Email Marketing for Small Business (Part 2)

Know Your CAN-SPAM

Chun - Hexagram 3: Difficulty at the Beginning

The first thing an email marketer should do is read over the CAN-SPAM law. Regardless of your opinion about unwanted email (or “spam” as it is commonly called), your business can be held liable if it fails to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The Federal Trade Commission has an excellent overview of what the CAN-SPAM Act means for businesses. Basically it boils down to seven points:

  1. You must identify your business properly
  2. Your subject lines must be truthful
  3. You must say when you have commercial content
  4. You must tell people where to find you
  5. You must give your recipients a way to request to opt out
  6. … and you must honor their requests!
  7. You are still responsible for any vendor’s actions

So-called “transactional emails” (i.e., one-to-one communications between you and your customers/clients/audience, etc.) are supposed to be exempt, but if you include any commercial or promotional content, you still need to be compliant.

Most businesses comply with CAN-SPAM by putting everything in small print in the footer of your message. I recommend that all businesses do this as a matter of habit—regardless of content.

What this all means to you is a lot of pain at first, but it will benefit your business in the long run. Complying with CAN-SPAM will keep spam complaints down. Your subscriber list will be more hygienic, and your analytics will be more trustworthy.

I have been directing email campaigns for businesses and non-profits for more than five years now. I am very familiar with CAN-SPAM and can ensure your compliance. Send me your RFP to get your email marketing started.

Email Tony MacFarlane Now!

« Part 1: The ROI of Email Marketing

Part 3: Growing your subscriber list »