Sending SPAM is not just bad business – it’s illegal. Follow these tips to stay squeaky clean.
I often write about what industrial marketers should do, but it’s also important to be well educated on what not to do.
The perfect example of where doing something wrong can really cost you – thousands in fines – is email marketing.
Dave Currie, CMO of The List, gives a concise guide to how to comply to the CAN-SPAN rules on my friend Michael Gass’ blog:
A little history lesson: At the end of the first session of the 108th Congress in December, 2003, the federal government passed an anti-spam law called the CAN-SPAM Act, an acronym for the tongue-twisting Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act.
Here are the CAN-SPAM rules…
1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.
Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
3. Don’t overtly advertise.
The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
4. Tell recipients where you’re located.
Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
Your message must include a clear explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand…. …You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
6. Honor opt-out requests promptly.
Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days.
7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.
Following these guidelines will not only help you avoid legal troubles, but it’s also just good business. Be sure to check out my other email marketing tips, including 7 Reasons Why Email Marketing is King in Industrial Marketing.
Photo Credit: linkedmediagrp