What is CAN-SPAM? The legislative act stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing. It applies to all commercial email and commercial messages, not just to bulk emails. It also applies to B2C and B2B marketing alike. If you send out an email that does not comply with the CAN-SPAM act, you could face a fine of up to $16,000 from the Federal Trade Commission. This penalty applies to every single culpable email you send, so multiply this by the number of people on your mailing list and you are in big trouble.
Complying with this law is obviously important, but how do you make sure that you are not in violation. You might think it just applies to people who are deliberately spamming, but it can be easy to violate the rules outlined by CAN-SPAM without even realizing it. Here are a few key points for making sure your email marketing campaign is CAN-SPAM compliant.
Make your identity clear
Whether you are sending a marketing email as an individual or as a business, your identity needs to be made clear. How you fill in the “from,” “to,” and “reply to” fields should be transparent to the recipient. You must also include the postal address of your business, if you have one. If your address is your home address and you don’t wish to disclose this, you can use a registered address.
Be clear about your content
Similarly, do not try to misinform your recipients about the content of an email with a misleading subject line. Subject lines that deceive the recipients about the email contents may violate the CAN-SPAM laws.
Your recipients must be allowed to unsubscribe from receiving your emails and, if they do, this request must be honored within 10 working days. The option to unsubscribe must be made clearly visible and the process to do so must be clear and simple. It is illegal to charge a fee for a recipient to opt-out.
Be clear that it is a marketing email
You must make it clear that your email is an advertisement or marketing material, rather than trying to pass it off as a personal email. The CAN-SPAM regulation does not specify how this should be done.
If you outsource your email marketing to another company, it is still your responsibility to ensure that the content being sent out on your behalf is compliant. In the event of an email breaching these rules, both you and the company delivering the message on your behalf could be found liable. Many email service providers require you to include the necessary footer information and verify permission for each subscribed email address to help you avoid a violation.
So, to avoid incurring a $16,000 fine for your business, make sure you follow the rules above to keep your email marketing CAN-SPAM compliant.