What is the CAN-SPAM Act? And how does it affect your marketing?

I did a presentation on this some 5 or so years ago. People had no idea what I was talking about. Here it is 5 years later…and people still don’t know what I’m talking about. What is the CAN-SPAM Act?

Here’s a little history:

The CAN-SPAM Act, The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, was passed 2003. It was established to set rules on commercial email. That’s the gist.

The mistake people often make is thinking that it only applies to bulk emails. That is not the case. It applies to email that is promoting, selling, advertising, etc. products or services.

There are seven main parts to the act that you should be following to make sure you and your business are not in violation.

  1. No false or misleading header info.
  2. Don’t use subject lines that are deceptive in nature. Don’t advertise “Free Cruise” when you are really just selling sunscreen.
  3. Make sure you identify the email as an advertisement.
  4. Address must be included. Your email must have valid postal address.
  5. Let people opt-out. It must be clear as to how recipients can stop getting your emails.
  6. Follow the rules of opt-out. 1. Honor requests within 10 business days. 2. Don’t charge. 3. Don’t make them jump through hoops; reply email or single page on a website to opt-out. 4. Don’t sell the email address.
  7. Know what those you hire are doing. If you have outsourced your email marketing you are not off the hook if the company violates these terms.

I constantly get emails that do not follow all of these rules. Don’t let your business be one of these.

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