If you’ve noticed that many brands have been sending updated privacy policy and/or terms of service to their subscribers, or your brand is among those doing the updating, you’re not alone. It seems to be that time of year for companies to update their legal terms and present those changes to their user base.

This can often present several different challenges from an email delivery perspective. Which IP should you use? How should you organize the deployment as to not jeopardize your regular mail? In this post, we’ll be going over some quick “Do’s and Don’ts” for getting these terms to your customers in an effective (and safe) way.


  • Segment your total list by user engagement and start sending the campaign by targeting your most engaged recipients first.
  • Use a very clear subject line such as “BrandX Terms of Service Update”
  • Begin to integrate the updated campaign into the typical traffic for your IP/domain combination, slowly if possible.
  • Monitor the engagement of the campaign very closely for signs of delivery problems, such as an uncharacteristically low open rate or a spike in non-delivery events.
  • Slow the deployment of the campaign immediately if you see indications of delivery issues .
  • Understand that as the deployment is started and/or slowed and the engagement is low, the update may go to spam for the remaining portion of your (least engaged) list, providing you have to send the update to the full list. The “reputation” effects of this tapered engagement model (frequent/recently engaged with mail will open, low or lapsed mail audiences won’t open) could be tempered by the fact that Inbox Providers will see your company interpreting and reacting to how the users are interacting with it.


  • Include any marketing content in the email!
    • This includes any promotional CTAs that drive to your site and/or social media links.
  • Require the recipient to navigate back to the sender’s website to read the updates.
  • Add recipients who open this campaign back to your regular distribution segments!
    • The purpose of this campaign is not to “win-back” unengaged recipients.
  • Exceed 2x your normal sending volume in a single campaign as this will result in deferrals and blocks. 

Questions to Consider When Building the Segment Structure:

  • What is the total size of the list you need to send the update to?
  • At what point do you consider a user inactive?
    • What percentage of your list is active/inactive? Depending on inactive list size, that could mean you need to spread that deployment over a longer period of time.
  • Do you purge inactive users at any point?
  • Does your current TOS/Privacy Policy reserve the right to contact your recipients with legal updates regardless of their subscription settings?

The main point behind all of these tips is that senders need to be extremely deliberate about the phases of a terms of service update. Starting with the most engaged users will help the rest of the list with successful inbox delivery. Monitoring and adjusting time and amount of mail in accordance with how users are engaging with the campaign will also help, in that it reflects a responsible sender in the eyes of the world’s inbox providers.

For more advice on how to approach sends like this and on how to keep your lists clean, check out our Delivery Panel Power Hour Webcast, featuring our Delivery Consulting Team.

Seth Charles
An email nerd at heart, Seth has been working in the deliverability and marketing space for six years. He loves solving problems, helping educate SendGrid's customers, and being a part of the email community. As a sixth-generation Coloradan, he always enjoys being outside (especially if it means getting a round of golf in), and thinks John Elway should be the Emperor of Colorado.