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Understanding the CAN-SPAM Act to Run a Legal Email Marketing Campaign

The CAN-SPAM ACT of 2003

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is formally known as S.877 or “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003”. It came into effect in the U.S. on January 1, 2004 and addresses email spamming.

The CAN-SPAM Act allows courts to seek up to $2 billion in damages when spammers break the law. Moreover, federal district courts can send spammers to jail and/or triple the damages if the violations are found to be intentional.

email marketingUnder the CAN-SPAM Act businesses are required to:

Include a valid physical address and contact details of the company

You will need to include your valid mailing address and contact details somewhere in the message body.

Include an unsubscribe/opt-out option and make sure that those options work

Not everyone in your list is going to love your product or want to know more about it. Besides, it is illegal to not include a clear identifiable section with instruction on how one can unsubscribe from the mailing list.

Marketers either include this at the top or the bottom of the email body along with a link to unsubscribe from the mailing list. Also, you need to test it before running the campaign to make sure that the links work properly.

Process opt-out requests within ten working days

You will need to develop a manual procedure to track opt-out request if you aren’t using any email marketing programs. You need to track recipients who wish to be removed from your future mailing list within 10 days of receiving the notification. We highly recommended you doing it on an immediate basis, without waiting for any official complaints which can diminish your business’s reputation.

Use authentic and relevant subject line

Many of us get bugged by emails that have unrealistic subject lines – “eat this and you’ll never have to diet again” or some sort of body toning pill. It is important that your subject line is realistic to the content inside.

Use legitimate from-names, return e-mail addresses

Marketers shouldn’t from recipient who they are. This is why the “from”, “to” are required to include valid contact information so that the recipients know who they’re getting the message from. This basically helps spam filters to filter out bogus senders who have a bad reputation.

Label commercial emails as advertising

If you intend to promote or sell a product/service, no matter how you ribbon the content you must identify that it is an advertising email in your message. To do this, you can fine print at the top or the bottom of the email, or within the email body or the subject line.

What You Need to Know

In order to run a legal email marketing campaign one needs to adhere to the above mentioned guidelines provided by the federal govt. As per the law you can be fined up to $16,000 per email if you are caught breaking any of these rules. We strongly recommend receiving an in-depth consultation on the compliance rules before jumping into email marketing. One can associate with Consumer & Business Email and Direct Mail Marketing Lists providers who are members of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) to avoid any legal troubles and to design a robust email marketing campaign.

Learn how FrescoData’s Expert Consulting can be used for your next email marketing campaigns.

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