Obeying the CAN-SPAM Act

If your business is using email marketing, you should be familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act, which are the laws for sending commercial email. It is important to understand the rules and what they mean to you. It’s not simply about sending or not sending unsolicited emails. Rather, the requirements focus on being honest and not deceiving subscribers. Following the rules makes your campaign valid and ultimately, more successful.

Here are the basic requirements set forth by the CAN-SPAM Act and how to follow them:

1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.
Use accurate email addresses in the From, To and Rely-To fields. Also use your current domain name. Don’t make it appear to be from someone else or use an addresses not owned by your business.

2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
The subject line can be alluring as long as the body of the message fulfills the promise. It can be tempting to offer something in the subject line to get subscribers to open an email but not deliver. Make sure your subject line reflects the body of the email.

3. Identify the message as an ad.
This rule is somewhat vague. Your email message should somehow identify itself as an advertisement. How it does so is up to you.

4. Tell recipients where you’re located.
You must include a valid, physical postal address in your message. Most campaigns include this information in the template’s footer.

5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future emails from you.
A clear opt-out mechanism must be on every email you send. This can either be through an online subscription system or requesting to opt-out via an email address or reply. The process must be simple, free and only require their email address.

6. Honor opt-out requests promptly.
Remove subscribers from your list within ten business days and place them on a permanent unsubscribe list.

7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
Hiring a reputable company to handle your email marketing is of the utmost importance. Make sure they understand and are following these rules consistently. You are fully responsible for the actions of anyone that acts on behalf of your business. If you suspect any wavering from the rules, request an explanation.

Refer to http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business for more information.