Email is a great way to reach your customers, but don’t go overboard. It can be criminal.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It standardizes commercial emails to prevent companies from harassing their consumers as well as other businesses, most notably in the form of spam. It also endorses the recipients’ privilege to opt out of business emails at any time and imposes consequences for breaking the aforementioned rules.
Sending mass emails to a list of recipients repeatedly is called spam, and there are good reasons to enforce legislation against this practice. Not only is it frustrating to those on the other end trying to control their inbox, but it’s bad business practice, and the price of infringement is steep. Spam emails are treated as individual violations, so each email faces fines up to $40,654. It’s a good idea to become acquainted with this law to avoid costly and preventable mistakes.
Here’s what you need to know about the CAN-SPAM ACT:
Do Not Attempt to Deceive Recipients or Distort the Truth
That means your header should be accurate in conveying the person or business of origin and clarifying details such as the domain name. Tricking recipients into opening your emails by pretending to be another company is illegal. The goal is to allow recipients to easily see where the email is coming from, the associated business, the appropriate URL, and other identifying information that your recipients have the right to know.
Your subject line should also reflect the message content – if your subject says opening the email will give the viewer a store coupon, it must do exactly that.
Disclose your Geographic Location as well to Indicate You’re Not a Spammer
You’re required to include your street address, P.O. box, or however you identify your physical location.
Acknowledge Emails that have Marketing, Promotional, or Advertising Purposes
Although the CAN-SPAM Act allows for some flexibility in how you indicate promotional messages, you must make the information clear to recipients who want to know which emails are ads.
Clearly State How Recipients Can Unsubscribe and Follow Through with Requests Right Away
Make your instructions easy to find, read, and execute.
There are a few ways to accommodate viewers’ requests, like setting up a return email address and creating a menu to give recipients more detailed subscription options. The important part is that you must include a way for users to request to opt out of your future commercial emails.
Additionally, it’s important that you accommodate those stop orders immediately. The law allows you ten business days to comply, and failure to do so will be recorded as a violation.
You may not ask for viewers’ personal information, send them on a hunt through more than ONE page, or sell email addresses or batch lists.
Don’t Look Away When the Company You Hired for Your Email Marketing Breaks Any Part of The CAN-SPAM Act
You will be held responsible in addition to the company, so be sure to pay attention to those emails.
Leveraging Email Marketing for Your Business
Email marketing is an inexpensive way to send messages to your list of contacts. The key is to be sure that you respect your contact list and only send email messages in accordance with CAN-SPAM act.