Advertising via email is an effective way for a company’s customers to take quick action on a sale, promotion, or even find out more information about a company’s products and services. However, it’s important to ensure each email complies with the CAN-SPAM Act to avoid violating its terms — which can lead to penalties against a business. The CAN-SPAM Act was enacted to protect the recipients of a company’s email, including an easily found option for the recipient to opt-out of the email.
At Imperial Advance we often use e-mail marketing to educate potential clients about business term loans, revenue-based financing, and merchant cash advances — but we are always careful to ensure compliance with FTC regulations.
Here are the basics regarding the CAN-SPAM Act and a few simple ways that a business can comply.
What Does the CAN-SPAM Act Cover?
The CAN-SPAM Act covers literally any sales-oriented correspondence between a company and an email recipient, and it is not limited to bulk email messages. The law is defined, in its own words, as such: “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.”
Violation of the CAN-SPAM Act can cost up to $40,654 per email. Suffice it to say, violations can quickly add up and be incredibly detrimental to a company not in compliance.
Requirements of CAN-SPAM Act
There are seven main requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act. They are as follows:
- Do not use false or misleading header information. Be sure that the sender information, “To” spot, and “Reply-To” section all overtly identify who is sending the email and from which company it comes.
- Do not use deceptive subject lines. Be sure the subject line is a teaser to what the recipient will find in the body of the email.
- Identify the message as an ad. Be sure that the customer understands that what they’re reading is an advertisement.
- Tell recipients where the business is located. Be sure to include a valid address, which could include a P.O. box.
- Offer a clear way for recipients to opt-out of future emails. This information must be presented in a clear way so that anyone reading the message can quickly and easily click on a button and follow a step to opt-out of future messages.
- Quickly honor opt-out requests. It’s the law to ensure a recipient who opts out is removed from the mailing list within 10 business days. You may not ask the recipient for any other personal information (other than their email address), nor may you make the process take longer than a single page to click on. After a recipient opts out, you no longer can legally sell or transfer their email address.
- Monitor what is being done on your behalf. Many companies hire a third-party agency to handle mass emails. It’s your job to be sure that they are in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act.
If you are sending out emails that are commercial, transactional/relationship-centered, or classified as ‘other’, you must adhere to the CAN-SPAM Act. Remember, violating the act results in tough consequences; both the company being promoted in the message and the company in charge of sending it out could be held liable. Reference this checklist before sending out emails to ensure compliance.