It can be easy to jump the gun when it comes to developing and executing an email marketing strategy or campaign. The amount of effort involved in having a successful email newsletter campaign can be quite surprising to those new to the industry. In the end, the quick solution some marketers opt for ends up being an expressway to the SPAM folder because they were not compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act, which is an important rule of email marketing. In this article, we will go over what it means to comply with the CAN-SPAM act and how you can better follow its rules.
What is the CAN-SPAM Act?
In a nutshell, the CAN-SPAM Act was implemented in 2003 and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect consumers from unsolicited emails from businesses and brands. Following the rules of the act is easy – the FTC even has a seven-step outline that acts as a guide and checklist to help ensure that your email marketing campaign is CAN-SPAM compliant. That said, violations of this act can result in some hefty fines, upwards of $40,000 (and that’s for each individual violation).
What are the Seven Rules of the CAN-SPAM Act?
The seven rules laid out by the FTC are as follows:
- Do not use false or misleading header information.
- Do not use deceptive subject lines.
- Identify the message as an ad.
- Tell recipients where you are located.
- Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future emails from you.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
Pretty easy, right? Well, most violations occur due to simply not being honest with the people you are sending emails to – even if that occurs unintentionally. Consider the average email inbox, full of hundreds (or even thousands) of emails. It can be a struggle to keep up with annoying, unsolicited emails that are trying to get you to buy something. If you are not careful, recipients will likely react to your emails by marking them as spam, which could be bad news for you or the client you are marketing for. Enough spam complaints could temporarily or permanently lock you out of sending any more emails, and, if the FTC gets involved, then you could be dishing out some serious cash due to fines.
Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
The temptation to look for quick and easy gratification, especially when it comes to marketing, can be alluring. One of the biggest instances of this in email marketing is sending emails to people who have not opted in to receive them. Buying lists of email addresses is never a good idea and is a sure-fire way to get reported as spam. You need to make sure that your customers want to receive your emails specifically in order to improve engagement and build an audience that trusts you. Those two things are integral to an effective email marketing campaign.
They say honesty is the best policy for a reason, and that reason is all the more true when it comes to email marketing. Honesty will get you a long way with your customers because they will likely return that honesty in one way or another – whether that be a click, a conversion, or simply not marking your email as spam. With everything else that goes into email marketing – from copywriting to graphic design – you can always fall back on following the rules and being honest to at least ensure that your message gets received in a positive manner.