As a business owner running email marketing campaigns, it’s imperative to know the rules around the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003 aka CAN-SPAM. While you may be thinking this has nothing to do with you, I assure you that it does. Signed by George Bush in 2003, the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail were established.
Understanding CAN-SPAM laws is imperative to the success of your practice. There is such a thing as an email blacklist. This list is a real-time list that identifies IP addresses (or domains) that are known to send spam. Nearly 85% of email sent daily is considered spam, so the blacklist exists to help unwanted messages make it to people’s inboxes. We’re not saying that you personally are sending spam, as spam across the board has different definitions. There are those who send emails that are meant to be malicious or harmful or give your computer a virus. However, it’s important to note many people consider email they didn’t sign up for to be SPAM.
Sometimes, your emails can be blacklisted for simply not following the seven basic rules of the CAN-SPAM law. We’ve outlined those laws below but you can reference these in more detail on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
- Misleading Header Information – When you send an email, make sure the who it is coming ‘from’ and who the ‘reply-to’ is actually a human being. You must also identify your practice’s name.
- Deceptive Subject Lines – The subject line must depict what is inside of the email accurately.
- Let them know, it’s an AD – You must disclose somewhere in your email, that you’re advertising to them if you are.
- Location – You must include the valid physical address of your practice at the bottom of your email.
- Opt-Out – You must include an opt-out landing page where they can elect to stop receiving emails from you.
- Honor Opt-out Requests – When someone unsubscribes, you must have a process in place to immediately remove said person from future emails. They should no longer receive emails from you moving forward.
- Monitor Others – If you hire an agency to do emails on your behalf, make sure they are following CAN-SPAM laws, you can’t contract away your legal obligations.
It’s important that you follow these CAN-SPAM rules in order to avoid violations which ultimately could lead to fines up to $41,484. Don’t let poor email marketing processes be the reason you pay the price!
—Alexis Mallos, Senior Marketing Manager, Sesame Communications