover, they reduce data loss and prevent misuse.

Consider using email compliance software to:

  • Support business continuity and hasten disaster recovery efforts.
  • Archive emails to comply with legal requirements.
  • Monitor affiliates and third parties who send emails on your behalf.
  • Track email list opt-outs.
  • Document and safeguard intellectual property.
  • Ensure access for internal audits and legal e-discovery.
  • Prevent unauthorized data transmission.

Do email marketing solutions help with compliance?

GDPR-compliant email marketing solutions monitor and audit emails for compliance. Many services have features to streamline email verification, comply with consumer and legal requests, and audit outbound messages.

Email marketing and management tools let companies do the following:

  • Use email marketing templates with built-in unsubscribe links.
  • Create and apply custom retention policies.
  • Store data securely in a central location.
  • Segment contacts into consent categories.
  • Export messages in various formats.
  • Search for emails using advanced filters.
  • Email activity logs track user behavior and catch noncompliant activities.

[Read more: 3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Email Marketing Software]

Email marketing and compliance software examples

Companies leverage paid and free email marketing tools to generate leads and nurture relationships. These systems have built-in compliance features.

Alternatively, stand-alone compliance solutions centralize risk management and integrate with CRMs, project management software, and cloud storage services.

Email compliance software examples include the following:

  • Hyperproof: Companies can manage privacy practices with over 70 regulatory frameworks, including an out-of-the-box GDPR program template. It provides customizable dashboards and reports for comprehensive risk management.
  • Klaviyo: This marketing automation platform supports multichannel communications and integrates with over 300 applications. Klaviyo email marketing and data management tools improve data accuracy and contact segmentation.
  • Mimecast: Leverage email security and archival features to protect your company and data. Mimecast offers advanced threat-detection and management tools for email and messaging channels.
  • Mailpro: Manage subscriber lists, newsletters, and email delivery with GDPR-compliant email marketing software. Mailpro keeps information secure at its Switzerland data center.
  • PerformLine: This comprehensive compliance solution monitors email, social media, calls, and more. It helps firms track emails from marketing partners, sales reps, and affiliates.
  • Mailchimp: Automate email marketing and ensure compliance with double opt-in settings, export tools, and GDPR-compliant sign-up forms.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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