Terms of service updates email examples

The not-so-fun updates all ecommerce email marketers have to send when privacy policies are updated.

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As a consumer, you likely gloss over terms of service update emails. As a brand, it’s imperative to mention any terms of service updates to cover your bases. This is especially true as we move to a cookieless world and a world with more data regulation (we’re looking at you, GDPR and CCPA).

It’s important to note that these emails are NOT marketing emails and should be treated as a transactional email. When setting up segments for this email send, focus on sending to active subscribers first (for example, those who have opened an email in the last 90 days) and scale to include more inactive subscribers with separate sends. While this is technically considered transactional, a batch and blast to all subscribers can lead to unhappy subscribers, spam complaints, and negative impacts on deliverability.

Terms of Service Updates strategic recommendations

While these aren’t the revenue-driving triggered campaigns you typically send, they are necessary when privacy policies and terms of service have been updated. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind when crafting the next terms of service-related email:

Include all necessary updates within the email

No one likes long-winded emails, but sometimes you have to send one to cover all the changes made to the terms of service. While normally, the goal is to drive traffic back to the website, in a policy update instance, it’s okay if it doesn’t! Here’s a great example from Athleta who takes this simple, yet detailed approach covering all the changes made to their terms of service.

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Summarize updates with lists

If there have been several changes and the updates are confusing, consider using bullets or a list format to highlight key changes made. Candy company, Sugarfina, does this well in their terms of service update due to new government regulation.

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Use a letter format

Typically, these emails are structured as a personalized letter to existing subscribers due to their informational nature. BeanBox uses this approach and includes first name personalization and a signature of the company owners and team.

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Include first name personalization

While first name personalization can be included in both the body and subject line, this helps make the note seem more personal, especially if writing in a letter format. Trunk Club does this within their terms of service email in the body of the message (we’ll share an example of how this can be used in subject lines in a future tip!).

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Focus on the text and not the design

This one goes for many notification-related emails: keep the focus on the update and not products. While these emails can contain some branding, it’s good to shy away from using any marketing-heavy templates. Our team loves this simple design from Rent the Runway that does have a subtle nod to their branding without heavy imagery.

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Give background on updates

Tod’s answers the ‘why’ they’re notifying subscribers of the policy change and expresses concern and understanding when it comes to how their customer’s data is handled. This approach is more personal and transparent than a quick ‘our privacy policy has changed’ copy.

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Highlight government regulation changes

While in the marketing world GDPR and CCPA are frequently discussed, these acronyms are gibberish to most consumers. Take this into consideration when crafting terms of service emails and provide any new government regulation on data to keep customers informed. Learn from the home marketplace, Chairish, that details why their privacy policy has been updated.

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Explain why they’re receiving this email

Milani takes an interesting approach by including text near the bottom of their terms of service update email explaining that they may receive this as it’s a transactional email and they’ll continue to be suppressed from marketing emails if they’ve opted out previously. This could potentially negate some spam complaint concerns if sending to a larger list size.

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Include contact information if recipients have questions

Fox Racing does an excellent job of this within their privacy policy email by including a separate paragraph highlighting their customer service contact information.

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Clearly iterate any action items

Typically, terms of service and privacy policy notification emails don’t require any action items from the recipient. Although this may be widely understood by brands, clearly iterate that there’s no action needed. Clothing brand, Pact, includes this language after notifying customers that their privacy policy and terms of service have been updated.

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Keep your subject line detailed and descriptive of the email

You want your terms of service email to say exactly what it’s about using detailed subject lines. No clever marketing subject lines for this one! A few of our favorite privacy policy subject lines include:

  • We’re updating our privacy policy.
  • Updates to [BRAND] Privacy Policy & Terms of Service
  • CCPA Privacy Policy Update
  • [NAME], we’ve updated our Privacy Policy (example from men’s clothing company, Yd AU, on the right)
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