If you use email for your business, you are subject to the CAN-SPAM Act, a federal law that sets standards for all business emails for commercial purposes, not just spam. As each separate non-complying email may be subject to penalties of up to $16,000, your business cannot afford to risk being non-compliant.
Let’s walk through the 7 requirements for each commercial email you send:
1. Don’t use misleading 'To' and 'From' names. This also applies to the email’s routing information, which is the originating domain name and email address. It all must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
2. Subject lines must accurately reflect the content of the message. Fairly straightforward.
3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly that your message is an advertisement. This can be done in the fine print at the bottom or top of the email or within the subject line or content of the message.
4. Tell recipients your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address or a post office box, which many privacy experts recommend, particularly if you work at home. I observe this violation of the Act most frequently. Displaying your city and state without a street name, number and internal address (apt, suite, etc) is a violation of the Act punishable by fine.
5. Provide an option to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and easy way to prevent receiving future emails from your company.
6. Honor opt-out requests quickly. You must comply with a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. Once a subscriber has informed you they no longer want to receive your messages, you cannot sell or transfer their email address, even in the form of a mailing list. Best business practice is to avoid the sale/transfer of your list in general UNLESS you have made the
7. Make sure your independent contractors and employees comply too. Hiring a third-party to manage your email marketing/engagement does not absolve you of your legal responsibility to comply with the Act. Where the law has been violated, both the party sending the message and the party whose product/services are being promoted are liable.
As always, I’m here if you have questions and want to be sure your emails are in compliance. Leave a comment using the link below.