Email Tips: Following CAN-SPAM Rules

Are you familiar with the CAN-SPAM laws in the US? If not, you could be penalized thousands of dollars.
In 2003, the US Government and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlined a specific set of rules for email marketers to follow called the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003, more commonly referred to as CAN-SPAM. This set of rules specifically outlines what is considered to be spam and what is not.
The act lists requirements for email senders to comply with in response to the massive amount of spam that had began to circulate in the early 2000s. Contained in the CAN-SPAM laws are a set of guidelines including unsubscribe options, content restrictions and sending behavior compliances. For example, you must include a physical address in your email marketing plans, along with an opt-out button.
Both of these specific elements, and many more, are required in mass email marketing campaigns. Failure to do so can result in being marked as spam. Spammers face penalties of up to $16,000 per spam email and loss of services from their web host. If you or your business include direct emails as a part of your marketing strategy, we recommend reading the full description of CAN-SPAM rules from the FTC.
Below is a CAN-SPAM crash course of sorts that is full of helpful tips to ensure that you are following the laws and avoiding any loss of money or services:

  • Always include your business address on any email that is sent from your accounts. It can be a PO Box or a street address, as long as it is accurate.
  • Only email people once you have their permission – just having their email address is not enough.
  • Include a simple opt-out or unsubscribe method for email recipients who no longer wish to receive emails from your company – the option must be simple, free and easy to follow.   
  • Don’t sell or share email addresses. Ever. It is your job to keep the information on your email list safe and secure.
  • Be sure that all “To”, “From”, and “Reply to” fields are accurate and easy to understand.
  • If an email recipient opts out, make sure that the individual is removed within ten days, if not sooner. Email service providers will most likely do this automatically.
  • Closely monitor anyone or any service who sends emails with your name attached. It is your responsibility to ensure that any emails with your name included are adhering to CAN-SPAM rules.

If you cannot enthusiastically agree to each of the bullet points above, you may want to spend some time readdressing your email marketing campaign. It is best to be very cautious when emailing anyone for business purposes, so basically if it seems even a little risky just don’t do it.

For more information on email practices feel free to visit the Midphase Knowledge Base