I get asked a lot if it’s necessary to have a valid, physical postal address at the bottom of emails sent from your email marketing provider.

Short answer. Yes.

There’s no getting away from it, unfortunately.  It’s the law that every email that goes out has to have a valid physical address.

In the United States these laws are covered by the CAN-SPAM Act   If you don’t adhere to these rules you could land yourself in a lot of costly trouble.  Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $43,280. Each separate email. That could end up being very expensive for you.

If you’re in the UK this falls under the UK Companies Act and the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations.  If you fall foul of the law you could see yourself in a Magistrates Court with a fine of up to £5,000, or worse up to £500,000 if taken to the Crown Court.

In Canada, the law is covered by the CASL.  For other countries, do check your local regulations.

Why do we have to have a physical address?

The laws relating to email marketing are there to protect people from receiving fraudulent or deceptive emails from illegitimate sources.

One way to demonstrate you are a valid business is to show your physical postal address. This identifies to the email marketing provider and your subscriber that you are a real business.

What if I don’t want to show my postal address

No getting around it I’m afraid, it’s the law.

Can I make up an address?

No, the address you use must be a valid address where you can receive correspondence.

What if I don’t have an address or don’t want to use my home address

If your home address is also your business address then it’s understandable if you feel a little uneasy about displaying it. Freelancers and sole traders, in particular, might worry about having their home address on show.  Or perhaps you don’t have an address which might apply to digital nomads or some people living and working on houseboats for example.

Don’t worry, there are several workarounds.

You could use an alternative address, as long as it’s somewhere you can collect email.  You could use your accountants or lawyers address (ask first obvs) or you could apply for a PO Box address.

Depending on whether you will use your PO Box to receiving email, there may be no cost to you at all.  If you’re in the UK, check out UK Postbox for PO Box addresses.

 

It’s really not worthwhile risking the fines and getting on the wrong side of the law so do make sure all emails going out have a valid, physical postal address in the footer.

 

Interested in learning more about email marketing?  Click here to get on the waitlist for my new email marketing course for beginners coming soon.