The CAN-SPAM Act + Running a Legal Email Marketing Campaign.


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Do you use email to market your business? The CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) is the big boy statute that dictates the do’s and don’t’s of email marketing. The CAN-SPAM Act regulates all commercial emails. Of course you have to first understand, what constitutes commercial:

How do you know if your email is regulated by the CAN-SPAM Act?

If your email promotes a product or service then it must satisfy the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act.

The requirements are:

  • Subject lines, email headers, and domain names must be accurate and not misleading;
  • If your message is an advertisement, you must disclose that;
  • You must provide a way for recipients to opt-out or unsubscribe from your communications and clearly explain the process in your emails;
  • You must actually honor the requests to opt-out or unsubscribe within 10 business days. If you are not using an email marketing program like AWeber, MailChimp or Constant Contact then you have to develop a manual procedure for this. I recommend adding the opt-out or unsubscribe language to your email signature, and creating a filter for those words (“unsubscribe” “opt-out”) in your email program so that you don’t miss those requests.
  • Include a valid postal address in your email.

In case you were wondering….

There is a hefty fine for ignoring the law.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could fine you up to $16,000 for each, individual email that violates the CAN-SPAM Act.

My suggestion? Think first before you fire off an email to potential, current or former clients or buyers.

If it’s a commercial email, use a reputable, email marketing service to ensure that you are a law abiding entrepreneur.

For more information, check out the great guide below, compliments of the FTC:

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