Email marketing helps you connect with your audience, promote your brand, drive traffic to your website, and increase sales. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to get exposure for your brand or reach for your message.
So it makes sense to carry out this strategy efficiently through SEO tools that make optimization and automation easier. Your marketing team is also likely to be up-to-date with the best practices in crafting emails that earn inquiries and convert prospects into customers. But are they well-versed with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003?
What is the CAN-SPAM Act?
The CAN-SPAM Act sets the regulations for commercial email. It provides the requirements and rules for commercial messages and gives the recipients the right to stop you from emailing them.
Non-compliance can subject email marketers or content creators to tough penalties for violation.
The CAN-SPAM Act covers all commercial messages, defined by the law as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites.
The Act applies to any commercial electronic message to U.S. recipients, B2C or B2B. This includes both transactional and marketing messages.
By establishing a clear set of rules, the CAN-SPAM Act aims to ensure that companies remain compliant throughout their email marketing campaigns.
What are the CAN-SPAM Email Requirements?
- Avoid false or misleading headers for your emails. All emails have to contain accurate and truthful representation of the sender. Details like: “From,” “To,” “Reply-To” and routing information, as well as the originating domain name must all be accurate. It’s necessary to identify the person or business that instituted the message.
- Make sure the subject line matches the content of the email. The subject line should be true to the content of the message. If the email campaign is about promoting your several branches to support your multi-location SEO efforts, the subject line should be clear about that message.
- Always address messages that are ads. State the goal of your message clearly. Most users or recipients understand that the aim of your email is to promote your business and drive them to your website. Be honest because there’s no good reason not to be truthful about your intent.
- Tell recipients your address. Your message must include a valid postal address. This can be anywhere from your legitimate street address, post office box, or private mailbox.
- Tell recipients that they can unsubscribe and how. Your email messages must include an “unsubscribe link” that can easily be spotted. This will allow them to opt-out from being included in your mailing list. Design it in a way that it’s easy for everyone to recognize, read, and understand. You can create a menu to allow a user to choose what they can receive, but there must always be an option for them to stop all messages from you.
- Make sure that those who opted out of receiving your emails have officially been unsubscribed. All opt-out mechanisms you offer should be able to process requests for at least 30 days after sending the message. You need to honor that petition in 10 business days. You’re not allowed to charge a fee and sell or transfer their email addresses to other entities.
- Be cautious about what others are saying on your behalf. Monitor what an employee or anyone related to your company is doing. The law makes it clear that you are still responsible for complying with the law, even when you’ve outsourced your email marketing efforts. Both you and the outsourcing partner may be held legally responsible for any messages sent.
Fines for Infringement
Each email in the violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $43,792, so non-compliance can be expensive. The good thing is that most email service providers have features that help senders avoid mistakes.
How to know if the CAN-SPAM Act covers the email you’re sending
The main purpose of your email is what’s important. Ask yourself if the email you’re sending has “commercial content” or “transactional content.”
If it contains commercial content, then it must comply with all the rules of the CAN-SPAM act. If it’s mainly transactional, or the content only aims to establish a relationship, then it should contain the right routing information.
Protect Your Business
The CAN-SPAM Act was created to protect consumers, but it also helps businesses create an honest relationship with their customers. The more authentic your email reads, the less likely your emails will be deleted, ignored, or marked as spam.
Make sure your email marketing efforts comply with the CAN-SPAM Act because it not only ensures a friction-less process for your marketing efforts. Compliance is also a way to protect your business.
Itamar Gero is the founder of SEOReseller.com, a global digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies and their local clients all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code).
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