The CAN-SPAM Act sets rules that must be followed when sending commercial emails. Commercial emails are defined as any content promoting commercial products or services. It applies to all advertising emails, including business-to-business communications.
Use real header information: Your “From” line should include a real email address or name. This can be either the sender’s or your business’. Your “Reply to” email should also be a valid email address.
Use true subject lines: The subject line should accurately reflect the content of the email. For example, don’t use “Free Consultation” if your email discusses only paid services. Also, links in your emails should lead to relevant landing pages. If your email offers a free consultation, your landing page should include information on requesting a free consultation.
Provide a mailing address: CAN-SPAM requires a physical mailing address in every email. An email marketing service makes this easy with the option to include your address within your template design as well as in the text included at the bottom of every email.
Be Clear About Intent
CAN-SPAM says you must clearly label advertising as such. Subject lines that are obviously commercial, like “This Week’s Specials” or “View our New Collection” are CAN-SPAM compliant. More ambiguous subject lines, like “We need to talk,” may not be. This subject might be truthful, if your email discusses how a conversation with you would benefit the recipient, but it is also deceptive because it sounds personal but is actually commercial. If you use this type of subject line, you must add the word “Advertisement,” as in “We need to talk (Advertisement).”
Give Recipients a Choice
Provide a simple opt-out option: The simplest opt-out link automatically removes the email address from your list. Alternatively, you can send the person to a web page to confirm the decision to opt out. You may not require any additional information to process the request. You have 10 days to comply with any opt-out request, but it is safest to make it instantaneous. Email marketing services make this easy by including an opt-out link at the bottom of every campaign.
Send only to opt-in subscribers: This is not a requirement of CAN-SPAM, but it is the safest way to avoid recipients labeling your messages as spam. It’s also the best way to make sure you are reaching people who actually want to read your message.
Every email sent in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to up to $16,000 in penalties, so it is in your best interest to stay in compliance. Your recipients will also appreciate your adherence to best practices.
Review the CAN-SPAM Act on the Federal Trade Commission’s web site.
And, for a few tips to increase your email marketing success, Email Marketing vs SPAM.